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Ken Hensley - The Wizard's Diary, Vol. 1 CD (album) cover

THE WIZARD'S DIARY, VOL. 1

Ken Hensley

 

Prog Related

3.38 | 12 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Acsording to the CD´s booklet the idea of re-recording some of Uriah Heep´s classics came from Eugene Kultonov from at Sony Music in Moscow. Hensley then visit the studio facilities there and found it good enough to record there with the help of russian musicians and the Presidential Symphony Orchestra. It may sound a little opportunistic, doesn´t it? But, what the hell, what UH fan would not like to see some classics done by the author himself? So I was curious enough to buy it. And, like anyone else here that heard the record, I got mixed feelings about it.

First of all there are few new arrangements. Most of the time what you hear are very good and very respectful musicians that play each classic literally note by note as they were originally recorded. Even the addtion of the orchestra didn´t change things much. There are few exceptions, the most notably being Lady In Black (ok) and Stealin´(interesting, but it became too long and not as good as the original). That´s not bad. But it contradicts the record´s premise to give the songs new versions. Second, Hensley does have a voice that is close enough to David Byron, although not with the same range and power. Still, he is singing as good as in the 70´s, if not better. And he is not trying to imitate the late vocalist. I also loved the full use of the Hammond organ (he is a master of this instrument!)

The selection is a sensitive point. Everybody would like to see different ones chosen. The surprises here are the inclusion of such obscure tracks like Illusion and Feelings. The latter sounds quite different in the vocal lines. ON the other hand the inclusion of a song like rain is quite odd, since it had been recorded twice already, with UH and on his first solo album. The new version differs little from both, making it quite unnecessary to say the least. But I was glad he included the forgotten gem Sweet Freedon, one of his most beautiful and soulful tunes. Like the classic July Morning (also covered, of course), the new recording does not change much and miracously keep the orignal feeling and magic. Even the backing vocals seemed to be careful arranged to duplicate the originals.

Conclusion: a nice selection, most of them quite faithful to the originals and with a superb production. You judge. For me it was a good efford. The few exceptions did not supass the old ones, but only Stealin´was really bad. teh recording of some less known trakcs was a nice idea and I hope that next time (the title of this CD leads us to expect at least one more sequel, doesn´t it?) he wil do it again. Valid, well worth the efford, but not really essential. Final rating something between 3 and 3,5 stars.

Tarcisio Moura | 3/5 |

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