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Rick Wakeman - The Six Wives of Henry VIII CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman


Symphonic Prog

4.09 | 841 ratings

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2 stars I've never risked myself beyond Wakeman's first few solo albums. My brother had them in his collection, which turned out to be really awesome as it meant I never had to waste any money on them myself. A few flashes of brilliance with Yes aside, Rick Wakeman, together with fellow keyboard batterist Keith Emerson, stands for everything that can go wrong with prog for me. It's the moment when technical skills become an end to themselves and when a musician gets more excited from hearing himself play then from trying to do anything with actual meaning. Many have pointed it out already. Style over substance to put it gracefully, sonic wankery to say it less friendly.

That general remark aside, this album has some enjoyable moments. I couldn't tell you what any of these songs has got to do with the wives depicted, but judging from the pompous nature of the music they must sure have suffered from serious overweight.

Catherina of Aragon is a bit cheesy but still listenable. To my big surprise, Alan White manages to raise the bar on Anne Of Cleves, spectacular drumming here, I always thought it was Bruford, never checked the credits properly. Wakeman adds some brooding organs and teapot sunth noises. I would have liked to find a similar drive on all tracks here, alas, Catherine Howard mixes an elevator prog muzak main theme with equally annoying uptempo bits. Jane Seymour is an impressive piece for organ. I like the moog that sits in the middle of it, it's awkward and out of place but somehow it adds a nice twist to it. Anna Boleyn is another prime example of dated prog, but that is understandable for album from 1473. Catherine Parr is possibly worse, the ending part saves it from going under.

I agree with all fans here. This is Wakeman's best solo effort. (Or is that just because no one dared to listen to the other 85 solo album entries for Wakeman?) But rating it is more difficult then stating it is his best. 2 stars seems a bit low but it's too uneven to rate as good for me. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone but to the most ardent classic prog fans, but those already own this album anyway. 2.5 stars

Bonnek | 2/5 |


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