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Rick Wakeman - Retro CD (album) cover

RETRO

Rick Wakeman

 

Symphonic Prog

3.03 | 40 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

theinvisibleman
2 stars Rick himself once said in an interview that if you notice the sounds as a standout, the the songs are probably substandard.

To make an album out of the sounds, unfortunately indicates that this material was not really 'top drawer' material and more stuff he could use and use fairly well.

Now before I sound like a total git, I will say that like any man whose spent the best part of three decades immersed in this music, the idea of 'Wakey on Hammond and Trons' gets my mouth watering. Full stop.

Add to that the other things, the timeless Minimoog, Electrapiano, and what-have-you, and there is a recipe for some seriously good sounding music. And thats what you get. The keyboards, quite frankly, sound so damn good that you can almost forgive anything.

Almost anything.

Unfortunately, Rick's sojourns with Black Sabbath and Ozzy over the years have introduced something rather unpalatable to his music, the lugubrious 4/4 guitar riff. It's on 'Return To The Centre Of The Earth', and it's (most horribly) on the new live 6 Wives DVD. But, it's also here.

Tony Fernandez is capable of providing some wonderful stuff, check out NO EARTHLY CONNECTION or and live recording from that era and you have some amazing drumming. But here, he pretty much rides the kit with as much enthusiasm for it as he'd ride the bus to work. It's all very simple, leaving the faster stuff to Wakeman and the horrible guitarist that likes Tony Iommi way too much.

Ashley Holt is sounding remarkable in his later years. Better than ever in fact, and some of his vocals are almost highlights. Just Another Day begins the album in good stead before the Ozzy-Riff bit ruins it. The mellotrons are gorgeous, the RMI takes me back to 73. One In The Eye and Waveform are basic, uninspired filler that occasionally rise above their mediocrity and provided a glimpse of their originator's brilliance before receeding again. Men In Suits is rather better as it uses the mellotron beautifully and the timing at the start is interesting. And it quotes Merlin The Magician.

Leave The Blindfold sounds like something Jon Anderson might have written, but not in a good way. And the parping polymoog brings back some rather unfortunate memories of the less palatable Tormato-era Yes keyboards.

Homage To The Doctor is simply horrible. Bob Moog deserved better. The whole thing sounds very uninspired with terribly cheesy lyrics.

Retrospective begins with a very classy bit that made me think 'How would it sound if Wakeman used these sounds on the next Yes album?', and the whole track is more of a highlight, although it's not as rhythmically exciting as one might hope.

Can you smell burning is great, marred only by the drumming of Fernandez, who fails to inject any form of accent into the track, and it's a great shame as the keyboard work is magnificent, and would have benefitted from something interesting in the rhythm section.

The stalker has horrible 80's keyboard sounds all over it and feels like a Lloyd-Webber musical number. Thats all I can say. Ashley Holt sings well, but the lyrics are pretty cringeworthy.

So, do the magnificent sounds manage to overcome the mediocrity of the material?

Nope.

theinvisibleman | 2/5 |

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