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Rick Wakeman - Silent Nights CD (album) cover

SILENT NIGHTS

Rick Wakeman

 

Symphonic Prog

2.33 | 28 ratings

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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars AN ACCESSIBLE PROG ALBUM

"Taking a chance on the opening line. Losing the impact, everyday time. Saving the friendship, holding a view. Out of perpective, never adieu." - Rick Wakeman "The Opening Line"

If you have ventured into the music of earlier Rick's albums in the seventies, what do you think about this album? I know, I know ... Most of you would not consider this album as an excellent one in the prog scene from keyboard virtuoso Rick Wakeman. You might even probe: "What? Rick plays this?". Even, some of you who adored The Six Wives album was really disappointed with this or hated very much. But for me personally this was (and still is until today as I still like it when I spin last night and today, three times already) truly an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Yes, as compared to other previous works of him, I agree that this one is less-complex and much more accessible because this is more toward melody-centered music with simple structure song. But, you have to admit there are great Rick style solos during interlude or transitions pieces in every song featured here. I think, prog music is not necessary to be too complex as there is room also for being "a bit of" complex in its composition. Remember bands like RPWL? Its music is not complex but it still falls into prog category. Why not this album?

"Tell 'Em All You Know" opens the album with an energetic, upbeat tempo music with keyboard-based structure. It's an enjoyable track with a smooth musical flow, great vocal, stunning guitar solo followed with great insertion of keyboard solo. "The Opening Line" is my all-time Rick Wakeman favorite. It's an upbeat track with simple structure and uplifting mood. The keyboard solo insertion during vocal line reminds me to pentatonic notes typically used in Indonesian gamelan music. The song has good transition pieces with quiet passage followed with stunning guitar solo. Bass lines are also solid and inventive in some segments. The keyboard solo at the end of the track augmented by electric guitar solo is really amazing! This is the reason I typically repeat this track whenever I listen to it. It continues with a mellow style opening "The Opera" through melodic vocal line accompanied with keyboard. The song suddenly moves into a very fast tempo music started with dynamic drum beats. This musical break with keyboard and brass section insertion is really excellent. Important to notice is the machine-gun drumming performed in this song. Really good!

The fourth track "Man's Best Friend" is a very nice instrumental break exploring soft keyboard play by Rick. The melody produced by this track is awesome and it provides good musical break after three upbeat tracks. Yes, it's well positioned as fourth track. The next track "Glory Boys" brings the music back to upbeat one with a combination of keyboard and guitar rhythm accompanying good vocal line. The composition is really good. "Silent Nights" has an excellent bass lines combined with keyboard, performed in slow tempo. The bass guitar is given an opportunity to perform its solo before drum sets into the music. Oh man . this is a great music. I really like it!!! I like the part when it reaches "Don't you know we're looking for life ." continued with chorus "Silent nights, stay away .".

"Ghost of a Rock'n'Roll Star" is an amazing composition combining rocking style with "funny" vocal line that creates a very entertaining song. I really enjoy this track. Yeah, it's about an aging rock'n'roll star who is still dreaming his past as he grumbles he was once as big as Jimi Hendrix. Amazing music. "the Dancer" continues with another funny music that also favors my taste. The opening is really funny and I especially like the musical rhythm when the lyrical part reaches "Slow, slow, quick, quick, slow .". It's really good! The saxophone plays excellently here.

"Elgin Mansion" is another instrumental track reminiscent of Rick's 1984 album (oh, I haven't reviewed this album yet) using piano touch as main melody augmented with acoustic guitar work. Bass guitar also performs well here. "That's Who I Am" concludes the album with a mellow track featuring piano, bass, keyboard and great vocal at its opening. The music build up into a full blown music when all instruments play together, commenced with drum work. Again, it's another great track. Keyboard solo performs stunningly during musical breaks.

Overall, I would say personally that this album is excellent (four stars) as all tracks were composed brilliantly even though most of song structures were straight forward and simple. It's an easy listening prog kind of music, I guess. But, remembering other great works and better music, composition-wise and complexity-wise like "The Myths and Legends", "The Six Wives", "Journey", "1984", it's fair enough to put this album as a very good one to add in any prog music collection. If you are not familiar with Rick's music, this album is accessible for you. But if you compare with Yes "Close To The Edge" album, you may find this album is disappointing because it's much simpler. I leave it up to you. Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours,

GW

Gatot | 3/5 |

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