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Rick Wakeman - The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman


Symphonic Prog

3.57 | 454 ratings

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3 stars Retaining the services of vocalists Garry Pickford-Hopkins and (former Warhorse singer) Ashley Holt as well as the rhythm section of Roger Newell and Barney James from the Journey To The Centre Of The Earth project, Wakeman set about tackling yet another ambitious subject. I think he got a decent mix of the overly ornate orchestral style of Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, and the pure keyboard wizardry of The Six Wives Of Henry VIII, although some really weak vocal spots do drag this album down a little.

I think the opener Arthur is an epic song, with loads of swirling synths and rousing choral vocal sections. But while the melancholic Chopin-esque piano that kicks off Guinevere and the dreamy synth runs that follow are great, the flat lead vocals and the crooner melody are from it ... thankfully it also contains one of Rick's best ever solos.

In fact great synth solos adorn both Sir Lancelot And The Black Knight and Merlin The Magician as well, even though each has it flaws. Sir Lancelot And The Black Knight is the most consistent piece, with brilliant runs, fantastic brass and even a decent vocal melody, although the choral contributions sound twee. Merlin The Magician, on the other hand, was on course to be a knock-out epic, when an awful rag-time section interfered. Sir Galahad is another curiousity ... I'd swear I heard some medieval reggae at one point! And The Last Battle is simply too meandering and uneventful a piece for a work of this scope.

Overall, I'd have to say that the Arthurian atmosphere is only conjured up sporadically, and there are times when this album is downright ridiculous. But despite the draggy passages, the sheer volume of essential Wakeman moments make this one of the most pleasing albums in his catalogue. Second only to The Six Wives Of Henry VIII, I'd say. ... 62% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 3/5 |


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