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Rick Wakeman

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Rick Wakeman White Rock album cover
3.29 | 168 ratings | 14 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. White Rock (3:10)
2. Searching for Gold (4:20)
3. The Loser (5:30)
4. The Shoot (3:59)
5. Lax'x (4:53)
6. After the Ball (3:03)
7. Montezuma's Revenge (3:56)
8. Ice Run (6:11)

Total Time 35:02

Line-up / Musicians

- Rick Wakeman / Moog, grand piano, Mellotron, Mander pipe organ, RMI & Fender Rhodes electric pianos, electric harpsichord, Hohner clavinet, Hammond C3, marimba, arranger & producer

- Tony Fernandez / drums & percussion
- St. Paul's Cathedral Choir / chorus vocals (2)

Releases information

The soundtrack of the documentary film about the 1976 Winter Olympics directed by Tony Maylam. A sequel to the album would be released in 1999.

LP A&M Records ‎- AMLH 64614 (1977, UK)

CD A&M Records ‎- UICY-9296 (2003, Japan)
CD Real Gone Music ‎- RGM-0233 (2014, US)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy RICK WAKEMAN White Rock Music

RICK WAKEMAN White Rock ratings distribution

(168 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (18%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

RICK WAKEMAN White Rock reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Searching for gold

"White rock" is an early collection written for a documentary film on winter sports. The tracks stand up well in their own right, with Wakeman in good form both composition wise, and in terms of performance.

The album is almost entirely just Rick performing on keyboards, with basic rhythm section support. There's no orchestration and very little vocals, certainly no songs as such. Synthesiser takes central stage throughout, the scene being set by the break-neck speed of the opening title track. This is similar to Wakeman's solo on "The revealing science of God" (Yes), the synthesiser appearing to be pushed to it limits to reflect the speed and excitement of a downhill run.

There are softer, more fragile pieces such as "Searching for Gold" and other moments of up tempo excitement as in "Lax'x".

Wakeman succeeds here in transcending the gap between a soundtrack album, and a bona fide album release which stands in its own right. It's not by any means his most accomplished album, but it is still highly enjoyable.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This was the soundtrack album to the Winter Olympics ' White Rock'. The songs are very pleasant and cope well with the theme of ice and snow. It is nothing dynamic however and only those Wakeman fanatics outthere will hunt this down for their collections.The title track and ' The Shoot' standout.I remember going to the movies in 1978 when this and Second's Out by Genesis was released in the country I lived in at the time and well you can guess which one I opted to go see first.
Review by Zitro
4 stars I am not a fan of soundtrack music on CDs, but this album is really really good, and of course excels on imagery. This is just Wakeman with his drummer pal, so it is dominated by keyboards.

The album begins with the energetic title track, which is just a moog dominated piece. I am a very big fan of this track, and I love the sustained moog sections. It is followed by Searching for Gold which is one of the highlights of this album. Wakeman does an overly beautiful mellotron drenched section in that track, and also plays the album's main theme which is great. The next two tracks are pretty, yet not mindblowing. In side b, there are two interesting tracks, one (laxx) being experimental, progressive, and having great drumming, and the other 'montezuma' sounding energetic and similar to a familiar classical music piece. Also, 'After the Ball' should not be overlooked: this little piece has gorgeous piano melodies. The closer of this album is easily the strongest track of this album, and one of Wakeman's best compositions. It contains many sections while it is only 6 minutes long and it is breathtaking all the way.

IF you enjoy soundtrack music, I highly recommend this album. If you enjoy bombastic epics, and overly complex music, look elsewhere.

My Grade : B

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars This soundtrack for the Olympic Winter Games sounds pleasant, most Wakeman aficionados will be delighted about the use of a wide range of vintage keyboards. Especially the Moog synthesizer is very omnipresent (sensational, dazzling flights in the titletrack and "Montezuma's revenge") but you can also enjoy the swinging clavinet sound ("The shoot" and "Ice run"), wonderful violin-Mellotron waves ("Lax'x" and "After the ball"), tender and sparkling Grand piano ("The loser", "Lax'x" and "After the ball"), Mander pipe (church) organ ("Lax'x" and "Ice run"), a swirling Hammond organ solo in "Ice run and some Fender Rhodes electric piano in "The shoot". The eight compositions are based upon Rick Wakeman his keyboard-wizardy and the drumming from Tony Hernandez is decent. Not a very memorable, dynamic or elaborated album but I enjoyed myself. Due to the high respect and appreciation for my keyboard hero Mr. Rick Wakeman, I award this album with three stars. THIS IS A MOOG FESTIVAL!!
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This record has many excellent piano and floating mellotron parts. Organ, clavinet and mini moog are also at the rendez-vous. The record is rather melodic, but it is also dynamic, nervous & borderline strident; it contains some good choir arrangements. There are also some unwanted parts, like the bizarre cymbal effects on "Lax's", or like the exaggerated & irritating moog solo on "White rock". The compositions are less progressive than usual and simpler. There are some tracks that sound like on the No Earthly Connections album, and others that sound like on the Rhapsodies album. The album is not bad at all, despite it seems a bit repetitive.
Review by fuxi
3 stars When this album was released, I initially felt disappointed, as it's lacking in the exuberant solos that made THE SIX WIVES and even KING ARTHUR such a pleasure. It's a soundtrack, and as such it's closer in spirit to Brian Eno's MUSIC FOR FILMS than anything else Wakeman has done. Throughout the years, I've gradually come to appreciate its qualities. The way Wakeman uses his extensive keyboard arsenal to produce the most colourful effects is admirable. It's ingenuity rather than virtuosity that counts, although a jolly little polka here and a sensitive piano ballad there only add to the fun! My favourite track on WHITE ROCK is "Lax'x", probably the most experimental thing Wakeman has ever composed: a sublime little tone poem in just under five minutes.

Three and a half stars, I guess. Essential to everyone who wants to know "another side of Rick Wakeman".

Review by b_olariu
3 stars White rock - The original motion picture soundtrack of the Innsbruck winter games

Rick Wakeman needs no introduction, he is one of the most if not the most prolific and influential keybord player from entire progressive rock music and not only. He has as solo musician many many albums, almost 100 releases until today, that something realy, but only fiew worth to be discoverd , the rest are from disco to pop to instrumental noodlings on keybords and only rare intristing moments, at least is my opinion. One of the album I've enjoyed since I know his solo career is White rock. An instrumental album made specialy for winter games from Innsbruck. The arrangements here are well balanced, well performes, some parts are slower some with more vein, but in the end an enjoyble record for me. The album was released in same year with his return in Yes family and recording Going for the one, but the diffrences between these two albums are major. Here the progressive elements are obvious shown , Rick is a very talented and manage to came with some good arrangements, not spectacular of course but plesent most of the time. He very versatile musician, I mean he can go from more upbeat tempos to slower moments, from almost disco beats to jazzy elements in only few seconds, very strong and talented keybord player. His trademarks can be easy recognize on many of his albums, not to mention his job in Yes. Best pieces are all, maybe little to mellow in some parts but overall a good album that desearve from me 3 stars. Nothing special for sure but ok in the end.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars A very good, if a little short CD. And quite underrated too. Although it was written mainly as a soundtrack for the winter games of Innsbruck, the music inside stands very much on its own and shows Wakeman in fine form. Save for the use of a choir a copuple of tracks, this is a totally instrumental record. The tracks are divided by some heavy synth driven themes, like the title track , and a few more introspective piano pieces. There are no orchestrations and all the instruments are played by Wakeman himself, with the precious help of Tony Fernandez on drums and percussion.

I regret not having paying much atention to it when this album was out. I thought it was just another soundtrack collection (and I havenīt exactly fallen in love with Rickīs previous adventure on that field with Lisztomania, if you know what I mean). However, White Rock shows Wakeman still pretty much at the height of his powers as songwriter, performer and arranger and many tunes here do remind me of his classic The Six Wives Of Henry VIII. Not only he shows great skill and knack for fine short symphonic pieces, but it has excellent percussion parts played by Fernandez.

Although I feel it does not reach the point where I feel too comfortable to give it a 4 star rating, it is indeed a work that stands very well along his more well known ones, like the aforementioned The Six Wives.... So I guess a 3,8 star rating is quite fitting. Very good, and Iīm glad I found this CD recently and still have time to appreciate this little prog gem. If you like keyboard driven symphonic prog, you wonīt be disappointed.

Review by tarkus1980
3 stars I know that this is the soundtrack to a film of the same name (about the 1976 Winter Olympics), but could there be a more unintentionally hilarious name for a Rick Wakeman solo album than White Rock? This is actually more of a true solo album than the other albums he'd done since launching his career with Six Wives: whereas Journey and King Arthur included very large ensembles, and Six Wives and NEC included a large number of contributors in their own right, this one is just Rick, a drummer and a female choir on two tracks. Needless to say, anybody wanting to hear Rick's keyboards in the context of ensemble performance should probably stay away from here.

This is a very silly album. It's also an album with a good share of interesting ideas and themes, and more importantly it's one filled to the brim with piano mixed with all sorts of glorious 70's keyboard sounds, played with typically superhuman speed and fluidity. The opening title track may be underpinned by one of the lamest attempts at a "Latin" rhythm ever (at least that's how it sounds to me), and the keyboards may be set on full-on wank mode (and they sound way more like what I'd expect from Emerson than from Wakeman on a given Yes album), but I find myself drawn in more than I might like, and I'd have to give the track a thumbs up. The next two tracks ("Searching for Gold" and "The Loser") feature the only instances of vocals on the album (courtesy of the female choir), though they're mostly indecipherable apart from an occasional "Searching for gold" line (the line makes its way into both tracks, and an instrumental reprise of the theme can be found in a later track). "Searching for Gold" doesn't sound worse than a typical Six Wives track to me (perhaps with a little less direction, but there are some really lovely mellotron-sounding moments interspersed with other sounds), and "The Loser" has some really lovely piano parts (with other keyboards giving texture as needed).

Hitting the other tracks: "The Shoot" (which makes me think of skiing in the faster parts for some reason) has some goofy pseudo-honky-tonk parts interspersed with piano. "Lax'x" (what a strange name) is a bit of a bore in its "main" portion, but when the mellotron flutes come out I'm very happy, not to mention that the synth-driven reprise of the "Searching for Gold" part is surprisingly moving. Also, am I wrong in thinking that a lot of the last portion sounds awfully "Ritual"-esque? "After the Ball" is a very lovely, very tender piano-dominated piece (with synths coming in a little over a minute into it); "Montezuma's Revenge" is a goofy synth-reinvention of Gypsy music (which for whatever reason brings to my mind an image of miniature Krusty the Clowns quickly shooting up and down in a whack-a-mole game), and the closing "Ice Run" is surprisingly eerie and majestic (at least, if you're into cheeseball synth moods) in its first half before turning into a rather typical up-tempo solo Wakeman passage (it does have some Hammond, though, which hadn't been a Wakeman staple lately).

Honestly, there's probably no chance somebody who doesn't somehow already have this would ever listen to it; it's ridiculously out-of-print except as a Japanese import (and not even available on iTunes or other legal downloading sites), and I can hardly recommend putting a ton of effort into trying to seek it out. And yet, I can definitely say that this fits very well into my established pattern of listening to (most) 70's solo Wakeman as effective background music that's sporadically very entertaining. If you're incredibly curious, try to seek it out. It's no worse than his most famous albums, I think.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I was hoping the succeeding album after No Earthly Connection was something phenomenal as I was so satisfied with musical quality of Ricks' previous works. But I was a bit disappointed with White Rock as it did not fulfill my expectations. I was not aware then that White Rock was actually a 1977 documentary film about the 1976 Winter Olympics held in Innsbruck, Austria - directed by Tony Maylam, who at around the same time had also made a concert film Genesis: In Concert. Having known this is a soundtrack I was then aware why the music is like this. The opening track actually impressed me at first spin of the cassette that I purchased back then. It contains all elements that Rick had always demonstrated in his previous works: inventive keyboard work in a dynamic composition and especially this time it's coupled with great percussion work. I really love the opening track "White Rock".

"Searching for gold" (4:20) is another excellent composition but in different style than the opening track. This time he delivers the melodic keyboard work that later it became the kind of his style as I could find with his later work "Criminal Records" released the same year. "The loser" (5:30) is actually not a bad composition at all - i contains very nice piano work coupled with synthesizers. "The shoot" (3:59) continues the style of previous one but then I get confused with the overall integrity of the music - again, If i'm not aware that this is a soundtrack music. Once I know about this then I understand why it has this style. "Montezuma's revenge" (3:56) brings the music into something in up tempo with dynamic beats - something that you might not expect that this is Rick's work. "Ice run" 6:11 is more like theme song than a full music composition and it can be well understood if we watch the film. But I enjoy the keyboard solo Rick plays plus the part with the drums where in some way it reminds me to his masterpiece The Six Wives of Henry VIII.

Overall, this is a well-written album for a film and it contains the characteristics of Rick's keyboard playing backed with good musicianship of Tony Fernandez on drums. I would say this album is a must for those who love Rick Wakeman early works. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars Roland Thoeni passed away, and remebering one of the few times when he performed better than his most famous brother Gustav has made me think to the winter games of Innsbruck 1976 and consequently to this album released one year after by Rick Wakeman. 1977 is also the year of the good "Criminal Records", but even with some similarities, White Rock isn't at the same level. To give an idea, it's closer to Breathalyser than to Judas Iscariot.

One of the reason is that it's just the soundtrack of a documentary about the winter games and I have the impression that it's mainly made of material which didn't find a place on Criminal Records.

The only thing that I really find remarkable consists in the first two minutes of Lax'x (whatever it means) which are different from anything previously released by Wakeman, a sort of experiment. The album opener features a moog so that for the first seconds the listener may think that Emerson is playing.

Possibly, the only reason to give a title like "Montezuma's revenge" to a track consists in the similarities between the effects that this track and the Montezuma sickness can cause. Playing as fast as Paganini is not enough.

There are some goodies, anyway. This is not a "good-for-the-trash" album. The guy who plays is still some Rick Wakeman and when he goes "classical" is never bad.

The album highlight is the closer, maybe this is the reason why it deserved a title referring to the Ice.

Anyway, this is listenable enough and has to be considered for what it is: just a soundtrack for a documentary. Together with the commented images it may make a different effect.

2.5 stars rounded up for the skill

Review by Warthur
4 stars Wakeman's second soundtrack album was knocked out with just Wakeman, his regular drummer/percussionmeister Tony Fernandez, and a choir here and there - a comparatively austere effort by Wakeman's standards, if you overlook his usual vast array of keyboards and synthesisers. This would be Wakeman's last solo record before he came back to Yes for Going For the One, and whilst it's competent enough, like No Earthly Connection it provides more evidence that Wakeman's compositional toolkit and well of creativity was beginning to run dry at this point in time.

At its best, it offers decent material of the sort we've largely heard before on Six Wives of Henry VIII and subsequent albums; at other points, it finds Wakeman's efforts to fuse funk and prog (an ongoing thing going back to Six Wives) beginning to wear thin. There's even a bit where he recycles portions of Anne of Cleves from Six Wives (as part of Ice Run). I think it's rather charming - and benefits somewhat from being instrumental (the choir is here to add texture, not coherent vocals) - but would say it's three and a half stars, four for keen prog enthusiasts, and it's in retrospect no surprise that he went back to a stint in Yes to recharge his creative batteries after this.

Whilst Wakeman would remain a highly productive solo artist, it's his run from Six Wives to here which remains the foundation of that solo career, and White Rock pretty much represents the end of that era - a technically proficiently- executed album which nonetheless doesn't contain any creative breakthroughs over and above the blueprint established by his Henry VIII-themed masterpiece.

Latest members reviews

4 stars A family skiing holiday to La Plagne in France got me thinking about prog and snow, and apart from South Side of the Sky which relates the story of the perils of blizzard conditions, there's only one album in my record collection that really covers snow-themed activities, and that's Rick Wakeman ... (read more)

Report this review (#2406051) | Posted by Agnenrecords | Sunday, May 24, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Hard to obtain on CD ? as is No Earthly Connection ? this is one of Rick's efforts that is not deemed worthy of a proper re-mastering/re-release on CD. I had to get this off eBay ('scuse plug) as one of the Japanese editions that, like "No Earthly Connection", have been re- mastered from vinyl ... (read more)

Report this review (#294188) | Posted by Phil | Wednesday, August 11, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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