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Rick Wakeman Wakeman & Cousins: Hummingbird album cover
2.62 | 18 ratings | 6 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Young Pretender (5:50)
2. Hummingbird (3:41)
3. So Shall Our Love Die (3:36)
4. Steppes (1:23)
5. October to May (3:36)
6. Ice Maiden (0:41)
7. Higher Germanie (4:35)
8. Stone Cold is the Woman's Heart (4:32)
9. Crie du Coeur (1:26)
10. All In Vain (3:49)
11. Can You Believe (4:44)
12. Via Bencini (2:12)
13. Forever Ocean Blue (3:38)

Total Time: 43:43

Line-up / Musicians

- Rick Wakeman / keyboards
- Dave Cousins / vocals, guitar, dulcimer, banjo

- Ric Sanders / violins (1,7,13)
- Mac McGann / tipple (10)
- Chas Cronk / bass (1,10)
- Tony Fernandez / drums (1,10)

Releases information

A mixture of jointly-composed originals, reworkings of songs from Strawbs albums and Dave Cousins' solo album Two Weeks Last Summer, together with Wakeman instrumental compositions

Artwork: Alina Bencini

CD Witchwood Media ‎- WMCD2007 (2002, UK)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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RICK WAKEMAN Wakeman & Cousins: Hummingbird ratings distribution

(18 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(18%)
Good, but non-essential (35%)
Collectors/fans only (41%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

RICK WAKEMAN Wakeman & Cousins: Hummingbird 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 More Strawbs?

Although included here under Rick Wakeman's listing, "Hummingbird" is in fact a joint venture by Rick Wakeman and Dave Cousins. To those familiar with these two legends, but unfamiliar with their backgrounds, this may seem like an unlikely combination. Dave Cousins, is the leader and only ever present member of prog folk rock band the STRAWBS, while Wakeman is of course a time-to-time YES member, and a prolific solo album maker.

The two however were at one time band-mates in the Strawbs, the pinnacle of that period being their "From the Witchwood" album. It was his work with the Strawbs which drew Wakeman to the attention of Yes, and led to him being invited to join that band. Cousins highly distinctive, indeed unique vocals, mean that overall this album has something of a Strawbs feel to it.

The music is a very relaxed, with folk influences such as those which dominated the Strawbs earliest work, and heavy leanings towards an acoustic sound. Wakeman and Cousins are clearly at ease in each others company and this comes through throughout this album. The album apparently came about after the two longstanding friends (of over 35 years) had reunited at a gig by Wakeman's band the English Rock Ensemble staged by the Classic Rock Society (of which Wakeman is president, and Cousins a director).

The general structure of the album consist of a Cousins dominated vocal track, preceded and/or followed by a short Wakeman instrumental interlude which takes it basic theme from the vocal track it sits with. Piano features heavily in the instrumental accompaniments to the vocal tracks, the majority of which are soft, melancholy numbers. The two notable exceptions are the opening track "The Young pretender", and "All in vain" The fact that the latter, which is track 10, is the first upbeat song with drums and bass since track one, gives a strong indication of the mood of the album. "The young pretender" does have one of Wakeman's "Merlin" like synth solos to finish, together with some fine violin work by Ric Sanders (Fairport Convention). "All in vain" also has some of Wakeman's soaring synths, reminiscent of his solo on "The black night" ("King Arthur").

Although at the time of its release, Wakeman was keen to dispel any suggestion that this was in any way a Strawbs album, a couple of tracks originally by that band are included. "So shall our love die" (Nomadness) and "Stone cold is the woman's heart" ("Ringing down the years") are both performed as soft acoustic ballads. It has to be said that some of Wakeman's solo tracks are quiet to the point of being barely audible (this isn't really an album to listen to in the car!).

In all, a worthwhile album by these two legends which, while notably understated throughout, has the underlying strength one would expect from masters of their art.

While the cover notes give no indication of who produced the album, it appears Wakeman and Cousins undertook these duties themselves, adding to the home-grown nature of the finished product. The cover painting of a humming bird in flight is by Rick's partner Alina Bencini, who also receives a name-check in the title of his final solo track on the album "Via Bencini".

Incidentally, when my son saw this album, he took it to be by Rick Wakeman and some relatives!

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Warning! This is not a From The Witchwood Part 2, or a Close To The Edge meets Hero And Heroine kind of album. Rather, this is a Dave Cousins solo album with minimal and quite restrained contributions from his old pal Rick Wakeman. The album is overall very low key, mellow and mainly acoustic - primarily based on grand piano and acoustic guitar. Only two of the album's tracks feature drums and Moog synthesiser, and these two tracks are also the only up tempo songs on the whole album.

The short Wakeman piano instrumentals are very subdued and not very elaborated at all. They are also not stamped with Wakeman's identity - they could indeed have been played by anyone. Only when he plays the Moog can we clearly recognize him. I somehow get the feeling while listening to the piano instrumentals that Rick just made them up while recording them (which might very well be the case too!)

As many as four of the album's tracks are re-recordings of older songs; So Shall Our Love Die was originally on the Strawbs album Nomadness from 1975 (on which Wakeman played as a guest), October to May was originally on Cousins first solo album from 1972 (on which Wakeman also played as a guest) and Stone Cold is the Woman's Heart and Forever Ocean Blue were both originally on Strawbs' Ringing Down The Years album from 1991 (on which Wakeman did not play).

Given that the instrumentals function merely as interludes and that there are several re-recorded songs, there are not many new full songs on Hummingbird. What there is, however, is not bad at all. But there is a problem with the production, the piano is too quiet and the vocals are too loud. The two up tempo songs could have been great, but they lack punch. The sound is thin and artificial.

Fans of Dave Cousins should not miss out on this album but for everyone else it is not very exciting at all.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
2 stars Quite a disappointment, really. When I heard of a CD with Strawbs leader (and the only remaining founding member) Dave Cousins was teaming up with Rick Wakeman I had high hopes for this album. After all, Strawbs was the band to introduced Wakeman to the rock world and I always thought it was a good idea those two guys work together again. Plus I was even happier to know that old Strawbs bass player Chas Cronk was also on it, together with Wakemanīs faithful drummer Tony Fernandez. They had it all to make a fan wait for a masterpiece, didnīt they?

So cool down a bit. There are a couple of good rocking songs that reminds me of the good ole Strawbs: The Young Pretender and All In Vain. Both have fine synth solos that bear Wakemanīs trademark runs. Both are also the only ones to feature Cronk and Fernandez. I also liked Cousinīs version for the traditional tune Highier Germanie (fine banjo here, played by Cousins). But the remaining stuff is just average and will only please Cousinīs hardocre fans. There are mostly guitar and piano. And Wakeman is hardly noticealble at all, his piano very low on the mix. Worse still, there are few original songs, most of the stuff are re-recording of Strawbs material or Cousinīs solo output. Even the few Wakemanīs instrumentals are not remarkable at all, being more like little vingnettes linking the singing tracks.

For a record labeled as Wakeman & Cousins, there is very little Wakeman on it. It was a hard CD to find. And Iīm not sure if it was a good thing I did. This is only for collectors, hardcore fans and completionists. Hope next time they can do better. Two stars.

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars This should probably be in its own section as with COUSINS AND CONRAD, as it's more of a Cousins offering but with some keyboard magnification. Only here, unlike Cousins and Conrad, the folk rock base contributes more than the symphonic. Wakeman's does enhance the accompaniment of the "songs" while taking charge on the instrumentals, most of which are just interludes en route to Cousins' next rant.

While the album boasts 2 fine upbeat original songs - "The Great Pretender" (with excellent fiddle contribution by Ric Sanders) and "All in Vain", and several decent quieter ones - the title cut and "Higher Germainie", it is short in overall time of which close to half are covers of old Strawbs tunes. All of this suggests a creative deficit. It's all well and good to re-do "October to May" which is a potent piece of weathered folk, especially since its best known version up to that point was a cappella, and even the timelessly angst-ridden "So Shall our Love Die", but to reprise latter day duds like "Stone Cold is the Woman's Heart" smacks of poor judgment, while the lame original "Can You Believe" is actually along the same lines. Among the Wakeman only compositions, only "Via Bencini" is involved enough to stand on its own, and quite a lovely melodic piece it is.

For all its blatant qualitative and quantitative failings, "Hummingbird", in the hands of two old school friends, typifies enough of the whirring delicacy of its namesake avian to warrant an upgrade if not a buzz.

Latest members reviews

2 stars This is pretty sleepy effort. Wakeman mostly tinkles on the piano and Cousins strums acoustic guitar and sings. He sings loudly. Too loud, in my view. His voice overpowers the keyboards on many of the tracks, which is hard for even a devoted Strawbs fan to take. It is often said that Cousins sin ... (read more)

Report this review (#179514) | Posted by randi | Wednesday, August 13, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Two of the Finest Classic Rock Musicians find a space in time to co-operate after more then 30 years, since wakeman left the Cousins Folk-Rock outfit, the Strawbs and it feels like it never Happend. Hummingbird is a pice of delightfull music, very melodic, well orchestrated and above all, laking the ... (read more)

Report this review (#27553) | Posted by | Tuesday, February 3, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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