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Rick Wakeman - Cost Of Living CD (album) cover

COST OF LIVING

Rick Wakeman

 

Symphonic Prog

2.58 | 45 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Gone and best forgotten

After the disastrous "Rock'n'Roll Prophet", Rick made his last album for Charisma records with "Cost of living". He joined up again with Tim Rice, who had provided the lyrics for "1984", and began what would become a protracted search for a sustainable direction for his music.

For reasons best known to Rick, he dispenses with the services of both of his usual vocalists and well known guests. Instead we have the prosaic voice of Hereward Kaye. This give's Rice's already below par lyrics a rocky foundation.

The result is a rather hit and miss affair with some fine melodies, and some frankly poor tracks. Taking the positives first, "Gone but not forgotten" is a beautiful eulogy on piano which has been a regular feature of Wakeman's live act for many years, and has been reworked by him on subsequent albums. Unfortunately, the piano sound is awful, a fact which Wakeman attributes to the piano provided by the studio. "Shakespeare run" is a passable Wakeman keyboards flourish, with some similarities to "White rock". The final track is an 8 minute recital of Poet Thomas Gray's "Elegy, written in a country churchyard" narrated by Robert Powell (who would later appear on the "Gospels" album). Wakeman adds sympathetic keyboards which occasionally contend with the narration in the mix. The track has similarities with Jim Morrison's posthumous "An American Prayer" album. It is worth hearing, but in truth does not entirely work.

On the down side, "Pandamonia" is a messy, unpalatable piece of tuneless rock. "One for the road" sounds like a reject from "1984" with cockneyed vocals and barroom piano. "Bedtime stories" starts with Wakeman's young son Benjamin asking to be told a story, before leading into a conventional, reflective piano recital. Things take a sudden but troubling turn for the worse when a children's chorus of la-las is added. "Monkey nuts" is just awful, a messy, directionless, tuneless piece with random vocals.

Unlike most of his albums of the period, the title does not appear to be reflected in a concept of any sort to link the tracks together. In all, "Cost of living" is disappointing album which at times plunges into the poor. Not one of Rick's best by any means.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |

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