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Rick Wakeman - No Earthly Connection CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman


Symphonic Prog

3.74 | 242 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I never really understood why this LP got so much flack at the time of its release. Well, maybe I do. Maybe people got fed up with all the pretentious opus he had released up till then. He was simply one of the most prestigious names in rock music since Six Wives of Henry VIII came out. His work with full orchestra and choir, his keyboards wizzarry and classical themes brought him in the center of rock´s world. It´s anyone´s guess if he stood there too long and people got tired of it. Whatever the reason, by the time he came up with No Earthly Connection there was nothing less hip than claiming to like Rick Wakeman´s music. When I borrowed this album from a friend in 1976 everybody at school told me it was pure crap.

I really did not understand all the mockery. The album was very good and I listened to it with pleasure. Over 30 years I got it again and the feeling remains the same: very fine prog music. I wouldn´t call this a masterpiece in the same league as Journey... or King Arthur but still very good, some parts even excellent. This album is maybe the closest thing he´s ever done in his solo career that truly seems to be a team work. The whole band shines and No Earthly Connection sounds neither an overblown ´classical music meets rock´ like his previous works, neither the keyboards driven ego trips of much of his latter day releases. Ok, the lyrics are pretentious, but I can live with that. And the music is what really matters in the end.

Not that the album is perfect. Actually sometimes it sounds a bit repetitive by the CD´s second part. Still is a valid work and his most progressive I can remember. Without all the big, bloated orchestrations and choirs, his English Rock Essemble proves that they are really fine musicians and have a chance to prove it. Rick himself does a great job here, but never overdoes it, which reminds me of how much importance was his contribution to Yes. A lot of the time he sounds like one fo the band members: certainly the most important one, but still a member.

So, after hearing it so many years after the last time I had this album in my hands I´m glad to say it stood quite well the test of time: it is a good prog album that sounds more like a band efford than a solo project. And the first 3 tracks are excellent examples of that. Pehaps not really essential, but it is above just good. 3,5 stars.

Tarcisio Moura | 3/5 |


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