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Rick Wakeman - The Six Wives of Henry VIII CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman


Symphonic Prog

4.09 | 834 ratings

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2 stars Add me to the list of those that never quite got the hype surrounding this album. Often celebrated as one of prog's greatest excesses, SIX WIVES sounds like a cluster of ideas that never gel nor rise to something of a dynamic level. Ho-hum might be the most extreme response I get from this album.

And it's such a shame too considering the skill of one Rick Wakeman. I think the majority of those coming in here will have discovered Wakeman through his work with Yes, and his work there is extraordinary. The man's true talents really shine whenever there's a band to put a limit as to how much Wakeman can show off. Here, Wakeman is the star, and most restraint is left unchecked.

There is the occasional motif that strikes my fancy, but it's usually the accompaniment that can deliver a smile on my face. It was nice enough for Wakeman to collect members of Yes and Strawbs (bands he played for), but a lot of times I'm more intrigued by what they're doing than Wakeman. Other than a few jazz excursions, most of the keyboard parts are techno-babble; after a whole album, these spectacle solos just blur into the back of my mind to the point where they're indistinguishable. Half of the synth lines come and go without any semblance of meaning.

I wouldn't call this an overly soloist album, but SIX WIVES clearly bit off more than it could chew. There are songs like ''Jane Seymour'' that really sound like solo diarrhea, but others like ''Anne of Cleves'' deflect into stale jazz fusion. Worth it for the backing instrumentation of the opening and closing tracks, but SIX WIVES is way too top heavy.

And this album still couldn't teach me the names of the six wives of Henry VIII?

Sinusoid | 2/5 |


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