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Rick Wakeman - Silent Nights CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman


Symphonic Prog

2.35 | 41 ratings

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
2 stars The initial negative impact that I had when I have bought this vinyl album years ago...was caused mainly by Gordon Neville'svocals. Not that he's a bad vocalist, it's only that the opener sounds like it was written for Jon Anderson and he is too different.

The second reason of my negative reaction was that in this album he apparently sounds more Genesis than Yes, but this was only my impression. I have litened to the whole album few times and I have forgotten it.

I'm relistening to it after all this time, with less prejudices and the first surprising thing is that I remember the songs while I listen to them, so I must have listened to it more than what I remember. Now I can say that the sound is more 80s YES than anything else. "The Opening Line" could feature on 90125 or Big Generator, other than of course on ABWH.

"The Opera" would have benefit of Jon's voice but I have to say that Neville doesn't sound too badly here. Not that this song is a masterpiece,but it's the kind of things that can be found also on Anderson's albums of the same time, including the rock and roll interlude in the middle of the song.

"Man's Best Friend" is one of the songs which lower the album's rating. It's Rick Wakeman who plays, but the melody is very trivial and not skipping it is very hard. It's probably a first taste of the newage to come.

With "Glory Boys" we are in the deep of the 80s. This song has some in common with Camel's "The Cloak And The Dagger Man" for what concerns the sound and the tempo, but it's not as good as the Latimer's one. In the instrumental part we can appreciate some good fast fingers, but it's all.

The title track has a good bass line and even if also it is deeply in the 80s and musically reminds to a Metheny/Bowie's "This Is Not America" sung by a Phil Collins thinking to sing "On The Air Tonight" with some "oooh"s borrowed from The Wall. Why writing something like this?

"The Ghost of A Rock 'n' Roll Star" sounds like a song excluded from "1984" and reused later. Not bad, effectively, but too few to raise the rating. The following "The Dancer" doesn't have much to do with what one can expect from Wakeman but listened today is not as bad as it was appearing to my prog ears in 1985.

Rick remebers to be Rick Wakeman with "Elgin Mansions". It's a sweet piano solo and the only thing on this album which reminds to Six Wives (but also to the intro of "Twij"). A track which deserves to be listened to.

The closer "That's Who I Am" is a good song, but the fretless bass with chorus makes it sound very 80s, like Pino Palladino does on Gilmour's About Face. The piano part which interrupts it in the middle is very good, but it "interrupts" the song more than being part of it. Also this song would have had a different flavour if sung by Jon Anderson.

In brief, it's still a quite good album but it has some very weak moments. I'd like to rate it with three stars, but honestly I can't. Also the definition "Fans only" doesn't apply much. A fan, knowing what Wakeman is capable of, can be very disappointed listening to an album of this kind.

Dated arrangement and little-inspired compositions don't deserve more than 2 stars.

octopus-4 | 2/5 |


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