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

THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII

Rick Wakeman

 

Symphonic Prog

4.08 | 780 ratings

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AndyJ
4 stars Rick Wakeman's 'The Six Wives Of Henry VIII' sounds very much like the love child between Yes and ELP. And let me tell you something - this album is so much fun! I can't think of a single progressive rock fan who wouldn't have a blast listening to this album, there is just so much to explore here. At first the music can be a little overwhelming, there is a lot going on, and a lot of disparate musical themes to work through. But there is structure here and enough hooks to pull you in. There is melody and harmony, interplay between the different instruments and a strong direction within the music. The album isn't just a rambling 40 minute keyboard solo - far from it. The more you listen to this album the more you pick up and admire from the music.

Musically Rick Wakeman covers it all here, from sublime progressive rock to honky-tonk bar music, classical music, to ambient elevator music through to a more free form jazzy improvisational style - its all here, contained within this six musical pieces. Obviously the stand-out performance is from Rick Wakeman himself, who plays a huge variety of keyboard instruments on this album from the mighty mini-moog synthesiser, to mellotrons, hammond organs and traditional acoustic piano. The man is indeed a legend on his instrument, and a master composer.

But its not just the keys which are superb. The drums, gutiar and bass are all fantastic as well, but with a line-up which includes (amongst others) Chris Squire, Alan White, Bill Bruford and Steve Howe, you would expect no less. Some of the drumming in particular is simply brilliant - very creative and it really helps to drive the music forward with each beat and add structure to the music.

As for the theme of the album surrounding Henry VIII's wives I have to say the music doesn't really match in my opinion. Frankly Wakeman could have called this album 'The Six Beers In A Six Pack' and just labelled each track 'Beer 1', 'Beer 2', etc... I don't really get a feeling for Jane Seymour when I listen to track 4, or Catherine Parr when I hear the album closer. But it doesn't matter. There are no lyrics here, and the only story is one of musical journey. And the journey contained in this album is superb and well worth travelling down!

This album is a very definite 4-star prog rock epic, and something which all lovers of progressive rock should have in their album collection.

Highly recommended.

AndyJ | 4/5 |

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