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Rick Wakeman - Can You Hear Me ? CD (album) cover


Rick Wakeman

Symphonic Prog

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4 stars Whilst as a Wakeman 'worshipper' I may be a little biased, I must say this is a wonderful album. I ought to point out (though I suspect the title gives it away a bit) this is one of Rick's overtly Christian works, but even if you are not a believer it won't reduce your enjoyment of the music one bit. It's quality stuff full of Rick's trademark moog and piano work, soaring orchestrial sounds and atmostpheric vocals from the excellent English Chamber Choir. The first track 'Hymn of Hope' has a smashing intro with great moog fingerwork by Rick without going OTT. The second track is in two parts: the first 'A Little Piece of Heaven' is just that! Rick's 'piano' work here is exquisite sweeping through the piece very pleasingly. In my opinion it's his best work on this album. 'Part of the Crowd' that follows is upbeat with a really enjoyable rythym. The third offering 'Stay with Me' is maybe a little plodding at first but builds up very well towards the end. Fourth is 'The Answer' - it has a rousing intro with Rick blending Choir and music well and carries its momentum through. Fifth is 'Believe Me' - jaunty and infectious with a catchy drum beat. There is lovely interplay between lead vocal and the Choir and Rick pitches in with a nice little solo. The sixth track: 'A Cry without Tears' is a slower piece - almost a modern 'oratorio' with more than shades of 'The New Gospels.' A pleasant and very personal song. Track seven is another two-parter: the short (1min 51 sec) instrumental 'Why Keep Hiding?' is a classic example of Rick's great gift of creating real mood with organ sound. This then breaks into 'Running Away' with its mixture of 'rockier' and 'contemplative' passages using effective keyboard and guitar breaks. The final piece 'I Can hear you' is Psalm-like in its deep soul questions to God ('Can you hear me?'); its commitment to seeking God ('I'm staying. And praying. Whilst singing your Name'); the recognition of God's grace ('Show me how to live again') and God's affirmation ('I can hear you') and the soul's joyful response ('And I can hear you when you call'). The music complements the words beautifully. Incidentally, the moog solo in this track is vintage Rick. Chrissie Hammond is great for these songs. She handles both the rockier and more contemplative stuff well. The album is well produced and has a drive that you really feel!
Report this review (#48069)
Posted Friday, September 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Crossover Team
3 stars 'Can You Hear Me' was released in 1996, and was one of a series of Christian albums released by Rick. The album itself contains some recordings that had appeared previously, although now with additional instrumentation and choir, as well as some new songs. "Hymn of Hope" was originally called "The Battle Hymn" and appeared on 1991's 'Softsword', and it then had additional guitars and keyboards added in 1992 and it then showed up on 1992's 'Prayers' before the guitars were replaced and a choir added and it here made its third appearance! The album featured a few Wakeman regulars such as David Paton and Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith, while Chrissie Hammond provides the vocals, but sadly Tony Fernandez wasn't utilised for some reason so the drumming is programmed, and it shows.

Although this isn't classic Wakeman, the use of Chrissie and the English Chamber Choir was quite inspired. While some numbers are reflective, they still contain more dominance and direction that the 'Aspirant' series, and Chrissie shows that while many think of her a straight rock singer she can easily handle those of a more religious and almost hymn-like nature. This is a Christian album, and one can imagine many of these songs being well suited to a church or cathedral setting. It doesn't really fit into either his more progressive or more rocky ventures, as that wasn't the intention, and for me this is solid, and one that I am pleased I have heard and to have on the shelf, but whether I will return to it often is another matter altogether as this just isn't my style.

Report this review (#1839948)
Posted Friday, December 8, 2017 | Review Permalink

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