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Rick Wakeman

Symphonic Prog

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Rick Wakeman Cost Of Living album cover
2.58 | 56 ratings | 9 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1983

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Twij (1:19)
2. Pandamonia (3:56)
3. Gone But Not Forgotten (3:40)
4. One for the Road (4:38)
5. Bedtime Stories (4:22)
6. Happening Man (3:31)
7. Shakespeare Run (3:23)
8. Monkey Nuts (3:22)
9. Elegy - Written in a Country Churchyard (8:24)

Total Time: 37:04

Line-up / Musicians

- Rick Wakeman / keyboards, producer

- Hereward Kaye / vocals
- Jackie McAuley / guitar
- John Gustafson / bass
- Tony Fernandez / drums, percussion
- Robert Powell / narration (9)

Releases information

Artwork: The Artful Dodgers with Roger Childs (photo)

LP Charisma ‎- CAS 1163 (1983, UK)

CD Virgin Japan ‎- VJCP-2552 (1990, Japan)
CD Griffin Music ‎- GCDWR-159-2 (1994, US) New cover art

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy RICK WAKEMAN Cost Of Living Music

RICK WAKEMAN Cost Of Living ratings distribution

(56 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(9%)
Good, but non-essential (39%)
Collectors/fans only (39%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

RICK WAKEMAN Cost Of Living reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Zitro
2 stars This album is an example of Wakeman's biggest mistake in releasing albums ... he always has a few amazing pieces fit into a bunch of bad or mediocre songs. In this album, we have that classical masterpiece I call 'Gone but not Forgotten". Everything about it is perfect : Its brilliant uplifting piano melodies, its perfect and unusual percussion, and its great synth solo, but all the rest of the songs do not reach that level, except for maybe 'Elegy'

1. Twij : A very nice and short piano piece 7/10 2. Pandamonia : A horrible rock tune, press the skip button. 1/10

3. Gone but Not Forgotten : The classical masterpiece, and in this album you find the best version of it. 10/10

4. One for the Road : A mediocre strange rock tune that could fit in his "time machine" album. 4/10

5. Bedtime Stories : A mediocre piano tune with children choirs. 4/10

6. Happening Man : The song starts well enough with a nice electric guitar riff, but after that, it goes into a weak middle section. Then the good riff section comes back. 5/10

7. Shakespeare Run : A song dominated by a lighting fast synth. Not that good. 4/10

8. Monkey Nuts : This song falls below mediocricy. press the skip button. 3/10

9. Elegy - Written in a Country Churchyard : A Man reading a poem with inspired keyboard work to follow the words. 5/10

My Grade : D+

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Gone and best forgotten

After the disastrous "Rock'n'Roll Prophet", Rick made his last album for Charisma records with "Cost of living". He joined up again with Tim Rice, who had provided the lyrics for "1984", and began what would become a protracted search for a sustainable direction for his music.

For reasons best known to Rick, he dispenses with the services of both of his usual vocalists and well known guests. Instead we have the prosaic voice of Hereward Kaye. This give's Rice's already below par lyrics a rocky foundation.

The result is a rather hit and miss affair with some fine melodies, and some frankly poor tracks. Taking the positives first, "Gone but not forgotten" is a beautiful eulogy on piano which has been a regular feature of Wakeman's live act for many years, and has been reworked by him on subsequent albums. Unfortunately, the piano sound is awful, a fact which Wakeman attributes to the piano provided by the studio. "Shakespeare run" is a passable Wakeman keyboards flourish, with some similarities to "White rock". The final track is an 8 minute recital of Poet Thomas Gray's "Elegy, written in a country churchyard" narrated by Robert Powell (who would later appear on the "Gospels" album). Wakeman adds sympathetic keyboards which occasionally contend with the narration in the mix. The track has similarities with Jim Morrison's posthumous "An American Prayer" album. It is worth hearing, but in truth does not entirely work.

On the down side, "Pandamonia" is a messy, unpalatable piece of tuneless rock. "One for the road" sounds like a reject from "1984" with cockneyed vocals and barroom piano. "Bedtime stories" starts with Wakeman's young son Benjamin asking to be told a story, before leading into a conventional, reflective piano recital. Things take a sudden but troubling turn for the worse when a children's chorus of la-las is added. "Monkey nuts" is just awful, a messy, directionless, tuneless piece with random vocals.

Unlike most of his albums of the period, the title does not appear to be reflected in a concept of any sort to link the tracks together. In all, "Cost of living" is disappointing album which at times plunges into the poor. Not one of Rick's best by any means.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars When it was released, I bought the cassette version. But when I looked at the CD later on, I still decided to purchase this album. Actually I knew it well that this was not Rick's best work. But for me Rick wakeman's music is something special that's hard for me to miss. I was lucky that during Rick Wakeman's concert in Jakarta in 2002, I got his signature and Tony Fernadez on this CD. It's now a memorable CD in my collection that I will keep it as long as I can.

As I said, musically this is not "the" thing that Rick used to make. But some songs are interesting. The album starts with a nice piano piece as intro: "Twij" followed with a rocker "Pandamonia" which does not stir my emotion at all. But when it reaches "Gone but Not Forgotten", I say .. "this is it!". Yes, it's probably the only reason why I purchased the CD version because of this song. Other song that I like is "Happening Man" which is another rocker with good guitar riffs.

If you are a collector of Rick's music, then it's fine to own this album. But if you are not, I do not recommend you to own it. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
1 stars This album starts out decently if forgettably with Twij, a short piano intro. Pandamonia, however, could have come straight from the disastrous Rock 'N' Roll Prophet album. It is a pretty straightforward rock song somewhat similar to The Breathalyser or The Proles, from Criminal Record and 1984 respectively. The vocals are not very good. Gone But Not Forgotten, on the other hand, is a nice little instrumental piano piece that Rick often play live. This version has drums and some other keyboards as well. Hardly progressive, though.

Most of the other songs are forgettable or worse. One For The Road is again a pretty straightforward Pop Rock song with a slight musical feeling, perhaps to be expected when Tim Rice is involved. Bedtime Stories is another piano piece, this time with a children's choir going lalalalala. please!! Monkey Nuts is about as good as the title indicates!

Elegy - Written In A Country Churchyard is based around narration (or should I say drenched in narration). It is hardly another Journey or Arthur and it feels a bit out of place on this album.

This album lacks direction and it is very hard to know where he is going. There is no theme or idea holding the parts together. This is one of Rick's least interesting albums.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Reminds me Roine Stolt's 80s work. Frankly, not everything by big Rick (he certainly earned being called legend of Prog Rock scene) is good. Or average. Or even mediocre. Songs that sounds like 80s are generally the worst for aging well and so the best ones are those who are inspired by what Mr. Wakeman can do the best - Classical Music influenced Prog music. When I was younger, I used to like last track, Elegy - Written In A Country Churchyard - its music theme. Reminds me one track from "Arthur" a little bit, while Shakespeare On the Run is variation of yet another track of the same album - "Merlin" (at least part of this song) - similar to what will Dream Theater use in future on "Scenes from a Memory" album (you know which track).

3(-), there is still some good in this music.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars The first impression this album gave me was "very bad and boring". I bought it just after 1984 and it really left me unimpressed. Relistening to it now I have changed my mind a litlle. It was not as bas as I remembered.

There's a nice piano intro suddenly interrupted by the onomatopeic Twij, followed by a spy- story like track. I actually found it very bad, but now I can say that's not so different from the rock songs of 1984 and I hear some affinity with The Friend Of Mr Cairo released few months before by Jon and Vangelis. Maybe sung by Jon it would have sounded better. The key solo is quite good.

"Gone But Not Forgotten" is a melodic piano tune, a bit romantic in classical sense. Also this track is not too dissimilar from the instrumentals on 1984. It's not Six Wives, but really not bad even thoug surely not very original.

"One For The Road" for the tempo and the sounds can be considered a follow-up to 1984 as well. If one has liked that album there's no reason to dislike this very much as I actually did. The choice of vocalists could have been done better, not because they are bad singers, ony I think the voices don't fit very well with the music. In any case this song has good moments.

I don't know what Rick was thinking to do with "Bedtime Stories".The melodic piano parts are not bad, but the "La-La-La" thing is awful.

"Happening Man" if you don't consider the chorus which seems coming from a parody of the rocky-horror picture show is quite good.

"Shakespear's Run" is a coming back to the age of Henry the VIII, I mean the album, of course. It's the track which is most reminding of the "classic" Wakeman, the one of the Six Wives.

"Monkey Nuts" is one of the weak tracks. It has a folk flavor, very English I think, but the vocals are not the best possible. Not that every Wakeman's song has to be sung by Jon Anderson, but I would have preferred some of the past singers like Ashley Holt on this song. Relistening to the chorus Marillion's Fish popped up in my mind. His vocals on Internal Exile would have been a perfect fit on this folky song.

Finally the highlight. Thomas Gray's Elegy is a great piece of romantic poetry which is accompanied by a good track musically reminding of "Myths and Legends" and the speech which reminds of course of "Journey". This is the track which saves the album and the one I have sometimes listened to skipping all the rest.

Three weak stars for an album that now I appreciate more than then.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Elegy, Ever heard a strong story? Full of mystery and imagination? Then listen to the rhythm of the voice and the accompanying music. It is not only the words that make a story, it is the image that is build with words and music. I've never have heard a more beautiful tale. Tanks Rick ... (read more)

Report this review (#53989) | Posted by | Sunday, October 30, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars One of the first examples of the simple fact - Rick should have worked on every single album more than he did. Rick surely has had some brilliant moments on the most of his solo records but from 80-s on these pearls were almost lost in the see of filler and mediocre production. The same situat ... (read more)

Report this review (#36467) | Posted by Yurkspb2 | Tuesday, June 14, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars For the all concept one should rate this one as Good or Very Good. The thing is that on this CD you got the original (and by far the best) version of "Gone but not Forgoten", one of the best pieces of music ever published. And, of course, you have "Elegy" a superior piece of music, for a superior po ... (read more)

Report this review (#27376) | Posted by | Sunday, April 4, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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