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The Ultimate Rick Wakeman Experience

Rick Wakeman 3/8/2005


This is a strange triple-CD compendium of Rick Wakeman's work, representing solo and group repertory from across his career. It isn't quite what it would lead one to think it was -- a compilation of his work from established recordings in his output; rather, it is apparently assembled from live performances, although there's no audience sound or talk between the songs (you can usually tell by the timbre of the drums, if nothing else); and the songs are not always listed in correct order, in addition to the fact that some are not listed at all; so in that regard, it reminds one of any number of early-'70s bootleg live albums, on which the producers couldn't be bothered to check the real titles of the songs performed, or break a medley down into its component songs. That said, it should also be stated that this is not a bootleg, though it is sort of "gray market." On the plus side, the selection of material includes music from virtually every corner of Wakeman's post-1970 career, even "Starship Trooper," which he really inherited from Tony Kaye on joining Yes; and speaking of Yes, one major surprise here is "Revealing Science of God" from what was reportedly Wakeman's least favorite classic Yes album, Tales from Topographic Oceans. And if you like Wakeman's playing, there's a lot to love in this set. We get fresh interpretations of early works such as "Catherine Howard" and "Catherine of Aragon" from The Six Wives of Henry VIII, plus bracing renditions of "The Myths and Legends of King Arthur & the Knights of the Round Table" and "Journey to the Center of the Earth" (sans orchestra) -- except on this last, the other musicians (all uncredited) are mostly not quite up to Wakeman's standard, but he is so much of the show that it hardly makes a difference, and even the absence of Jon Anderson on the Yes repertory vocals can be forgiven -- it's not like they've done "Revealing Science of God" in too many shows since the mid-'70s. And then there are the covers of repertory well outside of Wakeman's own orbit, including a synthesizer-driven "Paint It Black," which are as unexpected as anything else here -- the latter may not add much to the original, but it is great fun, and perhaps that's the real beauty of this collection, that it harkens back to a time when prog rock was as much fun as it was serious. Oh, and the notes are very thorough, even though they tell us nothing of the origins of these recordings. ~ Bruce Eder
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Merlin the Magician Rick Wakeman 6:51
  3. 2 Catherine of Aragon/A Crying Heart Rick Wakeman 18:43
  4. 3 Revealing Science of God Rick Wakeman 8:0
  5. 4 The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & the Knights of the Round Table: ... Rick Wakeman 12:4
  6. 5 Catherine Howard Rick Wakeman 9:19
  7. 6 America Rick Wakeman 10:3
  8. 7 Awaken Rick Wakeman 6:12
  9. 1 The Reallisation/The Prisoner Rick Wakeman 4:41
  10. 2 Starship Trooper/Wurm Rick Wakeman 12:24
  11. 3 Jane Seymour/A Crying Heart, Pt. 2 Rick Wakeman 9:20
  12. 4 Lancelot and the Black Knight Rick Wakeman 7:22
  13. 5 Long Distance Runaround Rick Wakeman 3:27
  14. 6 Oriental Iceman Rick Wakeman 11:55
  15. 7 Elizabethan Rock Rick Wakeman 3:8
  16. 8 Paint It Black Rick Wakeman 5:45
  17. 9 Roundabout Rick Wakeman 8:20
  18. 1 Journey to the Centre of the Earth Rick Wakeman 32:0
  19. 2 Stella Bianca Rick Wakeman 3:51
  20. 3 A Quatte Mane Rick Wakeman 4:23
  21. 4 'O Core Rick Wakeman 3:55
  22. 5 Ariel Rick Wakeman 3:40
  23. 6 Aria Di Te Rick Wakeman 4:10
  24. 7 Romance Napoli Rick Wakeman 4:57
  25. 8 Sologoccia Rick Wakeman 4:20
  26. 9 Carcere 'E San Francisco Rick Wakeman 3:58
  27. 10 A Quatte Mane [Atomic Gilda Remix] Rick Wakeman 5:28

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