December 1989 Newsletter

Well, another eventful year is now nearly over; and we all hope you've enjoyed following the "jolly adventures of Uncle Rick" throughout 1989. It certainly has been packed with a wide variety of musical exploits, and we hope that you have managed to see, hear or even attend some of the concerts that were done, both solo and those with Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe.

In this newsletter, apart from all the usual updates, there is a rough guide to 1990, (which will undoubtedly change here and there), plus a quiz, and the "Supporter of the Year award". (Nina has suggested that a week in a mental hospital is the ideal prize for this).


The Gospels

Mixture of good and bad news here. As you will all be aware, the plan was to do three Gospels concerts this December, on the Isle of Man, Manchester and the Isle of Wight. Starting with the good news, The Isle of Man are forecasting selling out, which is obviously pleasing for all. The Isle of Wight is motoring along nicely and is expected to be close to full up. Manchester, however is a different story and will almost certainly have to be cancelled. Basically, what happens as regards the Gospels concerts is as follows. Rick gives his services free, but the organisation putting on the show must supply enough funding to cover the cost of musicians, travel, hotel and public address system. Obviously this varies from venue to venue according to distance and trucking, overnight stays for crew etc, but the figure is normally between £3,250 and £4,000. All monies that the promoting organisation can make above the agreed figure they keep for their charity, which basically means that the break even figure is somewhere between 500 and 650 people. There is of course little point in doing a performance that is either going to cost money or lose, and Manchester at present is still below the break even figure, and so is very likely to be cancelled. This is not 100% yet though, and if you were thinking of going, just check in with us and we will confirm one way or the other. Just to recollect for you the dates are....Isle of Man Dec 13th, Manchester Dec 16th and Isle of Wight Dec 18th. All shows will include a short 1st half of an Intimate Evening nature.

If you're in the area of one of these shows, we'd love to see you. BELATED THANK-YOU'S.

Sincere thanks to all who remembered Rick's birthday this year, back in May, and sent cards. (The rude ones Ben, my 11 year old, kindly explained to me) Hopefully, without offending anyone for not printing their name, Rick would like to thank Alan Waddell up in Bonny Scotland very much for sending him a beautifully mounted picture he took, which is a particular favourite of Rick's and has been proudly displayed in programmes and even in the odd magazine. It's quite amazing really, but most of the pictures people send Rick are better than those that the so called professional press manage to churn out. Undoubtedly the next programme that Rick does we hope to use your pictures (fully credited of course). Please don't start sending them now though. We'll give you fair warning when the next print will be made.


Black Knights At The Court Of Ferdinand IV

The much talked about (by us, anyway) album that Rick recorded in Italy last year with the percussionist Mario Fasciano. We have at last got a very small supply of Album and CD copies, which will be sold exclusively to RWCC members. As we really only have a few, orders are by telephone only to Carla at the office. Carla will confirm your order and then on receipt of your written order with cheque or postal order, Carla will send off your album or CD. We have managed to keep the initial costs lower than the "next batch" as Rick was able to bring this shipment back with him from his European tour, thus saving shipment charges from Italy. Therefore in spite of the fact that the product is dearer to buy in Italy, we can sell them for the same price as our normal records. i.e. £10.75 for CDs and £6.80 for records. All prices include p&p. For those of you who are recent members and have no idea what this is all about, it is an album that Rick recorded in Naples. It is a rock orientated album based on folk melodies from the Napoli region. It is all sung by Mario Fasciano in Italian and is of excellent quality. If criticism is to be levelled at all, it would have to be that it was originally planned only for album release and therefore is of an album length, which is 36 minutes. For all of that it's choc a bloc with keyboards, which a lot of people have complained there hasn't been enough of in Rick's recent work, (other than his new age product). Enough of the commercial! If you fancy it, give Carla a ring! Negotiations are also going on to try and put together six concerts in Italy, based around the album sometime in 1990. This would obviously necessitate incorporating Mario alongside the Greasy Wop (Tony Fernandez) for these shows...... shouldn't be difficult really!!!


Davy Paton

It is more than with a tinge of regret that Davy Paton, who has played bass for Rick over the last three years, is emigrating to Australia later in 1990. It has been suggested to him that it was rather a drastic way of handing in his notice, but there you go. This does not mean the end of Davy's appearances with Rick, as Davy will obviously be making trips to the UK to visit his friend (he's always claimed he has one), and it will be during those periods that Rick will try and organise shows. However, if you're a budding bass player PLEASE do not bombard us with tapes etc as Rick already has a replacement lined up to step in whenever the need arises. Before Davy leaves however, we shall have a farewell concert, (no, he won't be getting the proceeds), which we hope as many of you as possible will be able to come to and watch him be ridiculed for the last time! Tony Fernandez has failed to take any hints pounded upon him throughout 1989, and will not be emigrating. We'll keep at it though.


Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe (European tour update)

As you are all well aware, touring is not the easiest thing to do, especially with a punishing schedule, and that's what ABWH had set themselves. In America four concerts were lost due to illness with Tony Levin the bass player and sadly the European tour was cut short by seven shows, losing France and Spain and some of Italy, due to Jon Anderson catching viral laryngitis and losing his voice completely and being ordered by specialists to not exercise his voice for at least six weeks. This did come as a bitter blow to the band, as attendances and reviews etc had been absolutely sensational, which included a hysterical 15 thousand strong audience in Paris. (They've never been the same ever since they came third in the war). Anyway, everybody was despatched home a week early but not before basic guidelines were agreed upon for 1990, and they are as follows.

Parts of January and February....preparation and piecing together of a new album, which will hopefully have a September release. This is being done at a small private studio in the South of France, and each member will spend about 10 - 14 days putting bits and pieces together. March and some of April is set aside for touring Mexico, Japan, Thailand, Singapore and Hawaii. This will very much conclude the promotion for the Anderson Bruford Wakeman and Howe album and pave the way for the new one. For anybody interested, sales at present exceed one and a half million, and should top two million by the end of the year. The three videos that the band made should be on sale early in the new year, along with an unreleased live video track, May and June will be the master recording although all of the guys will not be there all of the time, enabling personal projects to be continued. As I mentioned earlier, a September release is hoped for, and it is possible that a few concerts may be put in at the end of the year in the USA to launch the album. A mammoth European tour with a difference, (can't reveal details yet, but promise you'll be the first to know) is being planned for 1991.


20th Anniversary Tour

As most of you are probably aware, all the plans for Rick's 20th anniversary tour went by the board due to unforeseen, but pleasantly welcome ABWH commitments. It is hoped to rectify a lot of this in 1990. At least 30 UK concerts are planned for 1990 with about 20 of them coordinated as a tour. It will still be billed as the anniversary tour. Although there will be several significant changes. Firstly the band is to be increased from a four piece to a five piece as we welcome D'zal Martin to the fold. D'zal has yet to be insulted by Rick yet on stage, and so will be welcomed by the other guys as this they hope will take some of the pressure off of them. This of course is pure wishful thinking on their behalf, the stage show will be a little more elaborate than that of late, and the musical set will change to a certain degree, with pieces being performed that haven't been so far or in recent years. It is also planned that an album will be released to coincide with the major part of the touring, with obviously a certain emphasis being placed on that. It is also planned to reintroduce Rick's band name and present the shows as Rick Wakeman and the New English Rock Ensemble, So, if you saw the show last year, then next year's will be hopefully a nice step up, and for those of you who have not seen D'zal's prowess on the guitar, then it is not to be missed. The big question for the rest of the band is "Can he stay the course?" The concerts are likely to be put in from July onwards. More details nearer the time.


Norman Wisdom

It is still hoped to schedule the recording of Norman's album at Rick's studio on the Isle of Man from January. As many of you know, Rick and Norman are very close friends, and Rick is producing, for release by President records, a final album for Norman of some of the great songs he has written, e.g. Don't laugh at me, 'cos I'm a fool, some of his classic comedy sketches and some new songs he has written. The album will be available in selected shops, plus mail order through us, and also at Norman's numerous one man shows. For all lovers of this marvellous British legend we feel it will be a collector's item. Release expected around March / April.


Phantom of the Opera

The film is now complete, and all the music has been dubbed on and Rick and Stuart Sawney the engineer have seen the finished product and are really pleased. At present the plan of attack from Spectacular films seems to be as follows. Release as a film in the cinema in USA for December, to coincide with a video release just before Xmas. No details have as yet been released as regards its UK release, so keep your eyes peeled, as we feel sure that if they can get the video out before Xmas here they will, and it really is well worth a viewing, especially if your video is linked to your stereo system. The same company have offered Rick another film for 1990, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which Rick has accepted very happily as the project will be very similar to that of the Phantom, and that was tremendous fun.

There are plans to reduce the soundtrack for an album, although, as expected record companies are being a little cautious whilst waiting to see what reaction the film and video gets. However, all initial feedback has been excellent, so barring unforeseen disasters an album should appear around about March/April next year. It may even become the album to coincide with the tour dates, It is also a possible option to perhaps link it with the ANTHEMS album as a double, but these decisions will be made early in the new year.


Sea Airs

Sea Airs is now pressed and packaged and awaiting release Initial reports say that the packaging is lovely, and the quality of the cut is excellent. For those new to this trilogy, Sea Airs is part two of a set of three albums /CD's of piano music. The first being Country Airs (Coda Records) and the final one to appear probably at the end of next year, Night Airs. Both the last two mentioned are on President Records, and further information can be got from Tiz Hay there on 01 839 4672.
** Release date now confirmed for December 1st.


Unfinished Business

Quite a backlog of material has built up over the years which has not been released in the UK and it is sincerely hoped to rectify this throughout the next 12 to 18 months or so. A lot of the ideas for this have come from our honorary president in Belgium, John Bollenberg, who Rick spent a couple of very pleasant days with whilst ABWH were on tour in Belgium. Not all of the material is still in existence on master tape, and so even with sophisticated transfers some of the music that we hope to make available will be of less than 100% quality. However it is felt that a lot of people would like the music just to complete their collection. Initially it will be available on cassette only, and available only on mail order via the RWCC at a cost of £5. + postage and packing in the UK. Overseas rates will be known by the next newsletter.

There will be approximately an hours worth of music, previously unreleased and it is hoped to include the following, although not all is owned by Rick and so please do not take this list as the final definitive tape.

BC Rock.... This was music that Rick did for a feature animation film for the USA, which appeared eventually in a very limited edition as a video and was withdrawn as the USA company went into liquidation. Many artists performed on the film and we have reasonable copies of Rick's three pieces that were used.

Operation Raleigh - Six years ago, Rick recorded some music for the TV project that was eventually held over for four years, the music thus returning in ownership to Rick. Two instrumental pieces that exist on master tape and will be remixed and edited where necessary.

Music from the World Cup film HERO. There is the theme song "A special kind of Hero" sung by Stephanie Lawrence, which it is hoped to get permission to use as well.

Supercat. This was a feature documentary shown on channel four a few years ago on the history of the Jaguar Motor car. It has been available on video although it has long since been deleted. There was also a short film made about vintage cars that had one or two cinema showings as a short film, and it is believed that some of this music can be located and possibly used.

Rick also did some music for a film entitled Playing for Keeps, and there is one classic piano piece entitled CHLOE (No relation to Rick's old German Shepherd) but named after a character in the film, and was not used as the film sequence was cut out, and a high quality cassette version exists of this.

It is also hoped that we can locate the three versions of Ask Aspel that were done as well as a version of the Pink Panther theme that was done for Police 5, when YES were in their hey-day, and had their equipment nicked and found themselves on the programme. Obviously we hope other music might come to light, and that early in the New Year the cassette will be able to go into production at a cassette plant in the UK and be available for sale as soon as possible.


The January Issue

In order to slowly bring us back in line with our two monthly issues, the January issue will be in the post to you around the second/third week in January and then the March one will be back on schedule again at the beginning of the month.


Unissued Albums

The ANTHEMS saga still goes on. We have spoken to the initial production company and are hoping for some favourable response in the very near future. This has taught Rick a big lesson though and will no longer ever do a project for a production company without a guaranteed release clause, or a clause that allows the product to return to Rick himself. Night Airs although completed will not be released until the end of 1990. The Phantom soundtrack we have already dealt with. THE LIVE ALBUM. Two of the live shows were recorded last year on the RAK/ADVISION mobile, and will be remixed, plus have overdubs put on them repairing mistakes and "bits we don't like" and could also be an alternative album to have ready in time for the summer concerts. One of the great problems with building up a catalogue of unreleased material, is finding time slots to release them, as it inhibits the recording of new stuff, which of course then builds up in turn waiting to be recorded. There is no simple answer to this especially when the music is in a prolific period, such as Rick is in at the present time.


Future Album Plans

There are four projects that Rick would like to do, funding permitted of course, and they are a one hour rerecording of Journey to The Centre of The Earth, with 20 minutes worth of new material, a total re-recording of the Gospels, with orchestra and "huge" choir, plus of course the lads and Ramon. Rick also would like to finally get onto vinyl his Seven Wonders of the World instrumental album which was always intended to be his 80s Six Wives but would now become his 90s Six Wives album. A joint Italian and UK production of an album linking the musical heritage of Sicily and the Isle of Man, which may sound strange but there are a lot of links and could be a very interesting follow up to the Ferdinand album that has met with considerable success in Italy, both critically and commercially.

Apart from these four major projects, Rick would also at some time love to complete the second part of A Suite of Gods, with Ramon. The continuation of the New Age Collection will depend very heavily on the success that the already released product has in the new countries it has been released in, the USA Italy, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, as they will dictate funding for future recordings. We will keep you posted.


Supporter of the Year Award

Believe it or not we had a tough lob here, as so many of you religiously turn up in the most bizarre towns, and at the most strange events, such as golf tournaments, that it almost became "toss a coin" time to decide the winner, but after a great deal of thought we decided that the winner was Frank Fallows, who we think has missed only a handful of shows in the last three years, and at one stage last year drove a round trip of over a thousand miles in order to catch two consecutive shows. Our sincere commiserations to his poor wife (Alicia) who has steadfastly stood by him throughout this dreadful illness of Wakemanmania that seems to have so badly afflicted him. The prize? Free admission to any of Rick's shows next year for him and his wife, and that will extend to an English date of his choice in 1991 for any Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe show.


Quiz Time

One prize only this time round, entries to be in by the first week in January please. And the prize is a copy of the new SEA AIRS album. (That should guarantee an entry around the two mark!) The questions are deliberately not easy otherwise everybody will get them all right. And then we are in the ludicrous situation of drawing correct entries out of a hat, so even if you're not sure of the exact answers it's worth a try as the "closest" may well end up the winner.

  1. What year did Rick and Ashley Holt start working together?
  2. In 1979 Rick recorded an album entitled Maybe '80, for A&M which was never released by them but appeared a few years later on an independent label under a different name. What was the new title of the album and what was the label?
  3. On some of Rick's albums there have been lead vocalists who have never appeared live on stage with him. Name as many as possible. (There are at least five that immediately spring to our minds, but there may be more).
  4. How many albums did Toni Visconti produce that directly involved Rick? (these do not include those where Rick worked as a session musician)

Well, that's the questions, a bit A level, we admit, but all a bit of fun, If you only know 70% of the answers we reckon it's worth an entry as that's around the mark we think will win it, (Rick only got 42%)

Please send your entries to the RWCC office and mark your letter or postcard (if you can fit it all onto a postcard) Competition.


Questions

To finish off this extra long newsletter we'll attempt to answer some of your questions that we have not managed to deal with in the previous Pages. Graham Bleathman asks about whether or not the Suite of Gods album with Ramon is the same as that referred to in the YES biography by Dan Hedges. Yes it is the same basic idea that formulated back then, although of course it took on a whole new shape once Ramon appeared in the frame. Martin Getting asks what happened to the aborted Bolton Concert earlier this year. Well we never knew anything about it in the first place, so we're open to offers as well. Martin also asks about the PRESENTED TO THE HEART album that Rick did with Alexander Mezak. Well we know it is finished and includes as well, Cliff Richard, Patti la Belle and the Edward Hawkins singers, but news of any release has eluded us. As well he asks about an import he recently saw entitled Meets the Quiet Scene by Rick Wakeman and Eddie Hardin. Rick has no idea at all about this, and can only presume it is a made up compilation by coda of part of Rick's Country Airs and Eddie Hardin's solo album that he did for the same company. Nobody has ever informed us about the recording; as if they had Rick may well have put a stop to it, as he is not fond of joint compilations, although he is a good friend of Eddie Hardin's. Finally, Martin, there are no tapes in existence from any of the shows that Rick did with Sky, so unless you taped the show Rick did with them a couple of Xmas' ago, the Val Doonican Show, then you're out of luck. Mr. Gray has queried along with a lot of you about sheet music and what has been published. Everything that Rick has ever written has been published by Rondor music, with one piece's exception. (Temperament of Mind, by Essex Music) but little appears as manuscript and what was printed is difficult to obtain. The following we know was available at some time. The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, King Arthur, Criminal Record and a few copies of White Rock. It is hoped that a compilation book of a lot of the new stuff may well become available later next year. We have spoken about it before with the publishers but it is up to Rick very much to supply the music initially, and that means finding the time. It is however something that Rick would really like to see happen, which means that sooner rather than later it will be done.

Well that just about brings our Xmas issue to a close, which we hope very much you find informative as well as a bit of fun. Have a fantastic Xmas and New Year, and once again thanks for your continued support for Rick's music, we hope 1990 will be just as much fun.

(The office address seems safe for at least a couple of months!)


Text scanned, OCRd and checked by Jon Hinchliffe