1. Rick has spoken to Jon and they had a very nice chat.
2. Keys to Ascension has had it's release date moved on yet again to the end of October. And that's about it.
There actually will be a "part 2" of Keys To Ascension, (probably entitled "Chubb Lock for the Elevator") and maybe if Castle Alliance get their proverbial finger out, it could actually see the light of day early next year.
Part 2 will also be a double CD and will contain the missing pieces from San Luis Obispo concerts and also a load of new, previously unrecorded material which may well include an Anderson/Wakeman composition entitled Axis of Love.
As regards touring, there has been all sort of rumours floating around which have included YES playing in Philadelphia at Christmas and the Royal Albert Hall in January.
Rick is also contemplating playing soccer for England.
All we can say at this stage is that nothing is impossible and everything is possible, although YES do have a knack of making the possible incredibly difficult and somehow turning the impossible into reality.
Tragic really that the impossible always turns into the financial disaster.
However we recommend that if you require further information as regards YES, you simply bombard the YES office in London with letters, phonecalls and faxes. It is unlikely that they will be able to give you any better answers than us, but at least you'll be getting it from a direct source.
There has also been talk now for nearly a year as regards a new contract for a brand new studio album from YES with another label. (Rick has also mentioned that he has seen a pink pig fly by his window on numerous occasions).
We now firmly believe that this mythical contract is actually not with a major record company, but with the fairies and recording will take place under the third toadstool from the right in Dingley Dell down by the magic winkle tree.
(If you are interested in knowing where this actually is, then we believe that it is right next door to the YES office).
All in all the fact that nothing has happened since San Luis Obispo has left Rick somewhat frustrated and unable to project anything concrete for the future in this area. As soon as things start to move at any pace above that of a dead slug, then we will let you know.
Firstly, as regards Hope Records, there will be no fewer than eight pieces of product available before Christmas. Already released are the double CD of The New Gospels and the single "Welcome a Star".
Added to this are two recordings at super budget price. (£5.99
per CD and £3.99 per cassette):
The first of these is called Orisons and is a mixture of music by Rick with re-recordings of The Lord's Prayer and A Wish by Ramon Remedios and a lot of new narrative from Nina with accompanying music. To all of this has been added the original narrative and music from the album Prayers.
The second release is in a similar vein except that it is all music, (by Rick) and narrative, (again by Nina). It is entitled The Word and Music. The two recordings really are very much a pair although they are sold separately
The photos for the sleeve were kindly supplied by Steve and Helen Terrell to whom we are very grateful and everybody here is delighted with the way that both of the covers have turned out
Whilst on the subject of covers, we are really pleased to announce that Chris White, a highly respected artist and art designer from Rotherham, has been "brought on board" to oversee album cover design for both Hope Records and Music Fusion. Already Chris has produced some classic covers which we hope will become something of a trademark with all that the two labels release.
Watch out for the Natural World trilogy covers which are stunning, ( due for release early next year). There are actually three completed trilogies. The Natural World and Art in Music from Rick and The Real World from Adam. Each of these trilogies will be initially sold as separate CDs and will not be packaged as a 3CD set for a few years.
Moving back to the present, look out for both the Ajalon cover and also the classic Can You Hear Me cover. (Details of these releases coming up).
The next release has excited us all here as it concerns the first signing to Hope Records of an "outside band".
They are called AJALON and the first is entitled Light at the End of the Tunnel and is quite outstanding.
Ajalon are an American band who specialise what can only be described as cross over Christian music. For those of you still confused, this really means that their music and lyrics can be enjoyed by Christians and non Christians alike as it is definitely not full of praise the Lord every ten seconds and would be extremely out of place on Songs of Praise!
They have been described in America as musically very YES orientated and sounding, which is probably not far off the mark. We have high hopes that they will do well here and also hope that they will be in a position to visit the UK next year in order to do some concerts.
Next comes an interesting CD entitled Can You Hear Me? which has quite a colourful history to say the least!
Rick completed this CD in early September and it should be released by early October if all goes well.
The story about Can You Hear Me? really goes back once again to the Prayers album of 1992.
Rick was never overwhelming happy with the Prayers album as he had such a ludicrously limited budget with which to record with. There was only guitar on one track and the choir was poor and not particularly well recorded due to lack of time. For Rick the result was really less than satisfactory but this was solely due to the lack of funds available.
This frustration finally overtook Rick and he vowed to correct things once and for all regardless of cost. There were five songs on the original Prayers album and each of these were duly brought back to life with a total rethink in every department.
To each track, acoustic and electric guitar was added by Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith. Davy Paton added additional guitars to Hymn of Hope as well.
New keyboards were added and the drums and percussion reprogrammed and re-recorded.
New choir parts were written by Rick and the English Chamber Choir under the direction of Guy Protheroe were recorded in CTS studios in London.
(For those of you now going "I know that name, now where have I heard of the English Chamber Choir before?" We'll put you out of your misery. They were the original choir to record Journey To the Centre of the Earth and King Arthur, and moving into the eighties, 1984. They have always been far and away Rick's favourite choir and so the opportunity to write for them again was too good to miss. Watch out for a lot more appearances of the English Chamber Choir over the next couple of years.)
As well as these five completely overhauled tracks, three completely new titles were recorded and again were given the full treatment with guitars by Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith and Phil Laughlin on bass. The English Chamber Choir were again recorded in London.
To complete the project, Chrissie Hammond recorded new vocals and Stuart Sawney was left to mix what has undoubtedly been the most complex piece of recording that has been undertaken in Bajonor Studios with most of the titles using anything up to 50 tracks! (Stuart took a well needed break at the end of this little mixing session - He actually ran away, but we found him and made him come back)!
There are two videos due out in late October. Firstly the film of the Piano Tour, Simply Acoustic, which was recorded two years ago in America.
It features all the tracks on the Piano Album plus lots of hilarious stories in between each of the pieces. The whole production is extremely professionally produced and is a must for all lovers of Rick's piano playing.
The second video is the long awaited full length version of The New Gospels produced by Border Television on the Isle of Man last year.
Most of you will be aware that a fifty minute edited version was shown last Christmas in most ITV regions. This was just and edited half of the entire footage shot and so this will be the first time that the complete work will be available to anybody and is unlikely ever to be shown on television again even as the fifty minute edited version, so get your orders in quick!
It was a very expensive production which is apparent in both visual and sound context and everybody concerned with the production is thrilled that it will at last finally be made available to the general public.
Moving on, Adam joined forces once again with Rick to produce what looks like being their final joint album for President Records.
Entitled "Vignettes", it is quite unlike anything they have ever done together. There are thirteen tracks in all, seven from Adam and six from Rick. Six of Adam are vocal productions with Adam in fine voice.
Just two of Rick's have vocals which both come from Chrissie Hammond. Unusually one of them is blues song which also has some pretty fine guitar from the bluesman himself, Stuart Sawney. (Stuart has so many different names now we thought we'd better list them for you to avoid any future confusion)
Stuart Sawney - As called by his mother
Doom - As called by most other people
Dr Doom & the Pessimistics - His mythical band
Blind Bluesy Doom man - His blues session name
Screw - By all in High Wycombe
Doomy Woomy - By Mandy, his young lady
Moving back to Vignettes, Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith performed guitaron most of Adam's tracks and Phil Laughlin was once again brought in to fulfil all the bass requirements on all thirteen ditties.
Continuing his newly rejuvenated love affair with The English Chamber Choir, Rick flew to England with the master tapes and recorded the choir at The Music Centre, ( CTS ), in Wembley on the vocal tracks of his and returned to the Isle of Man to give Stuart yet another headache for mixing!
We have no idea when the release of this album is liable to be although we imagine that President will aim to release it prior to Christmas.
We will do our best to have covering stock of all the releases for mail order through the normal channels.
We have been very concerned at illegal copies of Fields of Green arriving in the shops in the Uk and in order to counter this, Music Fusion, (Rick's new record label), will be releasing this album as soon as possible under the new title of ''Global Crisis".
The final recording for the year is the as yet untitled album made up of Rick's arrangements of various Beatles' compositions. Eleanor Rigby is already well known amongst Rick's supporters and on top of a studio version of this, eleven more Beatles tracks have been added.
It will be released on the RPM label which is distributed by BMG. The release is expected either later this year or at the very latest, early next year.
All RWCC members will he entitled to purchase up to three copies of this album at a considerably reduced price from that in the shops. More details of this special offer will appear in the Christmas newsletter, which should be hitting your doormat in early December
Sadly the one album that did not get completed in time for Christmas was the aptly named Christmas Album. All the back tracks were completed well in time for completion and release and everything was on course until sadly the money ran out, which meant Rick was unable to continue and with about as much support from the bank that a pair of underpants with no elastic give you, the project has had to be shelved.
It was a very difficult and costly decision to make as The English Chamber Choir had been booked to record in England and Rick had also arranged for a male singer from New Guinea to fly in and do the vocals. (Rick discovered this guy two years ago and has been itching to fly him to the Isle of Man from Tenerife where he lives in order to record him.)
It is very much hoped that this project will eventually get completed as Rick wishes and will get to see the light of day next Christmas at the very latest. It certainly has all the earmarks of being a classic.
Other studio work that took place throughout the summer was a complete set of rerecordings of the King Arthur theme for use by the BBC as their forthcoming theme music for the General Election, whenever John Major plucks up the courage to call it!
Apart from the King Arthur theme, additional newly composed music has also been recorded. It is of course impossible to know at this stage exactly what the BBC will use throughout the production. We'll all (including Rick), just have to wait, watch and see!
The fifteen shows that were recorded back in August have so far been very well received and there is talk of Rick hosting a further thirty early next year.
Rick really enjoyed this new area of his career and would really like to do a lot more in this medium.
On September 24th Rick flew to London to team up with his good friend Jim Davidson and record a special piece for The Generation Game.
Just to put you our of your misery and let you know what Rick did, it was a rewritten version of the Nursery Rhyme concerto with eight new sections from which the contestants had to guess the titles and link them with the correct composers. A lot of fun was had by all and it should be screened on the next series of the programme either later this year or early next.
A little premature perhaps but it looks like Rick may well have an appearance booked on GMTV over the Christmas period with a possible performance of Welcome a Star on the cards as well.
An unusual television appearance is due in November when Rick appears on the shopping channel QVC. Hopefully he will have a lot of the Music Fusion and Hope Records products available for sale, although the original plan was to preview the now defunct Christmas album. How on earth Rick is going to perform as a salesman intrigues us all, so if you haven't got satellite television then find a friend who has and catch QVC on November 14th, and whilst you're there, ask them to record Live at Jongleurs for you as well!
Rick has made numerous radio appearances over the last few months which we hope you have managed to catch, or at least some of them anyway. There's loads more on the cards too. Rest assured though, Radio 1 are not after his services!
This is a bit of a body blow for Rick as Christmas without a New Gospels performance is never quite the same any more.
It seems very unlikely at this late stage but Rick will try hard to see if a single performance can be put on somewhere so if thereÕs any bright ideas.out there in RWCC land then let us know.
Two dates have been booked at Ronnie Scotts in Birmingham for November 8th/9th November. These shows will be unique in as much as it will be the first time that the full six piece probably will perform in the UK. If the truth be told, it will probably be the only time this will ever happen as the cost of performing the six piece band live is so out of proportion with the financial returns that it is very unlikely that the shows will be able ever to be repeated.
The line up will be Rick and Adam on keyboards with Fraser Thorneycroft- Smith on guitars. Either Alan Thomson or Phil Laughlin will be on Bass, Tony Fernandez on drums and Chrissie Hammond on vocals.
The performance will be very much a mixture of material both old and new and will be mainly made up of material performed on the four day visit to the Ukraine which is happening in October.
There is one additional show of the six piece and that is at the Gaiety Theatre on the isle of man on October the 2nd following a four day rehearsal period. The band and crew then set off on the long haul to Kiev where they will perform for the first time.
Other live performances are also close on the cards, but are unfortunately behind closed doors. These include two corporate functions. one in Birmingham and one on the Isle of Man. The former is with Rick, Adam and Fraser and the Isle of Man has just Rick and Adam performing together.
At the end of the year Rick embarks on his first Christian tour which has been put together by the Connections agency. Based on the Simply Acoustic Tour of America but entitled The Piano Tour, Rick will be travelling around the country on his own, performing with a small keyboard set up as well as telling stories appertaining to his well known strong beliefs. Most are of the usual hilarious kind.
There will be a support act, (yet to be confirmed) and a full list of dates appears on the back cover.
The previous week had seen them debut at the Classic Rock Society in Rotherham and that had obviously set them up well as they played with considerable confidence and attracted representatives from four major record companies to witness the performance.
Negotiations with two of these are now well under way and hopefully contracts should be in place in the not too distant future. In the meantime other performances have been booked at:
The Orange, West Kensington - 19th October
Headline, London - tba
Mean Fiddler, London - 6th November
However following disgraceful performances at the Pro Celebrity tournament at Collingworth in the British Masters and an indifferent display at the prestigious Howard Keel Classic at Mere in Manchester, He somewhat redeemed himself with a pretty solid display at Ferndown where he was playing at the invitation of Peter Allis. There he finished a very respectable fourth, (and yes, there were more than four teams playing). Rick has adopted Prince Charles strategy of talking to his clubs as he threatened to do unmentionable things to them after the Pro Celebrity anyone go the number for the NSPCG? As they certainly were close to being at risk!
Rick is confident that Manchester City have turned the corner, especially as he has so many friends who are united supporters who are a little short of sympathy regarding City's current plight. (However he is struggling to find someone who will agree with him). Rick's other love, Brentford have got off to a flying start, so all bodes well for a promising season.
Rick was also invited to play in a charity football match on the Isle of Man, but decided against coming out of retirement as his last performance, about ten years ago, was little short of unbelievable. (Unbelievably bad. He was overweight, over the top and his only two shots were over the bar).
He feels he is now more overweight, extremely sluggish and with failing eyesight probably can't even see the bar anymore.
Amongst the lorry ( juggernaut! ) load of now available precious possessions are a multitude of keyboards, both working and also some that are in need of Tender Loving Care. Each keyboard has a history and would come with authentication as to what it had appeared on. A good example would be the Hohner Clavinet that was used on Journey to the Centre of the Earth and the Hammond C3 that was used on Roundabout and the other Hammond that was used on Close to the Edge.
Rick has also been ordered to off load some of the numerous sets of golf clubs (xs of 20 he has in order that Nina can get in the front door!) Reluctantly as well, as there is no room left in the drive Rick is going to have to relieve himself of the famous Dodge customised van that many of you have probably witnessed on the UK tours that Rick originally purchased in Florida and drove around on the Union tour.
Finally , there is a load of stage gear that to put it politely, no longer fits Rick. (and never ever will again unless he suddenly suffers from anorexia for about six years)! Please note though that none of the current jackets are for sale and there are no capes left as most of those have been auctioned for various charities except the odd couple.
If any of you maniacs are remotely interested in knowing more about any of the above, please send an addressed envelope, don't put any stamps on as we have our own MANX STAMPS here, and we will send you details on Candy's return.