Reviews by Robert Nancarrow

Reviews by Robert Nancarrow

Review of The Piano Album submitted on 14th February 2013

For those of us who have been listening to the caped crusader for more years than we care to admit to, this album is a yet another example of his seemingly limitless talent. Many people associated Rick with the grand and the epic that is so well represented throughout his back catalogue. However, on this album, his undoubted skill as a musician and as an imaginative arranger of other people's material is peerless. Having seen him perform in this style on many occasions, he has the talent and the charisma to make an evening’s entertainment seemingly pass in minutes. Highlights include "A Glimpse of Heaven" from his time with the Strawbs, “Space Oddity" and “Life on Mars" from his association with the great David Bowie and a really moving arrangement of his own “Gone But Not Forgotten". If you haven't heard this offering yet, take the opportunity to catch up with an intimate evening of Rick Wakeman at his very best.

Review of Tapestries submitted on 16th April 2013

I have been meaning to buy this album for some considerable time and only wish I had done so earlier. Rick often speaks of painting pictures with music and this album is no exception. The tracks cover a range of moods and emotions from the playful "Fremiet’s Cat" to the thoughtful "Summers End". There is a delightful arrangement of Debussy's "Clare De Lune" and "The Garden Party" is a lively number which, in places reminds me of "Shakespeare Run" from the "Cost of Living” album. The art work perfectly complements the music, adding to the whole experience. All in all, an excellent album by father and son father and son.

Review of The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table submitted on 28th April 2013

This was the first Rick Wakeman album that I heard, back in 1975. I remember hearing "Merlin the Magician" on the Jonnie Walker album chart during half term in October 1975. I was immediately captivated. What I didn't realise at the time, was how many other well know works he had contributed to with artists like David Bowie, Cat Stevens and others.
The album captivated my imagination. The choral and orchestral arrangements were breath taking, as were the keyboards. Tracks such as "Arthur" and" The last Battle" were both powerful and emotive and still have the same effect all these year later. A tremendous album - it always gave me a great buzz when the overture from "Arthur" was used for the coverage of the general election!

Review of Classical Variations submitted on 23rd May 2013

When people are asked which is their favourite Rick Wakeman album, there are some understandably predictable answers such as Six Wives, King Arthur and Journey. However, as good as they all undoubtedly are, the Classical Variations album is certainly a contender for me as the best.
Once again, Rick displays his undoubted talent as an imaginative arranger of other people's material. The notion of an album of classical material could prove challenging to some ears, and yet the selection draws on a number of well known standards, that those of us of a certain age, are all familiar with.
Whilst showing due deference to the material, Rick interprets each composition in his own distinctive style. My personal favourite is his interpretation of 'Pavane by Faure', which is simply sublime. Other high points include an imaginative interpretation of 'Dvorak's New World Symphony' and 'Berceuse by Faure', which some of you may remember as the theme to Listen with Mother.
A hidden gem definitely worth discovering.

Review of Country Airs (Original) submitted on 26th May 2013

I was surprised to note Rick's comment that this wasn't an album that he wanted to record. On hearing it, on its release in 1986, I was overwhelmed by its lightness of touch and its ability to evoke vivid images. In some senses, it seemed a particularly mature undertaking and demonstrated Rick's undoubted talent as a musician and composer.
The subtle tones of" Ducks and Drakes" and " Waterfalls" evoke memories of childhood. My favourite track is "Wild Moors", which whilst quite short, seems to run the full range of emotions and captures the essential sense of Rick's prodigious talent.
Take my advice, if you haven't yet heard this album, try it, you won't be disappointed.

Review of No Earthly Connection submitted on 24th July 2014

With all the emphasis on Rick's major works in recent times, it would be really good if this album could be revisited in terms of some UK dates. Having regard to the advances that have been made in terms of stage presentation in the intervening years, NEC would lend itself to a spectacular performance. Exploring key spiritual themes with stunning , yet sensitive arrangements, I think this is one of Ricks most under rated albums. Tracks such as The Prisoner have an almost operatic quality, whilst The Spaceman concludes the album in a moving and suitably thought - provoking manner. Go on Rick take it out on the road - you know it makes sense!

Review of Cost of Living submitted on 24th July 2014

Not one of Rick's better known albums and yet worth the effort of investigation. This is an album that demonstrates his ability to successfully capture a diverse range of sounds and styles in one session. Where else could you experience the sublime beauty of Thomas Gray's opus next to the hilariously funny Monkey Nuts ! One of the more reflective moments is found with Gone But Not Forgotten, a track inspired by the Falklands conflict. The album marked the end of his short lived association with Charisma records and perhaps has failed to secure the recognition it truly deserves. Try it - if you like Rick you won't regret it!

Review of Rhapsodies submitted on 12th March 2015

Whilst this album represents the end of the A&M years, and some people have been rather dismissive, I really like this album. It highlights, even from a relatively young age, Rick's great diversity and his ability to interpret music through a range of styles and genres. I think the fact that he wasn't trying to take himself too seriously was also to his credit. The album gives some sense of what he can deliver through tracks as diverse as Sea Horses, Gladiators and his sublime interpretation of Gershwin’s Summertime. I really enjoyed Credits, the last track, which perfectly captures Rick's essential sense of humour.