Review of Almost Live in Europe submitted on 12th January 2000
This album misses the big set of instruments that Rick used in earlier days, like Journey and Arthur. Ashley's voice is not as good as it use to be either. What's good about this album is "The Prisoner", where Rick shows his great ability of playing the keyboard in baroque-style, As voice fits nicely. The tracks on the Arthur and the Wives sections are put together in a different way, quite nice to hear as a change from the original albums. The best point of the album is "Jane Seymour" which is very different from the original, with great rock/heavy metal-guitar added. For more richful instrumentation, check out the "King Biscuit"-album.
Review of Rick Wakeman In Concert submitted on 12th January 2000
Rick has rearranged the "journey"-parts very nicely. The whole album is performed in a "journey"-like way, with a trombone and a trumpet added. The way Rick fits the instruments with tracks like "lancelot & the black knight" and "anne boleyn" is great for a change, i like them better than the original versions. If you like when Rick plays classical piano, you should check out the "anne boleyn"-outro, where he improvises a lot and extends the outro to about 2 minutes. Merlin the magician is the weakest point of the album, the mics seem not to pick up the lower frequenzies of rick's synth-solo very good, so there's a big lost. Ashley's voice is better than ever, he sings the "forest"-part perfectly (where gary's voice cracks on the original journey)
Review of Rick Wakeman's Greatest Hits submitted on 14th January 2000
Disc one is a bit too soft. The Journey is very good, musically. What's not so good about this 2-cd is the sound. It sounds as if Wakeman played through some MIDI program on the computer. Merlin the Magician is far from as good as the original, but still quite nice. You really miss an orchestra, or at least a band, throughout the whole album.
Review of Aspirant Sunrise submitted on 11th February 2000
Good new age album, but I would call the keyboard-sound as bad. The music is good, but at times it's too unvaried. A fan might buy it, but it won't catch a new listener's attention. I would recommend Adam's "Real World"-trilogy instead of this, because the sounds on that album are excellent. I'm not a very experienced new age-listener, so i can't really tell which one is better musically, but since the first impression of "Real World" was better than "Sunrise", I kinda stuck with it.
Review of Preludes to a Century submitted on 11th February 2000
Not capturing my attention as much as Romance of the victorian age, though... I don't think there's any track which really "stands out". An album perfect for the afternoon nap, and definitely worth the money.
Review of Voyage submitted on 23rd February 2000
By far his best compilation-album... #2 place of all Wakeman cd's, it contains the full "Journey", the 3 most important tracks of "Arthur", the best 4 of "6 Wives" and some other great tracks like After the Ball, Summertime, Temperament of Mind (from a Strawbs concert), and "The Maker" from No Earthly Connection... Negative, though, are 5 of the other tracks, they lower the CD quite much... Better program your CD-player... Lancelot and the Black Knight should've been on it too to retain the record's style... I recommend In Concert as an accessory to get the complete "best of" wakeman... In Concert has 8 tracks on it, i think all of them are better than the original versions... That's my all time favourite...
Review of The Six Wives of Henry VIII submitted on 29th February 2000
This album is very good, overall... though I don't like the instrumentation (drums and percussion)... the sound is quite plastic at times... the live versions on "In Concert" are much better... Voyage contains the 4 best tracks of this album, not Catherine Parr though :(... Anne of Cleves is the weakest point on this album... either way you choose, Jane Seymour & Anne Boleyn mustn't be missed as they are two of the greatest Wakeman-tracks...
Review of Journey to the Centre of the Earth submitted on 29th February 2000
Great album, not as good as Arthur and Return though... My first impression of this album was not very good, but it's like most other Wakeman-albums, the more you listen the more you like it... If you're thinking of buying Journey, I can recommend Voyage instead, since it contains the whole Journey plus you get the best of his earlier albums for just a few bucks more...
Review of White Rock submitted on 29th February 2000
Not so great, but containing a few goodies... the song "White Rock" is one of the worst Wakeman songs I've heard... White Rock needs to be re-released on CD, so as to allow some of the tracks to be programmed out... I believe you should see the movie along with the music, to get the point, though i can't find it anywhere...
Review of Rick Wakeman's Criminal Record submitted on 29th February 2000
I was really lucky to find this vinyl in perfect condition, with a promo stamp on it, for a low cost... this is a really entertaining album, with many great tracks... this album seems to be underestimated, as almost no tracks appear on any "greatest" record... Voyage contains "Judas Iscariot", though, which I think is the highlight of this Criminal Record... Rick's accompanying piano playing through the album is truly great, but this album contains a few weaker points too...
Review of Romance of the Victorian Age submitted on 29th February 2000
Great piano album! It's more varying than Rick's "Preludes", since half of the tracks are Adam's... Preludes seem to be too much of the same style, Romance is not as monotonous... the first track on Romance should really be placed on another recording though...
Review of The Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table submitted on 6th March 2000
This is the greatest symphonic rock album I've heard from Rick, although I'm longing to hear No Earthly Connection... a perfect record for introducing listeners to Wakeman's music... this is one of the only musts in Rick's collection of records, as it contains the most important pieces like Arthur, Merlin and The Last Battle... Lancelot is great too, although I prefer the version on King Biscuit, which contains additional trumpet melodies and so on... don't miss this one!
Review of The Heritage Suite submitted on 6th March 2000
This is probably the greatest of piano albums I've heard from Rick... I find it better and more varying than Romance of the Victorian age as well as Preludes to a Century... if you're into Rick playing the piano, this album is definitively a must have... I don't think it contains any relatively "weak" parts, as most of Rick's other albums, check it out if you get the opportunity.
Review of Rock & Pop Legends submitted on 6th March 2000
This is the same recording as "almost live in europe" and "best of... live" Be sure not to buy more than one of the recordings... btw, you'll find best of live at amazon.com for 5 dollars, which is not so expensive...
Review of The Masters submitted on 9th March 2000
This 2-cd features some good and some not so good Wakeman songs... it gives me the impression that Silent Nights probably sucks, as well as Live at Hammersmith and the single Light up the Sky... Rock 'n' Roll Prophet Plus seems good, as well as the piano albums reflected on this album... it gives you a good over-look of the music that (I think?) are on the albums... this is a not so important collaboration, but any Wakeman fan wanting the "Light up the Sky" single should get this... the bear from Light up the Sky was quite good, btw... the songs from Zodiaque are not so good...this 2-cd doesn't feature the most important Wakeman tracks, at least not the greater versions of these...