Quite a lot has happened over the last couple of months and it looks as if the next couple are going to continue in the same vein. July finally sees the release of 'TIME MACHINE' on President records and tapes. This is very much a rock and roll orientated album, although Rick hasn't reached the heavy metal stage yet, more "light alloy" we think! It features the Wop on percussion, Davy Paton on bass, and on vocals Tracy Ackerman, (who worked with Shakatak and Mirage amongst numerous others), John Parr, Roy Wood, and on two tracks Rick welcomed the return of Ashley Holt, who sang with Rick during the classic Journey and King Arthur days. There is no doubt the "Fat man of Pop" is singing better than ever. The album was co-produced by John Burns, who Rick has struck up a great working relationship with. Recent reviews seem very much to think that the oroduction on the last few releases, (Suite of Gods onwards), are probably the best produced Wakeman material for many years. It can loosely be described as a concept album. Basically Rick has landed his musical time machine in either places, or periods of time both past, present and future. To the best of our knowledge at the moment, President have no plans to release a single from the album, but Rick is pushing hard and who knows?
Whilst on the recording subject, Rick has been invited to record an album, rock and roll based, using a Zulu choir. Yes, that's right, a Zulu choir.
It is hoped that the backing tracks will be recorded in London in the middle of July, then John Burns will nip down the road to Swaziland to record the choir, and then back to Rick's studio on the Isle of Man to add keyboards and lead vocals from Ashley Holt. The prospective plan from the company offering Rick the "deal" is that they should then return to Swaziland where they would do a concert which would be filmed live and used as either a video or possibly for television. Rick is really hoping this comes to fruition as he quite fancies the idea of standing with the lads on stage with a Zulu choir in national costume standing behind? him. He reckons their sears should keep the Wop under control. The same company, (middle east based), have also a prospective tour of Russia lined up, which may well include a week in Moscow with the Leningrad State Orchestra. Should this happen then it would be on the cards for an album of a specially commissioned work, so fingers crossed all round please. The first weekend in July sees Rick in Denmark playing his first rock festival for nearly ten years. Ashley has rejoined the fold and the show, or Rick's part at any rate, is being broadcast on Danish radio.
Whilst Rick is there, he is also teaming up with his old mate from Strawbs days, Dave Cousins, and together they will be appearing at a folk section of the festival playing early Strawbs material. Dave came to visit Rick in the Isle of Man, and they spent half an hour rehearsing, and two days reminising!
Rick and Dave also talked about making a semi-accoustic album together of the same material. We'll keep you informed.
Television wise it has been quite productive. You may have read about Rick's visit to TSW for "That's My Dog" or in Rick's case, "That's not my Dog". This came about because Chloe, (Rick's German Shepherd), was not well enough to travel, and so TSW suggested he used somebody elses. Somehow Rick got the blame. Still it's all in a days work!
On the 11th July, Rick will be recording a programme for Border TV, which may in fact be going out live. This will mean him behaving himself and also playing the piano.
He has also recorded a cookery programme entitled "The Reluctant Cook". Our musical chef actually took part in a barbecue, the results of which can be seen sometime in Sentember. There are one or two out-takes which unfortunately won't get shown on air, in particular the scene at the butchers when they were buying the sausages!
Rick's studio should be complete by September, and work will commence immediately on "The Seven Wonders of the World" which will be part of the New Age Collection.
Rick has also formed a new record label especially for the Isle of Man, called AMBIENT RECORDS. He hopes to record various Island artists both classical and modern, some of which may well reach the mainland.
For anybody venturing anywhere near the Isle of Man there are three prospective concerts lined up for September, two in an Intimate Evening vein, and the other a prospective Rock and Roller in the open air at Ramsey. Rick actually sat in on a rock and roll R n B set with the Steve Gibbons band during TT week on the Island at the Palace Lido, and swelled the attendance from an average 800 to 3,000. Rick is hoping to do it next year, and swell his bank balance at the same time! Both Devon Air Radio, and Manx Radio have agreed to do one hour specials on the Time Machine, and Devon Air hope to syndicate around other local stations. June saw Rick in Italy doing a television special with an Italian, yes another one, and will be returning sometime in August to make an album with him and probably some more tv's. The Italian is one Mario Fasciano, who apparently is bigger than Kelloggs Corn Flakes in the Napoli region. (Rick also claims he is pretty big in the Napoli region as well!) Mario has recorded "Ocean City" (a track from the Time Machine) in Italian, and is trying to get a release of the track from President records in order to get the record out in Italy.... I wish him luck.
Our intrepid golfer finished sixth in the Manx classic out of eighty, second in the Princes Trust golf classic at John W Gaunt, and second in the Bernard Cribbins Classic at Foxhills, but as his handicap is about to get severely cut, don't suppose that this fine run will continue! The same company who did the Gospels on TV under the title The Word, have indicated that they want to do a similar number on the Suite of Gods, in Greece next April. Negotiations are progressing very nicely, and it should all be finalised within the next three months. For anyone interested, The Word, had 8.8 million viewers on Good Friday, as compared with 4.6 million for the film The Dresser which was being shown on the other side. Returning to the Suite of Gods, Rick will be taking Ramon into the studio towards the end of the year in order to record volume two of the Suite, and to do any re-recording that is necessary for the tv special. It's nice to see that A&M Records have started to put some of the old stuff out on mid range CD, it's a shame Charisma and Virgin don't follow suit. Some hefty hassling needed we feel. On June 19th Rick did his very first Royal Command performance, (not televised) at the Adelphi Theatre for Prince Philip. Rick did an excerpt from Journey to the Centre of the Earth, and used Robert Powell to narrate. Prince Philip was overheard to say "Excuse me, where is the toilet?". Also on the bill were Paul Daniels, the cast of 'Allo 'Allo, Jill Gascoigne, Bert Weedon, (yes, good old Bert), Frank Carson, Bruce Forsyth, the list is endless.
Graham Bleathman, one of our illustrious members, is going to help in the production of a Xmas special bulletin, so thanks to him, and in fact to all you lot who actually support us.
Text scanned, OCRd and checked by Jon Hinchliffe