Wakeman, Rick - Can You Hear Me?,
‘Can You Hear Me’ was released in 1996, and was one of a series of Christian albums released by Rick. The album itself contains some recordings that had appeared previously, although now with additional instrumentation and choir, as well as some new songs. “Hymn of Hope” was originally called “The Battle Hymn” and appeared on 1991’s ‘Softsword’, and it then had additional guitars and keyboards added in 1992 and it then showed up on 1992’s ‘Prayers’ before the guitars were replaced and a choir added and it here made its third appearance! The album featured a few Wakeman regulars such as David Paton and Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith, while Chrissie Hammond provides the vocals, but sadly Tony Fernandez wasn’t utilised for some reason so the drumming is programmed, and it shows.
Although this isn’t classic Wakeman, the use of Chrissie and the English Chamber Choir was quite inspired. While some numbers are reflective, they still contain more dominance and direction that the ‘Aspirant’ series, and Chrissie shows that while many think of her a straight rock singer she can easily handle those of a more religious and almost hymn-like nature. This is a Christian album, and one can imagine many of these songs being well suited to a church or cathedral setting. It doesn’t really fit into either his more progressive or more rocky ventures, as that wasn’t the intention, and for me this is solid, and one that I am pleased I have heard and to have on the shelf, but whether I will return to it often is another matter altogether as this just isn’t my style.