Wakeman, Rick - Tribute (English version)

Kev Rowland

ImageThis album was originally released in 1997, following on from an extended soundcheck where Rick started playing “Eleanor Rigby” in different styles just because he was getting bored. The sound engineer commented that he ought to put the ‘Prokofiev’ version into the set that night, and it has been performed in every show since then. This album gave Rick to take 11 Beatles numbers and then re-work them with his band of the time – Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith (guitar), Phil Laughlin (bass) and Stuart Sawney (drums). There is a delicacy to some of these renditions, particularly “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” with some studied fretless bass really making this work.

But if you are looking for the bombastic over the top nature of some of Rick’s work then for the most part you are going to be disappointed. The standout number has to be “Eleanor Rigby” which contains some  gorgeously delicate piano at the beginning. I am not sure if this album works overall but if you enjoy The Beatles then you may just get something out of it. Approaching it more from a Rick Wakeman viewpoint there are many more albums of his that I would rather listen to.

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