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Thursday, 30 November 2017

RICK WAKEMAN REVIEW

Rick Wakeman

Crimes of Passion

Review by Gary Hill
This is a new release of Rick Wakeman's 1984 soundtrack album. There are two songs here with vocals (one is a bonus track) serving as book-ends to the release. Most of this is the kind of music you'd expect from Wakeman, but there are at least a couple surprises within. I like this album a lot. I'd say that it's not one of Wakeman's best, but it's definitely in toward the upper end of the spectrum. It's also well worth having.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
It's a Lovely Life
The opening section here almost feels like something Black Sabbath might have done in the mid-1970s. The vocals by Melody Bell bring a soulful, bluesy power to the piece. The song still has plenty of Wakeman trademarks built into it. This is a smoking hot rocker.
Eastern Shadows
While this is distinctly a rock song, it also has a lot of classical music built into it. The instrumental is really classic Wakeman.
Joanna
A mellower piece, this seems to combine classical music stylings with folk music. It's another that's more trademark Wakeman.
The Stretch
There are some intriguing changes here. There is a bit of a "weird" quality to this piece. Still, it's instantly recognizable as Rick Wakeman. It gets a more rocking thing right at the end.
Policeman's Ball
Coming in more rocking, some saxophone really sets this cut apart. It has an almost funky vibe and is one of the most fun pieces here. This has a number of variations and really rocks.
Stax
This sounds in some ways like something that would have been released on Stax. There is a bit of a jazz vibe to it. It's retro in texture and quite interesting.
Taken in Hand
Classical music and rock seem to merge here. This is another that's a classic Wakeman instrumental. The keyboard soloing on this is particularly noteworthy.
Paradise Lost
A more sedate piece of music, this is slower and quite pretty.
The Box
Faster paced and rocking, there is a bit of a jazz angle to this cut. It's a real powerhouse. This gets into some seriously hard-edged territory.
Web of Love
Gentle and rather playful, this is pretty. It's trademark Wakeman and gets more powerful further down the road, turning out to some rocking stuff late.
Bonus Track
        
Dangerous Woman
Now, this comes in feeling very much like a jazzy kind of 1980s music piece. Maggie Bell is back for another cool vocal performance. I'm not as enthused about this song as I am the rest (it just feels very dated) but it is a bonus track after all.

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