RICK WAKEMAN
The Six Wives Of Henry VIII
(Eagle Rock Entertainment)

 

Now as the Herman’s Hermits song from 1965 goes, 'I'm her 8th old man, (I’m Henery)" if you recall, but 7 years later in late ‘72 and early ‘73 Rick Wakeman took the Henry (the) VIII thing to a new crescendo with an album that is still viewed among the most brilliant examples of instrumental English rock music of it's era. Before I wrote this review I was thinking, what made The Six Wives Of Henry VIII such a unique example of music that was almost equaled several years later on early '80s albums Mike Oldfield made for the new generation of instrumental Euro-rock of the future fans. Also some of what made the original Lp so brilliant could be rooted in at least two different discussions by people who know about such things. Clearly, key to the album was brilliant studio work from two of the greatest English engineer / producers in recorded music history—Ken Scott, Bowie’s engineer, from 1970 on, who was the first producer able to translate on to tape Bowie’s core genius (noted on his unparalleled engineering on Ziggy Stardust) as well as further engineering by another brilliant English mind David Hentschel (whose name is actually misspelled on the original A&M CD from the late ‘80s!) The other thing that made the original Six Wives album so incredible came down to Wakeman’s “band” in the studio, including many of his band mates in Yes and The Strawbs—such as Chris Squire, Bill Bruford, Alan White, Steve Howe, Dave Cousins. The Six Wives Of Henry VIII was such an unexpected achievement for it’s time although sadly, Wakeman would end up leaving Yes after what some refer to as their most complex, groundbreaking album, Tales From Topographic Oceans. Eagle’s press release says the Six Wives album has sold more then 15 million copies since 1973. So it’s revealing that 35 years or so since Tales, Rick is back with a newly recorded version entitled The Six Wives Of Henry VIII - Live At Hampton Court Palace that is simply amazing. Released on CD and DVD, the recording and accompanying video captures Wakeman’s complete May 2009 performance live at Hampton Court Palace. In addition to it being the first time the entire Six Wives album has ever been performed in concert, this new version includes an original track left off the A&M Records ‘73 Lp for time reasons, while also including new music that actually opens and closes the live set. For the two Hampton Court shows, Rick was backed up by a full rock band including his son Adam Wakeman, who adds additional keyboards, plus cool guitar sonics from Dave Colquhoun, drummer Tony Fernandez, Jethro Tull bassist Jonathan Noyce among others, plus two different decent sized orchestras. Even with so much going on, Rick and his now legendary keyboard virtuosity rise to the occasion to honor his first solo progressive classical rock masterpiece in a new updated version. This first ever live CD of The Six Wives Of Henry VIII sounds great while the stunning video production presented by Eagle Rock on both DVD and Blu Ray will have the high end, wide screen / hi def crowd glued to their sofas! Yes fans, don’t miss this. www.EagleRockEnt.com

 

 
   
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