Rick Wakeman - Six Wives Of Henry Viii
As an aside, I don't know if it is true, but it is said that, during the first live performance of Tales from Tediographic Oceans during one of the long keyboard-free passages, you know the ones, where Steve Howe spent his time plucking single notes from an acoustic guitar as if it was some quasi-spiritual communion instead of being a load of art-house wankery, Wakeman got so bored he ordered, and ate, a lamb bhuna while waiting for his next moment on the ivories. No wonder he left!
So, what do we actually have here then? Progressive rock. (Yawn). Historical theme. (Hmm, may be interesting). No lyrics. (Mmmmmkay). Yes keyboard player. (Yawn). The sleeve notes go on about being personal musical interpretation of the characters. (Oh My God. Here we go. Bloody prog rockers indulging in their pretentious self-indulgent virtuosity again). I seriously cannot see how any of the music relates to the characters. For instance, Catherine of Aragon's obsessive Spanish piety does not come out at all; Anne Boelyn's shrewish wit and coquettishness is lost; Catherine Howard's girly naivety and stupidity is not what you think of when you hear this album.
Yes folks, you guessed it, the prog rockers returned with a vengeance with this one. Coming soon to a town near you, the perfect cure for insomnia. Listen and marvel as Rick Wakeman takes you on a musical journey with six women whose fate, according to the mnemonic, is 'divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived'. Well, there's a new mnemonic now - 'depressed, bored, sighed, depressed, bored, scratched the f*****g record with the bloody needle 'cos I couldn't stand it any more.'
What I want to know is does anyone actually listen to this crap any more. In the days when Yes were big, the style police looked down their noses at anyone who didn't like Yes as being crude knuckle-dragging headbangers. How many times did I hear from these people a variation on the following - "if you don't like... then you know nothing about music.
"Oh ja, one simply cannot stand Led Zeppelin or Blarck Sabbarth. Just far too crude for one's ears. One much prefers the melodic and sweet harmonies of Yes and the angelic voice of Jon Anderson, don't you agree, Crispin."
"Absolutely, Quentin, one finds it most alarming that one has to share a school with those Neanderthals."
So the style police went on their way and derided those of us who liked a bit of meat and two veg in our music. Come on guys, own up. All you Quentins and Crispins out there, you didn't really like this shit, did you? You just pretended to because it made you seem more intellectual, more grown up, more sophisticated. Be honest, no one really ever liked this stuff, did they?
The sad thing is, I own this album. Now that is embarrassing.
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