Rick Wakeman - 'Starship Trooper'

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Rick Wakeman - 'Starship Trooper'

Will satisfy those Prog heads who love their music well-crafted and beautifully executed.

With over one hundred titles to his name, Rick Wakeman could never be accused of resting on his laurels. So the question I'm asking here is, does the world need another Wakeman album? And a compilation at that (all will be revealed at the end of this review).

Rather than this being a new release with original material, what we have here is a coming together of tracks that Wakeman has been a "guest" on over the years, and featuring a veritable who's who of Prog's great and good with names such as Gong's Steve Hillage, Yes's Billy Sherwood, Steve Howe and Tony Kaye, Colin Moulding, Jerry Goodman, Nik Turner, Carmine Appice and many more! There is also maybe the not so good... I give you William Shatner (?!?!), although the track he features on 'Change' isn't too bad at all!!

The main selling point of the album are two unreleased tracks – one being a cover of Tool's 'Sober' – and also some delightful cover versions of some of Rock's classic tracks. Particular highlights being a stirring version of Supertramp's iconic 'Crime Of The Century', and Pink Floyd's 'Great Gig In The Sky'. Other tracks, such as 10cc's 'I'm Not In Love' and The Doors 'Light My Fire', maybe don't work quite as well but there is sufficient great material to keep me, at least, satisfied.

Being a Purple Pyramid release, this has Sherwood's stamp all over it. Essentially what we have here is Wakeman being asked to play on various tracks and then Sherwood and the aforementioned musicians adding their own fairy dust to proceedings. This release does give one an insight into how Wakeman interprets other people's work and it's easy to identify his rich, dexterous keyboard work.

Whether this release should be classed as a "Rick Wakeman" album is a moot point, but whatever moniker it comes under, it's a worthwhile release. It probably won't win over any new fans, but will satisfy those Prog heads who love their music well-crafted and beautifully executed.

Malcolm Smith

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