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Rick Wakeman - Phantom Power CD (album) cover

PHANTOM POWER

Rick Wakeman

 

Symphonic Prog

2.41 | 15 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
2 stars Phantom power is not genuine power!

This album starts with a song called The Visit. This song was played live by Rick and his (New) English Rock Ensemble on their recent couple of tours and I had already heard several live recordings of this song before hearing this studio version. I really liked the live version (see Rick's excellent recent live DVD's Live In Buenos Aires and Made In Cuba as well as the equally excellent live CD Out Of The Blue). This studio version is also quite good, and creates great expectations for the rest of this album. Sadly, Phantom Power does not live up to any such high expectations. It soon drifts off into various different directions and rarely, if ever, returns to the power of the The Visit.

One major problem is that Rick employs several different vocalists on different tracks making the album as a whole utterly disjointed and completely incoherent. The Visit was sung by the great Ashley Holt whom we recognize from most of Rick's classic 70's albums. Other songs are sung by Chrissie Hammond and yet some others by a Ramon Remedios - a Pavarotti type opera singer! I don't like this type of vocals and they are completely out of place here. It must be pointed out that this music was composed for a film which explains (but hardly justifies) the extreme diversity and inconsistency of the material. I think the album could have been much better if Ashley Holt had been the sole vocalist (and if there had been more songs in the style of the best few songs).

Heat Of The Moment is again sung by Ashley Holt (it bears no relation to the Asia song of the same name), while the song itself is perhaps not that memorable (though very similar in style to the very much better African Bach album), it has a quite nice guitar and keyboard interplay - a bit of a surprise here! However, on an album like this, a song like that stands out as greater that it actually is, I suppose. Many of the other songs here are plainly awful, or out of place, or both.

There are also a couple of instrumental tracks, but these are nothing but brief interludes and are not particularly interesting in their own right. The album ends with a rockier track once again and this time all three vocalists share the spotlight. It also has some decent guitar work and it manages to tie the album up quite nicely despite its flaws.

I would recommend that you get Rick's excellent recent live film Made In Cuba which contains a great live arrangement of the very good The Phantom/The Visit (or if you cannot find that one try his Live In Buenos Aires DVD or the Out Of The Blue live CD) and ignore this album. Despite a couple of good moments, this album is for serious Wakeman fans and collectors only. Two stars is a very generous rating for this album!

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |

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