Rick Wakeman

Silent Nights

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Silent Nights Review

by Stephen Raiteri

Wakeman's first of many albums for President Records, this was recorded with a rock band featuring Rick Fenn of Mason-Fenn on guitar, ex-Strawbs bass player Chas Cronk, and perennial Wakeman sideman Tony Fernandez on drums. Seven tracks feature lead vocals by Gordon Neville, who is less strident than the average Wakeman vocalist. Wakeman himself sings/narrates on the comical "The Dancer." With Wakeman's career on the skids as it was, the lyrics to "Ghost of a Rock n' Roll Star" ("He's an aging man without a future plan / He was a star but now they've all forgot") sound autobiographical. There's no bombast here, but no excitement either. Wakeman's own performance is good, especially on the delicate instrumental "Elgin Mansions."

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