Rick Wakeman

The Caped Collection

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With 19 tracks strewn across two discs, The Caped Collection assembles a delightful mishmash of Wakeman favorites, with less attention given to his '70s material than most other compilations. The first disc gathers the rockier side of Rick Wakeman, with live renditions of "Merlin" and "Arthur" once again stealing the show, but his presence behind the keyboard is forcefully felt on "Section Seven" and "Freefall" as well. The second disc is compiled of Wakeman's softer side, bringing his finessed piano playing and relaxing synthesizer pieces into the spotlight. Tracks such as "Capricorn," "Black Beauty," and "Jack Frost" are beautifully woven with delicate melodies and light electronic runs as a wonderful contradiction to the cuts on the first disc. The new age material wisely ignores any excerpts from his Natural World Trilogy series and draws most of its music from later in Wakeman's career, so the tracks contain ample amounts of keyboard variations and melodic wavering without focusing on one constant theme or style. The Caped Collection isn't the most comprehensive of hits packages, but it does do an excellent job at showing both sides of his talents as a supreme keyboard player, all in one place.

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