Rick Wakeman is one of those artists who really needs no introduction, but just in case you have spent the past four decades with your head in a bucket, or ensconced on a desert island somewhere (or both) I will provide a potted history (mostly) nicked from Wikipedia.
“Wakeman was born in West London. He purchased his first electronic keyboard at 12 years of age. In 1968, he studied the piano, clarinet, orchestration and modern music at the Royal College of Music before leaving after a year in favour of session music work. He went on to feature on songs by artists including Black Sabbath, David Bowie, T. Rex, Elton John and Cat Stevens. Wakeman joined the folk group Strawbs in 1969 and played on three of their albums. He first joined Yes in 1971 to replace Tony Kaye, and left the group in 1974 to work on his solo career. He returned in 1976 before leaving with lead vocalist Jon Anderson in 1980. Wakeman was part of the side project Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, a group of ex-Yes members formed in 1989, and the eight-member Yes line-up that followed until his third departure in 1992. He returned for two years in 1995 and once more in 2002, where he was part of the band's 35th anniversary tour until its end in 2004.
Wakeman began his solo career during his first run with Yes. His perhaps most known records being his first three, The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1973), Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1974) and The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (1975). He has produced over 100 solo albums that have sold more than 50 million copies. In November 2010, Wakeman was awarded the Spirit of Prog award at the annual Marshall Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards, and in 2012 was crowned as a ‘Prog God’ at the Prog Rock awards”
What Wikipedia doesn’t say is that Rick is one of the most fluid and intuitive keyboard players in the world today, wether in the rock genre in which he is most famous, or within any other genre of the broad gamut of contemporary musicianship.
This album was recorded at Farnham Maltings in 1976; a year when Rick was just about to take a break from his solo career and rejoin Yes for the triumphant album that was Going for the One. It was actually broadcast in the same evening that it was recorded, and The English Rock Ensemble featured a new guitarist John ‘Dusty’ Dunsterville, who – it has been rumoured – was a relative of the man upon whom Kipling based the eponymous hero of Stalky & Co, whgo was also my late Godfather’s Godfather. Weird old world innit? JON DOWNES
1. Journey Medley
a) Journey overture
b) The Journey
c) The Hansbach
2. The Realisation
3. Lancelot And The Black Night
4. The Spaceman
5. Catherine Parr
6. The Prisoner
7.Merlin The Magician