I have no clue as to how many CD’s and DVD’s I have. Buts it’s a lot, most are crap, and sit in huge piles in dark corners. I do have a list of favorites, but rarely do I have the time to visit with them. In fact my ‘favorites’ pile has been dwindling. They have a tendency of getting lost in the other piles. The other day I was on a search for something not at all connected with CD’s, but discovered one skulking in one of my less than reliable portable DVD players. It was Rick Wakeman’s Amazing Grace.

Rick is best known for his work with bands like Yes and The Strawbs. He is an incredibly talented keyboard player. Most people though associate him as a prog rocker with a penchant for synthesizers, Moogs, Korgs etc. He has mellowed, yes he loves the keyboards, but the days he is as likely to be found playing a Grand Piano as anything else.

Amazing Grace is a very unique album, you could say that it is an album of covers! But not of Elvis or the Beattles, instead he has taken the tunes for many very well loved Hymns as rearranged them.  The result is a very beautiful and satisfying listen. It is a far cry from the church pianist or organist banging out the basic notes for the congregation to sing along with.

These mostly very old melodies gain new life from Rick Wakeman’s fingers.

All Things Bright And Beautiful is the classic hymn that every child (in my generation at least) grew up with. It was also my fathers favorite piece of music, the theme is bright and catchy, the words deeply moving. Wakeman has taken this tune to new heights.  

He does the same thing with Jerusalem, this id so rich that you do not want it to ever end.

The absolute best however is his rendition of a tune that I was not familiar with, and cannot place it. It is known as Waters Edge. If this this track does not move you, nothing will. It is a tune just waiting to have new lyrics wrapped around it.

Rick Wakeman is and will always be, a class act. Amazing Grace is probably the finest CD in my collection.

Oh and the DVD that comes with Amazing Grace, is in some ways even more amazing.  The imagery is breathtaking.

Yup, this is one DVD//CD deal that only an idiot could ignore. I interviewed Rick about Amazing Grace, I think he thought it odd that I would want to talk about it rather than his other albums and collaborations, but to this guy, it was the defining moment in his very rich career.   

You don’t have to be scared about the religious stuff, just enjoy the wonderful music.

Simon Barrett

 

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