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Album Review

Rick Wakeman and Dave Cousins played together in the Strawbs in the early '70s, and they reunited for this 2002 release, with support from a few other musicians (most notably violinist Ric Sanders). Cousins tends to be the more dominant personality here inasmuch as he takes all the vocals and handles more of the songwriting. In addition, some songs that appeared on previous Strawbs and Dave Cousins solo records are revisited, such as "October to May" and "Stone Cold Is the Woman's Heart." It's not just a Dave Cousins album that happens to have Wakeman on keyboards, however, as Wakeman co-wrote some of the songs with Cousins, as well as being solely responsible for the composition of a few instrumental interludes. The combination of Cousins' folky, sometimes narrative-like songs and Wakeman's classical-influenced keyboard work is unusual. But there's a bit of a faded weariness to both the material and its execution — more so even than on other, better Cousins/Strawbs records, where battle-fatigued weariness is a frequent quality. Wakeman's more effective on piano than synthesizer, and the more modern instrumentation doesn't gel as comfortably with folk-rock-based songs such as these.


Born: May 18, 1949 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the premier rock keyboardists of the progressive era, Rick Wakeman was born in Perivale, Middlesex, England, in 1949. His interest in music manifested itself very early, and from the age of seven he studied classical piano. At the age of 14, he joined a local band, Atlantic Blues, the same year he left school to enroll in the Royal College of Music. He had his eye on a career as a concert pianist, but Wakeman was dismissed from the college after it became clear that he preferred playing in...
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Hummingbird, Rick Wakeman
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