Rick Wakeman – Music Reincarnate (Highland HL184)

Music Reincarnate (Highland HL184)

Hammersmith Odeon, London, England – March 1st, 1976

(59:34):  Music Reincarnate Part III The Spaceman, Catherine Howard (incl. guitar solo), Sir Lancelot And The Black Knight, Music Reincarnate Part IV The Realisation, The Forest, Catherine Parr, The Prisoner, Merlin The Magician

Rick Wakeman remained a prolific composer and  musician in the seventies, even during his times with Yes.  Soon after touring for Myths & Legends ended, he recorded and released his fourth solo album No Earthly Connection.  He was joined by the English Rock Ensemble for the recording, and the LP was released in May 1976. 

Rick Wakeman began extensive touring soon after the album was mixed and played three nights at the Hammersmith Odeon in London between April 21st to April 23rd and the first night was recorded by the BBC and was broadcast on June 26th.  (Some sources claim the show was played on March 1st and was broadcast on June 17th).    

Music Reincarnate is an early Highland release featuring the complete radio broadcast in excellent sound quality.  Unfortunately it doesn’t offer the complete show.  Missing is the opening number “Journey / Recollection,” “Anne Boylen” (which was played between “Sir Lancelot” and “The Realization”), “King Arthur” (played after “The Realisation”), “Free Song / The Warning” and “The Battle” at the end of the show.  The complete recording can be found on another recording which sufraced after the Highland came out.

The tape picks up with the second number played that night, the third part of the “Music Reincarnate” suite “The Spaceman.”  With Holt’s injunction of “take me to your leader,” it’s hard to find the theme stated on the album’s liner notes that “All the music is based on a futuristic, autobiographical look at music, the part it plays in our pre-earth, human, and afterlife.”  

Wakeman mistakenly introduces “Catherine Howard” as “Cathrine Parr” (getting his Catherines mixed up) before correcting himself.  A similar arrangement as the Myths & Journey’s tour is played including John Dunsterville’s guitar solo with similar Steve Howe inspired melodies and a reference to Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.”  

They also “The Liberty Bell March” by John Philipp Souza, famously used for the theme for “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”  Wakeman even includes the famous “poot” at the end.  Wakeman make some vague sexual allusions in the introduction to “Sir Lancelot.”  

“The Realization” is perhaps the best of the new songs.  The realization of the song’s title refers to piece’s theme that “man has lost his music soul.”  It builds from a gentle song into an abrasive, hostile  melody underneath Holt’s vocals. 

“The Forest” from Journeyis, as Wakeman calls it, “a potpourri of all the orchestral things and other riffs that we use.”  Like the previous tour, it ends with a reference to Edvard Grieg’s “Hall of the Mountain King.” 

This tape was officially released in 2007 on Live At The BBCThis show occupies the first disc and another 1976 from the Maltings in Farnbarough.  A copy of the complete show does circulate on tape, but in slightly inferior sound and has never been pressed. 

Several years ago Voiceprint was planning on releasing every Rick Wakeman bootleg in better sound quality.  Wakeman was quoted in an April 2002 interview, “we know of 111 bootlegs of my stuff out there.  We are going to reproduce, at special bargain prices, every bootleg. We will have them all re-done, with additional things, and all nice packages and we are just going to fight the bootleggers at their own game.”  This plan never came to fruition and Voiceprint went out of business in 2010.

Granted there isn’t much of a market for Wakeman recordings, so the precious few that are available are worth having.     

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