Sunday, March 5, 2017

CD/DVD Review: Rick Wakeman Revisits His Past With Two New Releases

In 1925, there was a silent film created, based on the Gaston Leroux novel "Phantom Of The Opera." The film starred Lon Chaney as the disfigured phantom who roamed the halls of the Paris Opera House.  The film became famous for Lon Chaney's self-devised make-up, which became the basis for monster make-up for years to come. The only thing missing from this masterpiece was sound.

English keyboardist Rick Wakeman was commissioned to create a modern soundtrack for this original "Phantom Of The Opera" silent film upon its release on DVD. The film has been fully restored, along with the lost "Ballroom Scene" and Wakeman's full conceptual soundtrack has been included with this classic movie masterpiece.

This new Rick Wakeman version of the "Phantom Of The Opera" was released on February 3rd through Gonzo Multimedia as a 2CD/DVD set. The soundtrack spreads across two discs and expands upon Wakeman's "Phantom Power" album. The music soundtrack features the original, unedited versions of the songs that are being released for the first time on CD. The DVD includes, along with the movie, some bonus features like Rick Wakeman's commentary throughout the movie and an introduction by the late-great Christopher Lee. To find out more about this unique 2CD/DVD set, please visit rickwakemansmusicemporium.com.

In 1982, former Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman teamed up will fellow English pianist Tony Ashton for the British television show "GasTank." It was an outlet for musicians to come and talk about anything they wanted and perform live on a television soundstage. Some of the many guests that appeared on the show ranged from Eric Burdon and John Entwistle to Steve Hackett and Ian Paice. The show only lasted for six episodes but featured some of the greatest English artists from the seventies performing some of their favorite songs live with Wakeman and Ashton and the "GasTank" house band.

Gonzo Multimedia is releasing a new 3CD set, along with a double-DVD set with newly remastered sound, featuring the highlights of the "GasTank" show. Each of the three discs are broken up into episodes, as you hear Eric Burdon performing some classic blues with "Trying To Get Back To You," then tackling the classic "Be Bop A Lula." On Episode 2, Andy Fairweather Low joins in for the calypso classic "Man Smart, Woman Smarter" and for Wilson Pickett's "In The Midnight Hour." Folk/rock artist Donovan performs a live version of his hit single "Mellow Yellow" in episode 3, while guitarist Alvin Lee take over "Stormy Monday Blues," pushing the jam past the nine-minute mark.

Alvin Lee returns in episode 4 for the guitar blazing rocker "Tell Me Baby What's On Your Mind," before the disc continues with Ian Paice on the intense rhythm of "Resurrection Shuffle" and Suzi Quatro on the blues favorite "C.C. Rider." Disc 3 kicks off with Steve Harley on the smooth sounds of "Mr. Soft," then The Strawbs perform their prog-rock classic "The Hangman." The Who's John Entwhitle delivers a rocking version of "Twist & Shout" and Roy Wood revisits' The Move's "California Man," before closing the set with Steve Hackett featuring "Camino Royale (Hackett To Pieces)" and "Hackett's Bogie." To find out more about this new 3CD set from Rick Wakeman and Tony Ashton's "GasTank," please visit gonzomultimedia.com.

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