We have had lots of initial impression but no one has really given a view after
a lot of listens. So I will give mine to start us off (I hope). I was going
to do a full review but since I don’t normally do a track by track review when
I get a new Rick album I think it would be unfair this time.

I get the impression this is a good album but not a great one. I think it is
likely to end up in my top 20 Wakeman album.’ But only around there. I spent
some time listening to King Arthur, I can hear you (Both favourites) and Themes
(a good but more middling album) last night because I was struggling to hear
why the album is not getting me like it should. I think I now know. Rick’s involvement
in the album is more of a musical director and writer than a player. It is almost
like he has made guest appearances on his own album. On Arthur you are aware
that Rick is about on the album all the way through. On return it seem to be
the orchestra more than Rick I can hear. If he is playing through out he is
too low in the mix or he is using Orchestral sounding settings. On a normal
Rick album you normally are aware of Ricks playing through out. On this one
it is little patches. It does not make the album bad but it does not make it
a great album for me either.

I suspect the orchestration is different from the type used on Arthur. On that
I felt the was a lot to listen to the further you listened in. I think this
time the orchestra is playing more in unison. I think Rick does a good job with
the Orchestra throughout but it seems slightly different.

I played the Narration tracks on there own and they work really well (Mind
you I did notice my main two cd players work differently. One gives the first
1/2 beat of the next track (in a couple of places) before moving to the next
narration). There is a line in 17b that really annoys me "for inexplicable
reasons beyond their understanding" seems to me to trying to sound clever
while saying the same thing twice. I am surprised it got through to the album.
Perhaps my poor English abilities are showing me up here, I don’t know.

The musical accompaniment to the narration really works well. Although I am
still naturally view them as interruptions to the real meat of the album. I
guess because I am more inclined to faster or more active tracks.

I had a look at all the CD shops in town yesterday and Rick was on display
in the chart section of them all. Perhaps except Virgin. I could not see where
there stuff was and it was to busy to take my scooter to far inside. Since I
pay 12 pounds maximum for any full price album I was horrified at the price
they are selling the album for. I would have thought chart albums would be cheaper
but it was still 14ukp in the cheapest shop I noticed. I must have seen a good
30 copies of the album available so people in Ipswich should not have trouble
getting it and EMI have done a good job of selling it in.

So how is it going with other people that have played it a lot?