Rick Wakeman — Say Yes!
(Hodder & Stoughton, 1995, PB)
by Mike Ezzo, Published 1997-02-01
I knew Rick Wakeman had a great sense of humor, but I didn't know he was this funny! Told with a true gift for storytelling, Say Yes! should have all but the most hardened cynics in stitches 'til the cows come home. I read the entire book in one day and had to be practically dragged away on a stretcher from severe abdominal strain brought on by convulsive laughter! With all the down-to-earth candor that truly gives the lie to critical cries of "pretentious," Wakeman can, and does, turn any situation into something funny, as he takes us through the ups and downs of his thirty-year career. And there have been as many, or more, downs than ups for the virtuoso keyboardist/ composer.
His huge commercial successes are set against the harsh tumult of a heart attack at age 25 and two divorces. Highlights of the book were numerous, but my personal favorites were mostly from his days with The Strawbs. The time he threw Salvador Dali off the stage (not knowing who it was) at a poorly-attended circus concert, was a great one. Then there was the experience of being mistaken for Jethro Tull at a roadside diner. Or how about the incident when playing in a teenage rock band in which the drummer, in mid-song ".... broke into a drum solo in a tempo of his own choosing."
Any more references than this would be ruining the fun for everyone who reads it. On the down side, as we come nearer and nearer the present, less and less of the book is devoted to telling the musical part of his career. But I would love to have seen more detailed insight into Wakeman's later, less well known solo work. Still, all told, Say Yes! is a must as an insider's view about Yes, and some of the dark realities of the music business; or for anyone who wants a good honest laugh.
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From the press release:
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.
“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.
“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)
As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.