A very strange article. I don`t really know what I shall say about this, but it is kind of different. You judge yourself, but don`t expect any deep musical analysis in this one.
Is your journey really necessary?
By Bill Henderson
Well, to start with I could tell you what a lousy map drawer Rick Wakeman is. How the bus driver couldn`t follow his map and how we got lost in England`s green and pleasant land. Rick Wakeman`s Magical Mystery Tour or Journey To The Centre Of Nowhere In Particular. So naturally we had to stop at a couple of pubs to ask for directions, which didn`t get us much farther – in fact, back to where we originally got lost from. Or how we asked a policeman who said, “You`re the second coach to ask me that tonight.” And how we finally arrived at the pub.
But while it might have a certain picaresque interest in comparison with, say, “Cobbett`s Rural Rides” or R. L. Stevenson`s “Travels With A Donkey”, it wouldn`t be of much interest to you lot. So instead I`ll tell you how an invitation arrived from A&M Records to go to Rick Wakeman`s local to have a booze-up and a game or two of darts.
“Go along,” said Peacock and Mackie in unison, “and come back and write lots of words about it.” “But everyone knows that Rick and Yes aren`t saying anything about anything for a month and I`m not going to be as crass as to ask him about something he doesn`t want to talk about,” I protested. “Well, go and enjoy yourself,” they said, “but still write lots of words.”
So I did.
I can report that Rick is fit and healthy – with a somewhat sunscarlet face. And he seems totally relaxed and happy (which is a good augur for the future): he strode about the crowded pub in an embroidered black velvet jacket (for the benefit of any sartorially-minded readers), smiling and chatting, with his own everpresent, “Rick”-in-scribed beer mug.
But what did he tell you confidentially about his future, about Yes, about the reasons for the split, about the Stock Market slump or the Middle East situation! Nothing. It was neither the time or the place to speak or ask about any of them. Instead Rick told jokes (Not one of which I can remember unfortunately).
He also remarked on our mutual trait at the moment – that of attracting angry, insulting letters from SOUNDS readers. He joked about it obviously, but he does notice, he does pay close attention to such things. He is concerned about what people think.
And he`s concerned about his community too, apparently helpfully involved in local affairs. Very much a popular local figure – as well as being one of the lads in the pub, knowing everyone and everyone knowing him (although slightly larger than life in that environment with his long blond hair and standing a head above most people there).
He led the cheerleading in the darts matches too. (“Bring out the Branston” (?)). Oh yes, the darts – I almost forgot about that.
As far as my by then slightly inebriated brain can remember, the A&M Records team (into which I found myself pressganged) beat Rick`s local team twice (no thanks whatsoever to me). Then Rick`s Cripples (as it said on the scoreboard) played a hastily-assembled Press team, including myself. The Press, I`m afraid to say, lost miserably. Though no great thanks to Mr. Wakeman, I seem to remember, whose arrowing ability doesn`t quite match his skill on the eightyeights. (Mind you, he`s a lot better than I am – not very difficult).
Time to leave. As I left the pub I noticed a “Journey To The Centre Of The Earth” sticker on the door of the pub, which seemed quite apt juxtaposition. Then a totally uneventful journey back to the metropolis. But a fine evening. Thanks a lot, Rick.
I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!
This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Eric Clapton, Bill Henderson, Moody Blues, Laura Nyro, Carly Simon, Eddie Riff, Leonard Cohen, The Rats, Alex Harvey, Dave Edmunds, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Gordon Lightfoot, David Bowie.
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