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Rick Wakeman

& Tony Ashton Present GasTank

Review by Gary Hill
Perhaps this three CD should go under "various artists" instead of "Rick Wakeman." Still, I think Wakeman plays on almost everything here. Also, it might not be the best fit under prog rock, but there is enough prog here, and since it's going under Wakeman's name, I'm going to include it there.


So, what is this? Well, in the early 80s Rick Wakeman hosted a TV show with Tony Ashton called "GasTank" on the BBC. It was an informal sort of show that focused on interviews and collaborative performances featuring the guest musicians. This new set features the performances from the show.

 

There are a number of great guests including Donovan, Steve Hackett, Phil Lynott, Ian Paice, Suzi Quatro and more. This is well worth having for some performances that are available nowhere else.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1

           
Episode 1

                      
GasTank Theme

The theme song is really trademark Wakeman in a lot of ways. It's energetic and a lot of fun and has some cool twists and turns to it.

Little Lady
Status Quo's Rick Parfitt is featured on this song, a straight ahead rock and roller. This is good fun.
Rain
This cut is the same lineup, but I don't like it as well as the previous one. I do love the keyboard solo section, though.
Catherine Howard
Here Wakeman brings us one of his classic tunes. This is a great live performance of the piece.
Raggy
This is a short little bit that's basically an introduction.
He Gave Up To I
The Cimarons do this song. It's a cool reggae jam.
Cigarettes!
This is a cool little blues piano thing from Tony Ashton.
Heart Attack
Eric Burdon and Alvin Lee join Rick Wakeman and his group for this cool rocker. It's screaming hot.
Trying To Get Back To You
The lineup is the same on this cut. The tune is more of a dramatic slow blues piece.
R ‘n’ R medley/Be Bop A Lula
This cut features the same musicians. It's an old school rock and roller. It's classy stuff, too.
Episode 2
                       

Aeroplane

This is another weird little tune from Tony Ashton.

Man Smart, Woman Smarter
Here Andy Fairweather Low and Godley and Creme join Wakeman and his band. It's a bluesy rocker.
Wide Eyed and Legless
We get the same lineup on this tune. This cool tune has a great pop rock vibe to it.
In The Midnight Hour
A smoking hot blues rocker, this has the same musicians as the last one did. It's a hot number.
Gerrard Street

Ronnie Scott appears with Wakeman and the crew here. This starts off with a cool mellower, jazzy sound. It works forward with some bluesy kinds of vibes. It's slow moving. It works out to some killer full on jazz later.

Catherine Parr

Here Wakeman delivers another of the classic tunes from The Six Wives of Henry VIII. In a lot of ways this feels quite faithful to the studio take. That said, there seems to be a little modernization in the sounds at points.

Blackpool’s 1st Twist Victim
Maggie Bell and Tony Ashton both play with Wakeman's house band here. After a spoken introduction, this comes in quite soulful. It bursts out from there to a killer jam that has definite funk on display. This is classy stuff.
Crazy
Although Tony Ashton doesn't get credited on this cut, the rest of the lineup remains the same. This is a rather soulful take on Patsy Cline's trademark tune.
Disc 2
                     

Episode 3

            
TV Set

This Tony Ashton tune is short, weird and a bit risque.

Growing Up
Phil Lynott and John Sykes sit in on this tune. It's a balladic kind of number that works well.
The Man’s A Fool
The same lineup plays on this cool rocker. As much as I liked the previous tune, I like this one even more. `There is some purely incendiary jamming between the soloing keyboards and guitar on this thing.
Keyboard Adlib

Here we get some instrumental work with both Wakeman and Ashton. This a fun and rather funny little thing.

Mellow Yellow

Here Donovan shows up to play with Wakeman and his band. I've always been a big fan of Donovan. They put in a cool version of his old classic.

Lalena
Here's another with Donovan. I have to say, I'd love to hear a whole album of Donovan playing with Wakman and this band. This is a cool folk styled number that works really well.
Staring Outta Windows
Chris Farlow and Alvin Lee are in with Wakeman's band here. This is an old school bluesy rock and roller.
Stormy Monday Blues
The same musicians are heard on this killer blues romp. I like this one so much.
Lucille

The same crew handles this smoking hot blues tune. I love this one. It's one of my favorites here. I love the keyboard soloing on this thing.

Episode 4
                   

GasTank

This one is Tony Ashton doing a weird little intro bit.

I May Be Wrong (But I Won’t Be Wrong Always)

Featuring Alvin Lee, this a killer old-school rock and roller.

Tell Me Baby What’s On Your Mind

An old school rock and roller, the lineup is the same on this show. It's another fun and energized tune.

Rick Intro and Vox Pops

There's a bit of Wakeman playing, followed by some spoken bits.

Resurrection Shuffle

Ian Paice sits in with the band here. This is an old school bluesy jazz piece. It's solid stuff for sure and a lot of fun.

Possibly

Paice is also in the band here. This is much more of Wakeman styled number. It's cool stuff.

My Babe

Suzi Quatro handles the vocals on this old school bluesy rocker. Steve Hackett plays harmonica on the tune.

CC Rider

With the same lineup as the last tune, this is another killer blues number. It's a slower song and works really well.

Disc 3
                
Episode 5

                   
Mr Soft

Steve Harley sits in on this reasonably psychedelic rocker. It's a cool change and a nice rocker. I really love the instrumental section on this because it really feels like Wakeman's solo output.

The Hangman

Here Wakeman is joined by his old outfit The Strawbs. This is very much a folk prog meets psychedelia type cut. It gets into some scorchingly hot rocking stuff before it ends.

Elgin Mansions
Here is a cut that's strictly Rick Wakeman. He plays it on piano, and it's quite beautiful.
Jam & The Blues

This one features Tony Ashcroft and has some killer Wakeman soloing.

Twist & Shout
This classic old school rock and roller features John Entwhistle. I dig the cut quite a bit.
Go America

Entwhistle remains on this track, but Steve Harley is also credited. This high energy bluesy rocker has quite a bit of prog in the mix. Entwhistle gets a chance to shine on this thing.

Episode 6
                   

California Man

Roy Wood shows up to cover this old Move tune. They really deliver this thing like an old school rock and roller.

I Got My Eyes On You
Here is another tune with the same lineup. This is good stuff, too.
Tony's Fab Intro for Rick's piece

This is a spoken intro for the Wakeman solo. But then again, you probably got that from the title.

Gone But Not Forgotten

Here we have a nice piano solo from Wakeman.

He’ll Have To Go
Frankie Miller is included on this old tune. There is some jazzy stuff built into this, but overall it's bluesy.
Tony & Rick's Great Intro

This is a pretty funny bit.

My Soul Wants to be with Jah...

The Cimarons return for another cool reggae tune.

Camino Royale (Hackett to Pieces)
With Steve Hackett on this screamer, the cut is a killer prog rock jam.
Hackett’s Boogie
The same crew turns in a screaming hot rock and roller that's laced with prog rock.
Beside the Seaside
Here's a cut with Tony Ashton and the band. It's just a short little number.
Instrumental

Now this great jam is pure Rick Wakeman magic at the start. It shifts to more of an old school rock and roll concept as it continues. It has more trademark Wakeman stuff before it ends.

 
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