If you’re the impatient, cut-to- the-chase kind, you’ll miss the paragraph in Dan Wooding’s preface where he mentions that this book was originally published in the 70s. Though, granted, if you have the patience to appreciate the prolix prog-rock which was keyboardist Rick Wakeman’s metier throughout that decade, you’ll have sufficient stoical fortitude for the long haul.
The salient point is that Wooding’s music writing is demonstrably from another, less judgemental age. It would have been anachronistic even at the time, next to the pertinent and acerbic likes of the NME’s Nick Kent and the Tony Parsons/ Julie Burchill axis. Ally this to the fact that Wooding is a close friend of Wakeman’s – and also a fellow Christian – and we’re patently not looking at a pitilessly forensic dossier executed with clear-eyed candour.
Then again, Wakemanites – Wakemen? – tend to have little appetite for filth and/or fury, while the man himself seems an affable and decent sort whose sole vice through the period covered was an over-fondness for the occasional pint. Where Wooding scores is in his pursuance of (and access to) technical and circumstantial detail from Wakeman’s long and varied career in studios and onstage – which, let’s face it, is material this book’s demographic will greedily lap up.