Review: Gordon Giltrap & Oliver Wakeman. Ravens & Lullabies.
Austere times are prevailing, repeating from one generation to another. The same battles between workers, owners, unions and management, re-occur in a consistent way ever since factory production began. ‘It’s all about money, money, moneyfacturing.’
This last word is created by Oliver Wakeman, one of the son’s of Rick and he is credited for all of the lyric writing on “Ravens and Lullabies” which is collaboration between Oliver and Gordon Giltrap.
Giltrap gives full control to Wakeman on the lyric writing, which focuses on the modern issues of society, now more prevalent than ever with the passing of a recent Prime Minister which has divided the Nation.
‘Steel workers get turned away; meanwhile you fill you Bentley up to the Brim. You drive it home with your head held high. Tell me what you bring to the table; don’t care if your black or white, as long as you are here all day and night’. Giltrap opens with his famous classical guitar style which turns into an angry vocal provided by Paul Manzi.
“From The Turn Of A Card” turns out well as Oliver brings in his former Yes compatriot Benoit David. On this performance Benoit sounds like Gene Pitney and pulls off a neat song which is a unique demonstration of his abilities. Put out to the vote, most Yes fans declared that the voice was akin to Neil Diamond, but all were pleased that Benoit has found his own voice and place, not trying to imitate Jon Anderson.
“Is This The Last Song I Write?” is a haunting and very beautifully crafted number about a man who is sensing and almost fearing the end of his life and his life’s-work. The story unfolds of a very lonely person the end result being ‘is that it?’ . Parallels here can be sought in the life of the Yes guitarist Peter Banks who recently passed away. He left no family and it took weeks for his affairs to be sorted out, in the end it was one of his fans who took control and worked with the coroner. A sad tale indeed. Clearly it is not always what it seems in the world of rock and roll and there can be lonely times.
‘A Perfect Day’ is reminiscent of the greatest Yes track from Fragile the ‘South Side of the Sky’, a chip of the old block Oliver Wakeman certainly is, but things were not like that as Oliver grew up. He has his father’s talent and genes but grew up independently. Oliver and Gordon give a neat interview about their partnership which can be found on You Tube video from backstage at the Trowbridge Arts Festival. Oliver informs us though that Rick was not always around n the early days and it was his Mother who pushed him to go to piano lessons. Oliver was playing excellent keyboards before Rick came back home.
We hear on “Credit Carnival” that ‘where religion has no hope, in the city of light, you are going home lonely tonight’ the subject matter juxtaposed by the fact that it is a very catchy number. “One For Billie” turns in to the finale “Ravens will Fly Away” which conjures up all the black spirits. There is always a danger that a famous father gets the musical credit and overshadows the offspring’s offering but here Oliver Wakeman writes interesting lyrics and one of the reasons that Gordon Giltrap wanted to work with him was because of the vitality and freshness that Oliver brings to projects.
“Ravens and Lullabies” is an album of modern social comment served in a dish of progressive rock styles mixed up from two mates, one on a continuing journey and one on a return ticket.
Review by Tim Price for Rockshot. April 2013.