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Keith Emerson - Off The Shelf CD (album) cover


Keith Emerson


Crossover Prog

3.03 | 18 ratings

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3 stars Off the Shelf is an interesting package of different recordings Keith has collected from over the years. Most of these have been bootlegged before but here you get them in a cleaned up nicely mastered package. An inclusion of Abaddon's Bolero recorded by an orchestra along with Keith on synthesizer is pretty good. (I still chuckle when Greg Lake's bass line goes from cello to tuba.) Along with that there is a studio demo version of Pictures at an Exhibition that is all Keith going through the first 3 movements. There is also a great rendition of America featuring Keith and Pat Travers!

The music has a variety of musicians including The Nice, Cozy Powell, Ian Wallace, John Hiseman, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Simon Phillips, Aynsley Dunbar, Barbara Thompson, and Ron Aspery The Nice's piece is a vintage live radio recording of them doing Frank Zappa's Lumpy Gravy. The rest are recordings Keith has recorded for a lot of different projects. Some like And then January and Asian Pear showing off Keith's vulnerable side of emotions. Others like Walter L give us a blistering Jimmy Smith organ and synth jazz trio. Some straight R&R pieces Straight Between the Eyes and Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll as well as a song that makes me think Benny Hill and some large chested females are going to explode out my media player called Up the Elephant and Round the Castle round out the collection.

These kinds of CD's are a way for an artist to put closure on things that have hung around for years and most of the time these things were left off for very good reason. I really think that there is enough here to interest a person into Keith's work whether you are new to his music or not. . A good balance of the ELP prog rock of yore and Keith's love of Jazz, Classical, Romantic and Rock and Roll to his fun side ensures a something for everyone package. Keith wasn't trying to create another Tarkus here just complete some unfinished business. If you have an interest in Keith's solo music this is not a bad place to start. 3 stars.

Garion81 | 3/5 |


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