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Keith Emerson - Honky CD (album) cover

HONKY

Keith Emerson

 

Crossover Prog

2.84 | 36 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Atavachron
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The response Keith Emerson got when he suggested to Greg Lake and Carl Palmer that they do a version of 'The Sailor's Hornpipe' was lukewarm at best. And who can blame two of the greatest rock musicians in history for their misgivings... what was Keith thinking? But mostly because of Emerson's rare talents and even rarer inspirations, he knew exactly what he was doing. Silly? Perhaps, but also a great example of musical decontruction and reinterpretation, something ELP had done many times with classical in their meteoric career. Consequently, this project became Emerson's first solo record.

Able to draw out the musicality and warp the structure of the composition, Emerson slices this absurd ditty into pieces and finds some gold there, re-attaching things like patchwork but in the most inventive, strange and funny way, and breathing some life into this tired old novelty of a song. The opening is sheer Emersonian piano heaven with him doing a full Bach treatment of the main theme, George Malcom's 'Bach Before the Mast', sounding at peak form. From there we bounce right in to this rolling and rocking sea chantey with some sweet organ from Keith and a nice horn section. 'Salt Cay' funks with gospel charm and Caribbean flavor, 'Green Ice' is a slick rock fusion number that was written (and unused) as a film theme with some slippery piano work, and Keith's old joke radio spot makes an appearance. Barroom humor abounds for the next few cuts before we're treated to 'Rum-A-Ting', a good little prog number, and things are wrapped-up with a reprise of the main tune.

The album does suffer from weak parts that don't support the theme and are just plain uninteresting but overall, especially for those keen on Emerson's post-ELP work, this is a really neat project. There have been at least three different releases of this CD; avoid the original pressing and find one of the remasters on Sanctuary or Gunslinger, they also have a better track order which makes a big difference.

Atavachron | 3/5 |

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