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Keith Emerson - Keith Emerson Band featuring Marc Bonilla CD (album) cover

KEITH EMERSON BAND FEATURING MARC BONILLA

Keith Emerson

 

Crossover Prog

3.56 | 75 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Miles away from Honky!

We all know Keith Emerson from The Nice in the 60's and as one third of ELP in the 70's. Here he is again attacking his array of keyboards as a leader of his own band, The Keith Emerson Band. This band appears to be primarily a duo with singer and guitarist Marc Bonilla. The sound of this album is clearly modelled on that of ELP. But there is also a strong hard rock/AOR influence due to the vocals and electric guitar work of Bonilla. Keith's keyboard playing is as it should be, very distinctive and instantly recognizable.

The first 15 tracks together make up a suite called The House Of Ocean Born Mary which is based on a ghost story that both Keith and Bonilla had read as children. This epic is up to par with Pirates from Works Vol. 1 and An Officer And A Gentleman from Love Beach but clearly not up to par with Tarkus or the masterpiece Karn Evil 9. The remaining four tracks are independent songs which I find slightly less good compared to the epic one. Gametime is an embarrassing honky-tonk piano song in the category of Are You Ready Eddie? which should have been left off the album in my opinion.

The vocals of Bonilla often remind me of John Wetton and his guitar work is a very nice complement to Emerson's keyboards. This presence of electric guitar is something I often found missing in ELP's music. Bass and drums complete the band and everything is played with skill.

In my opinion this album is not as good as ELP's comeback album from the 90's, Black Moon. But with the exception of Black Moon, which is an album I like a lot, this album is the best Keith Emerson had done since Brain Salad Surgery in 1973, which is more than 30 years ago! We should be happy that ELP's swansong - the weak In The Hot Seat - was not to be the last we heard from Keith Emerson. Needless to say The Keith Emerson Band album is miles away from his catastrophic first solo album, Honky.

The DVD that comes with the CD is an interesting look behind the scenes during the creation of the album and also feature a some nice live footage.

Recommended to fans of ELP - good, but not essential for everyone else.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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