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Keith Emerson - Hammer It Out - The Anthology CD (album) cover


Keith Emerson

Crossover Prog

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The Pessimist
4 stars This album is fantastic in its own way. Sure enough, Emerson's skill is shown remarkably in this large compilation of songs, even more so than with ELP (the piano improv). There is a downside to the compilation however: there is no real entertainment value in the songs, and the majority of them have no prog traits whatsoever, therefore i only recommend it to people who want their faces melted off, not for the people whom are looking for a decent prog album.

Emerson is absolutely incredible however, and for those that underrate his skills, i would like you all to listen to possibly all of these songs.

Report this review (#140855)
Posted Friday, September 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is quite a similar case as was the GREG LAKE 2-disc retrospective I reviewed earlier this year. Neither of these ELP guys can be proud of their solo careers, and both compilations include for the major part material originally released under the name Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Emerson's solo discography consists mostly of some soundtrack albums, live albums, a Christmas album and, as perhaps his most serious one, "Emerson Plays Emerson" from 2002 (the title certainly tries to refer to the world of Classical music).

Again, it's more than likely that an average listener already has (heard) plenty of ELP, and some NICE too (Emerson's band before ELP), which probably directs a great deal of one's expectations towards the solo stuff represented - and paves way for a disappointment. I have never been much of an ELP fan, but very often their different talents together resulted as "more than the sum of its parts" as the saying goes. For example 'Take a Pebble' from their eponymous debut is gorgeous, and nothing as great as that is heard here, I think, because of the all-too-plain attempt to exclude tracks featuring Greg Lake's vocals. In fact, a big part of the ELP stuff heard here is simply some of the most irritating ELP stuff. Virtuosity wins over musical values. By the way, I nearly hate similar field in the Art Music too (Paganini's virtuoso violin pieces give me the creeps!). And unfortunately his solo material basically offers more of the same.

The opening little piece is merely a curiosity, showing Keith aged 14. One of the more interesting tracks is 'Lament for Tony Stratton Smith' (if it's composed and premiered in the memory of that late great mind of the Charisma label, it's 1987, then why it's placed amidst 60's NICE stuff in an otherwise chronological set? Some other tracks too miss the year info, albeit Keith gives a few words on most tracks). Sadly during its 8 minutes it goes worse than the first half of it. Also 'Main Title' from a film Inferno starts nicely but turns into his usual clichés.

A couple of tracks from the aforementioned Emerson Plays Emerson album are among the highlights (if that word can be used here at all), but they both are under three minutes long. Musically the best moments in this compilation come close to Baroque keyboard music played by piano. But then again: I prefer listening to the real music of Johann Sebastian Bach. And the same advice goes to all of you.

Report this review (#476092)
Posted Tuesday, July 5, 2011 | Review Permalink

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