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Keith Emerson

Crossover Prog

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Keith Emerson The Christmas Album album cover
2.88 | 24 ratings | 2 reviews | 17% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1988

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Troika (4:07)
2. Variations On O'Little Town Of Bethlehem (6:10)
3. We Three Kings (4:27)
4. Snowman's Land (4:43)
5. Captain Starship Christmas (3:41)
6. Aria-From Bach's Christmas Oratorio (4:24)
7. I Saw Three Ships (4:58)
8. Glorietta Part 1 (2:59)
9. Glorietta Part 2 (6:38)
10. Petites Litanies De Jesus (4:03)
11. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear (6:50)
12. Silent Night (4:36)

Total Time 57:42

Line-up / Musicians

- Keith Emerson / keyboards, arranger & producer

- Dudley Brooks / guitar, bass
- Les Moir / bass
- Frank Scully / drums
- Dave Bristow / drum programming
- Gary Moore / guitar (5)
- Ian Paice / drums (5)
- The West Park School Choir / chorus vocals (5)
- The London Community Gospel Choir / chorus vocals (12)

The actual instrumentation could not be fully confirmed at this moment

Releases information

Reworkings of traditional carols and classical pieces alongside some originals (tracks # 4,8,9)

LP Emerson Records ‎- KEITH LP 1 (1988, UK)

CD Emerson Records ‎- KEITH CD 1 (1988, UK)
CD Gunslinger Records ‎- GSR0472999 (1999, US) Remaster w/ 3 bonus tracks (# 1,8,9), new cover
CD Ear Music ‎- 0208447ERE (2012, Europe) As above

Thanks to Atavachron for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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KEITH EMERSON The Christmas Album ratings distribution

(24 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(12%)
Good, but non-essential (42%)
Collectors/fans only (25%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

KEITH EMERSON The Christmas Album reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Traditional Christmas music - particularly the seasonal carols sung in abbeys across Europe and Britain - is some of the most beautiful and emotional written. Gabriel's Message, Hector Berlioz's The Shepherds Farewell, Boris Ord's Adam lay-ye Bounden, movements of evangelic salvation sometimes composed by men not particularly religious but who admired the music of the Church. Hymns created to warm the soul and lift the spirits during assuredly cold and difficult winters, and to generate worship if only in song. It is that tradition we hear on this album echoing up from not only Keith Emerson's childhood but from centuries of a magnificent ecclesiastic legacy in music. There are better Christmas records to be sure and Keith's fondness for modern recording techniques doesn't always do these interpretations justice, but for those of us who just can't seem to shake our affinity for this crown prince of Prog, this is a very cool release on a par if not better than his first, Honky.

"One Christmas", Emerson recalls in the notes, "I sat at the piano and discovered amongst my manuscripts a book of carols that my eldest son, Aaron, had brought home from school. I began improvising on some of the themes. Most of the Christmas carols I first played around with had a typically simple folk structure. I tested myself first on O' Little Town of Bethlehem and discovered so much joy in turning such a simple theme into an epic, that I was to look for other seasonal material with which to work." That inspiration is what props-up the better work here, both in Emerson's rearrangements of trad. music and the cuts he penned, as 'Snowman's Land' and 'Glorietta'.

A much expanded version of 'Troika' is a surprising treat incorporating Prokofiev's theme in its entirety, complete with yelling Cossacks and a hot guitar. An enormous six-minute variation on O' Little Town is a real pleasure with all sorts of neat modifications including an elegant jazz piano section from Keith, plenty of rock rhythms, and closes on Gloria in Excelsis backed-up by a completely bitchin take on 'We Three Kings' as it thumps in and jazzes out. Killer stuff. Original track 'Snowman's Land' allows Emerson a platform for piano which he eagerly drinks-in all through this great little number, sistered by almost Tarkus-like 'Captain Starship Christmas' tarnished slightly with oration but saved by the urchins of the West Park School Choir. 'Aria' from Bach's Christmas Oratorio is quite good, 'I Saw Three Ships' is a perfectly recorded electronic trudge, and 'Glorietta' pts.1&2 is a neoclassical cathedral-filler that represents the Rosetta Stone of the record, delivering big concert hall sound, booming chord walls, and the skirl of the British Isles as it finishes huge. The show closes with 'It Came Upon a Midnight Clear' and a drowsy but beautiful gospel for 'Silent Night'.

The enjoyment time-lag for this album may be long but my pleasure with it grows exponentially each time, and it could be the perfect CD for a progster trapped at Holiday party forced to put on something wintry and seasonal but still prog. You say you didn't know Keith Emerson has a Christmas album? Well then Merry Christmas, one and all.

Latest members reviews

2 stars Keith Emerson makes a Christmas album with an 1980s sound. Does not sounds like a happy Christmas to me. It ain't. Keith Emerson does all instruments here and gets help from a children choir too. Pass me the sick bag, please. The rest is Keith Emerson playing keyboards over some pretty ... (read more)

Report this review (#257594) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Thursday, December 24, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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