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Keith Emerson

Honky

Review by Gary Hill

This album from Keith Emerson was recorded in the Bahamas. It definitely stretches out from the traditional progressive rock one expects from Emerson. Of course, if you really pay attention to his musical excursions – even in the heart of ELP songs – it’s obvious his influences cover a pretty wide range. This disc might not be the most purely progressive thing he’s ever released. It also might not grab the listener on the first spin. The thing is, it’s quite a cool disc.

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Track by Track Review
Hello Sailor Intro

The first parts here are set very much in a mellow fusion kind of sound. As it grows there are some distinctly Emerson-like passages. There are some hints of rock music here, but overall this stays pretty close to the mellow fusion territory.

Bach Before the Mast
Classically styled piano opens this and the piece is very much in a classical motif. Multiple keyboard lines work around one another. It’s quite old-worlde in texture. It’s also quite strong.
Hello Sailor Finale
We definitely get a lot more rock and a more full arrangement here. This has some killer fusion in the lines of melody that develop. It’s a great piece that has hints of ELP, but a lot of other things, too.
Salt Cay
Now, this bouncy little jam really does feel like something that would have fit well on an ELP album. The keyboards really drive it. It’s got a lot of groove and style and some jazz and funk built into it.
Green Ice
Keyboards start this with a very jazzy kind of sound. The cut works out to a fast paced jam that maintains that jazzy vibe but adds classical and definite ELP-like sounds. It gets bouncy and playful at times and has some jazzy vocals.
Intro-Juicing
With a sung and spoken vocal, this playful number is short (less than a minute). It’s obviously tongue-in-cheek and has an old-time music vibe.
Big Horn Breakdown

Another cut that’s quite playful, there is a lot of Western saloon music built into this thing.

Yancey Special
This little number almost feels related to the previous one. It’s got more of a serious jazz meets rock tone to it, though. It’s a killer cut that is one of the best here. Even though it’s more thoughtful and serious than the previous tune, it still has plenty of fun built into it.
Rum-a-Ting
Island sounds are prevalent on this. There is also almost a disco vibe at times. Still, I’d consider this more along the lines of fusion than I would anything else.
Chickcharnie
Bouncy and fun, this is quite a rocking little number. It’s another that feels quite a bit like it would have been reasonably at home on an ELP album.
Jesus Loves Me

This has a weird introduction. Then it gives way to another bouncing kind of jam like we’ve heard on a lot of the set. There are lots of soulful vocals on this jam, though. That separates it from a lot of the rest of the stuff here.

 

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