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Keith Emerson: Honky

Album Review

Shonky.

For all of his creative talent and his massive contribution to progressive music, Keith Emerson has also been responsible for more than his fair share of musical turkeys. In fact, a more cynical listener might accuse him of having cultivated a proverbial battery farm of near-unlistenable monstrosities. If this sleeve (which has the air of a Love Thy Neighbour-style howler you surely wouldn’t get away with in 2014) sets alarm bells ringing, then the music itself leaves you staring at your speakers agog and repeating to yourself, ‘Keith, just what were you thinking?!’

Released in 1982, Emerson’s debut solo record was recorded at Compass Point Studios, the same facility in the Bahamas at which ELP had blotted their copy book with the disastrous Love Beach some three years earlier. 

Playing-wise, Emerson remains, as ever, very impressive, but the record’s relaxed, carefree vibe is far too laconic. The alarmingly casual three-part Hello Sailor Suite (yes, really) is a nautical no-no that doffs its cap at ELP’s Pirates, with none of the latter’s drama or gravitas. 

Intro-Juicing, teams a Mrs Mills-style seafront romp complete with the cringe-inducing announcement, ‘Hi there, this is the magic fingers of Keith Emerson at the piano, bringing you songs, laughter and fun’. It should give an indication of its hideous awfulness.

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