Emerson, Keith - Off The Shelf


Year of Release: 2006
Label: Sanctuary Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

Keith originally reviewed Honky, Off The Shelf, and At The Movies in a single review; they appear separately here - ed.

Three albums from Keith Emerson are now available, Honky, his first solo album, Off The Shelf, and At The Movies (three CD set). With the exception of Honky, all were very rare recordings that have become collectable over the years.

Emerson needs no introduction; his musical legacy is long and well documented. From his days with The Nice, ELP, and a continuingly productive solo career, I think it is safe to say the man has been nothing short of prolific.

Honky is an enjoyable solo retreat. Originally released in 1985, it is remastered for superior sound. Emerson had to keep putting off this solo album because the record companies would hear his material, comment how good it was, and then ask him to record it with Carl Palmer and Greg Lake. So instead of releasing it on a date in the 70s, which would seem to make more sense, when ELP was at their peak, it kept getting pushed out, finally all the way out to 1985. The question is, was it worth the wait. The answer is yes, if you happen to be a big fan of Emerson no matter what he does, and that happens to be yours truly. This was a fun listen; he takes a little bit of all of his influences, kicks back, and lets it all fly to see what happens. The result is a mixed bag of genres, and of course much of what you would not expect from the keyboard genius. Gone are all the complex and bombastic compositions, in there place are rollicking tunes full of some basic rock with some honky-tonk, rhythm and blues, and flat out blues. This may come as a disappointment for some and a welcome change for others. Emerson has always been ultra talented and is the accomplished music chameleon. Never is that fact more apparent than on his maiden solo voyage.

Off The Shelf is exactly what Keith Emerson says it is in the foreword to the liner notes, a veritable cornucopia of potpourri within an audio montage.

This is a collection of rare tracks that took years to see the light of day, much too long for such a creative and well-known artist such as Emerson. The people that show up on the recordings are as diverse as the genres covered-from Pat Travers and Cozy Powell to the London Symphony Orchestra.

You will hear jazz, jazz-fusion, rock, blues, you name it, and Emerson leaves nothing to chance, giving the listener a broad range of his tastes. The music he came to know and love, and which served him as the most influential in musical development, is what this recording is all about, along with seeing the artist in an entirely different musical space. Its no wonder he turned out to be one of the greatest keyboard players in the world, and not just in the realm of rock music. He stands far above the rest, landing with both feet firmly implanted in the elite club with people like Rick Wakeman.

I think most people familiar with his work will find this surprisingly good and refreshing because it is the unexpected, and what makes it so enjoyable is that you will hear quality music, not a bunch of throwaway tracks that Emerson never wanted to release. It is quite the contrary.

At The Movies is perhaps the most interesting of the three sets. They were all recorded specifically for movie soundtracks in three different countries. The approach and process for music like this is entirely different from any other that Emerson recorded in his career.

The 67 tracks are broken down in three disc and sections, U.S., Italian, and Japanese movies. Each disc is a reflection of the silver screen in each respective country. Surely, this had to be a daunting task to accomplish. Dealing with three completely different cultures and entertainment worlds had to be most challenging. It came as no surprise to me that Emerson was up for the challenge and relished the opportunity to create this music.

While all of it was good, and undeniably, the most different set of tracks I have ever heard from Emerson, they all had their own flair, style, and flavor, capturing the unique soundtrack element as needed within each entertainment culture. I have no idea how the music matched up with the corresponding films but I am sure it worked out well.

The Japanese set was the most energetic and Emerson like if you will, out of all the sets. The Japanese Godzilla themes and all the other famous B movie monsters are in need of typically eerie sci-fi like sounds, and who could be have done a better job than Emerson to provide the necessary atmospheres with his keyboard and synthesizer wizardry. The U.S. and Italian sets are less prog-like and focus on the more contemporary and classical sounds that Emerson so easily coaxes from his instruments.

Three sets of music from one of the most compelling keyboard players of our time is a lot to take in, but so very enjoyable. The thing about listening to all this music is how diverse and complex it is. Emerson is simply incredible and I am convinced there is not a style of music the man cannot make his own. The proof is right here in all three titles.


Tracklisting:
Abaddon's Bolero / Pictures At An Exhibition / And Then January / Rio / Straight Between The Eyes / Don't Be Cruel / Au Privave / Walter L / Rhythm-A-Ning / Asian Pear / Motor Bikin' / America / Lumpy Gravy / Up The Elephant And Around The Castle / Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll

Musicians:
Keith Emerson - keyboards, ?
Guests?

Discography:
The Nice - The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack (1967)
The Nice - Ars Longa, Vita Brevis (1968)
The Nice - Nice (1969)
The Nice - Five Bridges (1970)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - Emerson Lake and Palmer (1970/1983/1996)
The Nice - Elegy (1971/1975/1990)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - Tarkus (1971)
The Nice - Keith Emerson & The Nice (1972)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - Pictures At An Exhibition (1972)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - Trilogy (1972/198?/1996)
The Nice - Autumn To Spring (boxset) (1973)
The Nice - In Memoriam (1973)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery (1973/1983/1996)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends (1974)
The Nice - The Immediate Story (1975) The Nice - Keith Emerson With The Nice (1976)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - Works, Vol. 1 (1977)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - Works, Vol. 2 (1977)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - Love Beach (1978)
The Nice - Greatest Hits (1978)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - In Concert (1979)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - The Best Of Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1980)
Inferno (1980)
Nighthawks (1981)
Honky (1985/2006)
The Nice - Nice Collection (1985)
Emerson, Lake and Powell - Emerson, Lake and Powell (1986)
Best Revenge (1986)
Murderock (1986)
The Emerson Collection (1986)
3 - ... To The Power Of Three (1988)
Harmagedon (1987)
The Christmas Album (1988/1995)
The Manhattan Collection (1988)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - Black Moon (1992)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - Live At The Royal Albert Hall (1992)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - The Atlantic Years (1992)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - Works Live (1993)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - The Return Of The Manticore (Box Set) (1993)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - In The Hot Seat (1994)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - The Best Of Emerson, Lake and Palmer (1994)
The Nice - The Immediate Years (1995)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - Classic Rock (1995)
The Nice - America - The BBC Sessions (1996)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival (1997)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - King Biscuit Flower Hour: Greatest Hits Live (1997)
The Nice - The Best Of The Nice (1998)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - Then & Now (live) (1998)
The Nice - Here Come The Nice: The Immediate Anthology (2000)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - The Very Best Of Emerson, Lake and Palmer (2000)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - The Original Bootleg Series From Manticore Vaults, Volume 1 (2001)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - The Original Bootleg Series From Manticore Vaults, Volume 2 (2001)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - Live In Poland (2001)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - Show That Never Ends (2001)
The Nice - Swedish Radio Sessions (2002)
The Nice - Best Of Nice (2002)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - Live (2002)*
Emerson Lake and Palmer - Best Of The Bootlegs (2002)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - Solo Anthology (2002)
Emerson Lake and Palmer - The Original Bootleg Series From Manticore Vaults, Volume 3 (2002)
Absolutely The Best (2001) Emerson Plays Emerson (2002) La Chiesa (The Church) (2002)
The Nice - Vivacitas (Live In Glasgow 2002) (2003)
The Nice - America (2004)
Cream Of Emerson Soup
Soundtracks
Iron Man (TV)
Hammer It Out: The Anthology (2005)
Off The Shelf (2006)
At The Movies (2006)
(*this is of the Isle Of Wight festival, too.)

Genre: Various Genres

Origin UK

Added: May 21st 2006
Reviewer: Keith "Muzikman" Hannaleck

Artist website: www.keithemerson.com
Hits: 815
Language: english

  

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