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Honky

3.4 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 27, 2000
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 27, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Gunslinger Records
  • ASIN: B00004S7M4
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #814,251 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Emerson recorded HONKY in the Bahamas and in 1983 it was the second LP released on his Chord label. The first, in 1981, had been NIGHTHAWKS. Neil Symonette (drums) and Kendall Stubbs (bass), who assist him here, had also worked on that film score project. This is a good album and belongs in every Emerson fan's collection. For me the highlights are the 3-part "Hello Sailor" suite and "Chickcharnie", an instrumental version of "Nighthawking".

Some thoughts on the tracks:

1) "Hello Sailor Intro", 2) "Bach Before the Mast" and 3) "Hello Sailor Finale" - The main body of the suite is "Bach Before the Mast", a Bach-style fugue by British harpsichord virtuoso, George Malcolm (1917-1997), based upon the traditional English melody, "Sailor's Hornpipe". The "hornpipe" tune is instantly recognizable from its use in the old Popeye cartoons. Emerson performs Malcolm's active and slightly humorous fugue very cleanly and energetically on piano. The Intro is an understated and leisurely tease of a duet with the bass. The Finale is a series of variations for keyboard, guitar, sax, bass and drums. The whole thing is brilliant.

4) "Salt Cay" - a happy little rocker reminiscent in places of Caribbean music. Its coda, a simple melodic couplet of alternating I and V is almost half the length of this track, fading out after more than a dozen iterations. With synths, organ, bass and drums, this is a BRAIN SALAD SURGERY type of sound.

5) "Green Ice" - a mechanical and angular I IV V exercise.

6) "Intro-Juicing" - not a music track; just a few seconds of KO clowning around at a radio station mike.

7) "Big Horn Breakdown" - by Billy Taylor. Piano, bass, drums and kazoo (kazoo?!) do a kind of music hall tune.
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Format: MP3 Music
This album took awhile for me to warm up to, but I think there are some interesting tracks and one treasure on this quirky album. The album is eclectic to say the least, but what amounts to mostly noodling for most of the album is redeemed in the track "Chickcharnie". This upbeat number sets itself up as Keith vs. Rhythm Section, and not to outdo one another, they create a delightful tension with the meter and Keith commands some precision playing and a great piano solo to finish out with.

This is not an album you'll "get" immediately, but with it's calypso, gospel, honky tonk, boogie woogie, and some straight up goofy tracks and influences, it's a "fun" album short on ego and demonstrates a mastery of his craft and talent.
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Format: Audio CD
I bought the vinyl version of this around the summer of 1983. Lighthearted and fun is the best way to describe. The Caribbean influence is all over this thing, which keeps it from becoming 'heavy' like much of ELP's previous output.

Emerson plays a variety of keyboards - piano, the GX1, MiniMoog, and the reliable Hammond. Upon listening to this album fully for the first time in over 30 years, I was struck by how much Hammond (Salt Kay) and straight out Piano (several tracks) are included. More so than on any ELP album since Brain Salad Surgery. The GX1 gets its best workout on Rum-a-Ting. I'm glad Chickcharnie was added to the CD, as it was not on my original vinyl. To my ears, Rum-a-Ting and Chickcharnie are the closest in sound to where ELP should have gone musically had they stayed together and not gone to Love Beach for a disastrous vacation.
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Format: Audio CD
I have been an avid ELP fan/listener for over 30 years. I recently purchased this CD, having only heard one song from it before deciding to buy. I felt it was really an infusion of something fresh and new to go with my other works by Keith Emerson and ELP. The songs on the CD really mesmerized me and the amazing God-given gift Keith has for composing and playing are very evident. I have Emerson music from the late 60s all the way to 2002 and I have to say that this title really stands out with some of the other classics by Keith.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
warning - there are quite a lot of "skips" in the MP3 download of this album. The album itself is a decent effort, probably 3.5 stars, but I'm giving it 2 stars because quite a number of songs have sizable "skips" or other audible data errors which is not appropriate. Note - this is not just a download problem as the errors are present on the "Amazon Cloud Player" etc. Track 8 (Yancey Special) is particularly bad; and you can even hear an example "skip" on the preview here!
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Format: Audio CD
This may be Keith's most off-beat album; mostly instrumental piano work, including a few classics, and some joking around on a radio station. However, this particular reissue needlessly has a few tracks rearranged, which does nothing to "improve" the album. Seek out a more recent version on Castle Records, which is not only closer to the original LP, but has a bonus track "Chic Charnie" (actually an instrumental version of "Nighthawking") added.
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Format: Audio CD
This was Emerson's first solo album recorded after the demise of Emerson Lake And Palmer following the ill fated "Love Beach" album. Like "Love Beach", "Honky" was written and recorded in the Bahamas. There is heavy island influence on this album and the majority of the tracks reflect tropical / nautical themes. Unfortunately the album suffers from some of the same problems that plagued "Love Beach". The music, although not terrible, does not really stand out either. The opening 3 tracks "Hello Sailor (intro)", "Bach Before The Mast" and "Hello Sailor (finale)" all sound like they could fit on an ELP album, but none of them are all that good. In fact some of the playing almost sounds like it is off time in spots. I assume this was intentional, but it does not really work to my ears. The rest of the album is a mix of honky tonk piano, Hammond organ solo's and a bit of gospel thrown in as well. Again, it is all ok and pleasant, but nothing here would I consider essential. The album is instrumental for the most part with a few quick spoken word segments and a gospel choir accompanying the finale "Jesus Loves Me". I understand what Emerson was trying to get across on this album, but to my ears it only partially works. For the ELP completest I would probably only pick this one up after getting the entire ELP catalogue (with the possible exception of "Love Beach" and "In The Hot Seat").
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