[ SHORT REVIEWS - LIST | DETAILED REVIEWS
(42:09; Purple Pyramid Records)
Back in the 90’s there was a succession of albums released, often with the same culprits involved, paying tribute to one band or another. These albums tended to be interesting to fans of the original, often with a couple of stand out tracks, and quite a few which left the listener wondering what was really the point of it all? As soon as I started playing this, I found myself thinking back to those releases as this is similar in just so many ways. Billy Sherwood has produced the album and brought everyone together, and it includes the talents of artists such as Todd Rundgren, Larry Fast (Peter Gabriel), Martin Turner (Wishbone Ash), Sonja Kristina (Curved Air), Geoff Downes (Yes/Asia), Derek Sherinian (Dream Theatre), and Arthur Brown plus a very special performance from Emerson’s son Aaron and grandson Ethan. Actually, the album starts off very well, and I was somewhat surprised, as the first three songs in particular are handled with respect as they stay true to the original yet also lift the songs into something new. Two of these are possibly the best on the album, namely “A Time And A Place” (Leslie Hunt & Derek Sherinian) and “The Sheriff” (Billy Sherwood & David Sancious). How on earth Hunt ever ended up on American Idol is beyond me, as she is so much better than the vast majority of singers who follow that path, and here she demonstrates all the power and finesse one has to come to expect from her with District 97. After that it becomes far more hit and miss, as while Jon Davidson puts into a much better performance than I would ever have expected from him on “C’est La Vie”, his voice just does not contain the breadth and depth to really carry it off. Sonja Kristina has long been one of my favourite singers, but she never really controls “Still.. You Turn Me On”, and while “Karn Evil #9 1st Impression Part 2” has a wonderful display from Jordan Rudess, Arthur Brown suffers. Martin Turner shows he is still a fine singer, and I wish he and Andy would patch up their differences as based on his performance on “Lucky Man” with Geoff Downes he would have made a major difference to the latest Wishbone Ash album. This is another highlight for me, as is “Fanfare For The Common Man” where the Emersons show how to carry on where Keith left off. A special mention should also be made of the bonus song, only available on the CD, of The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performing “ELP Suite: Tarkus / From The Beginning / Tarkus (Reprise)”. If you are a fan of Keith and Greg, then this is something which is interesting as opposed to essential.
[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]