Live From California
This is an odd one. A brief, live collaboration between Keith Emerson, Glenn Hughes and guitarist Marc Bonilla, this live recording has been available illegally for years now, but has finally received a belated, official release.
Marc Bonilla was the common link between Emerson and Hughes, having worked with them both over the years. And, fact fans, he also played with David Coverdale when Whitesnake were on hiatus. So when he finally persuaded them to perform together, it was only natural that he would use his then band, Dragonchoir, as the foundation for the live performances.
And it's really rather good. It's a top quality recording, much better than the "unofficial" version I'd heard, and it's certainly interesting hearing the name musicians stepping out of their comfort zones. But, and it's a big but, are they really? I mean Glenn Hughes doesn't appear until the fourth track, 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale', as he isn't actually playing bass here. And despite Emersons lead credit, there's also Ed Roth credited with keyboards, so you really do start to wonder whether this is actually a collaboration at all.
The Bonilla written tracks are the weakest, so ELP fans will skip right on to 'Hoedown', 'Nutrocker' and 'Tarkus'. Glenn Hughes does a good job on 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale', but it's the cover of the Allman Brothers Band 'Dreams' that is the real gem, with Hughes pulling out all the stops. Although, the less said about the sole writing collaboration between Hughes, Emerson and Bonilla, 'Middle Of A Dream', the better.
You'd also better be careful if you decide to buy this, as the American version only has eight tracks, as opposed to the European ten track version, although the opening two tracks on the Euro edition aren't essential by any means. I'd have enjoyed this a lot more if I wasn't being so cynical about the extent of the actual collaboration, but it's still an enjoyable, if inessential release.
review: Stuart A Hamilton
Boys Club / Live From California is available to buy from the dpas online store