Robert berry’s latest effort through Magna Carta Records is a compilation of his contributions on several tribute albums that the record label had done in the past. This compilation is appropriately titled Prime Cuts, showcasing his talents of reworking some classic works of Yes, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Rush and ELP. He rearranges songs such as Roundabout into a fresh sounding new song without taking away the original vibe. He also does a similar treatment to Jethro Tull’s Minstrel In the Gallery and the Genesis classic Watcher of the Skies. All these have an updated sound that pays homage to the originals. One song that remained faithful to the original without any “Berry-isng” was Pink Floyd's Brain Damage but it’s still enjoyable.
Other songs from Magna Carta tributes include, Karn Evil 9 - 1st Impression and Different Strings. Both have Berry’s winning touch all over it, just like Roundabout, Minstrel in the Gallery & Watcher of the Skies. All of which are highlights in my opinion. Another cover song Robert did which was previously unreleased was his take on Ambrosia’s Live Beyond LA.
Also on prime Cuts are tracks from Robert’s 2001 solo album A Soundtrack For The Wheel of Time is an instrumental called Winespring Reel and A There For The Wheel of Time. Both have a Celtic feel throughout. Another non tribute release is Carol Of The Bells from the December People album, Sounds Like Christmas.
This is a fantastic compilation for fans of Robert Berry, who may not want to have the full albums from which these tracks are from. One thing about this compilation is a very insightful bonus video, “In the Studio with Robert Berry”. For my money this guy takes all the best things about progressive music and rocks it out. I would highly recommend this CD to fans of the more melodic and assessable side of progressive rock.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on June 8th, 2006