Bobby Keys' self-titled debut is a bit of an odd beast. He's got one of the most amazing résumés in rock music as a sideman, so it's no surprise that there's quite a lineup on this album. Appearing are George Harrison, Jack Bruce, Ringo Starr, and possibly Eric Clapton, amongst many other famous players (proper credits would have been nice). Horn charts were by Keys' cohort Jim Price (who also played trumpet and keyboards) and the album was produced by Keys, Jim Gordon, and Andy Johns. It sounds great on paper, but the sound is more like backing tracks in search of a song, and only slightly more than a jam session with nice horn charts. It's not bad, it's just a bit disappointing. The liner notes indicate that the album took almost a year and suggest that Keys was not entirely into it. He only played live on one track ("Altar Rock") and it opens and closes as a bit of a proto-smooth jazz snoozer. Keys was also quick to note that the album was not the beginning of a solo career and kind of knocks his own playing. Of course, some people are better sidemen than bandleaders, but this was also a time of notorious partying (recording began after Keys, Price, and Nicky Hopkins wrapped up the Exile on Main St. tour). That said, the album isn't bad, just a bit on the slight side. The horn charts are great and there are some nice solos, particularly on guitar on what was once side two of the album. If you like the sound of the "Apple Jam" LP from All Things Must Pass (which also featured many of the players here), you'll probably like Bobby Keys.
AllMusic Review by Sean Westergaard