LET'S face it, compilation albums are generally considered to be seriously uncool and I know many ‘serious’ music fans who would never consider (or admit to) buying one.

The dubious reputation of the compilation can be traced back decades to those extremely dodgy K-Tel budget “20 Original Hits” albums of the early 70s. At least they boasted the original artists. Earlier compilations were made up of cover versions recorded by session musicians.

The dark art of the compilation album is perpetuated today by the cynically marketed collections released just before events such as Father’s Day (“The Ultimate Dad Rock Album”) aimed at people who buy their gifts at the local garage as they fill up with petrol on the way home from work. No doubt there will be the usual batch of Christmas compilations lined up for release any time now.

Are my prejudices showing?

Actually, you may be surprised to learn, I’ve grown to love the compilation thanks to the excellent releases by the BBC in recent years.

My guilty pleasure began with the purchase of collections of the Beeb’s excellent archive material such as Led Zeppelin’s BBC Sessions.

It continued with my enjoyment of the Jools Holland & Friends albums and the Radio 1 Live Lounge series.

The great thing about these recordings was that they featured artists doing stripped down versions of their own songs or unusual covers of other people’s material, often performed live. What’s not to like about Sugababes doing an Arctic Monkeys song?

The Piano Room appeals for the same reasons and is a hugely enjoyable collection of ‘timeless and melodic’ musical gems.

In November 2010 Elton John gifted the BBC one of his pianos, a Yamaha DC7, to thank them for their support over his career and to inspire other artists.

Since then, Elton’s famous piano has been used in many live BBC performances and ‘The Piano Room’ became a regular feature on Ken Bruce’s Radio 2 morning show. Now the BBC has put together some of the best ones on this album.

Whereas many compilation albums are constructed with little care, The Piano Room has obviously been a labour of love for the Radio 2 team and they have put together a fine collection of piano orientated music by some of the world’s greatest songwriters and artists as well as a few newer performers.

The 34 tracks feature names such as Ed Sheeran, Paul McCartney, Emili Sande, Gregory Porter, Sting and Ellie Goulding. They are recorded live singing their own and other artist’s material with the minimum of instrumentation.

Unusual cover versions on the album include Ed Sheeran singing David Gray’s This Year’s Love and Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott’s take on Here I Go Again, originally by Whitesnake.

Even when artists perform their own, very familiar, songs they do so with a twist of originality that makes for interesting listening. McCartney’s treatment of Lady Madonna is one example.

I enjoyed The Piano Room immensely and will no doubt play it often when in the mood for some mellow keyboard sounds.

I recommend the album to all music lovers, especially those who tend to tune into Radio 2 rather than Radio 1. It might even make a good Christmas gift for mom or dad. Look out for it at the garage next time you’re filling up the car.