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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Tarkus CD (album) cover

TARKUS

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

4.04 | 1258 ratings

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infandous
4 stars This was the first ELP album I owned, though I actually heard Brain Salad first. I can't argue with other reviewers who feel that the Tarkus suite is the highlight of this album. Without a doubt it is one of, if not the, best things they ever did. Fantastic instrumental sections that leave you breathless, Lake's best lyrics sung when he was in his prime, even a good guitar solo by him in Battlefield. And Palmer, well, I just don't know how he can play so incredibly tight and perfect at such speeds and such rhythmic complexity. The suite is definitely the best part.

For myself however, I think the second half of the album comes close. Okay, so Jeremy Bender is pretty lame. At least it's really short. And Are You Ready Eddie? is a boogie woogie type number that seems to be relating some sort of inside joke. It's the kind of thing that you would expect would have shown up many years later on a box set as a rarity or outtake, not something you would finish an album with. So I deduct a star for those two songs, fair enough.

But Bitches Crystal is a fantastic song with some of Emerson's best keyboard soloing in the middle. Fantastic vocals and very interesting and complex bass line on top of Palmer's incredible drumming. One of my favorite ELP songs. In hindsight, the lyrics for The Only Way are quite overdone and immature sounding. But when I was 19 years old, I loved them. And the music and vocal melody are excellent on this song. The coda piece to this song, Infinite Space is an interesting rhythmic exercise that I still think is great, even if it's not at the level of the title suite of the album. A Time And A Place is not a terrible strong song I admit, but it isn't bad either. I can listen to it and enjoy it, even if it doesn't leave the kind of impression the other, better, tracks leave. Hey, it's better than Jeremy Bender and the song that follows it anyway.

I agree that if the whole album was to the level of the Tarkus suite, it would be 5 stars for sure. But I still think it deserves a solid 4, because the other material (excepting the two "joke" numbers) is really quite good as well. This was ELP quickly approaching their peak and working towards that peak (BSS).

infandous | 4/5 |

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