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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Works Vol. 1 CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

2.90 | 696 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars Like Yes did in 1977, ELP returned from a career break of some 2 -3 years with a new album and a (slight) change of direction. The discreet black album cover, the B&W photo's, the very title - "Works, Volume One" - the concept for the double album being a side dedicated to the each member's solo works, then a side of new band material, and all with the support of a full orchestra. Depending on your view, either a show of great taste and restraint, showing "pop" musicians as the equal of anyone and breaking down barriers and labels; or else the height of pomposity; the ultimate show of arrogance by the band declared as "a waste of electricity" by the late John Peel.

The album kicks of with Keith Emerson's 1st (and so far only) Piano Concerto. I'm in two minds on this; on one hand I don't see the point of a piano concerto which even with my limited knowledge, I can tell is at best average compared to the work of the classical masters (I'm not aware of anyone else ever having performed the piece in public to a paying audience..??) . But despite this I can't deny I find it it's an enjoyable piece. My head says I shouldn't like it, but in my heart, I admire Emerson's ambition, and it's a good attempt. Strangely though, the CD puts all three movements on just one track.

Second side - Greg Lake. Oh dear. The weakest side of the album - if I don't hear "C'Est La Vie" ever again, it won't be too soon. Great voice, nice arrangements, but the tunes are weak; the exception being "Closer to Believing" that closes the side, a strong tune with some good orchestration. However, prog it ain't.

Next up is Carl Palmer, the best of the solo efforts. A real enthusiasm to the music, good arrangements, and great playing by Carl. Nice version of "Tank".

Finally on the studio album, the band tracks: "Fanfare for the Common Man" is just great, especially in the full length version here; "Pirates" - well I find I am in two minds again here; a grand idea, some smart lyrics by Pete Sinfield, but I feel it lacks something because of ELP's insistence on using the orchestra. Their earlier meisterworks like "Tarkus" are more impressive. But nonetheless, it's an enjoyable romp.

Finally there are some bonus tracks, three live numbers from their Works tour at 1978; now I was really looking forward to these but the quality of recording is poor. A shame - "Tank" sounds brilliant (or would sound brilliant, if you could hear it properly!).

Sp it's not a great album, it doesn't live up to the band's ambitions, but it is nonetheless enjoyable - in places. 3 stars.

Phil | 3/5 |


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