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

WORKS VOL. 1

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

2.82 | 500 ratings

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Zitro
Prog Reviewer
3 stars This is the beginning of the downward slope of music quality for ELP. A double-disc album in which most of it are solo tracks from each musician. Emerson got his space to show off his skills and compose a fully classical piece. Greg Lake has his soft ballads, and Carl Palmer has some experimentation and jazz. The end of the album contains two songs where the whole band is joined to create new songs.

Emerson : I can say that his piano concerto is ambitious and must have took a while to put together. Also, it shows his great piano skills and that he's among the best keyboard players of all time. The downside is that it may focus a bit more on the showing off than on creating memorable melodies. Don't get me wrong, this is a pretty enjoyable suite, but I can't remember most of it afterwards. The highlight for me is the beginning of the third movement, it is full of intensity and anger. (C+)

Greg Lake : Greg Lake playing an acoustic ballad as a contrast of the heavy bombastic music of ELP worked well in previous albums, and I think too many ballads played one after the other doesn't work as well as a single ballad in a whole album, not to mention some lackluster songs in here. C'est la Vie is probably the strongest track here, with a huge orchestra and gorgeous vocals. Hallowed By Thy Name is the worst one, thanks to its dissonant string arrangements that are out of place. Nobdy Loves You Like I Do is an uninspired number that feels out of place, even in here. The rest are harmless mellow tunes that would would work well in a restaurant setting. (C-)

Carl Palmer : Songs from the drummer? you might expect him to just play a bunch of boring drum solos, but it's not as bad as you think, and borders a bit on the jazz-classical. "The Enemy God" will remind you that this is music you haven't heard before in ELP. A Heavily Orchestrated fast-paced song. "L A Nights" is also different, very jazzy and later like a rock & blues. New Orleans is a funky rocker with wah wah effects. Two Part Invention in D Minor is a bit unnecessary. It's him playing a xylophone/vibraphone while a subdued orchestra plays slowly some classical work. Food For Your Soul is a fast song with excellent drumming. As one reviewer put it, it sounds like a big band with steroids. Possibly the best song in here. His reinterpretation of "Tank" is different and probably as good as the original. It has a great jazzy arrangement in the first half and the second half is the expected bombastic side and Emerson takes a big role here. There is not even a drum solo here and I applaud him to be humble enough to not go showing off pointlessly in the Carl Palmer side. It makes me admire him more as a musician. (C+)

Band

Fanfare for the Common Band: an anthemic interpretation of a classical piece. Synths are heavily used, especially in the later sections. This song should have been 4-6 minutes long and it could have been a great ELP piece, as the beginning and middle of this song is really good. The song suffers the most near the end of the piece, when there is an UNBEARABLE synth sound that completely ruins the piece. A song with potential ruined by repetitiveness and an awful synthesizer sound in minute 6-8 and unpleasant synth at the last two minutes. (C-)

Pirates: This is quite a different ELP track that I'm used to, with the orchestra taking a bigger role than Keith Emerson himself. I have to admit that this epic is complex and I can't deny that there was ambition here, but I think it just feels a bit over the top and corny sometimes and lacks very memorable melodies and hooks, but it is still a successful track. (B-)

I recommend this album mostly to ELP fans. Casual fans and newcomers really shouldn't begin here. It is a bit indulgent sometimes (especially Emerson's "Concerto").

Zitro | 3/5 |

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