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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Emerson Lake & Palmer CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.23 | 2126 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars There was a time when keyboard players got no respect. The music press was all Hendrix and Clapton and Page and Beck. And you know who that hot chick in the front row went back to the motel room with; it wasn't the keyboard player. Well, Keith Emerson set out to change all of that.

The opening shot was the first Emerson Lake and Palmer album (sorry, the Nice stuff, while admirable, doesn't count).

The intention is clear right from the beginning: we're a power trio and we don't need no stinkin' guitar player! The Barbarian (never mind that it was an uncredited ripoff of Bartok) is absolutely brutal hard rock. Lake and Palmer -- no strangers to strange bands -- are more than up to challenge. Take a Pebble shows a softer, more contemplative and even experimental side -- I don't think anyone had played a piano zither-style before. Then comes Knife-Edge, which is more flat-out, take-no-prisoners hard rock. Emerson and the band are shoving it down your throat.

With these three songs Emerson forever changed what would be expected of a rock keyboard player. It was no longer enough to be some competent mellotron player (e.g., Moody Blues), or organ power chord purveyor (e.g., Jon Lord of Deep Purple). No, you had best bring some chops to the table if you wanted to be counted among the best.

What was side two of the LP is a bit of a disappointment. The Three Fates hints at where ELP would eventually end up, and Tank is the obligatory drum bit. But Lucky Man is a great vehicle for Lake, and at the end Emerson lays a little moogie-woogie on the king of rock and roll.

The last half of this one runs out of gas, so I'll only give it a 4. However, do not underestimate the importance of this album: proof that a band with no lead guitarist could play devastating hard rock.

jammun | 4/5 |


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