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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Tarkus CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.06 | 1881 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Let's agree not talk about the amateurish album cover art, which has to be, to this day, amongst the worst ever created. It's sad: Yes, and for God's sake even Uriah Heep, had Roger Dean and his surreal 'scapes. ELP had this crap. Fortunately, there's the music...

The twenty-minute title track is about as good as prog ever got. Ya want some 5/4 rhythm ya got it, and they make it sound so effortless, just another little song they're playing for us. If you had a chance to see them live during this era, you know it WAS effortless. Man, were ELP dealing. Emerson's percussive C3 just drives the songs, Lake is as good a bass player as there was at the time, and Palmer is no slouch. A pompous critic would say something like 'this is arguably the first extended prog masterpiece." I'll forgo the 'arguably' and state, this is the first extended prog masterpiece.

As Hendrix was to the Stratocaster, Emerson was to the Hammond, but not merely in terms of mastery of the instrument. Emerson unleashes the catalogue of sounds that every organ player henceforth would strive to duplicate. It's that innovative, and that good. And it's that hard to duplicate, because not every Hammond player had Rocky as a keyboard tech. There's more synth on Tarkus than on the first album, but still it's the Hammond that dominates. I hadn't listened to this in a while, and it's my loss.

Unfortunately, as is common with ELP albums, things flag a bit on what was the second side of the LP. Jeremy Bender is fun, but nothing special. The Only Way is Emerson's obligatory pipe organ thang. But Time and a Place is ball-crushing hard rock in the vein of Knife-Edge from the debut. But basically most of this is filler -- wouldn't do to release a one-sided LP.

Once again, only a 4. But you wouldn't want to be without this one.

jammun | 4/5 |


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