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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Works Vol. 2 CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

2.44 | 724 ratings

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Easy Money
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Although there is some weak material on this record, there are also some really good tracks that any fan of this band could enjoy. This album followed the extremely boring Works Vol I, so I think a lot of people just assumed this album would be worse. Although some of these songs might be out takes from Vol I, a lot of them sound like they came from the Brain Salad album sessions when the band was at their peak. Probably the main reason that most of these songs didn't get put on a "regular" album is because they are in styles not normally associated with ELP, but that is what makes this album so interesting.

If some of the bad tracks were edited out this could be a great EP. Three of the tracks feature Emerson playing his good-timey honky tonk piano schtick that sounds like a Shakey's Pizza Parlor nightmare in 1970s suburban America. I don't understand why someone would want to put tacks in the felt hammers of a piano and ruin one of the best sounding instruments in the world. There are also two Lake ballads that are mediocre, including a cover of Irving King's Show Me the Way to Go Home. Everything else on this album is interesting if not great.

Tiger in a Spotlight starts as a piano rocker that gets more intense as Emerson brings in some crazy synth sounds. Towards the end of the song they sound a bit like early Roxy Music. When the Apple Blossoms ... is a great semi-funky odd metered bit of synth driven futuristic lounge jazz. It sounds like Tank from their first album. This is a style that brings out the best in ELP. The big suprise on side one is Bullfrog. This is the only ELP song I know of with a sax player. It starts off with an Ornette Coleman styled high speed stop-start unison melody line. The next section is Miles influenced hard rock jazz. After this they go back to the melody and then head into polyrhythms and strange synth sounds, they almost sound like Sun Ra at this point. The next song, Brain Salad Surgery starts off like a heavy jazz fusion number and then becomes a harsh rocker with Lake sounding a lot like Keith's old band mate Lee Jackson.

Side two kicks off with the very ambitious So Far to Fall. This song contains almost an albums worth of material. Strange Beefheart styled rock, avant-jazz and big band blues with Lake on vocals all find their way into this bizarre song that almost "works".Next we get Close but not Touching which is fun 70s style chase scene soundtrack music complete with horns and a psychedelic guitar solo from Lake. Finally we get to Father Christmas. This is one of the finest ballads to come from the inconsistent pens of Lake and Sinfield. Written to sound like a Christmas carol the words deal with a young person growing up to challenge his childish beliefs. For anyone who has ever had any problems with Christmas, this song is like a ray of sunshine in the middle of winter. The song closes with the Kafkaesque line, "the Christmas we get, we deserve".

If you can get past the bad songs there is plenty on this album for fans of this band to like. If you don't like ELP, at least check out Bullfrog. You won't believe it is them.

Easy Money | 3/5 |


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