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


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

2.95 | 877 ratings

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3 stars On the Rhino release of Brain Salad Surgery there is a 13 minute making of audio track. I am quoting the first comment by Keith Emerson from that track "ELP were three very competitive individuals not only in music but a lot of other respects as well. When the competition was friendly everyone would be receptive when it wasn't, frankly it was hell. Brain Salad Surgery I think was created at a time when everyone was at their most receptive level and it hadn't been easy getting there. No ELP album was ever easy in the making and BSS was the last real ELP album to be made before I embarked on an Orchestral crusade if you can call it that."

Boy, I cannot describe them any better than that. People want to throw egos and excess but if you put three highly competitive people together they all want o have control and they all want to win. It seems that other ELP albums they had a more higher common purpose but not with this one. I really feel rather than taking a break ELP had split up after BSS and subsequent tours. Maybe they should have because they never truly reached that height again or found that common purpose again. This album is perfect example of how Emerson's statement is so true. They all got a side they could control and felt they won and then got together for a very disjointed 'band' side of the album.

Certainly Emerson had wanted to do a concerto for some time as the 2nd Impression of Karn Evil 9 was an aborted attempt at the time. But Keith isn't that kind of composer and while he has the chops to play one or with a lot help create one it isn't his best field. This a two star side.

Lake was always a pop star wanting to get out and now he had the chance. The bad songs are really bad but a couple of songs are really good. Cest la Vie, which was the major single form the record and Closer to Believing with some great orchestrations and vocals with inspiring lyrics. 2 stars

Carl Palmer's side was a showcase of Carl playing in different styles. Sort of an audio drum clinic if you will. Still several tracks stand out here the Prokofiev and Bach renditions are great and Food For the Soul invokes images of Buddy Rich's big band followed by remake of Tank in jazz style with great orchestrations. 3 stars

The Band side is just a contrast in style as the two songs presented here couldn't be more different. The Copeland adaptation of Fanfare for the Common Man was done in one take (at Greg Lakes request. As the producer he got his way and maybe why he never again would be producer) which explains its sparsness and lack of format. This one came together much better on subsequent live recordings. Then we have the over produced Pirates which throws a little of everything into mix including Keith's Hammond B3 which makes its only appearance on the record. This again was an aborted piece Keith had worked as it was started as a soundtrack for a movie that fell through. Truly the piece does have a soundtrack feel and the highly crafted Lyrics by Sinfeld and Lake really fit each nuance of the piece. Not great but not bad either 3 stars.

So to sum this up this album is not for ELP newbies but fans of the band could glean some things out it so I hesitate to give this 3 stars but it is better than Love Beach so I will have to say three stars.

Garion81 | 3/5 |


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