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


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

2.94 | 793 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars This is regarded by the musical press as the pinnacle in self indulgence in ELP's career. But if you close your Rolling Stone magazine for a while you may realize this is a good album sharing moments of brillance like ELP's golden period and uninspired ones. The fact is in 1977 prog was no longer the center of attention of the press and the radios and people were eager in finding more simple music , this may be the reason this double album was so bashed at the time.

One of the main faults Works has is that is too long , featuring a side for each member in the band and a final one when they would join forces. Emerson made quite a risky choice with his side with his first Piano Concerto. I am no classical music expert but this piece is one of the first I have ever heard of it's kind and it got me interested on this type of music. My favourite part is the agressive Toccata con Fuoco , I really don't know if the Piano Concerto is an innovative piece or if it's technically well performed but it's one of a kind in my collection. I think Keith would have had a succesful career by interpreting his favourite composers instead of the road he chose after ELP disbanded in the late 70's.

Lake's side is in my opinion the weakest of the record. It has his trademark ballads as an obvious attept to hit the charts. But this songs are neither From the beggining , nor Lucky Man. The tunes are rather forgettable and the use of classical instrumentation makes them really cheesy and cliched. I often tend to skip this side knowing that there is best stuff on the rest of the record.

Palmer's side is an improvement over Lake's. Of course , there will be no Supper's Ready or Close to the Edge here but some tracks are very interesting. Carl showed us a jazz oriented style of drumming on the biggest ELP records and on Works he emphasizes this aspect. He even makes some covers of classical composers as well. My favourite tracks from here are the reworked version of and old favourite like Tank and Food for your Soul.

The following is probably the last time we will see ELP at the top of their game with two compositions. The fisrst one is a rework on the famous Fanfare for the Common Man and the second one is ELP's last epic called Pirates. On the first one Keith shows us his new Yamaha synthetizer that expanded his sonic possibilities , the rhytm section has a great performance in order to keep us entretained during this 10 minute version. Finally Pirates closes what would be the last ELP great release in an amazing form , this song may have been part of an exellent movie. Lake's singing is as it was on the Endless enigma , and Sinfield lyrics guide us through an epic adventure. I rank pirates between ELP's best songs.

Overall , I think that if this album had been released as a 45 minute LP version including the Piano Concerto , the ELP side and the best of Palmer's side it would have been another masterpiece of progressive music. But this record is really inconsistent , this is one of the cases where I need a 3.5 star mark.

crimson87 | 4/5 |


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