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Emerson Lake & Palmer - The Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer  CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

2.39 | 69 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Review Nš 328

'The Best Of Emerson, Lake & Palmer' is a compilation of Emerson, Lake & Palmer which was originally released in 1980. However, it was released a second version of this compilation in 1994 with the same name but with a different cover art. The original compilation has nine tracks and the second has fourteen tracks. The version I own a copy it's the first one, the version with only nine tracks. So, it's going to be the first one that will be the subject of my review here.

The first track 'Hoedown (Taken From Rodeo)' is from 'Trilogy'. The second track 'Lucky Man' is from 'Emerson, Lake & Palmer'. The third track 'Karn Evil 9 (1st Impression, Part 2)' is from 'Brain Salad Surgery'. 'Karn Evil 9' is a long piece with almost 30 minutes and is divided into four parts, the '1st Impression ' Part 1', the '1st Impression - Part 2', the '2nd Impression' and the '3rd Impression'. It was recorded the second part, the '1st Impression ' Part 2', with less than 5 minutes, the smallest part of that piece. The fourth track 'Jerusalem' is from 'Brain Salad Surgery'. The fifth track 'Peter Gunn (Henry Mancini)' is a version of a classic TV theme, an American private eye television series which aired from 1958 to 1961. It was never released on any of their albums. It was also released as a single in some countries. Frequently the band opened with this song on the 'Works Vol. 2' live tour. The sixth track 'Fanfare For The Common Man (Aaron Copland)' is from 'Works Vol. 1'. The seventh track 'Still'You Turn Me On' is from 'Brain Salad Surgery'. The eighth track 'Tiger In A Spotlight' is from 'Works Vol. 2'. The ninth track 'Trilogy' is from 'Trilogy'.

'The Best Of Emerson, Lake & Palmer' is a very interesting compilation but it's also, at the same time, very strange too. The tracks were almost taken from three of their four best studio albums, which are, in my humble opinion, the three only studio masterpieces from the band, their eponymous debut studio album 'Emerson, Lake & Palmer', their third studio album 'Trilogy' and their fourth studio album 'Brain Salad Surgery'. 'Tarkus' isn't, for me, truly a masterpiece as I wrote on my review about that album. It's an unbalanced album due to the differences between the two sides. The side one is a masterpiece but the other isn't, really. About the selection of tracks, the only song taken from 'Emerson, Lake & Palmer', 'Lucky Man', I've nothing negative to say about it. Of course there are other best tracks on that album, but 'Lucky Man' is a very good song, one of the best Lake's songs, and it suits very well on this compilation. Relatively to the selection of the songs taken from 'Trilogy', 'Hoedown' and 'Trilogy', both are excellent choices. 'Trilogy' is an excellent album where all songs are great. It's, in my humble opinion, the less pompous, the most complete, the most progressive, the most classic and the finest album from them. In relation to the songs taken from 'Brain Salad Surgery', 'Jerusalem' has an extraordinary musical arrangement of the classic British church hymn and represents a great musical moment on the album. So, it became an excellent choice. 'Still'You Turn Me On' is another Lake's good ballad in the same vein of 'Lucky Man'. I accept the selection of this song to this compilation because it represents one more great contribution of Lake and is a much better choice than 'Benny The Bouncer' would be. About 'Karn Evil 9', I can't agree with the option of their record label. 'Karn Evil 9' is a greatest epic from the band and it's also, for me, one of their two best pieces of music ever, with 'Tarkus'. So, I think it's completely unacceptable the cut of the piece only for commercial reasons. Relatively to the rest of the selection, they're all minor tracks compared with the others. However, 'Fanfare For The Common Man' is a great piece, one of the best pieces on 'Works Vol. 1'. The problem with it is that this is the single version, which means a short version, and not the complete original version, as it should be.

I must only to say one more thing. I suppose that as many of you, I love the cover art work of this compilation. It has an amazing Japanese ukiyo-e cover, commonly known as the Japanese print. It's a genre of woodcut and painting that flourished in Japan between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. I really must confess that I love it very much. However, that's really a pity that the content on this compilation doesn't can reflect the real quality of the cover art on it.

Conclusion: 'The Best Of Emerson, Lake & Palmer' is a very difficult compilation to rate. It's a nice compilation with some excellent songs, in general. However, it has, in my opinion, a big problem. It's a collection of short tracks thought to be a good commercial deal without the concern to be the best representative compilation of the band's career until that moment. So, this is by no means a good selection of their best material, but somehow, maybe it can serve the purpose of quickly introducing the music of the band to someone who never heard them before, despite the selection of the tracks be far from being perfect. But honestly, and despite all I said before, I can see really no purpose on this kind of compilations since we are talking about a progressive rock band. Sincerely, I never was a great fan of compilations of progressive rock bands. Anyway, I guess that it's rather difficult to compile the music of this band on a compilation album. Still, there are some other compilations which are much better. So, I can only recommend this to completionists.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 2/5 |


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