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

WORKS VOL. 1

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

2.94 | 821 ratings

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Roddyboy4270
3 stars Works Volume 1 was ELP's return to the music world after a two and half year break. The music scene had changed dramatically . Punk was raging in England, disco was becoming a world wide popular music form and corporate stadium rock was holding sway in America. What would ELP come up with? The days of electronic rock experimentation featured on previous albums was a style the band no longer wanted to pursue . Individually, they had drifted apart. So the plan was to give each member a solo side of music . The fourth side would be reserved for group material. The band figured by combining solo sides along with group material that it would show the music buying public that they were still united as a band . Yes and no. The first side belonged to Keith Emerson with his piano concerto. I'm not an expert on classical music(or any kind of music for that matter) but it seemed a bit much to expect rock audiences to swallow 18 plus minutes of classical music. It wasn't done badly. It's just that it isn't rock n'roll. Emerson forgot to realize that his biggest gift was reworking classical music into the rock n'roll frame.. It would have been interesting for him to convert this music into ELP form but as I had written, he was no longer interested In going down that road. Greg Lake's side is next. It is mostly acoustic based and there is not a bad song on his side. Vocally, he is in fine form Some songs are a bit syrupy such as 'Closer to Believing', and you could understand why punk was starting to crowd out established musicIans as such as these. Carl Palmer has the third side and some tracks are better than others. 'The Enemy God' would be much better live with the ELP treatment( a point I had made earlier with Emerson if he adapted the piano concerto to that style). L.A. Nights and the jazzy reworking of 'Tank' are the highlights. Finally, we get the group side. First up is the band's reworking of Aaron Copland's 'Fanfare for the Common man.' I prefer this as an abridged single and it was actually a huge hit in England during the spring of '77. I believe it was number 2 behind the Pistol's 'Anarchy in the U.K.' The middle jam goes on a bit too long and it seemed to me it was more of a showcase for Emerson's new 'toy' at the time, the Yamaha GX1 synthesizer. 'Pirates' is the final track and the group are accompanied by orchestra . I preferred live versions without the orchestra. Here, it's very bombastic, but it's still captivating. Greg Lake gives a great vocal performance. The group were intent on toting an orchestra around on the supporting tour where they lost a fortune and had to jettison the orchestra save for a few dates in New York and the date for Montreal's Olympic Stadium. It would have been better if they chose another direction than the ill fated classical/orchestral one. While not a bad album, Works Volume 1 seems to be an ELP album in name only and they had drifted apart musically.
Roddyboy4270 | 3/5 |

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