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


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

2.94 | 777 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Taste! the question here. This isn't a progressive rock album, but it's by a progressive rock band, so there are bound to be different views. Some very different genres are present here. We can't review it as a "structurally diverse and new side of prog", nor as a "terribly inaccurate attempt at prog". It isn't prog and it isn't meant to be, so I'm going to simply ignore the genre while rating.

I find Emerson's concerto to be one of the most interesting and delightful pieces of post-modern classical music in existence. I've even studied it and performed it for A level music. But of course, liking it depends entirely on your musical tastes outside of prog. And given the previous albums of this band, it's understandable why some people aren't particularly welcoming. And that can be said of the whole album. In terms of ELP as a unit, it's totally wrong on every level. Yet individually, it's exactly what anyone could ask for in a solo release. In other words, putting these works together on an album was a BIG mistake. Lake's ballads and anthems are of just as high quality as his previous acoustic songs [mostly]. But I don't listen to these as much because the style isn't really to my taste. Palmer's "things", some of which aren't so much songs as musical 'ideas', force me to adhere to the same opinion. I can appreciate their quality within the genre they are intending to carry off, but it's not really my thing. I'm an Emerson guy.

Now the group side is the only thing ELP fans can fairly review. It IS prog rock and is therefore a common factor of an ELP album.

'Fanfare for the Common Man' is a nice, fairly simple rendition of the popular... well, fanfare. The GX1 solo (which makes up most of the track, splitting the repeated main themes in half) is very cool but longer than neccesary I feel. It's the sort of thing that could be extended ON STAGE to great effect, but in the studio it's obviously a way of filling up the group side. 'Pirates' is much better in my opinion. It's very classically approached, but features band AND orchestra: symphonic prog. This song's length, unlike 'Fanfare...', works to it's advantage, building up an epic, movie- esque piece of music with some solid playing from all three members (even Lake's singing is good here).

In conclusion, sides 1 and 4 are the works for me. The rest is mediocre. But any reviews for this double album are a simple question of taste.

thehallway | 3/5 |


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