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Emerson Lake & Palmer - A Time And A Place CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

3.41 | 31 ratings

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4 stars Wow, simply wow.

This gorgeous little package is a marvellous way to be dropped into the ELP live experience. I must say right away that I have not heard any of the other bootleg box set releases, so I'll leave it to others to complain if this is all merely repackaging of already available materials. If nothing else this is certainly more affordable than any of the other sets. So, that's something to be thankful for.

Pointless personal background material: ELP were one of the first prog groups that I truly fell for. I wore down my vinyl copies of those first five albums. I also had the Works albums and the dreaded one with the suntanned strangers on the cover. I was still convinced enough to buy a new album that swapped a Palmer for a Powell. By the 1990s some of the love had faded and I couldn't persuade myself to buy albums by a reunited team. The luster had dimmed. Since then I found myself in the trade of buying different company's remasters of those same first five albums. The love had returned, but I regretted never getting to hear any new material or at least some new variations on old themes. So, for me, getting to hear live versions of the classics as well as some of the best material from the later works has been a true pleasure that has reawakened the band in my ear and heart.

So, what's in the box? Discs one through three come straight from the soundboards and the sound is simply unbelievable. These are crisp recordings of dynamic performances. Disc one covers the early 1970s, from the Isle of Wight performance through the Someone Get Me a Ladder tour. Disc two gets you through the late 1970s, a lot of Works stuff, without the orchestra, but also intense, speedy performances of "Pictures" and "Tarkus." Disc three brings us to the reunion of the 1990s. I must admit I was worried about this one, fearing some pretty poor vocals from a straining Lake. Though he is clearly wrestling with the likes of "Knife Edge" and "From the Beginning," he pulls it off and the songs work. I'll even admit to liking the "newer" songs: "Paper Blood," "Black Moon" and "Touch and Go." (Okay, not so new, but you know what I mean). Finally, disc four includes tracks from 1971 through 1993 that come from fan recordings. These are obviously the only true bootlegs here, and the recording quality is obviously less than top notch, but all de-hissed and de-popped enough to make them great to hear, especially for live rarities like "The Endless Enigma" and "Abaddon's Bolero."

Whether it's all enough to convince the anti-ELP squads is doubtful, but it's been a pleasure for this listener to be welcomed back to the show. A wondrous box of treasures from the stage that shows off how monstrously intense this group really could be.

questionsneverknown | 4/5 |


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