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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Emerson, Lake & Powell: Emerson, Lake & Powell CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

3.13 | 557 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars Ask any fan of Emerson, Lake & Palmer what was the worst album they released in the Seventies and the answer will be the contractual obligation, 'Love Beach'. Not long after, Palmer formed his own band, PM, and even though there was no official announcement it was obvious ELP was over. Given their huge success, it is no surprise that in 1984 talks were held about reforming, but by then Palmer was in the hugely successful Asia and did not want to be involved. After auditioning a series of drummers, Emerson asked his old friend Cozy Powell if he wanted to be involved, which by happenstance also allowed the band to retain the ELP abbreviation. Their sole album was released in 1986, going Top 40 in both America and the UK, but after a disastrous tour, during which they fired their management, they split up. Palmer would come back to the fold and with Keith Emerson would form the new band 3 with Robert Berry, who would also last for just one album, before the classic line-up came back together in 1990.

I have always felt the two trio releases involving Emerson in the Eighties are somewhat overlooked by fans of ELP, yet they are both excellent, as this new 3-CD boxed set displays so well. What we have here is the album (with three bonus tracks), their live album, 'Live In Concert' and a CD of rehearsals, 'The Sprocket Sessions'. All material included in the box set has been re-mastered by renowned engineer Andy Pearce which also includes an enhanced booklet with sleeve notes written by Prog Magazine editor, Jerry Ewing.

I fully remember this being released and picked up the pre-recorded cassette (those were the days) as soon as I could. I did not know what to expect but was fully aware of Powell's work with Rainbow and Whitesnake, and even remembered him performing "Dance With The Devil" on TOTP. I certainly did not expect an album which commenced with classic ELP sounds and styles with "The Score", and when Lake got to the chorus and sang "It's been so long you're welcome back my friends, To the show that never ends" I was ecstatic. It didn't matter we had a different "P", the band were back and playing classic music, linking back to "Karn Evil 9" for their fans. The music had shifted in that it was more commercial, especially "Touch and Go", yet not so overtly as Asia, somehow bridging the Seventies and Eighties. Emerson was also convinced by Powell to undertake a recording of "Mars, The Bringer of War" which is one of the standout tracks, albeit the style being somewhat different from other classical covers the band did in the past.

Years after this was originally released I went to see the wonderfully bawdy musical 'Sinderella' featuring Jim Davidson, and I was somewhat surprised to hear some of these songs played during the performance (Davidson and Emerson were friends, hence the use of "Karn Evil 9" for 'The Generation Game'), yet I was also pleased as I felt this album was overlooked by many. The rehearsals and live recording add to the overall story in that we hear Cozy performing on some classic numbers (his style is very different indeed to Palmer), and overall this set brings back to life an album from a band who deserved to be around for much longer than the short time they were.

kev rowland | 4/5 |


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