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The Nice - Elegy CD (album) cover


The Nice


Symphonic Prog

2.98 | 82 ratings

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3 stars Elegy is a posthumous, mainly live release that contains some of Keith Emerson's most fiery moments. Every track except My Back Pages had been released before, but Hang On To A Dream and America certainly were reworked beyond recognition. Hang On To A Dream is brilliant and even Lee Jackson's singing isn't bad. It contains some dazzling piano work by Keith, before the band takes off on a mammoth jazzy flight that eventually becomes an avant-garde experiment before boogie-woogie Keith comes into his own with another acceptable vocal part at the end tying the jam together. America is all fire and brimstone, with another absolutely towering performance from Mr. Emerson who plays like there's no tomorrow and goes out in a blaze of pyrotechnics and sonic effects.

However, I never liked The Nice's take on Tchaikovsky's Pathetique Symphony and while this version is marginally less dull than the Five Bridges Suite attempt, I usually give it a miss. But nothing can quite compare to My Back Pages. The Nice's treatment of this Dylan classic is notable most of all because Lee Jackson turns in what must be rank among the all time worst vocal performances in recorded history. One of Keith Emerson's most lyrical turns on piano is all but swept away by the only man who's mangled Dylan's lyrics more than Dylan himself. There's a great swinging jazz organ solo in the middle of it all, but that's soon forgotten when Jackson returns. Seriously this has to be heard to be believed. When the man starts scatting ... you swear he's taking the piss ... but apparently he was dead serious! If ever a song needed to be left in the vaults, this was it.

The Nice is one of those bands crying out for a thorough compilation treatment (I know that there've been a dozen attempts in the past but no definitive collection has emerged) and nothing makes a greater case for the band's brilliant peaks and unbelievable troughs than this uneven album. ... 55% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 3/5 |


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