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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Works Vol. 2 CD (album) cover

WORKS VOL. 2

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

2.34 | 407 ratings

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octopus-4
Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
2 stars I don't know if it was bravery or irresponsibility, but opening an album with a rock-blues, even if quite good, in 1977 is more than a risk. It can sound provoking for mr. Rotten and friends.

However the problem with this Works 2 is first of all that works 1 was probably enough and this white album was, I think, unneeded.

While "Tiger in a Spotlight" is just a blues-rock with some good piano and the always excellent vocals of Greg Lake, it doesn't add anything to the ELP discography. In the previous years songs like this were relegated as fillers at the end of the album, like "Are You Ready Eddie?". The fact that this is an opener is a bad indicator.

The second track, the title is too long respect to the 4 minutes of the song, sounds like an excerpt from a studio rehearsal. The sounds are very "ELP", but this could have been a good segment of a suite, not a standalone track. Two chords for keyboards improvisations, nothing more.

I would replace the "frog" of the title with another four letters word. "Bullfrog" is another insignificant track with funky-jazz contaminations, good for Starsky & Hutch or a 70s porn movie.

The band seems to have spent a little more composing effort for "Brain Salad Surgery", but this song doesn't have anything to do with the omonimous (great) album and this is one of the rare times when I think that Emerson has chosen the wrong sounds for his keyboards.

Emerson was having a good commercial success, at least in Italy, by releasing ragtime singles and this "Barrelhouse Shake-Down" is one of them. Up to now the best thing of the album, if it wasn't that one can find this stuff on old jazz albums instead of from a progressive band.

The next song didn't fit into the Lake's side of Works 1 so was probably discarded. It's the usual melodic love song made of acoustic guitar and the fantastic voice of Lake but surely not a highlight of the band's career. Nothing to do with songs like "Lucky Man" or "From The Beginning".

Now it's Palmer's turn. At least "So Far To Fall" sounds like the songs in the Palmer's side of works 1. It's a disconnected effort, a song which doesn't seem to follow any line. In the middle of the song there's an orchestral boogie intrusion. It looks like the three have written a small part of the song each. The result is a poor patchwork of good intentions.

"Maple Leaf Rag" is a Scott Joplin's cover that I think was the maximum commercial success of Keith Emerson, but it was an Emerson's single, and putting the same recoding on an ELP album is just using it as a filler.

"I Believe In Father Christmas" gives to Greg Lake to use an open tuning on his guiitar. As song it's technically the album's best and this is an indicator of how poor it is.

"Close But Not Touching" is not bad. When I have bought the album I was used to skip almost all the tracks and this one was one of the few that I was used to listen until the end. Not a masterpiece but at least it's listenable even if it could be the end title track of the same Starsky & Hutch movie of the A side.

The same things said about "Maple Leaf Rag" is valid for "Honky Tonky Train Blues". Probably it has sold more than the Joplin's cover as Emerson's single.

Finally the only good reason to buy this album. A bit of orchestral jazz with a good piano intro and a Lake in very good shape. This is the only good song of the whole album and the only reason why I'm rating it with more than 1 star.

An album made of tracks discarded from Works 1 plus a couple of fillers taken from Emerson's singles. If it was a rarity it could have been a collector item.

octopus-4 | 2/5 |

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