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


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

2.94 | 769 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars Emerson, Lake & Palmer's Works Volume 1 is an album that people love to rip, saying it's pretentious, bombastic, self indulgent. It is those things and more.

Four years in the making and following their mega-hit Brain Salad Surgery, Works Volume 1 is inconsistant and infuriating to some people. Each member has their own side, played in their own way for their own pleasure as much as for ours. Emerson's side is his first piano concerto, scored by John Mayer, who also conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra that plays with Emerson. I always thought that Emerson had the chops to be able to do this, but I also expected more than what he gave us. This is not to say the Concerto is bad - it isn't - but I do think he played it safe.

Greg Lake's side is the most consistant - yet has almost no roots in progressive music. There are some nice ballads on here (C'est La Vie and Closer to Believing are my favorites) as well as the rockier Hallowed Be Thy Name.

Carl Palmer's song is the most intriguing, giving us The Enemy God and New Orleans (which features Joe Walsh on guitar) as well as a jazz reworking of Tank (from the first ELP album).

However, the final side is the group project, which unfortunately involves just two pieces of music. But what a glorius combination they are! First is a reworking of their second Aarond Copeland piece, Fanfare for the Common Man. My band in high school even covered this one. A wonderful piece with the extrapolation in the middle. It's Pirates that really grabbed me. When I heard them play this on this tour, the power of the piece was quite evident (I saw them not long after they dropped the orchestra). So going back to this piece after the concert I had a better feel for the song. Yes, it is bombastic, almost Gilbert and Sullivan-esque, but it tells a great story, Lake really lights up the vocals, Palmer carrys the song on the drums, and Emerson rides the waves with his keyboards. A magnificent track.

Overall, a spotty album with some very high highes and a few lows, but to me, well worth it.

wehpanzer | 3/5 |


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