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Greg Lake - C'est La Vie CD (album) cover


Greg Lake

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4 stars Having never been a big fan of ELP (one of the 'Big Six' of the classic prog bands), I get a peculiar pleasure being the first reviewer for this single -- which was released under GREG LAKE's name. But as the ELP connoisseurs remember, the song is from the supertrio's double album Works (1977) that consists of separate vinyl sides devoted to the music written, or arranged from classical music pieces, by (1) Keith Emerson, (2) Greg Lake and (3) Carl Palmer, while the fourth side is more of a team work.

Speaking of ELP, I'm not ashamed to admit that the songs of Greg Lake have generally been closer to my heart than the overbombastic and excessive virtuoso approach of organist/keyboardist Keith Emerson. I like Lake's strong and passionate voice which had earned a firm place in prog's history already on the King Crimson debut in 1969. 'C'est la Vie' is a deeply emotional 'larger-than-life' ballad with lyrics written by Pete Sinfield. Lake does a terrific job on vocals, but equally impressive is the majestic and melancholic feel in the music, up to the French-style accordeon. Indeed, the song can be compared to the best achievements in the Chanson genre and its artists such as Charles Aznavour, Yves Montand or Jacques Brel. Apart from the title phrase meaning "that's life", the lyrics are in English, though. 5/5.

The choice for the B side of this single is a real disgrace in comparison. 'Jeremy Bender' originally appeared on the much praised ELP album Tarkus (1971) in which it's nothing but a lightweight filler, frankly even irritating to some listeners, myself included. I really couldn't care less of it, and it's a strange choice altogether. A throwaway album track from six years back, what?? 1 /5.

But I'll emphasize 'C'est la Vie' on my rating and give four stars. One of the highlight moments in Greg Lake's career as a singer-songwriter.

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Posted Thursday, May 19, 2022 | Review Permalink

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