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CARL PALMER

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Carl Palmer biography
Consider a whirling dervish in drumming terms and you have Carl Palmer. Born in Birmigham 1950, Palmer became a professional drummer at an early age (15) playing in some lessor known R n B bands before getting his first big break in Chris Farlowe's backing band and then moving onto The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown in the late sixties.This is where he met the excellent organist Vincent Crane and the two of them from there decided to form a new band Atomic Rooster. Their debut album was released in 1969 and although not making a big as an impact as say King Crimsons debut is still highly regarded as an important album in the early development of prog.Palmer wears his jazz influences on his sleeve here and perhaps it was this that brought him to the attention of musicians in the experimental/progressive scene' not least messrs Emerson and Lake.Looking for a drummer for their new band they had taken a close look at Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix Experience) and Jon Hiseman (Coloseum) before deciding that Carl Palmer was the man.Apparently Palmer was reluctant to leave an established band but Greg Lake's powers of persuasion forced him to reconsider!

ELP was up and running with an official debut performance at the massive 1970 Isle Of Wight rock festival.ELP were flown in by helicopter and announced their arrival with twin cannons.Carl proudly displayed his Noddy motif on the drum kit somewhat in contrast to the intensity of the force behind the kit.There is no doubt that Palmers youthfull energy and at times devastating technical skill was of massive importance to ELP's sound and style.Any band needs its engine room and Carl was the equivalent of a nuclear power station!

Determined to continue his development as a musician Palmer studied tuned percussion with James Blades at the London College Of Music.This enabled him to broaden both his skills.Palmers kit grew as well as he acquired 2 large gongs ,obviously an important part of any self respecting prog drummers armoury! At live gigs Palmers drum solo became an event in itself as he battered the gongs and happily pulled off his shirt in grand showmanlike style.

As ELP veered into more symphonic directions with Emerson recording a Piano Concerto and the band plus an an orchestra doing Pirates (both on the 1977 Works Volume One album). Palmer took the opportunity to record a classical peice composed by Joseph Horovitz called 'Concerto for Percussion'. An excellent peice,it sadly never made...
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Do You Wanna Play Carl: The Carl Palmer AnthologyDo You Wanna Play Carl: The Carl Palmer Anthology
Carl Palmer 2014
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Working Live- Volume 3Working Live- Volume 3
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Working Live Volume 2Working Live Volume 2
Eagle Rock 2011
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CARL PALMER discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

CARL PALMER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.73 | 6 ratings
1:PM
1980

CARL PALMER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.60 | 10 ratings
Working Live Volume 1
2002
2.27 | 6 ratings
Working Live Volume 2
2004
2.50 | 2 ratings
Working Live Volume 3
2010

CARL PALMER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.25 | 8 ratings
The Carl Palmer Band : Live In Europe
2006
3.00 | 1 ratings
Decade - 10th Anniversaray: Celebrating The Music of Emerson, Lake and Palmer
2014

CARL PALMER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.96 | 4 ratings
Do Ya Wanna Play Carl?
2001

CARL PALMER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

CARL PALMER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Decade - 10th Anniversaray: Celebrating The Music of Emerson, Lake and Palmer by PALMER, CARL album cover DVD/Video, 2014
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Decade - 10th Anniversaray: Celebrating The Music of Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Carl Palmer Crossover Prog

Review by rdtprog
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars Here's another interpretation of ELP classics songs without the driving force of a keyboard player. Paul Bielatowicz is on guitar, he is with Carl Palmer since 2004, and had played with Neal Morse, Simon Fitzpatrick is the bassist. The two had the task to play some keyboards parts on their own instruments. The result is a heavier version of ELP songs, different because of the new sound of each instruments, but also because each musician didn't try to replicate all the keyboards notes. The sound is not polish like a studio release, but still enjoyable for a live recording. The picture is ok not great and the light show is basic with some animations on a screen in the back. The highlights are the version of "Pictures at an Exhibition" and "Fanfare for The Common Man", the latter including a intense Carl Palmer drum solo. However, i was a bit disappointed to see only a short version of "Tarkus". This is nice music and performance, but maybe i was expecting something more spectacular visually like a ELP show, which is not the case here. The DVD looks more like a intimate show in a little club.

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 Working Live Volume 1 by PALMER, CARL album cover Live, 2002
2.60 | 10 ratings

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Working Live Volume 1
Carl Palmer Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars This is Carl Palmer leading his trio (Shaun Baxter, guitar and Dave Marks, bass) through some ELP classics and a drum solo, recorded live in Bilston on 19th July 2001. Given that there is nary a keyboard to be found, let alone vocals, I was more than a little concerned as to how this album would pan out, but I have to confess to being more than just a little pleasantly surprised. Looking at the songs I decided to play the sixth one first (yes, I know that I shouldn't play a live album like that), as I was concerned to hear what they had done to "Toccata". It is one of my favourite ELP numbers, from the mighty 'Brain Salad Surgery' and I was intrigued/dismayed to hear what could be done by Carl without Keith or Greg by his side. But it transpired that there was no need for any concern as the guitar-led version on this album shows just how the music can be adapted (yes, I do realise that "Toccata" is in fact a piece by Ginastera that had been adapted by Emerson).

My faith restored, I then played the album in the correct order, and thoroughly enjoyed "The Barbarian" etc. Of course it would have been too much to ask not to have a drum solo, but given that this is the last song the listener can always turn it off early. Overall an interesting album that any ELP fan will want to seek out ? much better than I could have hoped.

Originally appeared in Feedback #73, Jun 03

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 Working Live Volume 2 by PALMER, CARL album cover Live, 2004
2.27 | 6 ratings

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Working Live Volume 2
Carl Palmer Crossover Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

2 stars On "Working Live Volume 1", Carl Palmer used up all of the best ELP songs that he was particularly associated with, like Tank and Tocatta. Here on Volume 2 he goes after othe ELP classics.

The big problem (besides not having Keith Emerson) is that he cuts down the pieces to something playable by his singerless band. Trilogy skips right over the soft vocal start of the song, and goes right to the heavy instrumental section. Now, I love that part of the song, but without the intro, it loses much of it's power. And Tarkus is absolutely maimed.

If you want to hear a guitar-centric version of Hoedown, I would direct you to The Jon Finn Group for a better rendition than this one. And the jazzy jam J Section never quite takes off.

On the plus side, they do a version of Carmina Burana (yeah, I know how over used that piece is that really rocks. And their version of Fanfare For The Common Man is better than the one chord jam ELP always turned it into.

I'd say this one is for ELP completists only.

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 Working Live Volume 1 by PALMER, CARL album cover Live, 2002
2.60 | 10 ratings

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Working Live Volume 1
Carl Palmer Crossover Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

3 stars One thing this album proves is that after all those years in Asia, and those disappointing ELP reunion albums, Carl Palmer can still be a great drummer if he wants to. Another thing this album proves is that ELP songs really need Keith Emerson.

I don't discount the talent of this group. It does take quite a bit of skill for a guitarist to even show a semblance of keeping up with Emerson's amazing keyboard work. And Shaun Baxter does a fair job of it. Also, Dave Marks plays some fine bass lines, sometime even outdoing Greg Lake's work on the same songs, although his solos tend to always lead to generic slap and pop licks.

On this live set, Palmer sticks primarily to the ELP tracks that he had a larger hand in, like Tocatta (without the now-cheesy drum synths) and Tank, and songs from his side of Works. And on it's own, for what it is, it's not bad. But the guitar tone tends to give every song a similar timbre. And that is the main problem with the album.

But at least it shows that Palmer still has a desire to play this type of music.

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 The Carl Palmer Band : Live In Europe by PALMER, CARL album cover DVD/Video, 2006
3.25 | 8 ratings

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The Carl Palmer Band : Live In Europe
Carl Palmer Crossover Prog

Review by moodyxadi

4 stars How can I judge and album full with ELP music without comparing it to ELP? That's impossible but I think some reviewers tend to show a strange predilection for hearing an ELP-cover band (Palmer plus singer-bassist plus keyboard wizard) than to this strange but unique adventure.

Yes, the guitar player is fillig what would-be Emerson parts with his axe but his job's great! He tries to do this impossible feature by letting the guitar sound like a guitar and this is the high point of his performance. The bassist is good too, although the "Message in a bottle" cover sounds uncomfortable here. But the main event is Palmer's brilliant job on the drums, not only playng his trademark drumming in his classic songs but even improvising a little bit just to sound fresh and alive. He puts in his pack all rock drummers alive today, from his generation or newcomers. He has the fluidness an taste that lacks in Bonham's and the classical training that could make Paice bigger than he stil is. Comparisons with Peart are unnecessary: although the last is member of a band that still has something to say (differently from ELP) he doens't have the balance between technique and soul that makes Palmer unique. Only Andy Ward mixes this extremes as good as him, but Palmer's work and career are far more representative than Ward's.

Actually I never saw this dvd; a friend just send me an audio-only copy from this show and makes me more happy to hear how fresh and youthful Palmer's playing sounds today. Any rock drummer should listen to this album attentively and feel if he's capable of showing the pleasure of playin like Palmer's.

Easy 4 stars. And thanks to the web friends that made this audition possible.

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 Working Live Volume 2 by PALMER, CARL album cover Live, 2004
2.27 | 6 ratings

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Working Live Volume 2
Carl Palmer Crossover Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

1 stars There were some prior attempts to fool the fans with the ''great'' suite of ''Works'' affairs from ELP which were very questionable recordings IMHHO.

This one is not shy of course. If noise and heaviness is your cup of tea, you might taste this one with joy. But you are warned: this is totally indigestible stuff. Some classics of the trio are revisited (as you know already with no keyboards, what a great idea!).

Frankly, we could have missed this one. The ''Working Live, Volume I'' was already a poor performance, and honestly this one is just some carbon copy. I was almost glad to have an emasculated version of ''Tarkus''. A seven minutes disaster to tell the truth.

To provide you with the full picture, I will only add that the closing track ''Fanfare And Drum Solo'' lasts for about sixteen minutes.

I have an enormous respect for Carl as a drummer of the ones you might know about (I even witnessed their ''Welcome Back My Friends.'' tour in '74), but this is really something I can't cope with.

One star. Painful.

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 Working Live Volume 1 by PALMER, CARL album cover Live, 2002
2.60 | 10 ratings

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Working Live Volume 1
Carl Palmer Crossover Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

1 stars Carl already committed a studio album prior (some twenty + years) to this live recording. The least I could say about it was that it was quite an average remembering.

This one is far much worse to tell the truth. Some heavy and uninspired stuff like ''The Enemy.'', some classic ELP tracks revisited without keyboards (something like a Hendrix tune without guitar.) and of course none of the song of his earlier solo work (thank god!).

There are hardly one correct song featured in here. Some cacophony (''L'') and of course a traditional drum solo is included as well (but this one is probably the best out of this live set even if the fade out at the end is not the best idea). Tracks as ''Barbarian'' or ''Tank'' have very little to share with their original counterparts to say the least.

There is nothing to say about the musicians: they play their parts very well, but their interpretation has nothing to do with ELP whatsoever. The people that attended these concerts must have felt quite desperate and fooled to listen to this type of music. Fortunately, I escaped this ''adventure''.

The best thing to do, is to avoid this album.

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 1:PM by PALMER, CARL album cover Studio Album, 1980
1.73 | 6 ratings

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1:PM
Carl Palmer Crossover Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This album is pretty much precursory of what ''Asia'' would release a little later. Pure AOR music with very, very little accent of prog added. I am not convinced at all (to say the least) while I'm reading why this artist should be added into the PROG archive: ''because he is simply the god. the true god of prog drumming hhahhahah.'.

This sounds almost as a nonsense to me. Carl is indeed a fabulous drummer (I witnessed an ELP concert in 1974), but this ''1 PM'' album is quite flat and uninteresting. Fortunately should I say, there won't be any other studio album from this band.

There is no question of prog throughout this short of work. Nor even drumming maestria, as Carl didn't want to play a prominent role here. What's left are just a bunch of straight forward pop-rock songs at best. But the global mood is seriously AOR oriented. And it is not my cup of tea.

I guess that the very few reviews of these albums (studio or live) are a good indicator of how you should absorb the music. It is painful to say, and it is best avoided. There is really no interest to describe this album track by track. It is unfortunately weak from start to finish.

Maybe that the Devo oriented ''Do You Go All The Way'' is a little better.But that's it, really. Some other average new wave tunes are ''Go For It'' and ''You're Too Much''. But did we expect this type of music from Carl Palmer? Probably not.

I am quite embarrassed in terms of rating: one or two stars? The best out of it starts after the middle of the album. The fresh and funny ''Madeleine'' is not too bad. Let's be generous this time. Two stars.

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 The Carl Palmer Band : Live In Europe by PALMER, CARL album cover DVD/Video, 2006
3.25 | 8 ratings

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The Carl Palmer Band : Live In Europe
Carl Palmer Crossover Prog

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

3 stars Progressive Rock without keyboards?

Well, THE CARL PALMER BAND proves us it's possible, but I don't believe it's the right music for this kind of experiments, ELP compositions NEED keyboards, it's their essence, there's no way a guitar and base can provide the pomp required to play Toccata for example, which sounds even weirder than originally is, but weird is not always good, and in this case it's a disappointment.

With this I'm not saying Paul Bielatowicz is a bad guitar player, by the contrary, the kid is outstanding, to the point that my favorite track is the Guitar Medley, in which Paul is able to give all he has without being compared with Emerson and enjoys it.

Dave Marks is also a great musician, not only supporting the rhythm section, but also adding interesting touches to the melody, what a shame that they are so limited in this DVD. Carl's performance is impeccable as always, but still this is not the way to listen Emerson Lake & Palmer's music.

I bought the DVD, mostly because it's a new and original way of listening ELP's music and I enjoyed it because the songs are classics, but honestly at the end was a bit disappointed, like something was missing, lets hope Mr Palmer gets a keyboardist and then we'll see.

The music is well known, for this reason there's little to talk about it, so I will go directly to the rating that will be no higher than 3 stars, maybe 2.5, good for ELP diehard fans.

Excellent performances, but this music requires at least an organ and a Moog.

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 The Carl Palmer Band : Live In Europe by PALMER, CARL album cover DVD/Video, 2006
3.25 | 8 ratings

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The Carl Palmer Band : Live In Europe
Carl Palmer Crossover Prog

Review by Easy Livin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

2 stars The seemingly endless enigma

The ELP focused set list here entices the inquisitive to enter in the hope of hearing Carl's take on some of the band's classic material. With titles such as Tarkus, Toccata, The Barbarian, Hoedown etc., only the most disciplined of ELP fans could resist the temptation to give this DVD a try.

I have to say up-front though, I was very disappointed. Firstly, a quick look at the line up reveals that Carl Palmer's band consists of himself plus a bassist and a lead guitarist; that's it! No keyboards, no vocals, no acoustic guitar, and so forth, every song has an identical instrumental composition (except for the solo spots of course). Very occasionally, when keyboards are deemed essential for the introductions to Tarkus and Fanfare for the common man, recordings are used.

Now, Paul Bielatowicz is unquestionably a highly gifted guitarist. His fret work is blisteringly fast, and he can shred with the best of them. The problem is that every song features the same tone of lead guitar playing the keyboard and/or the guitar parts. This quickly becomes very tedious and frankly dull. In addition, the guitar sound has not been captured well here. It lacks depth or character, leaving an impression of coldness. This is made apparent by the studio rendition of Trilogy by the band, which backs the closing credits. The guitar sound here is far richer and much more satisfactory.

The bass-work of Dave Marks is equally proficient his capabilities being highlighted during his solo spot.

Carl is in fine form of course, with as much energy as ever. His eternal youthful enthusiasm endears the partisan audience, and as ever he gives every last ounce of energy. For this who hoped to witness an exhibition of drumming virtuosity though, this may perhaps also be a bit of a disappointment. The principal instrument virtually throughout is the ubiquitous lead guitar, Carl only delivering one solo spot as such, at the end of the gig.

Presentation wise, the DVD is poor in terms of modern standards. No information is given about the location or date of the gig, which lasts for less than 90 minutes. There are no DVD extras such as interviews or behind the scenes featurettes.

It is always great to witness Carl giving his all in concert. This DVD however will only truly satisfy a limited audience. Others, like myself, will be puzzled as to what Carl was intending to achive here.

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