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EMERSON LAKE & PALMER

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Emerson Lake & Palmer biography
Formed in London, UK in 1970 - Disbanded in 1979 - Regrouped between 1991-1998 - Reunited briefly in 2010

ELP revolutionized the 70's rock scene by introducing a new line-up format. This fact really mattered due to each musician's geniality and unlimited talent that, put together, generated a level of music never achieved by anybody else as of yet. All of the musicians came from established bands before joining forces together: Greg LAKE came from KING CRIMSON, Carl PALMER came from ATOMIC ROOSTER, and Keith EMERSON came from THE NICE.

They explored their capabilities to an extreme, even with the technology limitations of the early 70's, breaking ground, setting the new parameters for a new vein in the english pop music (at the time) which would be called progressive music. ELP released 10 outstanding albums during the 70's, and after a long break, they got back in the 90's with a new approach, but still making good music. In 1986 Cozy POWELL replaced PALMER and they put together EMERSON, LAKE and POWELL, a good effort as well.

They've pushed their ambitions over-the-edge. On "Tarkus" the title suite was an inventive and edgy suite revolving around jazzy textures. Their most popular album "Brain Salad Surgery", was their most grandiose and refined. Next, the more adventurous listener might try "Trilogy" or ELP's self-titled first album. In my opinion, these four albums form the core of ELP's best material. Other good ELP albums include "Pictures at an Exhibition", their provocative, fiery and intense take on a classical work. and "Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends", a triple-live album (now on double-CD) with some absolutely stunning playing.

2016 was a sad year for Prog fans, because Keith and Greg left us, Rest in Peace and thank you for everything

Being that some albums belong to a different band with only two members of ELP, we have to make this addition:

Emerson, Lake & Powell (Active between 1985-1986)

Emerson, Lake & Powell, often abbreviated to ELPowell, were an offshoot of a classic prog band Emerson, Lake & Pa...
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EMERSON LAKE & PALMER discography


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

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

4.23 | 2148 ratings
Emerson Lake & Palmer
1970
4.06 | 1849 ratings
Tarkus
1971
4.14 | 1638 ratings
Trilogy
1972
4.13 | 1906 ratings
Brain Salad Surgery
1973
2.94 | 776 ratings
Works Vol. 1
1977
2.44 | 643 ratings
Works Vol. 2
1977
2.08 | 687 ratings
Love Beach
1978
3.12 | 476 ratings
Emerson, Lake & Powell: Emerson, Lake & Powell
1986
2.84 | 477 ratings
Black Moon
1992
1.79 | 400 ratings
In The Hot Seat
1994

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

3.87 | 983 ratings
Pictures At An Exhibition
1971
4.26 | 572 ratings
Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends
1974
2.75 | 217 ratings
Emerson Lake & Palmer In Concert
1979
2.94 | 161 ratings
Live At The Royal Albert Hall
1993
3.33 | 156 ratings
Works Live
1993
3.35 | 51 ratings
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - King Biscuit Flower Hour [Aka: Live]
1997
3.44 | 73 ratings
Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970
1997
5.00 | 1 ratings
Live in Poland
1998
2.78 | 71 ratings
Then And Now
1998
2.83 | 15 ratings
The Show That Never Ends
2001
4.07 | 36 ratings
Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol. 1
2001
3.73 | 31 ratings
Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol. 2
2001
3.28 | 23 ratings
Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol. 3
2001
3.26 | 44 ratings
Live In Poland
2001
2.40 | 21 ratings
Best of the Bootlegs
2002
2.91 | 10 ratings
Lucky Man (Live) (Re-released as " Fanfare: The 1997 World Tour")
2002
3.72 | 20 ratings
Emerson Lake and Powell: Live In Concert - Lakeland Florida, 1986 (An official bootleg)
2003
3.14 | 16 ratings
Emerson Lake and Powell: The Sprocket Sessions (An Official Bootleg)
2003
2.43 | 13 ratings
The Best Of Emerson Lake & Palmer
2003
2.79 | 15 ratings
Original Bootleg Series from the Manticore Vaults, Vol. 4
2006
3.46 | 30 ratings
A Time And A Place
2010
2.64 | 43 ratings
Live at High Voltage 2010
2010
3.71 | 43 ratings
Live At Nassau Coliseum '78
2011
4.21 | 61 ratings
Live at the Mar Y Sol Festival '72
2011
4.00 | 10 ratings
Emerson, Lake and Powell - Live In Concert and More...
2012
1.27 | 3 ratings
Live in California 1974
2012
2.71 | 22 ratings
Live in Montreal 1977
2013
3.29 | 7 ratings
Once Upon A Time In South America
2015
3.68 | 15 ratings
Live at Montreux 1997
2015
3.10 | 2 ratings
Live at Pocono International Raceway, USA, 1972
2019

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.75 | 19 ratings
Welcome Back
1992
3.77 | 42 ratings
Live At The Royal Albert Hall (DVD)
2001
3.57 | 88 ratings
Pictures At An Exhibition - 35th Anniversary Collectors Edition
2002
3.19 | 18 ratings
Inside Emerson, Lake & Palmer 1970-1995
2003
4.57 | 34 ratings
Works Orchestral Tour/Manticore Special
2003
3.61 | 55 ratings
Live At Montreux 1997 (DVD)
2004
4.09 | 30 ratings
Masters From The Vaults
2004
3.50 | 2 ratings
Live In Concert (DVD)
2004
3.83 | 76 ratings
Beyond The Beginning
2005
2.64 | 34 ratings
The Birth Of A Band - Isle Of Wight Festival 1970
2006
4.45 | 11 ratings
Rare Broadcasts
2007
3.88 | 54 ratings
40th Anniversary Reunion Concert (High Voltage Festival 2010)
2011

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

2.39 | 69 ratings
The Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
1980
1.91 | 2 ratings
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
1980
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Best of ELP
1984
4.22 | 49 ratings
The Atlantic Years
1992
3.60 | 70 ratings
The Return Of The Manticore
1993
1.81 | 9 ratings
Classic Rock Featuring "Lucky Man"
1994
3.89 | 38 ratings
The Best Of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
1994
1.52 | 13 ratings
Extended Versions: The Encore Collection
2000
2.58 | 14 ratings
The very Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
2001
3.45 | 14 ratings
Fanfare For The Common Man [The Anthology]
2001
0.00 | 0 ratings
History Of Rock
2001
1.40 | 25 ratings
Re-Works
2003
3.72 | 13 ratings
The Ultimate Collection
2004
3.67 | 12 ratings
An Introduction To... Emerson Lake & Palmer
2004
4.34 | 26 ratings
From The Beginning (5CD+DVD)
2007
3.60 | 16 ratings
The Essential Emerson, Lake & Palmer
2007
3.29 | 9 ratings
Come And See The Show: The Best Of Emerson Lake & Palmer
2008
2.16 | 10 ratings
High Voltage
2010
2.86 | 8 ratings
The Essential Emerson, Lake & Palmer
2011
1.83 | 6 ratings
From the Beginning - The Best of ELP
2011
4.67 | 9 ratings
The Anthology
2016
0.00 | 0 ratings
Lucky Man
2018
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Anthology (4LP)
2019
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Ultimate Collection
2020

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

3.47 | 21 ratings
Lucky Man / Knife Edge
1971
4.00 | 1 ratings
Stone of Years / Time and a Place
1971
5.00 | 1 ratings
Nutrocker / The Great Gates of Kiev
1972
3.40 | 19 ratings
From the Beginning
1972
2.55 | 17 ratings
Brain Salad Surgery/ Excerpt From Brain Salad Surgery
1973
4.11 | 38 ratings
Jerusalem
1973
3.10 | 12 ratings
C'est La Vie / Hallowed Be Thy Name
1977
2.60 | 11 ratings
Tiger in a Spotlight / So Far to Fall
1977
3.31 | 17 ratings
Fanfare For The Common Man
1977
2.36 | 15 ratings
Canario
1978
4.13 | 10 ratings
Peter Gunn
1980
3.46 | 14 ratings
Touch and Go
1986
2.02 | 12 ratings
Affairs of the Heart
1992
2.61 | 12 ratings
Black Moon
1992
4.25 | 4 ratings
Farewell to Arms (promo)
1992
1.89 | 8 ratings
Affairs of the Heart
1992
2.75 | 4 ratings
Affairs Of The Heart (limited edition collectors doublepack)
1992
4.00 | 4 ratings
Gone too Soon (promo)
1994
2.53 | 26 ratings
I Believe In Father Christmas
1995
4.50 | 10 ratings
Fanfare For The Common Man
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Black Moon - Rough Mixes (December 1991)
2017

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Emerson Lake & Palmer by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.23 | 2148 ratings

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Emerson Lake & Palmer
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Artik

5 stars I will never understand how this absolute masterpiece and cornerstone of prog rock is far below top 50 here on PA (at the time of writing it is located on possition 83!), while I consider it one of the ultimate prog records of all time by some of the founding fathers and masters of the genre. Absolute must. Emerson's work here immediately places him on top of my prog keyboard wizards list. His piano/organ/synth play is extremely skillful, imaginative, sometimes touchingly beautiful, sometimes solemn and grandiose and yet pasionate and furious where it needs to be. Lake's voice sounds as beautiful as ever, his bass punches and guitar ornaments add to the richness of the soundpalette and provide very tasteful details. Compositions are very strong. Some are tight and smart rocking punches ("Barbarian") some are minisuites containing several parts ("Take a pebble", "Three fates"). There is no weak point here. Thankfuly there are no dubiously funny and forced honky-tonk songs on this album yet. So the overall sound is very cohesive and Emerson-dominated. Only the last song - the famous ballad "Lucky man" brings a bit different mood to reduce the intensity of previous tracks. It's often overlooked how smart the drumming is in this one. May it serve as a friendly reminder of the quality of Palmer's craft
 Love Beach by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.08 | 687 ratings

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Love Beach
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

2 stars One of the more hilarious examples of a once mighty early 70s prog band dismally falling from grace, EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER was quite ready to call it a day instead of convert to the changing musical tides or be crucified but unfortunately the band's record label Atlantic had other plans for them to fulfill the last album of their contract. Was this album a big middle finger to the industry or just a bad joke? Well, most opinions cite this as one of absolute worst examples of an album gone wrong from one of the greats of 70s progressive rock and a huge departure from eh band's intricately designed classical and jazz scores in their 2 volume "Works" albums.

Whatever the case ELP had finally run out of steam and wanted to rest on their laurels but after the Works tour were forced to head to the studio and start what would become their last album of their earliest incarnations. LOVE BEACH was named as such due to the fact that the band were tax exiles and had retreated to the Bahamas where they are seen sporting their classic Bee Gees look on the album cover. This album has attracted a few staunch supporters who would love their favorite band even if they recorded breakfast cereal commercials but the hardcore proggers were having none of this pop rock, AOR and yacht rock soup mixed with a few proggy remnants of the past. In reality and hindsight from someone who wasn't around back then to complain, this album isn't as horrible as the album cover suggests.

LOVE BEACH was divided into two sides, the first consisting of short catchy pop flavored tracks that in many ways sound like a rough draft of what would emerge in the 80s as Asia especially given the Greg Lake connection. The second side featured a return to the prog side of things with the side-long track "Memoirs of an Officer and a Gentleman" which consisted of four distinct parts and sailed past the 20 minute mark. Despite this attempt to please the fans, this album was seen as a bloody outrage and still receives probably more hate than any other prog gone wrong album in the history of the entire genre. However if one simmers down and actually evaluates the album on its own terms, it's not that bad! Not great either but certainly better than many other albums that were popular even by prog bands.

The first five tracks are all vocal oriented and feature prog pop constructs with the silliest being the title track which unfortunately taints the flow of things if you consider this an album experience but if you can simply fast forward and delete the impressions of the stinkers then this album is definitely worthy for the feisty classically infused "Canario" which is an excerpt from Joaquín Rodrigo's concerto "Fantasía para un Gentilhombre" which finds Keith Emerson in a triumphant return to keyboard wizardry with the other band members cranking out the instrumental prowess ELP fans were accustomed to completely sans vocals.

The 20-minute closer "Memoirs of an Officer and a Gentleman" delivers the prog goods as a concept piece that recounts the story of a romance between a soldier and his wife to be during World War II although the band had lost control of content at this point and the lyrics were crafted by the additional outside help of Peter Sinfield who not only was one of the key lyricists of King Crimson's lauded debut "In The Court Of The Crimson King" but was even more successful in the world of pop music having worked with Cher, Cliff Richard, Leo Sayer and many others. While this final opus hits all the prog notes especially with beautiful piano riffs with an attempted return to prog, this overweening pompousness turns out to be the weakest side of the album! It sounds like a drunken Elton John trying to venture into classical music in a smokey bar struggling to hit the right notes but saved somewhat by the cool fourth movement.

Oh well. Every great band has an expiration date and although ELP was well aware of that they gave it their best shot to fulfill their obligatory contract and in the process manufactured one of prog's greatest buffoonery sessions. Yeah, this was an admitted embarrassment as expressed by all the band members but personally i don't think it's a complete waste of time either. While the 20-minute B-side is somewhat of a disappointment as is the ridiculous title track, the rest of the tracks are not that bad and as already mentioned crafted the perfect practice sessions for the progressive pop 80s bands that followed and perfected some of the simplified prog that is on display here. As it stands this will probably remain one of the most hated albums in music history and i have avoided this for years but alas i have finally tuned in to see what all the scorn was about and all i have to say - wow!

2.5 rounded down

 Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Live, 1974
4.26 | 572 ratings

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Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars I am quite undecided about this album and its rating. It is the only live recording by ELP that I own but I heard a couple of them. This is by far the best one, technically and sonically, that ELP offered, at peak of their powers. Emerson proves to be the most proficient keyboard player in the progressive rock with no playing flaws, equally strong on piano, synths, Hammond and moog. Incredible soloing, fast technique (jazz purists would argue about the feeling) and mastering of simultaneous playing on multiple instruments. When you listen to "Piano improvisations", you must acknowledge the equlibristic left hand leaving most listeners speechless. Emerson is able to deliver energy, subtlety and class to his playing that is unmatched. The playing is a who-how reference album to prog keyboard playing. Drumming is another delicacy here, creative and dynamic that absolutely matches Emerson playing.

So why do I not give full 5 stars to this instrumental masterpiece? What disturbs me firstly, are the musical kind of moments in the overly long "Karn Evil 9" that makes listening incohesive. The band has ignored the first and the third album a bit too much and relied too much on "Brain Salad Surgery". Having "Trilogy" or "Abaddon's bolero" would add another dimension to the album. I never was in Lake's penned ELP material but here it balanced the decorating and full-blown Emerson stuff. My highlights are "Tarkus", "Piano improvisations" amd "Jeremy Bender" Highly recommended to all fans of keyboards in rock.

 Emerson, Lake & Palmer by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1980
1.91 | 2 ratings

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Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Heart of the Matter

2 stars The A-side is taken from "Love Beach", arguably the worst effort by the trio ever. Still so, one can find such high quality pop-rock songs there as it's not frequently heard. If well crafted, arranged, played and sung is well enough for you, then you are in for a treat, if not... then pass and look for more progressive sustenance.

The B-side is a more heterogeneous, but also more prog-oriented batch. Piled here, in a way that doesn't allow to grasp any principle for a reasonable sequence, we stumble upon two tracks from "Works vol. 1" (namely, Fanfare For The Common Man & L..A. Nights), one from "Works vol. 2" (Maple Leaf Rag), and the fantastic opener for their first studio album, The Barbarian, last but best part of this assortment.

Good, but for collectors only. Everybody else, go for the proper albums

 The Essential Emerson, Lake & Palmer by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2011
2.86 | 8 ratings

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The Essential Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars These budget double essential CDs have been great to play in the car and I've enjoyed all of them as they encompass the best of the artists and well chosen tracks from most of the artists albums. There have not been many prog related releases apart from this so I had to indulge.

It opens with the indulgent and brilliant most well known Fanfare For The Common Man (9:44) that has to be included on every ELP comp. The ballads are here of course with Still... You Turn Me On (2:54) and From the Beginning. I love hearing again Emerson Hammond workouts on Hoedown (3:46) and I dont mind the latter day singles such as Black Moon [Single Edit] (4:49).

Now the best of the best follows with blitzkrieg progalicious Tarkus (20:41) the full version as it must be heard. I never tire of it, after all it's one of the 7 wonders of the prog world and one of the greatest multi movement suites along with Suppers Ready, Plague of Lighthouse Keepers, and 2112.

Always love luxuriating with headphones under Jerusalem (2:44), and Knife Edge (5:05) and praise the prog God's that we have Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression - Part 1 and 2. I Believe In Father Christmas is here and I wish it wasn't but its easily skippable at the end of CD1.

CD 2 is less impressive but I love the live tracks of Nutrocker [Live] (3:59), Peter Gun [Live] (3:37) and The Great Gates of Kiev.

All I Want Is You (2:35) and Brain Salad Surgery (3:08) are fantastic, but none compare to the quintessence of masterpiece Take A Pebble (12:29) and it is my introduction to the band with unforgettable lyrics that resonate in my heart.

Nice to revisit Lucky Man (4:39) and Pirates (13:20) also that I always treasured. Unfortunately the comp features really dire tracks such as Honky Tonk Train Blues (3:11) and The Enemy God Dances With The Black Spirits (3:22) but its rare I listen to the albums they come from so I can forgive.

Overall this is a very nice compilation, though not as awesome as previous double disk comps. Nevertheless it's a cheap way of grabbing hold of some of the greatest ELP in one package.

 Trilogy by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.14 | 1638 ratings

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Trilogy
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by ssmarcus

5 stars Trilogy is, in my humble opinion, ELP's greatest and most definitive album. More so than any other record in their discography, Trilogy exemplified everything that makes ELP great: ambitious prog epics (e.g. 'The Endless Enigma' suite, 'Trilogy'), rock adaptations of classically styled pieces (e.g. 'Abadonn's Bolero,' 'Hoedown,'), and plain ol' fun 70's classic rock (e.g. 'The Sheriff', 'From the Beginning'). Brain Salad Surgery is inconsistent and, at times, a bit too whacky. Both Tarkus and the band's eponymous debut, the other usual candidates the group's best record, are undoubtedly great but came out a bit undercooked. Only Trilogy is focused and consistent throughout.

For me personally, Trilogy highlights the extent to which Emerson, Lake, & Palmer wasted their potential. If on the earlier records the trio did not always succeed to fully combine their powers, on the records after Brain Salad Surgery they downright ripped themselves apart. And regardless of what you think of those records, I think all ELP fans agree that only when the band worked together were they truly greater than the sum of their parts.

 Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Live, 1974
4.26 | 572 ratings

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Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Hector Enrique

5 stars Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends represented the final magical touch at the end of a golden stage of one of the legends of progressive rock. It must be said that after that point, the standard of EL&P never reached the same level. Recorded in California in February 1974, this masterpiece is the reflection of the supporting tour of the album Brain Salad Surgery, which was there played almost in its entirety. Welcome Back... is also the confirmation of the state of grace of the band. Just like the Yessongs, of its contemporaries Yes, the live performance takes on a higher vitality and power than studio versions.

Proof of that was the dizzying Hoedown at the hands of Keith Emerson's keyboards and Carl Palmer's drums. An excellent version of the song included in the Trilogy, originally composed by Aaron Copland, a composer born in the early twentieth century and a great influence on American music at that time. Another great example is the spectacular Tarkus, extended for more than 27 minutes and adorned with fragments of the cosmic and unmissable Epitaph of the King Crimsons in the Battlefield section. This song is interpreted by bassist Greg Lake, a former member of the Crimsons, with that deep voice.

Almost without respite, they surprise with Take a Pebble and the inclusion of Still ... You Turn Me On and Lucky Man in more rustic versions. They do that without more coating than the company of an acoustic guitar, excellently executed by Lake. And last but not least, they conclude the album, in the best possible way, with the powerful execution of Karn Evil 9 and its 3 movements in more than 35 minutes, including a crazy percussion instrumental by Palmer.

ELP took the time to enjoy virtuosity on Emerson's keyboards with the nearly 12 minutes of Piano Improvisations. The album is completed by Jerusalem, the instrumental Toccata, and the very interesting medley Jeremy Bender and The Sherrif, two fun compositions set in "the Wild West".

Welcome Back' it is one of the flags of progressive rock and for me, it is on the list of the best live records in the history of rock.

 Emerson, Lake & Powell: Emerson, Lake & Powell by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.12 | 476 ratings

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Emerson, Lake & Powell: Emerson, Lake & Powell
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by OLD PROG

3 stars ELP's eighth studio album marks the comeback of ELP but without Carl Palmer, here replaced by Cozy Powell. The style is now a sort of Symphonic Art Rock very unbalanced towards the true Progressive. This is not bad, especially in songs like "The Miracle" or "Learning To Fly" that are powerful, fresh and involve the listener very much. However, "The Score", put as an opener, don't like it because it's too moved towards a sort of need to let people know that even without Carl Palmer this is always the ELP. The Rock version of "Mars, The Bringer of Wars" (from "The Planet" by Gustav Holst) sounds excellent, highlighting the problems of the album: Greg Lake proves to be an excellent bass player and singer but here he can not leave his mark; Keith Emerson wants to modernize himself at all costs and, in certain moments, seems to want to invade the scene without succeeding (by choice); Cozy Powell is always Cozy Powell but is kept at bay by elementary scores. In short ... There is always something that leads me to say that the potential is there but not only it is not exploited and it's not even sought to the end.

With utmost regret there was no Emerson Lake & Powell part 2 so that we cannot understand the evolution of the project where it would take them.In addition, all of Emerson and Lake and Powell are no longer among us, which prevents a segioto from this album in our day. This "Emerson Lake & Powell" remains, an excellent album for 1986 but today a little superfluous. Although very beautiful.

 Works Vol. 2 by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.44 | 643 ratings

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Works Vol. 2
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Review Nº 346

'Works, Vol. 2' is the sixth studio album of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and as happened with 'Works, Vol. 1', it was also released in 1977. 'Works, Vol. 2' is the second part of their musical project named 'Works'. As happened with 'Works, Vol. 1', this is also a different and strange album in what concerns to its conception. But, unlike with 'Works, Vol. 1', which consisted of three solo musical efforts and one collective effort, 'Works, Vol. 2' is simply a single album with a compilation of leftover tracks from other album's sessions that hadn't been recorded before on their previous studio albums. So, the album consists of solo and band's tracks. Musically, this is an album that covers different musical styles ranging from blues, bluegrass and jazz, from different musical eras. Some derided the album for its apparent lack of focus but others said that it showed a different side of the band. Anyway, the album wasn't a commercial success.

'Works, Vol. 2' has twelve tracks. The first track 'Tiger In A Spotlight' written by Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Carl Palmer and Peter Sinfield is a leftover track from 'Brain Salad Surgery' sessions. This is a fun rock'n'roll/blues tune with a nice beat and a strange keyboard work. It's an interesting song but nothing more than that. The second track 'When The Apple Blossoms Bloom In The Windmills Of Your Mind I'll Be Your Valentine' written by Emerson, Lake & Palmer was also recorded in the sessions of 'Brain Salad Surgery' and appeared on the B side of the single 'Jerusalem' released to promote that studio album. It's an instrumental song with some interesting musical appointments and also with some strange keyboard sounds. The third track 'Bullfrog' written by Ron Aspery, Mick Hodgkinson and Carl Palmer is a very strange and eclectic instrumental song with some interesting but nevertheless bizarre and unconventional percussion work, which gives to us a strange and exotic atmosphere. The fourth track 'Brain Salad Surgery' written by Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Peter Sinfield is a leftover of the album with the same name. It's a very short song full of strange and silly keyboard sounds and strange lyrics. This is an interesting, curious and sarcastic song. The fifth track 'Barrelhouse Shake-Down' written by Keith Emerson is a song in a boogie-woogie musical style with some swing style jazz, where Keith Emerson has fun with his grand piano. The sixth track 'Watching Over You' written by Greg Lake and Peter Sinfield is an acoustic ballad very calm and melodious. It's a nice song with a very simple tune in the traditional style of the ballads of Greg Lake. The seventh track 'So Far To Fall' written by Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Peter Sinfield is another weird song, a kind of a fusion song between jazz and symphonic rock. It isn't a bad song. It has some energy, but sincerely, it doesn't move with me very much. The eighth track 'Maple Leaf Rag' written by Scott Joplin is a fun song that reminds me the very old times of the silent movies. This is a cover of a great classic song but no more than that. I think it's more fun playing it than hearing it. The ninth track 'I Believe In Father Christmas' written by Greg Lake and Peter Sinfield is a beautiful song and one of the best moments on the album. It's a ballad based on the Sergei Prokofiev's theme with good musical arrangements and also with good, ironic and controversial lyrics about the negative effects of commercial Christmas. The tenth track 'Close But Not Touching' written by Carl Palmer is another jazz piece of music essentially based on percussion. It's basically a repetitive song that reminds me a marching. This is a very vulgar song that doesn't add anything new to the album and that become in one of the weakest moments on the album. The eleventh track 'Honky Tonk Train Blues' written by Meade Lux Lewis is a song in the same vein and style of 'Barrelhouse Shake-Down'. This is Keith Emerson having fun with the grand piano in a boogie-woogie style while the rest plays in a swing jazz style. The twelfth and last track 'Show Me The Way To Go Home' written by L. James Campbell and Reginald Connelly is a reinterpretation of a classic traditional song. I don't know the original song but this version is very interesting and cool. This is to me one of the best songs on the album.

Conclusion: Unfortunately, 'Works, Vol. 2' is definetely a bit much worse than 'Works, Vol. 1' is. If on 'Works, Vol. 1' there's some logic with the songs on the album where each member of the group has an own side to present his concept of music, and a collective side, here we only have a punch of disconnected songs without any link between them. It's true that there are on the album some moments of inspiration with good musical moments. But, they are very few. 'Works, Vol. 2' isn't a progressive album and the songs are all short and very simple in its structure. Sincerely, I think this is only a compilation of songs, many previously recorded, often of dubious quality and which weren't even included on their previous studio albums. When I heard it I had the feeling that 'Works, Vol. 2' was an album made in haste and where each member put here what they had made before. So, 'Works, Vol. 2' is a complete musical deception without any link with their famous musical quality formula that has always worked so well. As I feared before, this is the confirmation of the beginning of the fall of one of the best, remarkable and most influential bands of the 70's.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Works Vol. 1 by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.94 | 776 ratings

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Works Vol. 1
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review Nº 345

After the release of their fourth studio album and also their most successful album 'Brain Salad Surgery', Emerson, Lake & Palmer took a three years break to reinvent their music and they probably lost contact with the changing music scene. We can't forget that it was in those years that we saw the birth of the punk rock movement. So, it was in those troubled times to prog rock music that they decided to record their double studio album 'Works' which was released in 1977. This album was later renamed 'Works, Vol. 1', which was soon followed, in the same year, by 'Works, Vol. 2'.

So, 'Works, Vol. 1' is the fifth studio album of Emerson, Lake & Palmer and was released in 1977. It's very different from what the band had made before. This is a strange album in terms of its conception. Originally, it was meant to be a two disc set divided into four major sections, the first three discs highlighting the music of each band's member and the last one highlighting the music of the band. So, as we can see, this is a very different proposal from the usual keyboard driven music that most of the fans expected. So, it wasn't a great surprise that the album has received a mixed reaction from fans and press. Those were changing times, but these weren't the changes that they expected.

The A side of the first disc is Keith Emerson's part and consists entirely of a concert for piano and orchestra divided into three movements: 'Piano Concerto No. 1': First Movement: 'Allegro Giojoso'; Second Movement: 'Andante Molto Cantabile'; Third Movement: 'Toccata Con Fuoco'. It seems that the composition was inspired when he was watching his own house burning and coming down. It's a classical piece of music without anything to do with progressive rock music or even with the rock itself. However, we are in presence of a classical piece of music of high level. Keith Emerson, in conjunction with is conductor and co-orchestrator John Mayer, admirably wrote beautiful virtuoso musical passages for the piano with excellent orchestration. Despite not be prog, it has great music and I really like it, indeed.

The B side of the first disc is Greg Lake's part and consists of five romantic acoustic ballads, 'Lend Your Love To Me Tonight', 'C'Est La Vie', 'Hallowed Be Thy Name', 'Nobody Loves You Like I Do' and 'Closer To Believing', most of which were written by him and Peter Sinfield. This is the part that we can consider more close to the band's style. I mean only the individual musical contributions of Greg Lake to the group. My favourite songs here are 'Lend Your Love To Me Tonight', which is, in my opinion, a good song, and especially 'C'Est La Vie', which is a fantastic song and is also the most famous too. I've mix feelings about this part. I like both songs but the other three are indifferent to me.

The A side of the second disc is Carl Palmer's part and consists logically and essentially in percussion and is probably the most accessible, of the three solo parts. It's especially for rock listeners, rocking hard even on the classical adaptations. This part consists of six songs, 'The Enemy God Dances With The Black Spirits' (an arrangement of an excerpt of the 2nd Movement of 'The Scythian Suite' of Sergei Prokofiev), 'L.A. Nights', 'New Orleans', 'Two Part Invention In D Minor' (an arrangement of a baroque piece of music of Johan Sebastian Bach), 'Food For Your Soul' and 'Tank' (a remake from a song originally released on the eponymous first album of the group). My favourite songs here are 'The Enemy God Dances With The Black Spirits' which is, for my taste, a very good adaptation of the suite of Sergei Prokofiev, 'Two Part Invention In D Minor', another fantastic arrangement of the Baroque piece of music by Bach and 'Tank', an interesting remake of the original song with orchestral accompaniment and without the solo drum.

The B side of the second disc is the part featuring the entire band together, and consists only of two songs, 'Fanfare For The Common Man' and 'Pirates'. The first one is a modern piece of music of Aaron Copland that was re- arranged for a rock band and the second was originally written for the soundtrack of a cancelled film version of the Frederick Forsyth's book 'The Dogs Of War'. Both pieces of music are, in my humble opinion, two great music compositions. Both pieces have a delightful mix of contemporary classical epic music, very melodic, progressive, dynamic, charming and complex. Even Lake sings with passion on the tracks. These were the band's last great epics and I love both, really.

Conclusion: Individually and musically, we can really consider 'Works, Vol. 1' an album with some great and fantastic music moments, especially Keith Emerson's part and Emerson, Lake & Palmer's part. So, only for that it would be rated with 4 stars. However, there are some problems with this album that must be considered. In the first place, it isn't a very well balanced album because Greg Lake's and Carl Palmer's parts are worst and have some inconsistency. In the second place, this isn't an album with the famous musical formula that brought such fame and greatness to the band. Finally and in the third place, and this is the main reason, this isn't a musical collective effort of the band on most of it. Unfortunately, each member seemed to need to show their big egos and all of them tried to be the leader of the group. This is sad and was the beginning of the fall of one of the best, remarkable and most influential prog bands of the 70's.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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