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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Emerson, Lake & Palmer CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

2.03 | 6 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Review Nº 648

As its name indicates, "Emerson, Lake & Palmer" is a compilation album of Emerson, Lake & Palmer that was released in 1980. This is a very strange compilation album from the band. It only has tracks from four studio albums of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. But, what is even stranger is the selection of the tracks for it. It has one track from their eponymous debut album, two tracks from their fifth album "Works Vol. 1", one track from their sixth album "Works Vol. 2" and six tracks from their seventh album "Love Beach". So, their second album "Tarkus", their third album "Trilogy", their fourth album "Brain Salad Surgery" and their debut live album "Pictures At An Exhibition" aren't represented here.

"Emerson, Lake & Palmer" is a compilation album with ten tracks. "All I Want Is You", "Love Beach", "Taste Of My Love", "The Gambler", "For You" and "Canario" are all tracks from "Love Beach". "All I Want Is You" is really a neat little pop song with a catchy chorus to boot. The shimmering guitar and Greg Lake's voice makes for a very effective entrance. The composition isn't so bad, despite the band sounding like it's going through the motions. So, we can say that album doesn't starts in a bad note. It's not a classic, but it's not really difficult to listen to. "Love Beach" isn't really a great track. It has some good melodies some great snappy drumming from Carl Palmer, in The Beatles' style guitar riff, canny little breaks in the main melody, a decent vocal work from Greg Lake, some of Sinfield's best lines, even if the lyrics are a bit tacky. As a conclusion, we can say this is a nice pop song, but nothing more than that. It captures perfectly well the spirit of the album's cover. "Taste Of My Love" opens with a twenty second synth introduction, before Carl Palmer comes in to provide a link between Keith Emerson's strident keys and Greg Lake's flexible, and actually a pretty good vocal work, with his bizarre jazz/rock style. Keith Emerson fills up the mood with every synth sound he can pluck out. The lyrics are absolutely awful. "The Gambler" isn't a great song. It's supposedly a groovy blues tune that doesn't sounds at all like ELP. It reminds me some other silly tracks like "Jeremy Bender", "Are You Ready Eddy?", or "Benny The Bouncer". It's a style they've done before and this song is certainly no worse than any of those tracks. Still, I never liked this kind of songs on a band like Emerson, Lake & Palmer. "For You" is more in the usual style of the band. It has a more "modern" sound than "Still?You Turn Me On" and really flows well. The melodies and the instrumental arrangements are thought out and inspired and Keith Emerson uses the right synthesizer sounds and plays nice motifs with them. The electric guitar tone is great as well. If they had released "For You" as a single rather than "All I Want is You", they might have garnered some radio play. "Canario (From Fantasia Para Un Gentilhombre)" is a re-interpretation of a piece of Joaquín Rodrigo, a concert for guitar and orchestra. It's a track that represents what the band usually does. And they usually do it very well, indeed. It sounds great and because of that it represents, without any doubt, the best part of the first side of that album. It shows again the quality of Keith Emerson as a great composer and performer. "Fanfare For The Common Man" is from "Works Vol. 1". It's a great interpretation of a classical piece of Aaron Copland re-arranged for a rock band. Aaron Copland's original is wonderful, and usually ELP didn't do too bad a job on the arrangements. Synths are heavily used, especially in the later sections. It sounds like the early ELP, being experimental and heroic. "Maple Leaf Rag" is from "Works Vol. 2". It's a fun song that reminds me the very old times of the silent movies. This is a cover of a classic song of Scott Joplin. It's not great but it's not bad too. In reality, it's nothing more than that. I think it's more fun playing it than hearing it. "L.A. Nights" is from "Works Vol. 1". It's a rock & blues song with a strong jazzy feel. It begins with bass, drums and synths cooperating moving into a great jazzy sax part, a superb guitar solo and the occasional bit of piano with good drum and bass backing. Palmer as a composer is here at his best. "The Barbarian" is from their eponymous debut studio album. Despite it has been attributed to the trio, this is a musical arrangement of a Bela Bartok's piano piece, named "Allegro Barbaro". Although, the original piece is only for piano, the band rearranged the song for organ, bass and drums. This is a great aggressive track with a very hard rock influence.

Conclusion: As I mentioned above, this a very strange compilation album of the band. At the time it was released, they had already released eight albums with original tracks or adaptations of several classical pieces. I think of "Pictures At An Exhibition", "Tarkus", "Trilogy", "Brain Salad Surgery", "Works. Vol. 1", "Works Vol. 2" and "Love Beach". Strangely, the band, or the label, decided releases this compilation album with only tracks from four of those albums. But, what is even stranger is this compilation album is essentially focused in their less interesting and less progressive phase, their three last albums released in the 70's, with only one track that belong to their best and most progressive phase, "The Barbarian" from their eponymous debut. So, this is a very weak compilation album. Only three pieces, "The Barbarian", "Fanfare For The Common Man" and "Canario (From Fantasia Para Un Gentilhombre)" are really great here.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 2/5 |


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