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Emerson Lake & Palmer - The Ultimate Collection CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

3.72 | 13 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars THE BEST compilation that will kickstart you into the world of ELP.

OK confession time... this was the first ELP album I bought and I was taking the cautious path rather than launch into "Tarkus" or "Brain Salad Surgery" straight away. I was in awe of the band after listening to this and it captures everything that is great about them, the pompous, pretentious, grandiose and classical, and the downright ridiculous. All the great albums are represented well and no unkind butchered versions remain, rather unedited glorious ELP that is guaranteed to launch the average progger into ELP.

The booklet is beautiful with lots of info to dig deep into and a generous amount of pictures. Each CD is packed with the best you will hear from ELP, though there are always going to be some omissions.

The omissions include The Barbarian, sadly as it is one of the great instrumentals from the group and I missed Trilogy, but in all honesty this compilation leaves nothing to chance and includes the excellent range of ELP classics from all their studio albums.

The highlights are the full length Fanfare for the Common Man (9:44), the entire 20 minute Tarkus Medley and Jerusalem. Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression, Pt. 1 and 2nd Impression are represented well, the best section of the epic is here to be honest. I like how it is in two halves, beginning CD 2 with the famous "Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends". From the debut the progalicious Knife Edge is here and a great instrumental, Peter Gunn Theme. Another highlight is Take a Pebble, the first track I had heard from ELP apart from Fanfare for the Common Man and I still adore it today as much as back in the 70s. From "Pictures of an Exhibition" the classic Great Gates of Kiev is a good choice and I enjoy the "Works" track Pirates here in full length form. They even included the only decent track from "Love Beach", Canario.

Of course there are some questionable decisions including the bum fluff of throwaways such as All I Want Is You, C'est la Vie and Affairs of the Heart and the heinous I Believe in Father Christmas. The collection goes well as a supplement with the DVD "Beyond the Beginning" that features a great deal of this material.

All the ballads by Lake are here such as the mandatory Still...You Turn Me On, From the Beginning and Lucky Man, which after a while become dull but they are still an essential component of the collection. Some nice tracks from the more recent "Black Moon" served as a taster for me till I got that album, including the title track and Better Days. I have all the tracks now on the studio albums but I still treasure this compilation as it is great to have the best ELP in one package. I was not privileged to get the bonus CD with this but that would have been the icing on the cake, and I may have raised this to 5 stars, but nevertheless this is definitely worthy of 4 stars for the packaging and the unedited epics; it is indeed the ultimate ELP collection.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |


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