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


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.24 | 2370 ratings

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5 stars This is the debut album from this supergroup of stellar musicians. This was to become the outlet for Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer to showcase their musicianship. But, at it's peak, it was more than anything a spotlight for Emerson's spectacular keyboard playing and composing. As you listen to this album, which has been reviewed plenty of times here already, you will notice that everyone gets to shine, but the balance of the spotlight is tilted quite heavily to Emerson, which is fine. His talent has inspired countless musicians and has influenced many people to explore other avenues of music that they normally would not have explored.

This album is amazing, especially for a debut album. There is quite a mix of classically inspired rock. The mix of sounds you get here should not be too surprising because of the talent. You start off with "The Barbarian" with the full band doing their take on a Bartok composition from 1911; "Allegro Barbaro". After this somewhat bombastic instrumental where each band member shows off their talent, an epic track named "Take a Pebble" follows. This track has vocals from the amazing voice of Greg Lake. The sections where there is singing is performed by full band, but the very long instrumental break is surprisingly acoustic piano through most of it with a short break for an acoustic guitar solo and a return to the piano with drums joining in eventually. This is a very nice surprise because the sound is amazing and anyone who knows keyboards will be blown away by Emerson's playing. "Knife Edge" is another harder edged song again with full band and vocals and is very progressive. It is based on the first movement of Leo? Janáček's Sinfonietta. with a organ solo during the instrumental break that follows Bach's Allamande from the French Suite in D minor.

Following this you get two long instrumentals. The first being a suite called "The Three Fates" which is definitely another chance for Emerson to show off, of which I have no complaint. This is one of my favorite ELP tracks and probably one of the least known. You get a very cool organ solo on the first movement, and nice piano solo on the 2nd movement, and then the piano gets joined by drums and bass for the third. This is a very progressive number that always gets my heart pounding. This also demonstrates that Emerson is not only an amazing player, but an outstanding composer also. Next is "Tank" which is a full band instrumental which spotlights Carl Palmer this time. This is another excellent instrumental with a completely different feel from the last track and a very excellent drum solo in the middle which is not stretched out to a never-ending length. Palmer shares the spotlight with Emerson not only with the instruments but with the composition also. Great stuff. The album ends with the popular Lake folk rock ballad "Lucky Man" which features his vocals and guitar and ends with Emerson on synth that was overdubbed on the end so that everyone would know (on the radio) that this is not a Lake solo. Good song, but not very indicative of the rest of their sound and I'm sure a lot of people were surprised when they heard the song on the radio, bought the album and heard something they were not expecting. But it worked for the band and made them hugely popular and that popularity continued for several years.

Anyway, this is an excellent album that introduced a lot of people to the challenging music of progressive rock. In that way, it is essential in that it helped bring a lot of rock lovers around to becoming interested in classical music and a more sophisticated style of popular music. The importance of this album in rock music can not be denied. ELP would go on to produce some other great albums and some trashy ones too, but their influence in progressive and popular music is still felt today. Essential album. 5 stars.

TCat | 5/5 |


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