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


Emerson Lake & Palmer

Symphonic Prog

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The Pessimist
3 stars My first experiences with ELP, and my first review. This is a fantastic place to get started, and it took 5 weeks before The Ultimate Collection was replaced by Brain Salad Surgery in my CD player! If you are not a fan of ELP, or have not heard much of them (or none at all), then this is a great place to start. This turned into the beginning of my ELP phase within (as mentioned above) 5 weeks, and I've looked up to Keith's keyboard playing ever since. Once again however, like most compilations, people that are already fans may not like or appreciate this album, so the maximum I can give is 4 stars. Also, it has its flaws, for example: they didn't have to include Black Moon, nor Affairs of The Heart, C'est La Vie or I Believe In Father Christmas. So 3 stars it is.
Report this review (#162570)
Posted Sunday, February 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars What can I say ? This compilation includes all the best of this band. It also include some real turkeys too. That Christmas song, for example. But most of the tracks are stunning. Really stunning. 4.5 stars for the music.

Still, I am not that great fan of compilation albums. And Emerson, Lake & Palmer has released their fair share of compilation albums. All of them are cheap rip-offs, with one exception: This album. The booklet are good too. It tells the story of this band. But I would still recommend Keith Emerson's brilliant memoirs "Pictures of an Exhibitionist" instead of this booklet. That book and the four first studio albums + the three first live album Wight, Pictures and Welcome To The Show is the ones all ELP fans should have. One good reason for this is that all the four first albums is entities on their own which should not be broken up into compilation albums. 4.5 stars for the music, 3 stars for the idea.

3.75 stars

Report this review (#235213)
Posted Wednesday, August 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars A great compilation (particularly as an introduction to ELP's music) that covers MOST of the band's best songs.

Only complaints: little of the 'Trilogy' album is represented. Nothing from 'Love Beach' onwards requires inclusion in my opinion. And the track labelled as 'Karn Evil 9: 2nd Impression' is in fact part two of the FIRST impression (no big deal but it confused me when I first bought 'Brain Salad Surgery').

Given that this is the kind of band all prog fans end up falling in love with, it is inevitable that you will end up owning their entire discography. So this is as good a place to start as any.

Report this review (#278857)
Posted Wednesday, April 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars For the first of the 2 discs on this 3 disc set its pretty much a mish mash of ELP tracks from all different eras (but with very little attention paid to the running order) managing to highlight the best as well as some lows (2 tracks from Love Beach??).What makes this set worth going for though is the bonus disc. What you get here is the re-mixed Karn Evil 9 that was originally included on the live triple set (Welcome Back My Friends...) .Here the sound is far better and clearer with a more dynamic feel altogether.The same treatment is given to Hoedown,Still You Turn Me On and Lucky Man from that concert. However there is a mistake with the packaging as not all the tracks are from this one concert. Fanfare For The Common Man was, as any ELP fan knows, recorded and released in 1977. This live version was taken from the second half of the Works tour probably in early 1978.

Overall with the live version of Karn Evil 9 (in its entirety) on the bonus disc its worth 4 stars (would be scraping only 3 without)

Report this review (#278889)
Posted Wednesday, April 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#293863)
Posted Monday, August 9, 2010 | Review Permalink

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