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Emerson Lake & Palmer

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Emerson Lake & Palmer Works Vol. 2 album cover
2.44 | 724 ratings | 45 reviews | 3% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Tiger in a Spotlight (4:36)
2. When the Apple Blossoms Bloom in the Windmills of Your Mind I'll Be Your Valentine (3:59)
3. Bullfrog (3:52)
4. Brain Salad Surgery (3:10)
5. Barrelhouse Shake-Down (3:52)
6. Watching over You (3:58)
7. So Far to Fall (4:57)
8. Maple Leaf Rag {Scott Joplin} (2:03)
9. I Believe in Father Christmas (3:20)
10. Close but Not Touching (3:22)
11. Honky Tonk Train Blues {Meade (Lux) Lewis} (3:11)
12. Show Me the Way to Go Home {Irving King} (3:32)

Total Time 43:52

Bonus tracks on 2001 Castle remaster:
13. Tiger in a Spotlight (live) (4:16) *
14. Watching over You (live) (4:32) *
15. Show Me the Way to Go Home (live) (5:36) #

* Recorded in Newhaven 30.11.77
# Recorded in Indiana 24.1.78

Line-up / Musicians

- Greg Lake / vocals, bass, guitars
- Keith Emerson / Hammond, piano, synthesizers, accordion, orchestration (5,7,8,12), arranger (12)
- Carl Palmer / drums & percussion

- Ron Aspery / saxophone (3) - uncredited
- Colin Hodgkinson / bass (3) - uncredited
- Alan Cohen / co-orchestrator (5,11
- Tony Harris / co-orchestrator (7)
- Godfrey Salmon / co-orchestrator (12)
- London Philharmonic Orchestra (8)

Releases information

Artwork: Ian Murray with Ashley Newton (Art direction)

LP Atlantic - SD-19147 (1977, UK)

CD Atlantic ‎- 7567-81538-2 (1987, Netherlands)
CD Castle Music ‎- CMRCD225 (2001, UK) Remastered by Andy Pearce w/ 3 bonus live tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Works Vol. 2 Music

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Works Vol. 2 ratings distribution

(724 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(3%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(15%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (35%)
Poor. Only for completionists (11%)

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Works Vol. 2 reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
1 stars Is there any way as to allow a rating of -1 stars? I think that by Works Vol I, they had major ego problems and if internet had existed back then , they probably would have done this one through the web and communicated by e-mails as they probably could not stand each other's sight anymore. Sad thing is that youcan hear this state of mind in their music, too!

This is a listless collection of songs many of them rejected from the Volume 1. Sure who did not have emotions while hearing C'Est La Vie as he was groping his new girlfriend to a slow dance at the highschool dances. Sure Tiger In A spotlight is also the other not-so-weak track on this album.The least we can say is is that the rest of the album is the product of a de-composing group!


Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Show them the way to go home

You don't have to listen too closely here to hear the sound of the barrel being scraped.

This album consists of solo and band tracks which didn't make it onto previous albums. There are moments of inspiration, such as the atmospheric Greg Lake ballad "Watching over you", but they are all too few. Even Lake's solo hit "I believe in Father Christmas" is not the bombastic version which give him major success in the singles chart, but a watered down acoustic version. Emerson certainly lightens up, clearly enjoying himself on "Barrelhouse shake-down" and Scot Joplin's "Maple leaf rag", but ultimately these are little more than amusing diversions.

There's certainly nothing remotely progressive here, with all the tracks being under 5 minutes, and simple in structure. By the time Lake sings "Show me the way to go home", you know exactly how he feels!

While the flawed "Works volume 1" may have been a legitimate, if for many disappointing release, "Volume 2" is nothing more than a compilation of tracks which were by and large never intended for inclusion on an ELP album,

An album of outtakes, for core fans only.

Footnote, British comedian Jim Davidson is a big ELP fan. He managed to get some of their music used as incidental and link themes on his TV family game show "The generation game". He recorded an album, mainly of easy listening standards, which included a superb version of "Watching over you", produced by Greg Lake.

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars We are far away here from the long epic progressive song that ELP used to compose in the previous years. The songs are short (3-4 minutes). The record contains different styles of music: jazz, honky tonk?, dixieland?, ragtime?, big band?, folk... One thing is sure: the record sounds VERY retro. The sound is amazingly good, so that it makes a very dynamic album full of life. The keyboards are very colorful and melodic. There are many saloon ambiance piano parts, and the keyboards often sound like brass arrangements. The drums are rather complex and varied. There are some acoustic guitar parts, excellent percussions and very good lead vocals.
Review by daveconn
4 stars Like the earlier Volume 1, this splits its time between group and individual contributions. It's no more eclectic than its predecessor, but by containing the experiment to a single album it may feel that way. "Works Volume 2" is essentially a catch-all compilation of old material (like the 1973 B side, "When The Apple Blossoms Bloom."), solo singles from Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, and songs that were new to listeners if not new themselves. An album of such dubious origins gave some critics (at least those intent on giving prog rock its last rites) the excuse they needed to proclaim that ELP was dead. My job (mon raison d'etre, peut-etre?) is to tell you otherwise.

Sure, it's not the paragon of prog rock that earlier albums were, but Archiva it ain't. Taken individually, tracks like "Brain Salad Surgery", "Watching Over You", "I Believe In Father Christmas" and "Maple Leaf Rag" are just fine. Compared to Emerson's tiresome classical aspirations (i.e., "Piano Concerto No. 1"), shorter showstoppers like "Barrelhouse Shake-Down" and "Honky Tonk Train Blues" are a hoot. If Carl Palmer's marching band on mescaline ("Close But Not Touching") is filler, his "Bullfrog" is fuller. And I've found myself humming this version of "Show Me The Way To Go Home" on more than one occasion.

Honestly, listening to "Works Volume 1" is usually work, "Volume 2" isn't. Given that the band didn't release a lot of material in the '70s, ELP fans are missing a piece of the puzzle if they haven't picked this one up yet. Bringing this music under the ELP aegis may have been no more than a good marketing ploy, but it still manages to live up to the band's reputation better than the albums that followed.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars There's not much to say about this album, but it's evident that ELP days as imaginative composers are over, at this point we only have to expect good compilations and great concerts as an echo of an amazing past.

Works I was not very good and this one is worst, the album is plethoric of fillers and lacks of consistence, as if they had collected random songs and united them in an album (what I honestly believe they did).

A few songs save the album of being a complete disaster, like the simple but beautiful "I Believe in Father Christmas" and "Brain Salad Surgery" that sounds stronger than the rest without reaching a great level.

Only for die hard fans and for collectors. I rate it with 2 stars even if I believe it's under the ELP average, because I'm sure Love Beach and In the Hot Seat are worst.

Review by richardh
1 stars Well this is the first album I've ever given as low a mark as one star for.Actually it's not awfull despite what you may read or hear otherwise BUT that said it has absolutely nothing to do with prog rock whatsoever (and this is a prog site!) This is truly for ELP completionists only.
Review by Fitzcarraldo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Works Volume 2" is a collection of odds and ends released some 8 months after "Works Volume 1". Whilst it is no masterpiece, it succeeds where "Works Volume 1" failed. On "Works Volume 1" the band, both individually and collectively, let their pretentiousness get the better of them, and I say that as someone who usually defends the band against the criticism of pretentiousness. The conceit evident on "Works Volume 1" is much less evident on "Works Volume 2", partly because several of the pieces on the latter predate the former, partly because the pieces on "Works Volume 2" are basically better than those on its predecessor (the tracks have catchy tunes and none are weak), and partly because they seem more 'genuine', i.e. less laboured, than the pieces on "Works Volume 1".

'Tiger In A Spotlight' I like quite a lot actually; it's an unsophisticated bopping number recorded in 1973, with plenty of Emerson's synthesizer but also honky-tonk piano, Palmer bashing away in the background and Lake's singing, slightly gravelly in places. It's similar to the ELP sound on "Brain Salad Surgery", although not to the same high standard.

'When The Apple Blossoms Bloom In The Windmills Of Your Mind I'll Be Your Valentine' was recorded in the sessions for "Brain Salad Surgery" but did not appear on the album, although it ended up as the B-side of the single 'Jerusalem'. Actually it's not a bad instrumental, and boogies along nicely in the 'classical' ELP style.

As its name suggests, the track 'Brain Salad Surgery' was also a cast-off from the "Brain Salad Surgery" sessions, and is a track that I also like: it's brash, has plenty of synthesizer, Lake's gravelly shouting singing, and is catchy. It would probably have worked had it been on the eponymous album, but is not as good as the music on that album. This track and some excerpts from the album "Brain Salad Surgery" were released on a 7-inch 'floppie vinyl' free with the November 10, 1973 issue of New Musical Express.

'Bullfrog' is a jazzy number by Palmer, Aspery and Hodgekinson, and is essentially a percussion showcase for Palmer. It has sax and some fat, bullfrog-sounding synthesizer and would be quite acceptable in a modern jazz bar. It's not bad and, in my opinion, more interesting than Palmer's contributions to "Works Volume 1".

'Barrelhouse Shake-down' is an Emerson boogie-woogie, honky-tonk number and is great. With trumpet and/or trombone in the background this shows that the right track can be given the 'big band' treatment without sounding pretentious. This track was released as the B-side on Emerson's 1976 single "Honky Tonk Train Blues".

'Watching Over You' is a Lake lullaby with acoustic guitar. This really *is* a song that you could play to a baby or small child to lull it to sleep, as he wrote it for his daughter when she was very little. It's a nice song with a simple but pleasant tune, with a genuine feel about it that Lake's songs on "Works Volume 1" lack, in my opinion. Maybe I'm a sentimental old codger, but I like it (even the mercifully short burst of gratuitous harmonica). It was released as a single in 1978, with Lake's 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' from "Works Volume 1" on the B-side.

'So Far To Fall' is a Lake song that sounds to me like it came from the same 'big band' session as his songs on "Works Volume 1". Although this is no masterpiece, I actually find 'So Far To Fall' better than those, and the trumpets don't sound so corny to me on this one. The lyrics are a bit difficult to stomach in places though, as lyricist Sinfield again seems to have gone a bit over the top: ".she did a thing to my thing, she did a thing to my thing like it's never been done before."

Scott Joplin's 'Maple Leaf Rag' needs no introduction. A great piece of music and Emerson gives it the full treatment with ragtime band backing (by the London Philharmonic Orchestra!). It sounds like Emerson is playing either a clavichord or an upright, overstrung piano. Whatever it is, he's the business.

'I Believe In Father Christmas' was Lake's 1975 UK single and it became a Christmas regular along with SLADE's and WIZZARD's Christmas songs. It's a wonderful piece, using Prokofiev's Troika from the Lieutenant Kije Suite, Opus 60 as a refrain. Although I like the song very much, given its disdainful message I have never ceased to be amazed at this song being trotted out at Christmas time. Like 'The Only Way (Hymn)' on "Tarkus", it's one of the most antireligious songs I've heard. The lyrics by Sinfield are hugely full of irony. It's a clever song, dressing up a disdainful message in beautiful, Christmassy sounds. When Sinfield says "And they told me a fairy story 'Till I believed in the Israelite" he's making an adverse comment not just on the commercialisation of Christmas but also on Christianity itself.

'Close But Not Touching' is a Carl Palmer/Harry South 'big band' number that spilled over from "Works Volume 1". Whilst the playing is good, it's my least favourite track on the album. I can still listen to it, but it's nothing special.

'Honky Tonk Train Blues' is another of Emerson's honky-tonk piano forays, this time his arrangement of Meade "Lux" Lewis' famous jazz number from 1927. Like 'Barrelhouse Shake-down', it has trumpets/trombones to give it a jazz swing. I can listen to this stuff all day. As mentioned above, this track was released as a single in 1976.

'Show Me The Way To Go Home' is Emerson's arrangement of the 1925 song by Irving King, with Lake crooning as if he's been doing it all his life. Emerson expertly tickles the ivories and the orchestra provides excellent 'big band' support. A great version of a good song.

The album is a rather disparate collection of tracks, which I feel reduces its impact. In this case the whole is not greater than the sum of the parts. However, unlike "Works Volume 1", it's an album that I think *is* worth having in my collection. Although I would recommend that you don't get this album instead of one of the first 5 ELP albums, if you do have all those and are wondering whether this one is worth getting then I'd say: "go for it". Just don't expect the Earth. I'll rate it as a 3-star album (Good, but non-essential).

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars This is a quite terrible album to be frank (not robson). I recall listening this trough as a kid, and being amazed what kind of stuff the band managed to do after "Pictures at An Exhibition" or their debut studio recording. After that it has gathered dust in my bookshelf, except for the quick re-listening done for this review. Maybe I should try to get an euro or few from the local flea markets, as the second hand record stores won't accept it. The leftovers found from love beach's low tide could for a fine soundtrack for some Charles Bronson movies, where I understood Keith Emerson ventured few years after this release. Cool band pic at the back side of the album though, one solution would be cutting that off and practice the arts of archery to this abomination.
Review by Progbear
1 stars Can you say "stopgap release" boys and girls? How about "contractual obligation"? This one is stuffed full of "previously unreleased" material that should have stayed that way, or at least waited twenty years later until an extortionately-priced boxed set could have come out around Christmastime so that Atlantic could milk the ELP cash cow for all it was worth.

How bad is it? Imagine all the bad "joke" tracks from the previous albums put together on one album, stuck together with OUTTAKES from the first WORKS package, B-sides and other oddities (like a solo Christmas song from Lake). Any time Emerson whips out his detuned, honky-tonk piano, I recommend running as fast as you can in the opposite direction. And, saints preserve us, he does that no less than THREE TIMES on this album! And if that weren't terrifying enough, the disc closes out with a version of the alcoholic's anthem "Show Me The Way To Go Home". They seem utterly intent in having their audience drown in a morass of tacky kitsch.

Review by Tom Ozric
2 stars Just a brief review whilst I'm listening to E.L.P. today... - this album, 'Works Vol II', is a mixed bag of styles, unfortunately we've had their hey-day with mega-complex compositions, now it's their turn (according to company pressure) to write something commercial....I can only allocate 2 stars for this variable set of tunes : this album shows the different directions each member displayed at the time : we have the direction which Emerson favoured with Barrelhouse Shake-Down, Maple-Leaf Rag and Honkey-Tonk Train Blues, all displaying show-offy Piano tendencies, Greg Lake with his choice of direction, showing accessible, catchy, and sometimes jazz-inspired tunes - 'Show Me the way to go Home', 'Watching Over You', and the commercial tune which hits the airwaves during the Festive season... (even in the supermarket where I work.......hmmm ??), 'I Believe in Father Christmas'. Carl Palmer shows off his interest at the time - Jazzy-Rock and Big-Band swing, with 'Bullfrog' and 'Close but not Touching'... the remainder of the tracks showing the trio pulling together for some quite decent tunes such as 'When the Apple Blossoms Bloom....", 'Brain Salad Surgery', 'So Far to Fall', and 'Tiger in a Spotlight'. Not the most consistent listen, but still, one can find something to satisfy.....
Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars Can you imagine that there were left overs from the infect "Works One" sessions ?

Well, we'll get them here. Another ridiculous and completely useless ELP album.

If you have read my reviews of their early work, you' ll know that I am quite an ELP fan. Having seen them live in their glorious days (1974) it is really difficult for me to bear such an album. If only it would be a single lost one in their discography; but no : it is the second in a row.

I really can't understand how prog reviewers can rate this album with four stars. I made this remark already with their previous "work" (which was even rated with five stars by some of of the reviewers). I usually never do this type of comments (and I have reviewed more than five hundred albums on PA).

It is unbelievable that such an innovative and great band could release such crappy work. The worst of all, is that it will even sell ! Nowadays, the word would have been spread like a fury and I guess that only downloads would have occured and that virtually NO-ONE would buy this incredibly poor material.

Even worse than "Works 1". I would have loved that the zero rating was available. Same and awful stuff. Same rating.

Review by Zitro
2 stars 1.6 Stars

A collection of uninspired numbers that have no relation with one another makes me believe that this is a bunch of outtakes released into an album to bring in some money. The music is either the band just goofing around and not paying attention to songwriting, uninspired efforts, or covers

Opener Tiger in a Spotlight is a highlight, but it's nothing more than just a fun rock&blues tune with a nice beat and entertaining but unimpressive keyboard work. When the Apple ... is purely uninspired jamming that shouldn't be preset here. Bullfrog borders on unlistenable avantgarde. Brain Salad Surgery shows why it hasn't been on the album, it is extremely corny and out of place, almost as bad as Benny the Bouncer. Barrelhouse Shake-Down and Honky Tonk Train Blues are just Emerson having fun with the grand piano in a boogie-woogie style while the rest plays some swing-style jazz. I find the latter more enjoyable, but it is close to a carbon copy of the original. The greg-driven Watching Over You is an average mellow ballad that does nothing for me and So Far To Fall is another subpar moment with weak lyrics, unmemorable melodies, and Keith Emerson not being to his usual standard. Maple Leaf Rag is an unnecessary cover of a classical piece, and it's just a forgettable cover. Thanksfully I believe in Father Christmas is of stronger quality: a good ballad with finally some worthy melodies, musical arrangements, and ironic and controversial lyrics. Close But Not Touching is just bad, another big-band sounding song with awful arrangements. It just doesn't sound good. The closing song Show me ... is a reinterpretation of a piece. Not bad, there's some good piano work here, but again ... why would I want to listen to this?

I think this is purely for fans, but even I don't recommend this to fans of ELP at all. Avoid this album.

1. Tiger In A Spotlight (C) 2. When The Apple ... (D) 3. Bullfrog (D-) 4. Brain Salad Surgery (D) 5. Barrelhouse Shake-Down (D) 6. Watching Over You (D) 7. So Far To Fall (D) 8. Maple Leaf Rag (D) 9. I Believe In Father Christmas (C+) 10. Close But Not Touching (F) 11. Honky Tonk Train Blues (C) 12. Show Me The Way To Go Home (D)

Review by 1800iareyay
1 stars Works Vol. 1 hinted that the mighty ELP might be in trouble, and the follow-up confirmed it. Works Vol. 2 features all the songs not good enough to be featured on the decent first edition. That right there should send up some warning flags. The songs are certainly not progressive, with their short length and (mostly) simple structures. However, teh real problem is that they are not any good. With the exception of "When the Apple Blossoms Bloom...yadda yadda yadda" (the title is more progressive than the song), no song is even enjoyable.

The funeral bells had not yet rung for the band. That would come with their next release, title Love Beach, which should be considered at least a mild curse by music fans and Englishmen. Still, this pathetic raiding of the vaults serves only to prophesize the band's fall from grace.

Grade: F

Review by Easy Money
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Although there is some weak material on this record, there are also some really good tracks that any fan of this band could enjoy. This album followed the extremely boring Works Vol I, so I think a lot of people just assumed this album would be worse. Although some of these songs might be out takes from Vol I, a lot of them sound like they came from the Brain Salad album sessions when the band was at their peak. Probably the main reason that most of these songs didn't get put on a "regular" album is because they are in styles not normally associated with ELP, but that is what makes this album so interesting.

If some of the bad tracks were edited out this could be a great EP. Three of the tracks feature Emerson playing his good-timey honky tonk piano schtick that sounds like a Shakey's Pizza Parlor nightmare in 1970s suburban America. I don't understand why someone would want to put tacks in the felt hammers of a piano and ruin one of the best sounding instruments in the world. There are also two Lake ballads that are mediocre, including a cover of Irving King's Show Me the Way to Go Home. Everything else on this album is interesting if not great.

Tiger in a Spotlight starts as a piano rocker that gets more intense as Emerson brings in some crazy synth sounds. Towards the end of the song they sound a bit like early Roxy Music. When the Apple Blossoms ... is a great semi-funky odd metered bit of synth driven futuristic lounge jazz. It sounds like Tank from their first album. This is a style that brings out the best in ELP. The big suprise on side one is Bullfrog. This is the only ELP song I know of with a sax player. It starts off with an Ornette Coleman styled high speed stop-start unison melody line. The next section is Miles influenced hard rock jazz. After this they go back to the melody and then head into polyrhythms and strange synth sounds, they almost sound like Sun Ra at this point. The next song, Brain Salad Surgery starts off like a heavy jazz fusion number and then becomes a harsh rocker with Lake sounding a lot like Keith's old band mate Lee Jackson.

Side two kicks off with the very ambitious So Far to Fall. This song contains almost an albums worth of material. Strange Beefheart styled rock, avant-jazz and big band blues with Lake on vocals all find their way into this bizarre song that almost "works".Next we get Close but not Touching which is fun 70s style chase scene soundtrack music complete with horns and a psychedelic guitar solo from Lake. Finally we get to Father Christmas. This is one of the finest ballads to come from the inconsistent pens of Lake and Sinfield. Written to sound like a Christmas carol the words deal with a young person growing up to challenge his childish beliefs. For anyone who has ever had any problems with Christmas, this song is like a ray of sunshine in the middle of winter. The song closes with the Kafkaesque line, "the Christmas we get, we deserve".

If you can get past the bad songs there is plenty on this album for fans of this band to like. If you don't like ELP, at least check out Bullfrog. You won't believe it is them.

Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Well, they might be left-overs, but at least they were playing together, unlike 3/4 of "Volume 1".

I alway loved "Tiger In A Spotlight". Best ELP's "straight rockin'" tune. "When The Apple Blossoms Bloom In The Windmills of Your Mind I'll Be Your Valentine" (what a title!) is not bad, it's simply ELPish. A bit directionless, perhaps. That could be said about the whole album. "Bullfrog" is great! No excuses. It's one of the best songs from ELP's catalogue, but it's carrying the burden of a) being on an album widely accepted as bad and b) it's outside the usual scope of band's musical instruments, even style. It's over the top and pretentious, right, but if you are bothered because of prog rock album being pretentious, and you are prog rock fan, go examine yourself.

"Brain Salad Surgery" is a leftover from album. The song is great...until Lake's vocal starts. "Barrelhouse Shake-Down" is first of the rags here, and it's humorous. Well, you like Emerson's rags or you don't. They are an important part of band's expression and style, if nothing else, for show-off and joke. "Watching Over You": it's enough to see the title and to know it's another of Greg's acoustic ballads. It is. It's sort of a lullaby. I would NEVER play this trying to lull my child; it contains so much reverb it's a actually scary. Okay, skip button.

"So Far To Fall" is weird. It's a mixture of jazz-fusion and sympho rock (sympho rock non-ELP style) and it could be quite decent if there's no Greg's vocals gain, who's inclining again boogie clichees. Pity. "Maple Leaf Rag" is another rag. Well, band member's decision to fill the album with literally anything became more obvious here (it became obvious one and half album ago actually, but this one is difficult to swallow). Nothing wrong with this pointless little tune; it shows how "The Sheriff" was created.

"I Believe In Father Christmas". I don't.

"Close But Not Touching" : what's this? It's hardly a song, it's more an undeveloped idea. A good idea, but nothing else. Non-ELPish brass rock. "Honky Tonk Train Blues" is last of the tree rags here: I have a problem with this one too. Meade Lux Lewis was a genius, and Emerson picked him for a reason. "Honk Tonk Train Blues" should sound like a steam locomotive, with rolling and whistling. In my opinion, Emerson didn't caught the spirit of original boogie-woogie tune properly. Ad the same will be repeated over and over again on numerous live shows...

"Show Me The Way To Go Home" is fine. Just fine. A bit much reverb on vocal, but okay. String section is unnecessary.

In conclusion:

album is certainly ELP's below par product. Not bad, but far from excellent. Actually far from the "very good". There are good moments (more than few), but this is a shadow of a band we used to know. Shadow is still impressive - like a ruin of Roman arena. Pit they were not able (or not willing) to manage more cohesive album, with a story, rather than scarce ideas which are not bad.

Review by TGM: Orb
2 stars Review 5, Works Vol. 2, ELP, 1977


The much-maligned Works Vol. 2, while not progressive, is still, for me, good fun and an enjoyable album. The jazz pieces are all uplifting and cheerful, the fusion-y pieces are generally interesting, Lake's ballad really doesn't match up to the standards of those on Works 1, but So Far To Fall has its good moments. The opener and the closer, Tiger In A Spotlight and Show Me The Way To Go Home, are strong. Certainly the album has a couple of moments that most fanatical proggers won't like, but there are a couple of peaks to make up for that.

Tiger In A Spotlight starts with a light drum part and fast bass, as well as Lake singing essentially random, but decent lyrics. Unfortunately, the opening and the first keyboard solo feel a little too light and lack-lustre for me, though they really do develop into a much better piece, with great screeching synths, an excellent rhythm section, and uplifting vocals.

When The Apple Blossoms Bloom is opened by the drumming, and continues with basically different keyboard parts and riffs laid over changing percussion and a quiet bass part. The instrumental 'chorus' of this piece is very strong, and all three musicians shine on their respective instruments through to the conclusion.

Bullfrog is a fairly eclectic fusiony piece, with bizarre and conventional percussion placed side by side, and keyboards and saxes occasionally thrown in for good measure. The change to a more exotic atmosphere and more layered music at around the two minute mark is good, and I love the short bass solo here before it moves back through an anarchic section to a much better variation on the opening section. I think the unfortunate issue here is that the sum of the parts is worth more than the end result, which is too hectic and uncoordinated for my liking.

Brain Salad Surgery is a short and concentrated burst of silly keyboards, spitting drums and bass, with nonsensical lyrics. The opening riff is great. Good if you're in an appropriately sarcastic mood, and definitely musically directed.

If Emerson's Barrelhouse Shake-Down can't cheer you up, what will? This is mostly made up of infectiously cheerful piano and brass parts. Not massively adventurous and diverse, but still fun, and my addiction to piano-and-drums is suitably satisfied.

Watching Over You has two essential problems: firstly, lyrics that don't interest me and a singing style that does nothing to relieve this and secondly, a ballad acoustic guitar part, of which the good variations' quality is obscured by the weakness of the main theme. The occasional presence of keyboards is simply not enough to lift the song up. Oddly enough, I find the (thing that sounds like) kazoo solo most amusing. Not Greg Lake's finest moment.

So Far To Fall doesn't really grip me, generally, though at times its energy is contagious. The lyrics are a little shaky, the vocals are at times irritating. The music is pretty up-tempo, but difficult to describe. Palmer's drumming is (as always) excellent, and the keyboard and sax parts are good, once the band get past the fairly dubious opening.

The orchestra-and-piano version of Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag is winning, but short. If I'm not mistaken (and I could be), Emerson's playing very adeptly on a harpsichord. The drumming and band parts are equally excellent.

I Believe In Father Christmas is another ballad, though much better than Watching Over You, mainly because of the lyrics (which are excellent, and targeted at the negative effects of commercial Christmas) and the Prokofiev theme. There is a delicious irony in this song's appearance around Christmas every year. The keyboards, when added, are to good effect, and I like the main acoustic tune.

Close But Not Touching is another jazz piece, this time Palmer-penned, and with an excellent drum performance, as you might expect. It's basically a big band piece, and pretty hectic, throughout, with a couple of tunes repeating and mostly unconnected soloing. The lack of direction sometimes takes away from the enjoyment (for me), but it's still a decent track.

Honkey Tonk Train Blues is a (n excellent) jazz cover. The piano and percussion keep it going throughout and yet run off on their own spontaneously, while the brass additions over the top keep blaring out. Again cheerful. Again good.

Show Me The Way To Go Home is an exceptional rendition of the traditional song, with club piano, relaxed vocals and orchestral additions leading into a brief instrumental trio, followed by a couple of brass parts leading seemlessly into the faster not-quite-ending section with more soulful vocals, catchy harmonies and a quiet and almost lamentful end. This doesn't fall short of what I expect from earlier ELP, and is probably the best song on the album.

Onto the bonus material: the three live renditions aren't really that great, with average production, a performance of Tiger In A Spotlight (though I prefer the studio version) is always good. Watching Over You is a track I don't like, so a second version (even if it is an improvement, since it feels slightly more emotionally charged) isn't an overwhelming plus for me. Lastly, Show Me The Way To Go Home - an excellent performance, with good improvisation on the opening clouded over by poor sound quality. I miss the vocal harmonies, but it's still a good version of an excellent song, and distinctly different from the studio version.

Overall, this is still an album full of enjoyable material, and while it doesn't hit the experimental and powerful peaks that Tarkus or ELP did, I'll still give it the occasional listen when I'm not in the mood for something heavier or just want to relax with a bit of background jazz. An optimistic three stars, though I can understand why it's sometimes rated lower here.

Rating: Three Stars. Good fun. Favourite Track: Show Me The Way To Go Home

Cutting it down to two stars. I still think exactly what I did at the time of the review (though the vinyl Tiger In A Spotlight blew the CD one out of the water, for some entirely irrational reason), but I admit that, if you're not a huge ELP fan, there are much more interesting directions to check out, first. Enjoyed, but non-essential, though ironically non-ELP fans might find this preferable to some of their more 'bombastic' stuff.

Review by Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars When I saw the Carl Palmer Band in 2006 they played Bullfrog. As a way of introduction of the song Carl said "This one is from Works Vol 2, you know, the one with White Cover. Now there will be no refunds for that I'm afraid" The whole place just burst out laughing.

I think that should become the under title for this piece of recycled, owe the record company an album, no pride in what we expect you to buy from us, piece of crap. ELP just scrapped the barrel of every band and solo single a&b sides threw in some demos that should never have seen the light of day and said here you go. What a crock. The one decent Lake song I believe in Father Christmas was stripped of the orchestra and choir ending so Keith could play the ending piano part. Tiger in the Spotlight? Can anyone tell me why the band became so in love with this song and why they thought any of us liked it? It seems like it is packaged on every live and compilation since. The few decent songs can be found elsewhere in much better settings.

This is garbage can (dust bin for you Brits) only material. This schlock, shoddy embarrassing excuse for an album should reside permanently in Rock and Roll hell. 1 friggin star and if I could give less I would.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Works doesn't work

The second half of the 70's was a weird period for ELP, and (at least in terms of studio albums) it was also the weakest period in the band's career. In my view they barely had enough material for one album at this time, so it was indeed unwise to release two albums. And, as if that wasn't enough, one of these was a double album! This means no less than six vinyl sides in total while probably two sides had been quite enough. I always like to imagine how it would have been if they had distilled all of this material into one, single album, including only the best selections from Works Vol. 1 and Works Vol. 2. It still most probably wouldn't be anywhere near earlier greats, but it almost certainly would be better than any of these albums as they now stand.

Works Vol. 2 was released the same year as Works Vol. 1. This second volume consists mostly of older B-sides and tracks that hadn't made it onto earlier albums. This means that we have here something that almost per definition is for fans and collectors only. It is indeed more of a compilation album than a proper original studio album. Most of the songs are forgettable, but there are also some decent moments.

For getting into the Works period of ELP I would recommend to begin with the live album recorded around this time (first released in 1979 as In Concert and then re-issued in an expanded version on CD in the early 90's under the title of Works Live). Works Live is in my view a better presentation of the Works material and it is overall a better album than either Works Vol. 1 or Works Vol. 2. However, none of these three Works albums are really essential.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars So bad it was made into a live concert!!!!

Works 1 was an appalling egotistical trip at the lowest level - there were 2 great tracks Pirates and Fanfare for the common man. Thus deserved at least 2 stars. I want to request that prog archives include a no stars option just for this album.

Works 2 is not progressive, more offensive!

Works 2 is another of the less memorable efforts from these brilliant symphonic prog pioneers. Works 1 was saved by the aforementioned tracks. However this second effort is a cousin to the abomination that causes desolation ........... appalling and too mainstream for my prog tastes.

Certainly its not half as bad as the dreadful 'Love Beach', an album that should be flushed down the nearest sewer, however 'Works 2' has nothing of note to recommend it. The Father Christmas song is kitsch beyond belief. It sounds like the Goodies parody of Christmas. But not as funny, more infuriating. The film clip is not much better. I have programmed my remote control to fast forward past it everytime it comes to that spot on the DVD.

Brain Salad Surgery is OK - the B side to Fanfare single. Barrelhouse Shake-Down is awful! Maple Leaf Rag is forgettable. Close But Not Touching is OK, Honky Tonk Train Blues is as bad as it sounds and Show Me The Way To Go Home was sung better by the drunken sailors in Spielberg's 'Jaws'!

I didn't mind some of the tracks on side 2, that kind of grow on you like a fungus, but at the time of this writing, I can't recommend one track. They range from OK, passable, to slap-your-grandmother godawful!

If you want to hear brilliant ELP check out the awesome trilogy of albums Tarkus, Brain Salad Surgery and Trilogy. After listening to Works 2, it's difficult to imagine the same band was generating this dreadful material. Gone are the outstanding multi movement suites such as 'Karn Evil 9' and Tarkus, Lake's vocals sound tired, whimsical and sappy beyond belief. The virtuoso playing of the afore- mentioned 3 albums is sorely lacking, and it's all so safe and mainstream. What a mess.

For completists only, and then you will probably only play it once.

Review by progaardvark
COLLABORATOR Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
1 stars Works Vol. 2 was not the sequel to Works Vol. 1 many might have thought at the time. Instead it's a compilation of songs that never made it onto any of their previous albums. Considering the amount of filler ELP had filled its albums with, it's amazing to know they still had more left.

There really aren't any highlights on this album. It barely resembles progressive rock and at best it's just an amusing footnote to the ELP discography showing that the band could barely create anything entertaining outside of their traditional prog rock. Just another sad reminder that this could have been quite an exceptional band, but this was all they had to show for it in 1977.

Basically an album of filler that couldn't compete with the filler already filling up previous ELP studio efforts. I hesitate to consider this as something even fans of ELP would be interested in. For completionists only. One star.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars This is not so much a studio album as a compilation of left over bits and pieces, mostly from the disappointing Works Volume 1 album. As on Works Volume 1, the best parts are the Carl Palmer selections. He at least was still attempting to play progressive rock, while Emerson was playing ragtime and honky tonk, and Lake was just playing dismal ballads.

Besides the Palmer tracks, at least we finally had a recording of Brain Salad Surgery, a re-recording of the hard to find B-side of a single. This recording was not as good as the original, but it sufficed. And So Far To Fall is not a bad song, either.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Wow! So many one-star reviews there on PA for that album! And even some wishes for using 'Zero" mark, if it will be possible! Is this album really so bad? No way!

You can hear plenty of jazzy tunes, jazz fusion, some ragtime and big band sounds as well. There are some weak songs, but many of strong songs as well. More or less, as on any average album of great band. So, what is the reason some fans hate it?

I think, the answer is easy. Many fans like overproduced pseudo-orchestrated keyboards based synth scented symphonic rock. And it's always strange for me, how very average bands, playng this kind of music, receive high rates there in some reviews. OK, let say it's a question of taste.

So, I always liked ELP for their kind of symphonic rock - often bombastic, but always acoustic, never overproduced. In other words, played by musicians, not produced in studio by engineers and producers. This album is even bigger example of that kind of music: in fact all record is based in old-fashioned acoustic big band/jazz/ragtime/early r'n'r sound. No Philarmonic Orchestra imitation, no-one pretends he's a Frantz Lizt there. So, I believe, some part of public didn't find there their awaited desert of second-class provincial symphonic orchestra sound. And many hate this music because of that.

I never thought progresive rock should be based on simplified version of classic music. And it's even pity to hear, that sometimes people, who think that classic al music is to serious and complex, think, that one of the prog function is just to adapt ( read -simplify) that music to unprepared listener. I will never agree with that!

So, almost no chance to hear orchestra sound on that album, sorry. But for real fans, who likes acoustic sound of jazzy arrangements, plenty of moody pieces, this album should be really interesting. In total 3,5.

Review by kenethlevine
2 stars Works Vol 2 was comprised of tracks that did not match the character of prior releases so had sat on the shelf. Another way to put this is that it consisted of tracks that actually had character so couldn't fit onto their prior releases.

Finally we see the variety of musical interests of the members of the group and a sense of genuine fun with the material, particularly those not self-penned. Whether it's the Scott Joplin standard "Maple Leaf Rag" the devotional "Watching over you", the honky tonk of "Honky Tonk Train Blues", or the PROCOL HARUM -esque "Show me the Way to Go Home", here is a sense of closure and respect for the past, a realization that the group is past its peak and it's time to savor the remains of their own work and those of their myriad and timeless influences as never before.

Unfortunately, the problem here is lack of overall album cohesion and too many "fun" tracks in the style of "Hoedown" or "Benny the Bouncer", like "Brain Salad Surgery" and "Barrelhouse Shakedown", not a typical prog fan's bill of fare. So, while this "Works" works on more levels than many of their acknowledged classics, it's a mitigated success as a unit. 2.5 stars rounded down.

Review by thehallway
3 stars Unlike the rather internally-detached Volume 1, this album is more "album-like". The spare solo songs are mixed up and chucked on a single disc. This makes for a very confusing ride that keeps altering it's direction. And you may/may not love/hate any one of these genres.

Ragtime, country, blues, big-band, jazz, boogie, pop, world, and even more ragtime.

[cross out where appropiate]

Although a little warmer and less serious in approach than Volume 1, there are simply too many styles here for everyone to appreciate. These songs could have made up the other half of the band's AMAZING solo albums if they weren't once again released under the now-deceptive ELP name. Like the first offering, I like some of it and hate the rest. But it really is a question of taste and nothing more. Neither of these albums belong here, in ELP's discography, or in progressive music.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
2 stars Contrary to what the title might indicate, this is not a sequel of their gigantic self indulgent and egoccentric (with a few gold nuggets) experiment of Works Vol.1, but rather a collection of leftovers from other albums, plus a few singles and solo stuff that never made it to an ELP LP up till then. And for good reasons, one might add. They are all short songs and not very representative of the mighty band they once were a few years before. In fact, they are quite different, and not at their best at all. Several cuts show a far more jazzier side of the band than most of their earlier works (most of them covers).

Is it good? Well, uneven is the right word, of course. There are some bright spots like the opener Tiger On The Spotlight, When The Apple Blossoms Bloom In The Windmills of Your Mind I'll Be Your Valentine (the title almost as long as the song itself) and Honky Tonk Train Blues. There are also two very good Lake acoustic stuff: the mellow Watching Over You (a sizeable hit in 1978) and an excellent version of the kind of ironic I Believe In Father Christmas. The rest is little more than experiments and/or some self amusement stuff. Not really worth it, unless you´re a hardcore ELP fan and/or collector/completionist.

I recommend this CD only for the hardcore. If you´re new to this great band, start with their classic stuff pre Works.

Final rating: two stars.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
2 stars I don't know if it was bravery or irresponsibility, but opening an album with a rock-blues, even if quite good, in 1977 is more than a risk. It can sound provoking for mr. Rotten and friends.

However the problem with this Works 2 is first of all that works 1 was probably enough and this white album was, I think, unneeded.

While "Tiger in a Spotlight" is just a blues-rock with some good piano and the always excellent vocals of Greg Lake, it doesn't add anything to the ELP discography. In the previous years songs like this were relegated as fillers at the end of the album, like "Are You Ready Eddie?". The fact that this is an opener is a bad indicator.

The second track, the title is too long respect to the 4 minutes of the song, sounds like an excerpt from a studio rehearsal. The sounds are very "ELP", but this could have been a good segment of a suite, not a standalone track. Two chords for keyboards improvisations, nothing more.

I would replace the "frog" of the title with another four letters word. "Bullfrog" is another insignificant track with funky-jazz contaminations, good for Starsky & Hutch or a 70s porn movie.

The band seems to have spent a little more composing effort for "Brain Salad Surgery", but this song doesn't have anything to do with the omonimous (great) album and this is one of the rare times when I think that Emerson has chosen the wrong sounds for his keyboards.

Emerson was having a good commercial success, at least in Italy, by releasing ragtime singles and this "Barrelhouse Shake-Down" is one of them. Up to now the best thing of the album, if it wasn't that one can find this stuff on old jazz albums instead of from a progressive band.

The next song didn't fit into the Lake's side of Works 1 so was probably discarded. It's the usual melodic love song made of acoustic guitar and the fantastic voice of Lake but surely not a highlight of the band's career. Nothing to do with songs like "Lucky Man" or "From The Beginning".

Now it's Palmer's turn. At least "So Far To Fall" sounds like the songs in the Palmer's side of works 1. It's a disconnected effort, a song which doesn't seem to follow any line. In the middle of the song there's an orchestral boogie intrusion. It looks like the three have written a small part of the song each. The result is a poor patchwork of good intentions.

"Maple Leaf Rag" is a Scott Joplin's cover that I think was the maximum commercial success of Keith Emerson, but it was an Emerson's single, and putting the same recoding on an ELP album is just using it as a filler.

"I Believe In Father Christmas" gives to Greg Lake to use an open tuning on his guiitar. As song it's technically the album's best and this is an indicator of how poor it is.

"Close But Not Touching" is not bad. When I have bought the album I was used to skip almost all the tracks and this one was one of the few that I was used to listen until the end. Not a masterpiece but at least it's listenable even if it could be the end title track of the same Starsky & Hutch movie of the A side.

The same things said about "Maple Leaf Rag" is valid for "Honky Tonky Train Blues". Probably it has sold more than the Joplin's cover as Emerson's single.

Finally the only good reason to buy this album. A bit of orchestral jazz with a good piano intro and a Lake in very good shape. This is the only good song of the whole album and the only reason why I'm rating it with more than 1 star.

An album made of tracks discarded from Works 1 plus a couple of fillers taken from Emerson's singles. If it was a rarity it could have been a collector item.

Review by Guillermo
2 stars "Works Volume 2"....a collection of tracks which as a whole don't sound very "connected" with each other in a coherent way. That is... ELP playing Jazz, Ragtime, Blues, Rock and Roll, acoustic guitar ballads...but not really Prog Rock. All these tracks are played very well, with each one of the members of the band showing their skillls to play in any musical style that they wanted to play. After all, they are very good musicians. But... Maybe they were trying to find more musical sources of "inspiration" for the late seventies. Maybe they left all their energies in the recording of their "Works Volume 1" album. Maybe this "Works Volume Two" album also could be considered as another "contract obligation album" for their record label like their "Love Beach" album from 1978. With this "Works Volume Two" album having several outtakes from albums like "Brain Salad Surgery", some B-sides of singles, some solo tracks previously released as solo singles....well, I don't think that there really was a good plan behind the release of this "Works Volume 2" album, other than to release another album to fill a contract. I'm not going to write a detailed description of each track. Some previous reviewers here in PA have done that in a very good way. After their "Works Volume 1" album, it seems to me that the real inspiration and energy to work together as a band was gradually gone. I even can't mention "a best track" in this album. An album for the most dedicated fans of the band.
Review by Progfan97402
3 stars I was never much a fan of Works Vol. 1. That was maybe not a total trainwreck, but it clearly demonstrated ELP's fall from grace. I mean their egos must have been so big that they only bothered to perform together on exactly two songs: on side four, with each of the other sides focusing on solo material from each member. So it ends up a truly messy album, with too much messing about to make it worthwhile (and while I'm at it, I found the Beatles White Album vastly overrated, it too suffered with way too much messing about, but at least it had a lot of great classics, but bogged gown by a bunch of sappy McCartney stuff, and even Harrison's "Piggies" is easily the most insipid thing he did in the Beatles). So I compared Works Vol, 1 to the White Album, only worse (and ironically sporting a black cover). It didn't help that Keith Emerson decided to put the Moog and Hammond organ aside for this monster Yamaha GX-1 (the three keyboard predecessor to the CS series). So I didn't expect much out of Vol. 2 (truly, their "white album" as it sported a white cover). I was a bit surprised. Hardly a masterpiece, but this time just one disc to sit through, and luckily nothing as barf inducing as "Closer to Believing". "Tiger in a Spotlight", "Brain Salad Surgery", and even Greg Lake's Christmas favorite "I Believe in Father Christmas" are actually quite good, as well as "When The Apple Blossoms Bloom In The Windmills of Your Mind I'll Be Your Valentine". At least the nonsense on this album is Emereson messing about with ragtimes, including Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag". OK, so he's that skilled on piano to pull off ragtime, but it's best not wasted on an ELP record. Again, Emerson is still in love with that monster GX-1 at the expense of the Hammond organ and Moog, so if you didn't like what he did with it, you won't like it here. While hardly a masterpiece, I am in the minority that I enjoyed this one better than the first (usually Vol. 2 is regarded as inferior). So three stars (definitely nothing more) it is.
Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars While Works Vol. 1 was more organized and featured each of the individuals contributing to a side each and leaving side 4 for two long group tracks. The album was a great showcase for the individuals and the band, most of the songs accompanied by a full orchestra, but it's biggest drawback was the lack of the band performing together. Works Vol. 2 is the companion album to this. It has a few outtakes from the first volume and also unused tracks from previous albums. The entire band work together more in these songs than on the first volume. You do get quite a mish mash of styles here which seems even more disjointed than the first volume because they are not organized like that album was. To me, however, that's okay. The performances are top rate, most of the songs are great, but unfortunately, most of them are not progressive. I love the variety on this one also. They tackle all styles here, and again, it becomes a showcase of talent from the band.

I have my definite favorites here, including "Bullfrog" which is a crazy, sometimes chaotic, jazz fusion instrumental from Palmer. I absolutely love this track and consider it one of my favorites in ELP's repertoire. Great percussion and excellent keyboard sound effects abound here. "Tiger in the Spotlight" is a great sock hop style song done ELP style with Lake on vocals. There are three mostly piano instrumentals here by Emerson which are mostly retro jazz styles that are a lot of fun to listen to. You get Boogie, Honky Tonk and Ragtime with full bands/orchestra alongside. "I Believe in Father Christmas" is on this album, which has become a staple in malls and stores everywhere during Christmastime, but the funny thing about this song is it is soooooo Anti- Christmas/Chirstian, and people don't realize it because they only hear the word Christmas and don't pay attention to the lyrics at all. Everything else here is interesting, but not spectacular.

This is still far better than the schlock that would become "Love Beach" which was their next album. This was the last great album by ELP, and they might have a good song here and there after this, but nothing matching their previous material after this album. I still consider this an excellent album, and I accept it as ELP's swan song to their best material. I put Vol 1 and 2 together and end up with a collection full of variety and fun.

Review by VianaProghead
2 stars Review N 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*)

Review by Mirakaze
COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars The second Works album (released eight months after the first one) is really strange. It feels even less like a coherent whole than its predecessor, because Volume 2 is less a real album and more a collection of outtakes. Most of the tracks on this record feel like they could have fit in perfectly on Works, Volume 1 and were even recorded at the same time but didn't make the cut (presumably because they ran out of disc space with that one). Other tracks even hail back to the sessions for Brain Salad Surgery, including a track called? "Brain Salad Surgery". Finally, "Barrelhouse Shakedown" and "I Believe In Father Christmas" had previously been released as solo singles by Keith and Greg, respectively, and appear here without any alterations. For this reason, Works, Volume 2 is often dismissed as a throwaway or stop-gap album, and I too think it's certainly quite pedestrian compared to ELP's earlier work, but much like Volume 1 I see this album mostly as a mixed bag of moments that are bound to bore you and moments that are actually worth your time (many of which even exceed most of Volume 1 in beauty).

This album isn't strictly divided into separate parts for each band member but most of the tracks still feel like they're courtesy of one specific musician rather than the band as a whole. For example: "Watching Over You" and the aforementioned "I Believe In Father Christmas" are clearly Greg's songs: both are relatively straight-forward pop numbers, but they're actually better than what he put on Works, Volume 1: they're less dragged out and they're a lot more sparsely arranged, which actually helps make them seem more authentic (at least in comparison to the bombastic, out-of-place orchestral arrangements which made the banal pop stuff like "Lend Your Love To Me Tonight" seem all the more pathetic). "Watching Over You" is basically just a gentle acoustic guitar ballad; certainly no "From The Beginning", but still good enough and not pretending to be more than what it is.

"Bullfrog" and "Close But Not Touching" were written by Carl and follow the same big band jazz style as on "Food For Your Soul" from the last album. Both take influence from military march tunes, with "Bullfrog" sporting a snare-heavy main theme with a catchy main melody played by Carl himself on the marimba, and "Close But Not Touching" opening and closing with a Yankee Doodle-like flute theme. Carl also hands a solo spot to his fellow band members on both tracks: Greg plays a mad guitar solo on "Close But Not Touching", and on "Bullfrog" Keith plays a synth solo with the same steel drum-like tone as on "Karn Evil 9".

Now, Keith is the only one whose contributions here differ notably from those on the last album: There's no classical music here. Instead, he plays a bunch of cute ragtime tributes on honky-tonk piano with a brass section backing him up, including a cover of Meade Lux Lewis's "Honky Tonk Train Blues" and his own "Barrelhouse Shakedown". Finally, he plays a really nice version of "Show Me The Way To Go Home", another hit song from the 1920s, although Greg manages to steal the show on that one with a lovely vocal performance.

All of the remaining songs do feature the boys working more together as a group, but this time there's not that much to say about them, so it's like a complete reversal of Volume 1. Out of the songs taken from the 1973 sessions, "When The Apple Blossoms Bloom In The Blah Blah Of Your Bleepity Bloop" is a half-cool but ultimately aimless jam, while "Brain Salad Surgery" is pretty funny, though probably a little too inessential to be featured on the album which was named after it. But all of the other tracks are completely forgettable: some generic blues stuff, an orchestral version of "Maple Leaf Rag" (why?)? Let me just end by saying that if you want to see a completely different side of these musicians, you might find this album quite interesting and enjoyable, but if you want to hear more grandiose prog in the vein of "Tarkus" or "Karn Evil 9", don't bother with this album because it doesn't have what you're looking for.

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1 stars Review #110 By far, the worst album of EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER in the seventies; everything about this album upsets me, the compositions are lame, the efforts are not at all good. I think they were trying to sound like a Classic Jazz big band of the 1920s but the results are a bunch of forgettab ... (read more)

Report this review (#2600291) | Posted by Uruk_hai | Thursday, October 7, 2021 | Review Permanlink

2 stars "Works Vol II" "Outtakes, oatcakes and fruitcakes". What a nice and appropriate way of describing this album Mr. ExithelLeming chose ! This is an easy album to assess, no difficulty for me in scoring it at two stars, for fans only. As I am not exactly a Emerson,Lake&Palmer fan; listening ... (read more)

Report this review (#2595706) | Posted by Antonio Giacomin | Monday, September 20, 2021 | Review Permanlink

1 stars A nice bullfrog, but otherwise... As many have noted, instead of being a 'real' album this is made up of b-sides and tracks left off former albums, put together when the band couldn't agree on what to release next. It really sounds like it too. There are some nice ragtime piano tracks (including ... (read more)

Report this review (#1743131) | Posted by Walkscore | Thursday, July 13, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Emerson, Lake & Palmer's sixth record "Works Vol.2" from 1977 was my first encounter with this band. I found the vinyl in my grandfather's house after he had died and I listened some times. First I found it too jazzy for my taste but it has grown and now when I recognize the band and very good ... (read more)

Report this review (#1081642) | Posted by DrmmarenAdrian | Monday, November 25, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Emerson, Lake and Palmer's album Works Volume 2 should have been entitled What's Left in the Vaults because almost all of it had been previously recorded or previously released. When the Apple Blossoms Bloom in the Windmills of Your Mind I'll Be Your Valentine, Tiger in the Spotlight, and Brain ... (read more)

Report this review (#912599) | Posted by wehpanzer | Monday, February 11, 2013 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Just when I thought they could not sink any lower......... they did. This album has been described as a filler album of odds and ends. It probably is that too. There is a lot of Greg Lake solo stuff here though. His hit single I Believe In Father Christmas is included on this album. A pretty g ... (read more)

Report this review (#566344) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Friday, November 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This 'Works 2' by Emerson, Lake and Palmer is one of the most under-rated albums in the entire progressive rock cannon. It's an interesting and highly enjoyable collection of odds and sods, but they fit together nicely. One strength of the album is that the songs don't go too long, so as not ... (read more)

Report this review (#283418) | Posted by Brendan | Tuesday, May 25, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Ouch! Artist hits the canvas and gets counted out.... Had this been a boxing match, I hope they would have thrown in the towel to spare the victim suffering any more potentially irreparable damage. I've felt for some time that this album got it's 'damn good hiding' as a reaction to the perceive ... (read more)

Report this review (#170247) | Posted by ExittheLemming | Thursday, May 8, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars At the age of 48, I have a different perspective on ELP then I did when I first got into the band at the age of 13 or so. And there was a period in that era 35 years ago where there was a considerable break between the 3 record live album and Works Volume 1. Being a diehard fan back then, I ... (read more)

Report this review (#160775) | Posted by drziltox | Monday, February 4, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is not the BEST Emerson, Lake and Palmer album, but it deserves to be listend. Why? There's some musics that make you remeber the golden ELP`s years. And the arrangements sound a little strange. It's the kind of song that you are used to listen from ELP. I think it worths... See ya.. ... (read more)

Report this review (#98107) | Posted by gweyne | Friday, November 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This album is in no way bad. it is a series of outakes and singles that is a must for any fan. When one thinks of the posthumous albums of Led Zeppelin, Coda, and the recent Steely Dan, Everything Must Go, this slbum is quite a strong effort. it was released in the middle of the middle of the ... (read more)

Report this review (#69210) | Posted by | Monday, February 13, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Works vol. 2 is a solid album, and one of my favorites. If their first 5 albums were their best, I would add this as a 6th best, if only for it makes for a good listen every time I hear it. While vol. 1 requires more time and patience for an equally rewarding experience, this requires less o ... (read more)

Report this review (#14508) | Posted by | Sunday, September 19, 2004 | Review Permanlink

3 stars almost everyone dislikes this album but I think sometimes is really interesting and certainly not worse than Works vol. 1. When The Apple Blosoms and Brain Salad Surgery are great songs the rest is good. ... (read more)

Report this review (#14506) | Posted by l-s-d | Friday, March 5, 2004 | Review Permanlink

1 stars The beginning of the end for ELP. Seemingly, this is totally comprised of filler, leftovers and rejects of previous recording sessions that were not released originally for a perfectly good reason: it was mediocre material. Works vol.2 works, but only as a frisbee! ... (read more)

Report this review (#14500) | Posted by | Sunday, January 4, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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