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Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Label: Rhino Records
Release: 1970

The Barbarian
Take A Pebble
Knife Edge
The Three Fates (Clotho/Lachesis/Atropos)
Lucky Man
Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Emerson, Lake and Palmer
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It didn't take for the prog supergroup to create their best work - after forming and blowing away crowds at the Isle of Wight, they released this in 1970, and it stands as one of prog's greats. It stands in arms with 1977'S "Works Vol. 1" onlymore consice, and a lot, lot better. You get three full band works on the first side, and one solo work each on the second.Everyone is fresh, coming out of bands such as King Crimson, The Nice, and Atomic Rooster, and so the creative juices wereflowing.

In fact, one of ELP's best tracks comes right at the start - the fast-paced, vicious instrumental "The Barbarian". It's alsothe first of many classical reworkings (this time, Bartok's "Allegro Barbaro") and it is played with such intensity - Lake'sdistorted bass sounds like it's going to jump out and strangle you at any point, and at other points you think that Emerson'shands are going to melt into nothingness due to his high-octane playing. Plus Palmer contributes some crazy drum fills. ELP achieved all of this in 4 and a half minutes - a rarity for them.

Straight on then to the album's lengthiest work - the wonderful "Take A Pebble", a justified ELP classic. The song neveroutstays it's welcome through it's entire 12 and a half minutes as the band go through light piano and acoustic guitarpassages, and the excellent Lake voice. It's an exceptional song, and it definitely shares honours with "The Barbarian" here. The next number is the more well-known "Knife Edge", another great which runs on a brilliant hook, and more of thesame from our Gregory - the guy was, after all, arguably one of prog's best singers.

So, to the second side. It's sort of the same as Works really - just like on Vol. 1, Emerson is the outright winner, although this time, Lake comes close. Emerson contributes the fabulous "Three Fates", a very well-worked keys workout,with big church organ and piano, and a whole mass of pianos at the end in the gigantic "Atropos" finale - I love the ending.It's exceptional for an Emerson workout - it's probably his best. Excellent.

"Tank" is progressive rock's answer to Led Zeppelin's "Moby Dick". Catchy riffs at both beginning and end, and a giganticstudio drum solo placed inbetween. It's the album's only weak point - although Lake's bass is evil at the start, and Emerson contributes a great Moog didn't need a damned drum solo. Would have been perfect if it wasn't for thedamned drum solo. Finally, after all that hammering of drums, Lake steps in with one of ELP's most well known cuts - thegreat "Lucky Man". Soft acoustic textures all around, a nice solo, and of course, Emerson's famous moog solo at the end.It's a nice way to close out the album.

This album would certainly get a 10 if it wasn't for a damned studio drum solo. As it is though, it will have to settlewith the high 9. But it's certainly the best album that ELP ever made - full of energy and power, along with some excellentlight moments. A definite classic.

Reviewer Rating of CD :

first album of ELP. it basically sets the stage for all the rest of their albums. they rarely added any significant new ideas. for that alone, this album is great.

plus, the songs are wonderful!! the barbarian is a vicious way to open the album. the band just attacks this classical piece with a vengenance.

take a pebble is beautiful, and quite long. it features a silly hoe down middle section that's completely out of place, but always makes me laugh.

after this, there is another hard rocking song, a lengthy organ and piano based piece that is theoertically boring, but is kind of fun. also, there's a drum solo by mr. palmer that's almost excruciatingly boring. next is lucky man, the best song the band wrote.

its' a great album, even if it's a bit raw, and doesn't feature all of the sides of ELP yet. the completely pretentious boring side that is!

Reviewer Rating of CD :


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