ARTIST: Emerson, Lake & Palmer
TITLE: Emerson, Lake & Palmer
YEAR RELEASED: 1970
CHART ACTION: #18 US, #4 UK
SINGLES: Take a Pebble, Lucky Man (#48)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: The Barbarian, Knife-Edge
LINEUP: Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Carl Palmer
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First release from prog-rock supergroup that is virtuosic, maybe too much so.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The first cut is a re-arrangement of a Bartok piece for fuzz bass, drum kit and multiple keyboards. The third song is a re-thinking of a Bach / Janacek piece. That kind of gave you an idea of what was going on. Oh, at about 2:45 of the first song there’s a gong hit. Yeah, the kitchen sink’s being used here. (I didn’t even mention the track where the middle is a drum solo. Oh, I just did…)
Oh, yeah, and there’s “Lucky Man”, an actual pop song that’s mostly acoustic except for Emerson’s verrry 70’s synthesizer sound. Dennis DeYoung must have wet himself when he heard the coda to that song.
The trio, who fled The Nice, King Crimson and Atomic Rooster, basically have come together to make music that demonstrates their ability and soothes their collective egos. The result is an enjoyable record for those who like prog and don’t mind long suites and keyboard dominated (sorry Lake, and your fuzzy bass, but you’re outnumbered by Emerson’s moog, piano, clavinet, harpsichord, Hammond, etc. etc.) excursions.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Lucky Man” was only put on the album to ‘make up the numbers’ as it were. (It was a UK album thing) Lake had this song that he’d been working on for years and was an acoustic ballad. He and Palmer worked out an arrangement and then Emerson laid down his synth.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a new version with new mixes and outtakes.
GRADE: B+: Great for prog-heads, and the rest of us need to see what our tolerance for 12 minute suites based on classical motifs and drum solos are.