Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Atlantic) 1971
Barbarian" [instrumental] (4:28)
A fantastic debut CD from a super-group made up of keyboardist Keith Emerson, (ex-The Nice), bass/ guitar/ vocalist/ songwriting Greg Lake, (ex-King Crimson), and extraordinary drummer Carl Palmer. The band's debut is a progressive rock classic made up of some killer, keyboard lead instrumentals and ("The Barbarian," "Three Fates") some classic rocks staples like "Lucky Man". Unfortunately the Atlantic Records copy of this cd that I own has shoddy mastering. Apparently the more recent re-issues correct this problem. However, being that I was given this CD as a gift, I can't complain. Besides the worst mastering cannot hid the awesome keyboard playing of Keith Emerson and the phenomenal drumming of Carl Palmer, especially in "Three Fates".
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Tarkus (Atlantic/Japan) 1971
(Total time: 20:31)
Probably my favorite ELP cd, or possible my second after "Brain Salad Surger" Without a doubt it is one of the best progressive rock albums to come out of the 1970's. While ELP have never been on my favorite band list, I can honestly rank "Tarkus" up with the likes of Genesis and Yes, who are some of my favorites. Side one of the original LP contained the epic 21-minute title track and is the highlight of this album. This track alone has stood the test of time and remains a classic track some three decades later. On the CD issue I have, the parts of 'Tarkus' are broken down into individual songs and times. No where within the liner notes or track listing does it state that the first seven tracks are part of the one epic song.
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Pictures
at an Exhibition (Atlantic) 1972
"Pictures at an Exhibition" is an adaptation of Mussorgsky's composition by the same name and was performed live at Newcastle City Hall in 1971. The CD tracks the album as side one and side two of the original LP. Musically, despite not being an out-an-out rock 'n' roll album, is still very energetic and dynamic. The mixture of classical music and progressive rock is, well, cool! Loved it when I was in high school, still enjoy it today.
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery (Atlantic) 1973
A classic in progressive rock circles, most people calling it a mastepiece and the band's best work. Can't say that I disagree. "Brain Salad Surgery" is just stinkin' awesome! What more needs to be said? Despite the fact that Greg Lake was usually quite anti-Christian, or more likely anti-organized religion, this album features a traditional-style hymn written decades ago by William Blake.
"And did those feet in ancient times, walk upon England's golden green/And was the Holy Lamb of God in England's pleasant pastures seen..."
Pretty cool! Bruce Dickinson has done a cover of this song, apparently as tribute to ELP.
Also worthy of mention is the band's magnum opus, "Karn Evil 9." The song paints a musical picture starting with a walk through a circus-like festival. Eventually the forces of heaven and Earth meet in mortal combat, and once the war ends, computers decide that man is inferior and they take over. The musical artistry pulls every sort of emotion and splatters them all over the musical canvas. I can't see any fan of progressive rock not adoring the musical genius of this song. Absolutely essential listening.
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Love Beach (Atlantic/Japan) 1978
I Want is You" (2:34)
Don't the Gibb brothers look spiffy on the cover of "Love Beach". Huh? Oh, that's right, it's not the the Bee Gees on the cover? Oh, well you could have fooled me. I mean check out them gold chains, unbuttoned shirts, hairy chests and that album title. Never judge a book by it's cover, right? Unfortunately the album cover is somewhat indicative of the music contained within. While it's not even slightly disco or 70's pop, "Love Beach" is a bit more commercial than past albums, and far less dynamic. My favorite tracks on the album is the 20 minute epic song "Officer and a Gentleman", which manages to come close to the greatness of past discs, and the instrumental "Canario". The rest of the album really isn't ELP's best work, in my opinion. According to AMG's site, this album was released purely to get the band out of it's contract with the record label, which would explain a lot.