Emerson, Lake & Palmer Reviews

Bookmarks: Self-Titled Album ~ Pictures At An Exhibition ~ Welcome Back My Friends... ~ Return of the Manticore ~ Live in Poland ~ ELP Lyrics Link ~ Then & Now Review ~ ELP Testimonials ~ Recent News ~ Fanfare For the Pirates ~ Encores Legends & Paradox ~ King Biscuit Flower Hour ~ ELP 1998 Tour

Also see: Keith Emerson ~ Greg Lake ~ Robert Berry

From: "Jeff Marx"
Emerson, Lake, and Palmer formed in late 1969 and were dubbed as rock's first "supergroup" by the British press. Because of that, the expectations for this group were very high. Keyboard virtuoso Keith Emerson (The Nice), along with singer/bassist/guitarist Greg Lake (King Crimson), recruited percussionist Carl Palmer (Arthur Brown, Atomic Rooster) and began composing and rehearsing in early 1970.
Keith Emerson had already established a reputation as a master showman and keyboard wizard with the Nice. His successful fusion of classical, jazz, and pop stylings formed the core of ELP's principal early format. Greg Lake had shown himself to have a voice that was tonally rich, able to fit comfortably with soft ballads and torturous hard-edged rock pieces. Carl Palmer sought to bring a technical excellence coupled with the musicality evident in his approach to tuned percussion to the band.
"ELP," according to Emerson, "is about progressive rock with a lot of regard for the past." Their second ever live performance (Isle of Wight Festival-8/29/70) literally blasted them into public prominence, stunning the crowd with a sound that was new and unique. A sonic barrage of Moog synthesizer, Hammond Organ, piano, electric and acoustic guitars, energetic drumming, and extended jams highlighted the show which featured "Pictures at an Exhibition" as it's showpiece, along with "The Barbarian" and "Take a Pebble" from the first album among other pieces.
Pioneering the first ever use of the Moog in a live performance, ELP was launched as one of the great Progressive bands of all time. Characterized by epic, grandiose, side-long works of art-rock, this power trio would push the boudries of progressive rock for years to come. ELP's first album (self-titled) shows the band's early brilliance and ability to weld together varying influences into a cohesive whole. "The Barbarian," adapted from Bartok's Allegro Barbaro showed both the aggressive hard-edged Hammond sound and nimble piano work that would be ELP trademarks. Another piece adapted from the classical realm was "Knife-Edge," from Janacek's Sinfonietta, featuring compelling lyrics and powerful keyboard/percussion interplay. "Take a Pebble," a Lake composition is a softer ballad-based exploration on the acoustic instruments. At 12:32 it is the longest piece on the album, featuring beautiful acoustic guitar, and piano improvisation. "The Three Fates" is a trilogy containing pipe organ/solo piano/piano trio segments; a showcase for Emerson to stretch out into some gothic, fusion and jazz contrasts. "Tank" allows Carl and Keith to show off and work off each other nicely. Electric piano and moog are sandwiched between an early Palmer drum solo. "Lucky Man" finishes off the album, this nice simple little ballad written by Greg when he was 13 or so ends with the moog solo heard 'round the world! Emerson just whipped it up in the studio-a rough setting on the moog and right off the top of his head. Keith hated it, Greg loved it, the rest is history. Like the rest of the ELP catalogue, this album has been remastered and reissued by Rhino.

From: Mike Flemmer
I strongly recommend their "Pictures At An Exhibition" album. This is a live recording that has 'gothic' paintings featured inside the cover. I still listen to this amazing album frequently! If I could only own one ELP record, this would be it. If I could only own 10 rock records, this would be one of the 10. No other rock band has ever attempted to interpret a full scale classical piece of music. (What band could?) Not only is "The Promenade" well played with a nice pipe organ sound and excellent classical technique, Emerson also tears into some hot organ solos that lead into superb musical climaxes. Greg Lake is also at the very top of his form with some of his best acoustic guitar work. The whole album leads to the inspirational "Great Gates of Kiev". In a very difficult passage near the end that Emerson plays flawlessly, he uses the Hammond's higher register drawbars to create a haunting 'chime'-like sound. When live albums are done well- nothing is more inspirational.

From: Andrew Embler <>                      (back to top)
...I would encourage you to, if you'd really like to give ELP a chance and have a little bit more money lying around, I would encourage you to buy the double live album "Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends..." This album has some killer playing, long piano improvisations, a Carl Palmer drum solo, extended versions of the epics Tarkus, Karn Evil 9, and "Take a Pebble" which includes the pop hit "Lucky Man" without the annoying Emerson keyboard tirade at the end. (Sorry, flames invited. :) I've never cared for the synthesizers coming out of nowhere at the end.) Emerson's a monster on this album, even taking over playing synth bass lines on the keyboard when Lake switches over to guitar during Karn Evil 9 and Tarkus. The pieces also have a lot more energy live. It's not perfect, like the albums, but it is great. (Also, since you mentioned liking King Crimson, you might get a kick out of Greg Lake singing "Confusion will be my epitaph" during the middle of Tarkus, eliciting large amounts of cheers from the crowd. So, that would be my choice. :) And if you can't find this album, get Tarkus or Brain Salad Surgery. Both are excellent.

From: "George Khouroshvili"
I think you should begin with their "Welcome Back My Friends..." 2CD set. It is one of the greatest live records ever, even if you won't become the fan of ELP - this album is a MUST, and I have no doubt you'll enjoy the show.

I'd start with "Welcome Back my Friends", the live album from their '73 tour. If you love it, I'd proceed to "Trilogy" or "Brain Salad Surgery", then "Pictures at an Exhibition" and their first eponymous release. Still want more ? "Works Volume 1", followed by "Works Live" (you can skip "In Concert", which is a subset of "Works Live"). From here things get tricky. "Tarkus" is a great album, BUT, if you've heard the live "Tarkus" off "Welcome Back" (as I suggest), the studio performance may sound lifeless to you for quite some time (it did to me). "Love Beach" is slagged (IMHO) more for the lame title and cover work than the content. I'm not a huge fan of "Works Volume 2", "In the Hot Seat", or "Black Moon". "Live at the Royal Albert Hall" (whatever) is a mixed bag; Carl and Emo sound OK, but Greg (plays) like a donkey in places.

From: "Hans Henrik Sandegaard"
>>To the person who recommended "Welcome Back My Friends..." as the ELP album to start off with, my hat is off to you. This is *really* good stuff!  Guess I can check myself in at the door for the Emerson Appreciation Society... Now, a question: I work at an electronics store, that carries music as well. They have the ELP box set there, and I get a little bit of a discount.
Is it worth the investment?
Doesn't it feel great when you've just bought Welcome..? I still remember when I got it back in 73/74. Great time nerver to forget. About the ELP box set: If you are talking about "The Return of the Manticore" : Just buy it. There are lots of great music on it and some of it you even know from welcome. But the best thing in my opinion is the original albums.. Anyway you choose to do you get great music from ELP. If what you like is live music then go for Pictures..., King Biscuit (very much like welcome back but also a bit newer stuff like fanfare for the common man), and go for Live from Poland (from 1998!)
Of course the best thing is to go to see the band cause ..ELP WORKS LIVE.

From: <>                      (back to top)
I don't know. I'm just looking at the track list and it's a pretty good sampling of their catalog. I might have included a couple of Carl Palmer tracks off Works V1 and bounced everything from Works V2. You'll be getting a duplicate of the "Take a Pebble/Still...You Turn Me On/Lucky Man/Piano Improvs" medley from WBMF. I can't speak to the new recordings (Pictures...., Fire, 21st Century Schizoid Man, Father Christmas [one of my all time fav Christmas songs]). I do enjoy the excesses of the original "Pictures at an Exhibition", the more "mature" versions (i.e. the 15 minute take on Works Live) leave out too much stuff, like Greg's gorgeous acoustic work and the "Blues Variation" :-).

From: "Hans Henrik Sandegaard"
Short review of "Live in Poland":
The cd came out in 1997. Manticore Records/Metal Mind Productions The numbers:
Welcome back; Touch and go; From the beginning (sort of unplugged acoustic sound to it); Knife Edge; Bitches Crystal (yes!); Piano solo; Take a Pebble(a bit more jazz ..great!); Lucky Man; Tarkus/Pictures; Fanfare for the common man/Rondo
As I understand it the music has been recorded 1 night.  Nothing but live music. - It's simply live music - much much more live than Live at the royal albert hall. If you don`t have it Buy it. I bought it through the webside for the group Pendragon... It just took 3 days to mail it to Copenhagen. I didn`t get to see ELP last time so I was very happy to get this cd. Cause ELP works....live  Hans

From: "E-Man" <>
I agree. This one has "Bitches Crystal" and "Touch & Go" (a song many ELP fans resent, but I love!), and (ta-dah!) "In The Beginning," which sounds great!  E-Man

From: "Jeff Marx" <>
> I know ELP has quite a few live releases (relatively speaking) out there...does anyone know if they have plans to release some material from this (1998) tour, or should I try a few "other" sources? ;)
ELP has recently been able to resurrect their 70's label-MANTICORE-and last year released "ELP-Live at the Isle of Wight Festival." Just last week they released two 70's videos that have been in bootleg form for years. They are "ELP-The Manticore Special," the 1974 documentary which covered the BSS tour, and "ELP-The Works Orchestral Tour," an 85 minute concert from 1977 at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal with the orchestra. Coming soon is an "ELP Past and Present" recording featuring a concert from 1977(the Present bit), and an undisclosed (probably from the Trilogy tour) pre-1977 concert (the Past bit). As to a recording from the current tour, I'm betting sometime in the next two years they'll get around to releasing it on CD, so you may well want to check the "other sources" route for now. You can find Manticore merchandise at ELP's Official Global Web Site; http://www.dynrec.com/elp/

From: "Jeff Marx" <>                      (back to top)
> Recently ELP's "Live in Poland'' has been mentioned, can anybody inform me about its tracklist? (I want to decide if I should wait till it arrives in my local stores or order it immediately.)
ELP in Poland (total time 77:17) tracklist is as follows;
1)"Welcome Back"--Karnevil 9 1st Impression pt.2 actually, and pretty interesting as Keith plays Greg's guitar parts on several different synths. Some of his soloing is a bit sloppy, though I hate to say that! Still a lot of fun. (5:27)
2)"Touch and Go"--Livelier now than it was during ELP's '92-'93 touring season and box set versions. (3:54)
3)"From the Beginning"--Good band interplay with Keith soloing well at the end ala the Trilogy album. (4:08)
4)"Knife Edge"--About the same as every other KE of the past 25 years :) (5:45)
5)"Bitches Crystal"--One of the highlights of the CD--Strong vocals, piano solos, and brass synths-The first time BC has been available on a commercial live album. (4:05)
6)"Piano Solo"--actually a 2-in-1; starting with Creole Dance (Kind of weak, Emo has worn this piece out which is why he has dropped it in '98), going into Honky Tonk Train Blues (Much stronger with Greg and Carl returning to the stage-also the first time HTTB is available on a live album). (7:58)
7)"Take a Pebble"--I like it better now than ever as it is leaner and less meandering. (6:36)
8)"Lucky Man"--LM continues to age very well with a pretty strong modular moog end solo. (4:22)
9)"Tarkus/Pictures Medley"--Tarkus with piano/string soloing during Stones of Years is kinda strange and Keith is a little uncertain in his improv sections on Hammond. Pictures is Pictures...(17:02)
10)"Fanfare for the Common Man/Rondo"--very nice end to the disc with Keith soloing nicely all over the place including a bit from the Carmina Burana. Carl Palmer solo included as well. (17:56)
Overall a nice disc of an ageing ELP--they can still play to a high standard; in fact Greg's voice is stronger than it's been since ELPowell because he quit smoking (in 1994 I think). Carl is as impressive as ever and Keith is managing well even though his right wrist and hand will never be as strong as it was before his surgery. Bitches Crystal, Touch and Go, and a longer Karnevil 9 section justify immeadiate purchase in my book (but I'm pretty biased) :)  Cheers, Jeff

From: Mark Fonda <>                     (back to top)
My CD copies of all the early ELP albums do not have any lyrics, so I was searching for something on the web and found this good compilation which I see is put out by Greg Lake and is brand new: http://www.dynrec.com/lake/albumpg.html.   I don't recall, and I don't have my old LP's anymore, but were the lyrics included in any of the ELP releases from the first (untitled) through Welcome Back My Friends... ??

From: Paul_Arsenault@BayNetworks.COM (Paul Arsenault)
Just a little tidbit for the ELP thread. On Sunday November 1st Keith Emerson celebrated his 54th birthday. I've attached a review of the new CD Then and Now. This is from the latest ELP Digest.
From: "Andy Wilson" awm.wilson@virgin.net Subject: Then and Now
Well I was walking along Oxford Street the other day and popped into HMV Records. Imagine my surprise to find a new "ELP" recording called "Then & Now" a double CD (Eagle Records EDGCD040) with live material from 1974 and 1997/98.
I had heard nothing about the release of this CD. No advertising. No pre-publicity.
Anyway....the packaging of this set is excellent. Probably the best I have seen for ELP. The cover artwork looks very "Brain Salad Surgery"-ish, although the artist is not credited - it looks like Giger again. There is a very compreshensive 20 page booklet with some 8 pages of colour photos of the band individually and collectively ranging from 1970 to 1998. The 1st 6 songs (Toccata, Still..., Lucky Man, Piano Improvisations, Take a Pebble and Karn Evil 9) are taken from the April 6, 1974 Cal Jam concert. The band really is on top form with a great - Little Rock Getaway - during the Take A Pebble mid-section. It was great to hear a decent recording of at least part of this gig. I only have a fuzzy old recording of this on video tape. Hopefully the whole of this concert will be released one day? (Audio and Video). Karn Evil 9... This is a recording of a band at the height of their ability - it doesn't get much better than this. Then the CD moves onto recordings taken from the 1997/98 tours. Annoyingly, there is no mention of dates/venues for these tracks. Although at the start of Track 2 "Tiger in a Spotlight", Keith Emerson shouts "Hello Good Evening Rome" which is a bit of a give-away and therefore probably dates this track at 21st July, 1997. But as for the others?......who knows?
Track 4 is a real treat - a live recording of "A Time and a Place". Track 5 features Keith playing a solo arrangement of the 3rd movement of the Piano Concerto. What a great arrangement, I am surprised that Keith Emerson has not featured this more often. CD1 finishes off with a very nice "From the Beginning"
The quality of CD 2 is a bit variable. "Karn Evil 9", "Tiger in a Spotlight" and "Hoedown" are OK-ish but then there is a very plodding "Touch and Go". Actually a few of the songs on this second CD have a slower than usual tempo. However, "Bitches Crystal" has Keith back to top form with an extended piano solo. The mid-section of "Take a Pebble" harks back to the feel of the "Isle of Wight" concert recording complete with the scooby-do walking bassline and "So What" references. During "Fanfare", Keith plays a lick or two from "Abaddon's Bolero". Wish they could have played a bit more of "21st Century Schizoid Man" although I don't think they will ever be able to touch Greg's storming version as played on his 1981 solo band recording. All in all, a pretty damn fine package with the first CD getting my vote over the second.   Eagle Records may want to start advertising it. Someone else might buy it
too!  Andy Wilson, London

From: Errol Allahverdi <>             (back to top)
Emerson, Lake and Palmer. I could write a book on what I think about their music, their live performances, and their impact on my own life.
I first got involved in listening heavily to music when WNEW FM in New York City first came on the air playing rock music from albums (around 1967 I think). A short while later, I started playing keyboards.
After hearing this absolutely incredible keyboard player in the band called The Nice, I silently prayed for Emerson to quit that band and start another. At that time, it was happening all around. Cream broke up. Blind Faith formed and broke up. The Beatles broke up and kept going in their separate ways. Hendrix broke up his Experience and started playing with others. Joplin left Big Brother to go on her own. And so on. So, I felt a new Emerson-centric band was inevitable.
Then one day I heard Knife Edge when I turned on my FM receiver. I was instantly sucked in. Since that day, ELP has been on the top of my list. Even my band played a lot of ELP music, as well as Yes (my second favorite of all time), in clubs, nonetheless. And what a following we had. I remember the first night we played Tarkus it was in a renowned dance club. Twisted Sister was playing second to us on another stage. In the middle of Tarkus, when the music came suddenly to a stop and turned acoustic (Confusion...will be my epitaph... - live version) I looked up and saw hundreds of people, shoulder-to-shoulder, standing perfectly still, drinks in hand, staring straight at us. The applause and cheering we got at the end was unmatched for us, before and after. Even our manager/agent was awed (we thought he would have a heart attack watching us play such a piece of listening music in a dance club). The reason I tell this story here is because it was ELP that made that night happen. It was their music that held the attention of that crowd so intensely. It was ELP that the crowd was applauding for. Not my band. We just played the music as close to the original as we were capable.
What an exciting time that was when so many people were open to music that you actually had to listen to, to enjoy. By the end of the seventies, prog music was fading so rapidly. My band broke up then and I got out of the music scene completely. No playing, no listening. I think I was rebelling. When my wife bought me my first CD player for Christmas in '88 I started getting back into listening to music. For the next ten years I built up quite a collection of music. I was buying all kinds of music I never had, while also replacing everything I ever owned on vinyl. I got into a lot of current music as well. But no prog. As far as I knew, there just was no such thing anymore. Then my sister sent me Ed Macam's book last Christmas. Wow, prog is alive somewhere, but Macam was predicting it's death once again. Well, before it was going to die off again, I used his book as a reference and the Web as my resource, and the first new prog band I heard was Ars Nova. Wow! Did that get me going, one band after another. About another hundred CD's later, I'm listening Ars Nova, Gerard, The Flower Kings, World Trade, Deus Ex Machina, Anglagard, PLP, Anekdoten, Cairo, Rocket Scientists, Ozric Tentacles, Porcupine Tree, Parallel or Ninety Degrees, Pangee, Boud Deun, and a whole lot more. Some of these, I found out about here on this eprog list. Thank's Mark.
I really love music. Sixties and seventies music, jazz from the 30's and all decades since, classical, opera, today's prog, world music, etc. The funny thing, though, is that there are two bands that stick out far above the others for me. ELP and Yes. It's not that I idolize or worship them, or that I can't admit another band could be as good. In fact, considering that neither band has brought us anything as monumental as their seventies work since then, I yearn for another band to come along and replace them in my heart and mind. I would love to be moved like that again. While the talent pool in today's prog is pretty incredible, there does not seem to be any band out there that has, and incorporates, the versatility that ELP demonstrated in their first six albums. ELP had something for everyone. Let's start with their first album.
The Three Fates, Infinite Space: baroque organ and classical piano. The Barbarian: modern classical piano and hard rock. Take A Pebble: Pop (as in popular and easily accessible by the masses) and jazz piano and acoustic folk. Knife Edge: Hard rock and baroque again. Lucky Man: Pop and folk again. Even the inescapable drum solo of the era in Tank, which also included jazz rooted free-form synth-based improvisation. What diversity! What composition! What innovation! What playing!
Every album that followed from ELP seemed to include the same mix. All this from a keyboard player who was unmatched before, and remains so now. A drummer with the discipline to follow Emerson and enhance the music with an orchestral perspective of percussion. A bass player with a unique and great sound, and the preciseness to complete the instrumental with the requisite bottom. And a voice that could melt anyone's heart. At times sensitive, sweet, and rockin' but always undoubtedly masculine.
But all this is just on record. The live experience of ELP is also unparalleled. Even when they're off, they're great. Emerson's showmanship makes a fan of every onlooker. One cannot be described how energizing ELP can be live. They must experience it. It's a combination of their stage presence, their ability to bond with the audience, and the carefully building energy of the musical compositions themselves that makes ELP the greatest live show. It is truly magical.
In the end, I think the thing that separates Emerson from all other keyboard players, and ELP from all other prog bands, is how they combined rock, jazz, and classical music. I need this mix. I have not found it anywhere else, at least not with any virtuosity that even approaches Emerson's. Listening to Jordan Rudess on Liquid Tension Experiment, I hear a keyboard player that might be able to stand next to Emerson. But it's not just the playing that counts. The music has to be there too. I have both of Ruddess' CDs and neither delivers anything outstanding or particulary noteworthy. Maybe one day he'll join up with a couple of other musicians to create the level of magic of ELP's. Wouldn't that be great?
I've seen ELP so many times. In fact, every time they played anywhere near my area. I've even flown across the country to see them. I'll never miss a show of theirs. I've seen their biggest shows (with full orchestra) and I've even seen them two years ago in the Copa Room at the Sands hotel in Atlantic city. I was within twenty feet of Emerson, or so it seemed. It was like a religious experience for me. Then to top it all off, I met Carl Palmer in the lobby the next morning. What a nice guy.
I almost missed them on this last tour because I knew they had nothing new to offer, and I could not bear to see them sandwiched into a non-headlining role. I'm glad I went.  I try to buy all their music. I even bought Works II and Love Beach, both of which kinda embarrass me when I listen to them. It's a show of support on my part.
I could go on and on but I'm sure that I lost every reader by this point. It doesn't matter, because this is just one man's opinion. Music is a very personal thing. That's why I don't believe there's such a thing as bad music. Not even Country music. There's just music you like, and music that you don't like.
Long live ELP!

From: "Jeff Marx" <>                      (back to top)
> Emerson, Lake and Palmer. I could write a book on what I think about their music, their live performances, and their impact on my own life.
I could too but your own eloquence captures the essence of my feelings so I need not go there except to say that for me ELP has always demanded, from me the listener, that I stretch out my senses in order to fully appreciate the compositional and instrumental brilliance of their music.
I think that this is where every critic who bashes ELP as 'pompous,' self-pretentious,' 'overblown,' 'needlessly bombastic,' etc, misses the whole point. The whole point of ELP music (to me) has been to take their fans to places they have never visited before, fleshed out in pieces like The Barbarian, Lucky Man, Tarkus/AquaTarkus, Karnevil 9, The Endless Enigma, Pirates, etc. Those elements of criticism are just some of the elements that helped take me to unimagined heights, and helped make their music so singular and inspiring.
The fact that ELP 'rocks' and has such a huge sound without guitars did it for me in the 70's and still does. Emersonian hammond/moog/piano barrages, with their aggressiveness and complexity, have always left me with a completely fulfilled listening experience. And that fulfilled feeling is probably why I still listen to all the older and newer stuff with such relish.

From: Peter Wilton <>
>However, one thing to note about ELP... the song "Knife Edge" (and if you guys already mentioned it, I apologize)... the melody is Janchek's Sinfonietta. Emerson took it "lock, stock and barrel" and no credit is mentioned (does the remastered edition have any mention of this anyone?) on the LP (ha, ha).
Not exactly "lock, stock and barrel". There's quite a lot of ELP in there. I would say rather that they lifted a couple of ideas from the opening section of the Janacek and reworked them. Now, two tracks earlier on the first album, "The Barbarian" really *is* lifted "lock, stock and barrel" - virtually note-for-note from Bartok. Neither piece was originally credited to the real composers, but subsequently they have been, for example in the compilation _The Return of the Manticore_. However, I also remember having seen an audio-cassette version of the first album back in the '70's which *did* credit the Bartok and Janacek.

From: Peter Wilton <>
I speak as someone for whom ELP was the single most important musical experience in my life. Hearing Atropos from The Three Fates was similar to the way in which people describe a religious conversion experience. "There fell as it were scales from his eyes" is a good description. I had been studying Bartok for music "O" level (a former school exam taken at the age of 15), and Atropos seemed a perfect blend of popular styles with this music. It had not occurred to me before that the "classical" and "popular" worlds could be linked. I didn't realise then that the divergence of the two was a very modern development, and I couldn't possible forsee the reconvergence of the two that has since occurred on many fronts. Before this I had found the experience of both musical worlds rather lacking - classical having a rather boring image, and pop having rather boring sounds. I didn't realise why I was reacting to them as I did - it wasn't until Emerson had made classical sounds which all around defined as popular music that I realised how much styles of presentation and labels can affect the way music is received. I didn't care much for the electric guitar sound or for the harmonic style (a lot of blues pentatonic) which is implied by the kind of melodies which apparently seem to lie naturally under guitarists' fingers. But my perception of rock was changed too - having heard The Barbarian as sounding like "conventional" rock, when compared to the piano solo of Lachesis (also in 3 Fates), I was surprised to find later that it is note-for-note Bartok. It was the instrumental timbres of
rock/pop in it that led me to hear it as "conventional", when in fact I would have heard the same notes quite differently as a Bartok piano solo. When I realised this, I re-evaluated a whole load of preconceptions about pop music.
It would never have occurred to me that ELP was "weighted too far" towards a keyboard sound (so I sympathise more with those who don't like much of what Lake does!). That would imply that rock and the guitar sound are somehow "naturally" occurring, and that anything else "deviates" from it. Nor do I really understand a predilection for only one kind of synth. sound, as opposed to another. In fact, the re-evaluation that ELP caused in me led me not necessarily to other prog, but to hearing a wide variety of classical and popular music differently.
The other thing about the first album is that there is a lot of music on it which is far from "pompous". I was if anything slightly disappointed that the same mix was never quite repeated again. For this reason, Karn Evil 9 is not, for me, the epitome of ELP's work. Emerson obviously composes in a quite conventionally "classical" way, at the piano, writes down a score, and then "orchestrates" it (Tarkus was composed in this way). Therefore, I've never thought of his experimentation with timbre and electronics to have been the most important thing about his music.
If, as someone suggests, classical musicians think of Emerson's talent as misplaced, it is partly because classical theory thinks of musical scores as primary, and the primary musical elements as being what can be written down: melody, harmony and rhythm. Since a written down work can be viewed as an object, the shape or "form" of a piece is considered important. Much of Emerson's early stuff doesn't pass this test very well. But I think that much of it does work quite well from this
POV, and I tend to like best the pieces which do. My list of favourites would include: The Barbarian, Take a Pebble, Three Fates, Toccata, Piano Concerto, Inferno, The Miracle (ELPowell), Another Country

from Martin Kornick (Progressive Treasures) <>:                (back to top)
A Message From Greg Lake
For Immediate Release December 1, 1998
Greg Lake has released the following statement.
For some considerable time now, I have identified the need for ELP to move forward artistically, while at the same time, re-establishing the passion and innovative
qualities that the band had so clearly demonstrated throughout the 1970s. During those years, the albums we made were driven by a unified desire to try and exceed the frontiers of modern contemporary music. We took the most cutting edge technology of its time, along with sterling production values, and weaved it into the most compelling songs and music we could envision. Seven platinum albums later, I felt at least in some way, that we must have done something right. Unfortunately, in more recent times, ELP has failed to deliver the same vital and inventive music that had made it so endearing during its earlier years. I must accept my share of the responsibility for this, mainly because, for the sake of keeping harmony within the group, I compromised some of my essential beliefs, particularly in respect to the way the records were made in the studio. Although, as a result of these compromises, I was introduced to some of the world's very best producers, ( - - in particular, my good friend Mark Mancina, who has taught me so much and with whom I am currently working -- ), I still felt in my heart of hearts, among the most valuable contributions I could make to ELP was that of being its producer. Sadly, in the case of this new record, it was not to be. As we began planning and discussing the new album, increasingly, I did not feel comfortable with the artistic and musical directions that were being proposed.
I have therefore decided, it is in my own, -- and in the band's -- best interest, that I depart at this time and pursue my solo career. I am deeply grateful to all of the fans of ELP who have supported the band over the years, and it goes without saying, that I sincerely wish Keith and Carl the very best of luck in whatever future endeavors they may choose. Kind regards, Greg Lake.

From: "Jeff Marx" <>
This just in from the ELP Digest;
"In light of Greg Lake's "tenure of resignation" announced to the media and public recently, Keith Emerson, Carl Palmer and the management of E.L.P. wish to jointly respond with the following statement:
It is with much regret that we have accepted the resignation of Greg Lake from the Emerson, Lake and Palmer organisation. As we all know there are many sides to all stories and we wish to reply to Greg's statement. In the course of the many years of the careers of the members of E.L.P., each has developed his own significant production skills to high degrees. It would seem that great developments should come from such a powerful collaboration, each member receiving his "fair share of credit where credit was due" based on his contribution(s) to the whole project. Unfortunately, Greg does not see it this way. He has rebuked all attempts to compromise from the "sole producer's credit" position to what is considered by all others to be the more reasonable shared "co-produced" or "in association with" credit where applicable; thereby removing any animosity that could be associated with "not receiving proper credit". This along with his failure to present the other members of the band with any tangible new material for audition leave us with no alternative other than to accept his resignation and likewise wish him luck in his future endeavors. Both Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer will be announcing their future plans after the beginning of the New Year."
Reactions from e-Prog members:
>I'm glad I saw them, because I have the feeling that this time, Lake is gone for good. I'm not sure who would work in his place should Keith and Carl want to record and tour, though I hope that ELP doesn't default into inactivity as a result. John Wetton's voice and playing abilities are in fine form, and as Greg replaced John (for just a bit) in Asia, John would fit into Greg' shoes best, musically speaking.
Well it makes sense to me, especially seeing as Wetton and Jobson are on the outs. I wonder if Wetton and Palmer are still on good terms from their last days in Asia together? I'd like to know which one; Emerson or Lake is responsible for the current break-up; cause it's almost a given that one of them was working toward rediscovering their Tarkus/BSS sound and the other was not. I base this assumption on many recent comments from the trio. I assume whoever they got to produce the new album hasn't a clue about the seventies ELP, thus pissing Lake off to the point of quitting. (Guess maybe Keith's to blame huh)? I mean who wants another "In the Hot Seat?" Flames are welcome.
> Lake produced all the early ELP through Works 2 (read...all the best ELP), why not let him do what he does best?!?!
While Lake got the producer credit, I don't believe he was THE producer. In interviews they've said that they all were involved in production and all had hands on the board during mixdown. It's just that, at the end of the day, Lake was in the producer's chair, so he got it by default (also, it might be a balance of power thing).
> As for other probably replacements, hear me, Keith & Carl: DON'T, please don't give Robert Berry a ring. The guy's not bad, it's just that I don't feel prog-rock is his forte. He was just filling a void on 'Three...' (Don't even get me started on that atrocious pop debacle of an album...).
Well, Berry has been doing a LOT of production and keyboard work for prog bands and the tribute albums on Magna Carta. He does a very interesting version of "Roundabout" on the Yes tribute. He also played everything except guitar on Peter Banks' version of Astral Traveller on the same album, and did a somewhat more interesting (to me) version of "Watcher of the Skies" on the Genesis tribute. You could almost think he's coming around.

From: Errol Allahverdi <>          (back to top)
Re: Fanfare For the Pirates: An Emerson, Lake & Palmer Tribute (Mellow Records, 1998)
I do not like tribute albums (even though I keep buying them). What's the point of listening to someone copying the original when you can be listening to the original instead. Especially when the original is done by ELP! No one can top them at their own stuff, never mind equal them. After listening to a couple of tracks (out of sequence) I cursed myself for buying another tribute CD. Then I relaxed, put headphones on, got in the mood, and put the first of the three CDs in. I then changed my mind. I'm glad I got this album (is it okay to call CDs albums?). I find the performances to be a good balance of musicians showing that they can recreate ELP's music and musicians interpreting it as well.
The first cover of Tarkus (there are two) captures the spirit of ELP, pretty much following it accurately, note-for-note. The major exception to this is the Eruption bass line, which rather than playing on top of Emerson's notes, is an interesting counterpoint (harmonically).  It begins with Eruption through Stones of Years and then makes a beautiful transition into Aquatarkus. It then follows through to the end (Eruption - Reprise). The production is awesome. The low point is the singer. This is a UK band in which the singer is trying very hard to sound like Greg Lake. He succeeds in a limited way, but he may very well turn off the first-time listener. The most interesting part of this work is that the keyboard player borrowed parts from the original, and every live recording of Tarkus since then.
There are very interesting interpretations of Jerusalem, The Sage (absolutely beautiful), Still... You Turn me On, Lucky Man, Take a Pebble, Endless Enigma, and a powerfully sung Italian version of Living Sin. Almost all of the vocals display foreign accents (non-English). I used to find accents (esp. Spanish and Italian) corny and that prevented me from listening to many fine foreign bands. I'm glad I can get past that now. The female vocalists sound most at home with Lake's melodies and style.
There's so much more I can write about this tribute, but I'll just quickly sum up so as not to lose you who have stayed with this. This collection is truly a tribute as it seems the musicians played and arranged the music as if they were in awe of it. I can't spell out the evidence of that, but that's how it feels to me. On other tribute albums, it seems that bands contributed just to get on the album. This album proves what great material ELP gave the world, and that others can imitate and interpret their music without losing any quality of the compositions. Bottom line: If you are a big ELP fan, get this! (Especially since you probably won't be hearing any new stuff from ELP for a long time - if ever again.) However, if you cannot handle foreign accents, then stay away from it.

From: Mark Fonda
I'm just finished with my first listen to all three discs and I have to say I am impressed!  I have been disappointed with tribute collections in the past but this is an exception.  I usually cringe when I hear someone imitating the 'masters', but this tribute does have many excellent performances!!   Maybe that's just because I love ELP so much. I haven't listened to it enough to pick a favorite yet. Any die-hard ELP fan should have this one!!   (try the Artist Shop)
Otso, your rendition of Karn Evil 9.3 / Lucky Man is superb... it is much more abstract and surreal than the original which it gives it a more electronic feel... and the female vocals are surprisingly tasteful.  Good work!

From: Otso Pakarinen <>
Thanks! I aimed for a "treatment" that would do the same to an original ELP piece (well...two pieces actually) as ELP's versions did to the classical pieces they covered. And the result is pretty much I was aiming for.  Doing it also gave me some new ideas about making music in general!

From: "Jeff Marx" <>                      (back to top)
Here's a post-ELP breakup tidbit from the Magna Carta website; "ENCORES LEGENDS & PARADOX" An Emerson Lake & Palmer Tribute MA-9026-2 (March 23, 1999) Featuring the talents (in no particular order): Trent Gardner (Magellan), Robert Berry, James LaBrie & Derek Sherinian & Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), Doane Perry (Jethro Tull), Simon Phillips, Pat Mastrelotto (King Crimson), Mark Wood, Glenn Hughes, Peter Banks & Geoff Downes & Igor Khoroshev (Yes), John Wetton, Matt Guillory (Dali's Dilemma), Mark Robertson (Cairo), Jordan Rudess, Marc Bonilla, Jerry Goodman.  Sounds yummy!

From: "Jeff Marx" <>
Yeah...yeah...more ELP stuff.  I couldn't resist after Mark's post re: the Magna Carta Tribute, so here's the label's preview of this April 6 release;
"Encores Legends & Paradox whips up a fortifying brew of ELP experiences that add hue and cry to the sometimes stark originals, all the more verdant in light of the top shelf production values available to musicians in the late '90s, something of which producers Trent Gardner and Robert Berry (who worked with both Keith and Carl in "3") have taken full advantage.
Highlights of the journey are many. 'Bitches Crystal' (from 1971's Tarkus album) becomes something sweeping and fluid, looming larger in epic stature, made sonorous by a Lake- like vocal from old buddy John Wetton, and for a spell, frenetically jazzy by a mesmerizing piano solo from modern-era Yes keyboardist Igor Khoroshev.
'Hoedown' (from 1972's Trilogy) becomes transformed from a perhaps questionably keyboarded Celtic track into something full blown and authentically Irish, through the warm strains of violinist Jerry Goodman and a sustained groove from studio drummer extraordinaire Simon Phillips.
Dream Theater vocalist James LaBrie chimes in for not one, but two tracks, 'A Time And A Place' and 'Tarkus'(both from 1971's Tarkus). And speaking of vocalists, Deep Purple/Trapeze belter Glenn Hughes gets to shake his blues foundation on the muscular 'Knife's Edge' (Emerson, Lake & Palmer, 1970), while Magna Carta legends Trent Gardner (Magellan) and Matt Guillory (Dali's Dilemma) go dueling keys and synths all over 'Tocatta' as the body count mounts and the casual listener heads for the exits in fright.
The longest and most involved exploration on the record is 'The Endless Enigma' from 1972's Trilogy. Here we witness the choice chops of Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy driving a massive chunk of prosaic ELP pomp, one of those compositions that exploded with ideas, fearlessly melding classical music and jazz with the Neanderthal barbarism of rock spectacle: a microcosm of ELP's career in one compressed ten minute burst.
But perhaps the cornerstone of the record would have to be that obligatory introductions of all introductions, 'Karn Evil' (from Brain Salad Surgery, 1973) which starbursts on the wings of Jordan Rudess' exhilarating keyboard work into those famous lines, "Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, we're so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside . . . " Throughout this truncated version of the piece (half an hour in its original form), Robert Berry and sticksman Simon Phillips put on a progressive rock clinic that finds modern form within great project band records like Magna Carta's own Liquid Tension Experiment, and Age Of Impact from Explorers Club.
But whatever your poison, there is no doubt that the Magna Carta army and its distinguished guest generals have sprung these drastic classics into new life, bringing to the battle something more than mere wizardry, something closer to an intangible and fanatical devotion to seriously creative interpretation, not to mention a deep respect for the source material.  Now get thee spinning and find out what millions of purveyors and players have known for nigh on thirty years, that Emerson Lake & Palmer were as a phenomenon, fearless, fathomless, and wholly without peer."    (back to top)

From: "Casey Van Tieghem" <>
> is their king biscuit flower hour a double cd or a single cd?
The American release I have is a double disc. One is from '74 and the other is from '77, right after they had to drop the orchestra. If you think the orchestra is distracting on Works Live, you might like the trio alone doing pretty much the same material. As far as the multimedia stuff. It's nice to have just a little footage of Keith Emerson doing loops while playing piano. :-) That is supposed to be rare footage anyway. But you can get the audio now on Then and Now of the Cal Jam '74 ELP performance. The sound quality isn't wonderful, but it's still good for a few spins.

From: "Jeff Marx" <>
According to my sources (who wish to remain anonymous LOL), the current ELP/Dream Theater/Deep Purple tour is an outstanding one. Several friends who have heard of Dream Theater but never listened to them before were blown away by the quality and skill of their show. ELP has been playing for about an hour and twenty minutes each show and have changed their set list a bit which is good news as it was getting a bit stale over the past 2-3 years. Their set list;
Crossing the Rubicon, KE 9, First Impression Pt. 2, Hoedown, A Time and a Place, Knife Edge, Piano Concerto No. 1, III. Toccata con fuoco, C'est La Vie, Lucky Man, Tarkus (all), E: 21st Century Schizoid Man, Fanfare for the Common Man, Rondo.
The new pieces are "Crossing the Rubicon," a three-minute instrumental Fanfare which has been well-received, "A Time and a Place" from the Tarkus album, KE's Piano Concerto, which hasn't been played since 1978, "Tarkus" complete, which hasn't been played as the whole suite since 1974. I've read several reviews which were positive and noted that they were playing with more speed and power than on the '96 and '97 tours. As for me I'll have to wait for the video as my recent CD buying binge has left my wallet too light.

From: "Gandalf ." <> Gandalf's Classic Review: Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1970)
This is the first album from this progressive "supergroup". Their backgrounds are familiar Greg Lake (King Crimson), Keith Emerson (The Nice), and Carl Palmer (Atomic Rooster). This album has a bit of everything, including rock, classical, jazz and country. The challenge is that with only three musicians, the variety of sounds and how they blend together will probably be more up front and discernible. So, does it work? Well, before passing judgement let's look at the tracks....
1. The Barbarian (4:27): Distorted bass is joined by organ and a pounding backbeat; the tempo increases to a mini-crescendo and then we have a "Dave Brubeck" section! At around 3:20 the lads increase the tempo and work it up to a rousing climax. Palmer's drumming is very precise and Emerson's keyboards meld with Lake's bass superbly. This piece is fairly complex (Bartok appears in the credits!) and quite heavy. An invigorating mixture of rock, jazz and classical music, and no vocals.
2. Take A Pebble (12:32): This begins with Emerson stroking his piano strings and is joined by bass and cymbals, but it is Greg Lake's beautiful baritone vocal which makes this track special, complemented by some delicate piano work from Emerson. The track changes pace at 2:25 and the opening motif is jazzed up; at 3:38 we move into a nice Greg Lake acoustic guitar break with electronic sounds of dripping water. This progresses into a country-style clap-along which moves into more sophisticated acoustic guitar and is joined by piano again. This develops into a jazzier track as Emerson begins to experiment with and develop the piano part; a piano, bass and drums jazz session ensues and, at 10:55 we return to the main motif with Lake's vocal. This is a superb, complex track which I can listen to again and again. jazz fans will love it!
3. Knife-Edge (5:04): Janacek gets a credit here, but it's a great rock track really! Good bass playing and vocals from Greg Lake and a heavy organ sound from Emerson. Grows heavier as the song progresses, with a superb, Bach-like keyboard demonstration at 3:25. This will be great live!
4. The Three Fates (7:46): A three-parter, played by Emerson and comprising: (a) Clotho (on the Royal Festival Hall organ - majestic!), (b) Lachesis (a beautifully melodic piano solo); and (c) Atropos (piano trio where, at 4:52, he's joined by Palmer on drums and percussion).
5. Tank (6:49): A fat bass is joined by drums and synthesiser and develops into an interesting counterpoint jam. The drums gradually gain influence and from 2:00 it's a rather entertaining Carl Palmer solo. He's joined by Lake (bass) and Emerson again at 4:12 and the track finishes as a march. There's some nice electronic keyboard work by Emerson which helps raise this track from the ordinary.
6. Lucky Man (4:36): This is the best track on the album. It begins with acoustic guitar and a gentle vocal from Greg Lake, accompanied by some superb complimentary drumming from Palmer. Overlaid harmony swells out the vocal part and it all sounds superb. Then at 3:14 in comes Emerson with the sexiest Moog sound you have ever heard in your life - it makes an already great track truly wonderful.
VERDICT: This is an important album in many ways; it combines a range of musical styles; it develops those styles while melding them together and the musicianship is excellent. It's difficult to believe that there are only three musicians at work here, although Emerson has the talent to play a different keyboard instrument with each hand! This music will not be to everyone's taste, but there are pieces that will definitely be appreciated. The best tracks are 'Take A Pebble', Knife-Edge' and 'Lucky Man'. Greg Lake's vocals contribute a great deal to the appeal of these tracks and we perhaps need to hear more of him. A very interesting first album from this trio. I'll give it (8/10).
Interesting Facts: "Emerson, Lake & Palmer" was released in November 1970 and reached No 4 in the UK album charts, and No 18 in the US.

From: Chris Richards <>>  It's called Allegro Barbaro (or maybe Barbaro Allegro, I can't remember which). And I guess Bartok's name appears in the credits on the CD, but it didn't on the LP. Certainly doesn't appear on my LP copy, anyway. Greg Lake once told that the story that released the album, and a couple weeks later, they got this call from an old lady who said "I want to talk to you about this song on your record called The Barbarian. You see, my husband wrote it!". It was Bartok's widow, who basically sued the band for plagerism. Lake claims that he thought this was someone who had been dead for a century or more, not someone who had just passed away less than 3 decades earlier. If he REALLY didn't know when Bartok lived, that only proves Greg Lake doesn't know anything about classical music. It also doesn't absolve Keith Emerson, who should have know better.