Emerson, Lake and Powell Review

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Complete Collection

Album Review

Growing up in the 1970s was a wondrous time to listen to music. The disparate bands and sounds were an absolute joy…and none so much as the fantastical and mind-blowing heavy prog rock sound of Emerson, Lake and Palmer or ELP to the cognoscenti. Their unique mix of homegrown rock, jazz, an early incarnation of symphonic rock and electronic with some re-imagined classical music was a trademark in itself, never mind the appellation of the world’s first ‘supergroup’ who ultimately managed to sell approximately 48 million records worldwide!

The three musicians, Keith Emerson previously of Nice on keyboards including Hammond organ and synthesiser, Greg Lake of King Crimson who provided the vocals whilst also playing bass and Carl Palmer from The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and Atomic Rooster who was originally on percussion and drums.

After thinking they had gone as far as they could go with their unique blend, coupled with the advent of Punk Rock, the band decided to break up in 1979 and each went their separate way.

Then, in 1980 they reformed for a tour but this time without Carl Palmer who was now with another supergroup, Asia. His place was taken by the serial journeyman drummer Cozy Powell. In his time he had played with Jeff Beck, Rainbow, and Whitesnake as well as being a sessions drummer with some of the musical luminaries of the time. But, after a single album, the group split up again. There were a few attempts to continue with other musicians but all of them were shortlived.

Sad to say, all three members of Emerson, Lake and Powell have since died, Cozy Powell was killed in a car accident in 1998, and Keith Emerson and Greg Lake both passed away in 2016.

As an aside, the first track on each CD -and, additionally, the last track on the studio album ‘The Score’ is more of an overture than anything else.

The first CD has a large number of popular tracks from earlier times.

1, The Score; 2, Learning To Fly; 3, The Miracle; 4, Touch And Go; 5, Love Blind; 6, Step Aside; 7, Lay Down Your Guns; 8,Mars, The Bringer Of War; 9, The Loco-Motion;, 10, Vacant Posession; 11, The Score.

The second CD -The Sprocket Sesssions- is named after the London studio where the rehearsals took place. Most tracks are incomplete tracks with some tune variations and over-speaking on them but one rather interesting and unusual tidbit is that Cozy Powell manages to insert a rather lengthy drum solo which I am sure wasn’t in the original Gustav Holst version of Mars!

1, The Score; 2, Learning To Fly; 3, The Miracle; 5, Knife Edge; 5, Tarkus; 6, Pictures At An Exhibition; 7, Lucky Man;, 8, Still…You Turn Me On; 9, Love Blind; 10, Mars, Bringer Of War (sic); 11, Touch And Go; 12, Pirates.

The third CD -Live in Concert- features all easily recognised tracks from the previous iteration of the band.

1, The Score; 2, Touch And Go; 3, Knife Edge; 4, Pirates; 5, From The Beginning; 6, Lucky Man; 7, Fanfare For The Common Man; 8, Mars, The Bringer Of War / Drum Solo; 9, Medley -Karn Evil 9 (First Impressions) / America / Rondo.

This three-disc boxed set, consisting of the studio-recorded cd ‘Emerson, Lake and Powell’, the Sprocket Sessions recorded during rehearsals -and previously available only as a bootleg- for the 1986 world tour, and a ‘Live in Concert recording. All three have their own idiosyncracies which when taken together, create a wonderful addition to anyone’s ELP (both versions) collection.

The set is available from 12th April.

Review for Jace Media


Mick Sayce

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