Emerson Lake and Palmer
Emerson, Lake & Palmer


4.5
superb

Review

by e210013 USER (243 Reviews)
February 12th, 2024 | 18 replies


Release Date: 1970 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A rip-roaring great start. A bold statement for their debut work.

“Emerson, Lake And Palmer” is the eponymous debut studio album of the band that was released in 1970. The line up on the album is Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Karl Palmer.


The three band’s members came from three very well established bands before they joined together. All of them were very talented musicians and very experienced too. Lake came from a band that needs no introduction. He came from King Crimson and was one of their founder members. He took part on their two first studio albums, “In The Court Of The Crimson King” and “In The Wake Of Poseidon”. Palmer came from Atomic Rooster and he was also one of their founder members. Atomic Rooster was a British heavy prog band. He had only participated on their eponymous debut studio album. Emerson came from The Nice and he was one of their founder members too. The Nice was a British prog band who combined classical, jazz, blues and rock that became the seeds of the sound of Emerson, Lake And Palmer. He took part on the four albums “The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack”, “Ars Longa Vita Brevis”, “The Nice” and “Elegy”.

Curiously, Emerson, Lake & Palmer could have been called HELP or Hendrix, Emerson, Lake And Palmer, if Jimi Hendrix had adhered to the project. It seems that Hendrix was tired of his own band and wanted to try something different and new. So, supposedly, it looks like that he expressed an interest in playing with them. However, because of some scheduling conflicts, such idea couldn’t be immediately held, and unfortunately, Hendrix died shortly after. But, the story was never confirmed. It even was contradicted by Lake saying that it was just a rumour created by the press.

This debut album is filled with only six songs that are all examples of the classical style of the prog rock. The sound on the album is strongly dominated by the Hammond organ and Moog synthesizers of Emerson and the compositions are mainly influenced by the classical music. It features strong compositions and amazing musicianship blending rock, classical music, jazz and folk. The combination of Emerson’s virtuoso piano, Hammond organ, and Moog with Palmer’s drum acrobatics and Lake’s smooth vocals made for a powerful sound that electrified audiences, at the time, looking for something new to latch on. But the band would go even further into unchartered waters on the subsequent releases.

“Emerson, Lake And Palmer” has six tracks. “Barbarian”, despite being attributed to the trio, is an arrangement of the Bela Bartok’s piano piece “Allegro Barbaro”. However, the original piece is only for piano. The band rearranged it for organ, bass and drums. It’s a great track with a hard rock influence. “Take A Pebble” is a beautiful ballad by Lake. It’s a freat track with the powerful vocals of Lake. His singing is amazing with the final line of verses building on the legacy of King Crimson’s “Epitaph”, which sounds even better. “Knife-Edge” is based on the first movement of Leos Janacek’s “Sinfonietta”. It’s another great piece with a nice showcase by all three members, with particular emphasis on the bass lines. “The Three Fates” is an Emerson’s concept piece about the meaning of life, god and evil. The suite is divided into “Clotho”, an organ solo recorded at the Royal Festival Hall, “Lachesis”, a piano solo and “Atropos”, a piano trio. This is technically a great piece that showcases the talents of Emerson. “Tank” has a Palmer’s small and beautiful solo studio drumming. Basically, the piece showcases Palmer’s unique drumming style, featuring one of the few drum solos on a studio album. It marks the first appearance of Emerson’s famous Moog synthesizer. “Lucky Man” is a ballad by Lake for acoustic guitar, when he was a schoolboy. However, at the beginning, the song wasn’t well received by Emerson and Palmer. It’s a song with acoustic guitar, beautiful singing and a great synthesizer solo towards the end. This is one of the best songs ever written by Lake and that became as one of the band’s most commercial and accessible tracks.

The front cover of the album depicts a fluttering white bird with a human ear in the bottom left corner. It was painted by Nic Dartnell. It seems that originally was for the Spirit, a nice American proto-prog band. It also seems that the figure man on the left of the cover is the Spirit drummer, Ed Cassidy. However, the artist himself denied that in an interview.


Conclusion: “Emerson, Lake And Palmer” is an excellent album, very fluent and very beautiful, with moody keyboards, memorable guitar lines, immaculate drumming, and above all, a great vocal work by Lake. It also still features very strong compositions and a magnificent and inspired musicianship. Emerson takes the band’s music a little too strongly in his own hands on many occasions on the album. His virtuoso skills have become the defining factor on the band’s music. However, fantastic musicians such as Lake and Palmer deserve certainly also a more prominent spot. This album is with “Brain Salad Surgery” the two best studio works from the band, only supplanted by their triple live album “Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends”. This was a classic back in the 70’s and it still is even today.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
February 12th 2024


5013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

As many of we know, Emerson, Lake And Palmer was the first prog super-group. The three members came from three established bands, Emerson from The Nice, Lake from King Crimson and Palmer from Atomic Rooster. The band's career was relatively extensive but very uneven in terms of quality. However, in the 70's it was great. ELP was responsible for some of the best prog works in those years.

Today, I'm bringing here a review about their eponymous debut, an album that many consider their best effort. The album is really amazing containing some of their best tracks. Personally, I'm note sure if I prefer the beauty of this one or the pomposity of "Brain Salad Surgery". Both are equaly great. Probably it's only a matter of own taste.

InfernalDeity
Contributing Reviewer
February 13th 2024


571 Comments


I'm preferring this quite a bit more than Brain Salad

Koris
Contributing Reviewer
February 13th 2024


20793 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^ yeah, I always thought BSS was a bit overrated. Still great, but it's my least favorite album of their classic era



Nice review!

trickert
February 13th 2024


144 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Arguably the only one you really need by this band. Tank and Barbarian are surprisingly heavy, and Take a Pebble has amazed from the day I first heard it as a teen way back in 1981. Good review.

InfernalDeity
Contributing Reviewer
February 13th 2024


571 Comments


Yeah, Take a Pebble is excellent

e210013
February 14th 2024


5013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for you share your thoughts, Infernal.

e210013
February 14th 2024


5013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks to you too Brendan. I don't have the same feelings. BSS is a pompous work but absolutely amazing.

e210013
February 14th 2024


5013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, trickert. But I must disagree. All their works from the classic era are, in my humble opinion, mandatory, I mean the first four studio albums and the two first live albums.

TheIntruder
February 14th 2024


740 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Nice to see another review of ELP, especially of the first one. Fantastic album. Great review too. Pos.

e210013
February 14th 2024


5013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I agree. This belongs to the the kind of albums that deserve more than a single review.

Thanks buddy.

trickert
February 14th 2024


144 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@e210013: No worries on the disagreement--that makes the world go round. I think the title track of Tarkus is pretty strong, but after that, for me at least, I just lose interest. I have the records up to BSS but never play them anymore, except this first one, which I play often, and Tarkus side one occasionally.

wildinferno2010
February 15th 2024


1844 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love this album, cool review

LilLioness
February 15th 2024


3348 Comments


Damn, I didn't know you were doing classics reviews rn

e210013
February 15th 2024


5013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks wildinferno.

e210013
February 15th 2024


5013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Damn, I didn't know you were doing classics reviews".

Yes I am LilLioness. As I mentioned in my first paragraph of my first comment about my first review in this year, I'm going to spend this year only with classics, wich means, only albums released in the 70's. This also means that some will be very well known, usually considered classics, but others will be pratically unknow works, albums who weren't lucky to be so well known despite they're very good, but that deserve to be also known. It will be nice for those who are interested on obscure things.

So, this will be a very diversified journey.

LilLioness
February 15th 2024


3348 Comments


Glad to see someone reviving the 70s review train.

e210013
February 15th 2024


5013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"70s review train."

Nice expression. I like it, pal.

LilLioness
February 16th 2024


3348 Comments


Yeah, Been rough to see it dip in and out over the years. New stuff can get dull after a while.



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