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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Works Vol. 1 CD (album) cover

WORKS VOL. 1

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

2.87 | 659 ratings

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Progfan97402
2 stars I found a used copy of this at a St. Vincent de Paul in 2017 after getting rid of my original copy in 1996 that I bought in 1994. I can see why I got rid of this. It's a messy album, to say the least. The egos of the three men must have gotten so out of hand that it took almost four years to record a followup to Brain Salad Surgery, and when it did, it was a double album. Sadly only one side was dedicated to the whole band, the rest was solo material, each side assigned to specific member. Keith Emerson's side is consumed by his "Piano Concerto", which really left me cold, even though it's thought of as one of the saving features of the album. Greg Lake's side is largely sappy acoustic ballads, the type he revisited on "Black Moon" ("Farewell to Arms" and "Footprints in the Snow" could easily fit on Lake's side of Works Vol. 1 were it not for the early '90s digital production). The worst offender is by far "Closer to Believing" and it's just as painful for me to listen now in 2017 as I did in 1994. "Lend Your Love to Me Tonight" actually isn't too bad, though. Carl Palmer's side, well, I can't remember a thing about it, and there's a rather useless remake of "Tank", talk about running out of ideas! The group side is clearly the best thing on this album with "Fanfare for the Common Man" and "Pirates". I know many will gripe about the lack of organ, mainly because Emerson fell in love with that monster three keyboard Yamaha GX-1 (which Stevie Wonder used on his then-latest album Songs in the Key of Life, as well as Led Zeppelin in 1979 with In Through the Out Door, as well as Rick van der Linden, and Jurgen Fritz on New Triumvirat's Pompeii). It may be overblown, but no more overblown than their earlier stuff. I really think this album could have greatly improved if Emerson still continued using his old Moog and Hammond organ and not treat the GX-1 like a total replacement. It would have also improved greatly if the band kept their egos in check and made a full album of group material. While I have never been a fan of punk rock, an album like this makes you understand why it happened. One listen to "Closer to Believing" and you wanna reach out for that Sex Pistols album. Works Vol. 1 has its moments, but it's definitely not essential.
Progfan97402 | 2/5 |

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