Wow! How quickly (or justifiably or deservedly) we forget how pent up with big ideas these guys were. Yes, Emerson's Piano Concert No. 1 with the London Symphony Orchestra is here, sounding in all its self indulgence like a James Bond soundtrack. Lake had a great voice, a spectacular sense of reverb and could conjure a pretty melody, but his and co-writer Pete Sinfield's lyrics were so heavily self-inflated with meaning even Atlas would need a holiday after carrying these tunes from room to room. Palmer is so blatantly redundant LA Nights could be a techno McCartney track for all the world knows, or cares. Their take on Aaron Copeland's Fanfare For The Common Man despite its percolating moments, still wipes away any semblance of the band that created those early great records, namely the first ELP, Tarkus, and Brain Salad Surgery.
If Works, Volume 1 isn't enough to send you running back to the Bay City Rollers, Volume 2—a collection of outtakes and assorted singles—will definitely set your feet a flying away from the stereo. Save for I Believe In Father Christmas, V2 is an Excedrin headache par excellence. Hard to think many of us took these guys seriously back in the old 'Prog' days. It's even harder to fathom that some still do.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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