Emerson Lake & Palmer (album)

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Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Studio album by Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Released 20 November 1970 in UK
1 January 1971 in US
Recorded 1970, Advision Studios, London, England
Genre Progressive rock, hard rock
Length 41:13
Label Island, Atlantic, Manticore (UK)
Producer Greg Lake
Emerson, Lake & Palmer chronology
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
(1970)
Tarkus
(1971)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau C[2]
Rolling Stone (favorable)[3]

Emerson, Lake & Palmer is the debut album of British progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, released in 1970. The album was intended not as an effort by a unified band, but as a general collaborative recording session, and as such, some of the tracks are essentially solo pieces.

The album peaked at No. 18 on the Billboard 200.[4] "Lucky Man" reached No. 48 on the Billboard Hot 100. On the UK charts the album peaked at #4.[5]

Artwork[edit]

The cover art painting is by the British artist Nic Dartnell. Although it has been said to be originally intended for the American group Spirit, and that the bald-headed man on the left of the cover is Spirit's drummer, Ed Cassidy, the artist denied this in an interview with Mike Goldstein of RockPoP: "I'd like to take a moment and dispel a rumor that, according to Wikipedia, the image is somehow linked to the LA band Spirit. The fact is that, at the time I painted the ELP "Bird", I also painted a portrait of Spirit which I sent to them in LA. A very similar bird was featured in the corner of that painting. I got a message from Spirit to say that if they had received their painting in time they would have put it on the back of Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus. I became friendly with Randy California over the years and I took the photograph that is on his 1982 12" EP All Along the Watchtower. The bald image in "Bird" has no connection to Ed Cassidy of Spirit and doesn’t look anything like him. Ed still has the Spirit portrait – so I’m told. The cover depicts a fluttering white bird with a human ear in the bottom left corner; the bird's left wing outlines the back of the male head to which the ear is attached, the other half of which is on the back of the album, and the right wing outlines a female head." [6]

The cover art does not include a comma in the album title, but one is used on the label.

Songs[edit]

"The Barbarian"[edit]

Although the composition of opening track was attributed to the three band members, it is an arrangement for rock band of Béla Bartók’s 1911 piano piece Allegro Barbaro.[7][8]

"Take a Pebble"[edit]

"Take a Pebble" by Greg Lake is a full band arrangement, with the primary sections being a jazz arrangement by keyboardist Keith Emerson, and the middle section being a folk guitar work by Lake with water-like percussion effects by Carl Palmer, plus a bit of clapping and whistling. The end returns to the jazz arrangement by Emerson, starting with a modal based improvisation on top of the primary ostinato.

"Knife-Edge"[edit]

"Knife Edge" is based on the first movement of Leoš Janáček’s Sinfonietta (1926)[8] with an instrumental middle section that includes an extended quotation from the Allemande of Johann Sebastian Bach's first French Suite in D minor, BWV 812, but played on an organ rather than clavichord or piano.

"The Three Fates"[edit]

"The Three Fates" is a three-part "pseudo suite",[9] written and performed by Emerson. It comprises three movements, one for each of the three sisters of Greek Mythology known as the Three Fates or Moirai; Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos. Its overall length is a little under eight minutes. The Clotho movement was recorded at the Royal Festival Hall, London, with Emerson playing the venue's massive pipe organ. Lachesis is a piano solo of about 2 minutes 45 seconds. It features baroque and jazz influences ending in grand, sweeping arpeggios. In Atropos, after briefly revisiting the pipe organ from the first movement, Emerson moves to a piano vamp in 7/8 with accompaniment from the other band members. An improvisation is layered over the top which eventually transforms into a polymetrically played repeated sequence in 4/4 time. The resonance of the final chords is curtailed by sound of explosions.

"Tank"[edit]

Palmer's solo spot "Tank" was composed with Emerson. The first section features Emerson on clavinet and piano, Lake on bass and Palmer on drums. The middle section is a drum solo. The final section features Emerson on clavinet and Moog synthesizer.

"Lucky Man"[edit]

"Lucky Man" is a folk rock ballad by Lake, with a notable solo on the Minimoog by Emerson at the end, liberally using portamento.[10] Lake wrote the song for acoustic guitar when he was 12. Although a quad mix of this album was never issued, 'Lucky Man' was included on the DVD-Audio 5.1 surround version of Brain Salad Surgery (Rhino #R9 75980, 2000).

Track listing[edit]

Original vinyl[edit]

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "The Barbarian" (Béla Bartók, arr. Emerson, Lake & Palmer) 4:27
2. "Take a Pebble" (Greg Lake; arr. Emerson, Lake & Palmer, but not always credited) 12:32
3. "Knife-Edge" (Leoš Janáček & J. S. Bach, arr. Keith Emerson, lyrics by Lake & Richard Fraser) 5:04
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "The Three Fates 7:46
2. "Tank" (Emerson and Palmer) 6:49
3. "Lucky Man" (Lake) 4:36

2012 Remix[edit]

In May 2012, Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree remixed the album for a 3 Disc reissue containing the original mix, the Wilson remix, and a DVD-Audio with Wilson's 5.1 surround sound version and a higher-bitrate version of his stereo mix.

CD 2 - The Alternate ELP New 2012 Stereo Mixes
No. Title Length
1. "The Barbarian" (Béla Bartók, arr. Emerson, Lake & Palmer) 4:32
2. "Take a Pebble" (Greg Lake; arr. Emerson, Lake & Palmer, but not always credited) 12:36
3. "Knife-Edge (With Extended Outro)" (Leoš Janáček & J. S. Bach, arr. Keith Emerson, lyrics by Lake & Richard Fraser) 5:38
4. "Promenade" (Modest Mussorgsky, arr. Greg Lake and Keith Emerson, lyrics by Lake) 1:29
5. "The Three Fates: Atropos" (Emerson) 3:11
6. "Rave Up" (Emerson, Lake and Palmer) 5:02
7. "Drum Solo" (Palmer) 3:02
8. "Lucky Man" (Lake) 4:39
Bonus tracks
No. Title Length
9. "Take a Pebble (Alternate Take)" (Lake) 3:40
10. "Knife-Edge (Alternate Take)" (Leoš Janáček & J. S. Bach, arr. Keith Emerson, lyrics by Lake & Richard Fraser) 4:19
11. "Lucky Man (First Greg Lake Solo Version)" (Lake) 3:02
12. "Lucky Man (Alternate Take)" (Lake) 4:41

The remixed versions have different track listings from the original album, omitting the first two sections of "The Three Fates" ("Clotho" and "Lachesis") and "Tank" because the multitrack tapes for those pieces were unavailable, and adding unreleased material. "Knife Edge" has an extended ending; due to the difficulty of reproducing the song's original tape slowdown ending digitally, Wilson chose instead to include the end of the original album session at its original speed. The 5.1 remix replaces "Tank" with an unreleased instrumental called "Rave Up", which bears some similarity to the instrumental section of "Mass" on Tarkus.

The remixed stereo versions include all of the above while adding more unreleased material. A vocal version of "Promenade" (the first live version of which appears on Pictures at an Exhibition) replaces the missing sections of "The Three Fates"; a new otherwise untitled "Drum Solo" by Carl Palmer (similar but not identical to a section of "Tank") is added between "Rave Up" and "Lucky Man"; "Lucky Man" is followed by an unfinished alternate take of "Take a Pebble", complete with some studio banter; then an unreleased take of "Knife Edge", lacking vocals and final section; and finally two versions of "Lucky Man", the first being Greg Lake's original demo, the second an unreleased complete band version.

Personnel[edit]

Production[edit]

  • Producer: Greg Lake
  • Engineer: Eddie Offord
  • Arranger: Emerson, Lake & Palmer
  • Director: Emerson, Lake & Palmer
  • Mastering: Barry Diament

Singles[edit]

  • "Lucky Man" / "Knife-Edge"

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eder, Bruce (2011 [last update]). "Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Emerson, Lake & Palmer | AllMusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 July 2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (2011). "Robert Christgau: CG: Emerson, Lake & Palmer". RobertChristgau.com. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Grossmas, Loyd (15 April 1971). "Emerson, Lake & Palmer: Emerson, Lake & Palmer : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 11 December 2007. Retrieved 3 September 2012. 
  4. ^ "The Billboard 200". allmusic.com. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  5. ^ "UK chart info Emerson, Lake & Palmer". www.chartstats.com. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "UnCovered Interview - artist Nic Dartnell on his album cover for ELP's debut LP". Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  7. ^ Millward, Steve (2014). Different Tracks: Music and Politics in 1970. Troubador. p. 166. ISBN 9781783064762. 
  8. ^ a b Macan, Edward (1996). Rocking the Classics: English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture: English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture. Oxford UP. pp. 253 n.35. ISBN 9780195356816. 
  9. ^ Millward, Steve (2014). Different Tracks: Music and Politics in 1970. Troubador. p. 166. ISBN 9781783064762. 
  10. ^ Romano, Will (2010). Mountains Come Out of the Sky: The Illustrated History of Prog Rock. Backbeat Books. pp. 97–98. ISBN 9781617133756.