Emerson Lake & Palmer (album)

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Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Studio album by Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Released October 1970 in UK
1 January 1971 in US
Recorded 1970, Advision Studios, London, England
Genre Progressive 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 12 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]

"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.

"Lucky Man" is a folk rock ballad by Lake, and is similar to those he would produce on subsequent albums (e.g. "From the Beginning" and "C'est La Vie"). The album's single, it was originally recorded to fill leftover space at the end of the album at the request of the record company. It was written by Greg Lake for acoustic guitar when he was 12 years of age, and was not originally well received by Emerson or Palmer. At Lake's request, Emerson played a solo on his modular Moog synthesizer. In the October 1977 Dominic Milano interview of Keith Emerson in Keyboard Magazine (at that time called "Contemporary Keyboard Magazine"), and much later on the band's DVD Beyond the Beginning, Emerson said the solo was recorded in one take. The brief electric guitar interlude, on top of the multi-tracked overdubbed vocal and acoustic guitar parts, was overdubbed by Lake. In more recent live full band performances (with either ELP or with The Keith Emerson Band), Emerson generally plays a version of the interlude melody on Hammond organ, whereas on earlier live versions, Greg Lake would sing and perform the piece on acoustic guitar sans any Moog solo or drums (such as on Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends... Ladies and Gentlemen).

The first movement of Emerson's "The Three Fates" (Clotho) was recorded with the Pipe Organ of the Royal Festival Hall in London. The second movement of Emerson's "The Three Fates" (Lachesis) suite showcases his solo piano playing.

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.

Although the composition of the first track, "The Barbarian", was attributed to the three band members, it is an arrangement for rock band of Béla Bartók’s 1911 piano piece, Allegro Barbaro. The third track, "Knife Edge", is based on the first movement of Leoš Janáček’s Sinfonietta (1926) 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. None of these quotations is attributed on the original UK Island Records vinyl release, or the USA Atlantic Records vinyl release, nor on any later USA CD issues. However, all except the Bach quote are clearly listed on the back cover of the later British Manticore vinyl album release.

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 (released by Rhino as #R9 75980 in 2000). See 2012 re-release notes for updated information on a new re-issue package that includes a CD+DVD-A discs.

Track listing[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
4. "The Three Fates 7:46
5. "Tank" (Emerson and Palmer) 6:49
6. "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.

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. 
  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. Archived from the original on 31 July 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "UnCovered Interview - artist Nic Dartnell on his album cover for ELP's debut LP". Retrieved 26 January 2014.