Works Volume 1

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Works Volume 1
ELP Works Volume 1.jpg
Studio album by
Released25 March 1977
Recorded1976
StudioDe Lane Lea Studios, London
Mountain Studios, Montreux
Pathé-Marconi EMI Studios, Paris
Genre
Length87:23
LabelAtlantic
Producer
Emerson, Lake & Palmer chronology
Welcome Back, My Friends, to the Show That Never Ends ~ Ladies and Gentlemen
(1974)
Works Volume 1
(1977)
Works Volume 2
(1977)
Singles from
Works Volume 1
  1. "Fanfare for the Common Man"/"Brain Salad Surgery"
    Released: May 1977
  2. "C'est La Vie"/"Jeremy Bender"
    Released: 1977

Works Volume 1 is the fifth studio album by English progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, released as a double album on 25 March 1977 on Atlantic Records. Following their world tour supporting Brain Salad Surgery (1973), the group took an extended break before they reconvened in 1976 to record a new album. They were now tax exiles and recorded new material in London and overseas in Montreux, Switzerland and Paris, France. Works Volume 1 features a side dedicated for each member to write and arrange their own tracks that were performed by the band, while the fourth side features songs written collectively. Keith Emerson recorded his Piano Concerto No. 1, Greg Lake wrote several songs with lyricist Peter Sinfield, and Carl Palmer recorded tracks of varied musical styles.

The album peaked at No. 9 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 12 on the US Billboard 200 and went gold in both countries, the latter for 500,000 copies sold. The group track "Fanfare for the Common Man", Emerson's adaptation of the 1942 composition by Aaron Copland, was released as a single in May 1977. It went to No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart to become the band's highest charting single in the UK. Additional material recorded in 1976, plus songs from previous studio sessions, were released as Works Volume 2. Both albums were supported with the 1977–1978 tour, which featured the band playing with an orchestra on stage for some early shows.

Background[edit]

In August 1974, Emerson, Lake & Palmer finished their ten-month world tour in support of their fourth album, Brain Salad Surgery (1973). This was followed by the double live album Welcome Back, My Friends, to the Show That Never Ends ~ Ladies and Gentlemen (1974) which earned the group their highest charting position in the US with a peak of No. 4, and No. 6 in the UK. The trio took an extended break, having been on the recording and touring circuit each year since their formation in 1970. Keith Emerson said that at this point in their career, the group's musical direction had been "milked dry" and wanted to spend time planning their next step.[1]

In 1976, the three had decided to start on a new studio album and became tax exiles, meaning they had to record overseas. Lake recalled that this was an unpopular opinion as the members had family based in England. They settled in Montreux, Switzerland where they recorded at Mountain Studios.[2] Lake recalled his time there was difficult for creativity: "It's so grey. There's nothing there. You get sod-all inspiration!" Emerson supported his view and called it "the end of the earth", but he and Palmer praised the studio facilities and the quality of the equipment.[1]

For Works, Lake wanted to take a more serious approach in writing and singing ballads, and felt singing with an orchestra added greater variety to his songs.[1]

In March 1977, Lake said that the band had completed additional material that would be released on Works Volume 2.[1]

Music[edit]

Sides one to three[edit]

Side one features Emerson's Piano Concerto No. 1, a three-movement work for piano and orchestra. Emerson performs on a Steinway grand piano with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by John Mayer, who assisted on the orchestral arrangements.[2] He wanted to write a serious piece that would not date itself, with the aim of having it performed by others in the future. Working hard on the score, Emerson looked back on it shortly after the album was released: "I've squeezed every ounce of myself into that thing. And I feel very satisfied."[1] An initial recording session took place at Kingsway Hall in London with mobile studio equipment, but the orchestra had difficulty understanding the score and performers complained of the hall's acoustics, resulting in Emerson "wasting a lot of money." A successful session arose when recording relocated to De Lane Lea Studios.[1] When it came to preparing material for the album, Emerson dedicated a period to "think and write" following his depression after his Sussex home caught fire two years prior, burning his possessions and music he had put down.[3] The work's third movement reflected Emerson's mood at the time of the fire, and was able to get "a lot of anger" out through the music.[1] In the band's Beyond the Beginning documentary, Lake recalled that Emerson invited composer Leonard Bernstein to listen to the work during his visit to the Paris studio where the recording was being mixed. Upon listening to the work, Bernstein said it "reminded him of Grandma Moses", a folk artist. Emerson, however, did not recall Bernstein saying this.[4][5]

Side 2 is the Greg Lake side, and consists of acoustic ballads, all of which were written by Lake and Peter Sinfield.

Side 3, the Carl Palmer side, includes a remake of "Tank" from the band's self-titled debut album released in 1970, with orchestral accompaniment and minus the drum solo. "L.A. Nights" features Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh on lead and slide guitar and scat vocals. Two arrangements of classical pieces are included: Two-Part Invention in D minor, BWV 775 by Johann Sebastian Bach and a piece titled "The Enemy God Dances With the Black Spirits", an excerpt of the 2nd movement of the Scythian Suite by Sergei Prokofiev.

Side four[edit]

Side 4 features the entire band, and consists of a modern piece rearranged for rock band, Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man", and the long-form song "Pirates", which features lyrics added to music Emerson had written for a cancelled film version of Frederick Forsyth's book The Dogs of War. Aaron Copland found ELP's version of his piece appealing although he was puzzled at the inclusion of a modal solo between two fairly straight renditions of his piece. "Pirates" was recorded in three separate studios and featured the Orchestra of the National Opera of Paris, conducted by Godfrey Salmon. According to Sinfeld, the band had wanted Leonard Bernstein to conduct "Pirates". Bernstein walked out after hearing the music, describing it as "primitive".[6] Both "Fanfare for the Common Man" and "Pirates" feature Keith Emerson's extensive use of the Yamaha GX-1 synthesizer.[7]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[8]
Classic Rock2/5 stars[9]
Rolling Stone(favorable)[10]
Sea of Tranquility4.5/5 stars[11]
Louder3.5/5 stars[12]

AllMusic's retrospective review was mixed. They particularly criticised the solo sides of Keith Emerson ("on the level of a good music-student piece, without much original language") and Greg Lake ("'C'est la Vie', the featured single, says little that 'Still...You Turn Me On', from their previous album, didn't say better and shorter"). They offered some praise for the Carl Palmer and group sides, but concluded that the group songs "cover a lot of old ground, albeit in ornate and stylish fashion."[8]

Track listing[edit]

Source:[2]

Side one: Keith Emerson
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Piano Concerto No. 1"
  • "First Movement: Allegro giojoso"
  • "Second Movement: Andante molto cantabile"
  • "Third Movement: Toccata con fuoco"
Keith Emerson18:18
Side two: Greg Lake
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Lend Your Love to Me Tonight"Greg Lake, Peter Sinfield4:01
2."C'est la Vie"Lake, Sinfield4:16
3."Hallowed Be Thy Name"Lake, Sinfield4:35
4."Nobody Loves You Like I Do"Lake, Sinfield3:56
5."Closer to Believing"Lake, Sinfield5:33
Side three: Carl Palmer
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."The Enemy God Dances with the Black Spirits"Sergei Prokofiev, arr. Emerson, Lake, Carl Palmer3:20
2."L.A. Nights"Palmer5:42
3."New Orleans"Palmer2:45
4."Two Part Invention in D Minor"J. S. Bach, arr. Palmer1:54
5."Food for Your Soul"Palmer, Harry South3:57
6."Tank"Emerson, Palmer5:08
Side four: Emerson, Lake & Palmer
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Fanfare for the Common Man"Aaron Copland, arr. Emerson, Lake, Palmer9:40
2."Pirates"Emerson, Lake, Sinfield13:18

Personnel[edit]

Credits are taken from the album's liner notes.[2]

Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Additional personnel

Production

  • Keith Emerson – production on side one
  • Greg Lake – production on sides two and four
  • Carl Palmer – production on side three
  • Peter Sinfield – production on side two
  • Tony Harris – orchestral arrangement on side two
  • Ashley Newton – art direction
  • Ian Murray – design, artwork
  • John Timperley – engineer
  • Roger Cameron – engineer
  • David Montgomery – Emerson photography
  • Kenny Smith – Lake photography
  • Alex Grob – Palmer photography

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Unknown (12 March 1977). "The Works on ELP". Melody Maker. Retrieved 1 October 2019 – via Ladies of the Lake.
  2. ^ a b c d Works Volume 1 (Media notes). Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Atlantic Records. 1977. K 80009.CS1 maint: others (link)
  3. ^ Hilburn, Robert (12 March 1977). "Emerson, Lake & Palmer's return". The Los Angeles Times. p. Pt II, 11. Retrieved 1 October 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ Lake 2017, p. 153.
  5. ^ Broadway World "Keith Emerson of THE CLASSICAL LEGACY OF A ROCKSTAR", October 6 2014. Retrieved on 31 October 2018.
  6. ^ Will Romano (2014). Prog Rock FAQ: All That's Left to Know About Rock's Most Progressive Music. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 978-1617136207.
  7. ^ Aaron Copland, "Interview With Aaron Copland 1997". Emerson Lake & Palmer, From The Beginning (box set, 5 CDs, 1 DVD), 2007 Sanctuary Records Group, Ltd.
  8. ^ a b Eder, Bruce. "Works Vol. 1 – Emerson, Lake & Palmer". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
  9. ^ Fielder, Hugh (February 2005). "Eight by Three". Classic Rock. 76. London, UK: Future Publishing Ltd. p. 104.
  10. ^ Walters, Charley (2 June 1977). "Emerson, Lake & Palmer: Works, Vol. 1 : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 10 November 2007. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  11. ^ Pardo, Pete. "Emerson Lake & Palmer: Works Volume 1 (remastered)". Sea of Tranquility. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  12. ^ Sharp, Johnny. "Emerson Lake & Palmer: Works Volume 1". loudersound.com. Retrieved 26 February 2019.

Sources