Emerson Lake & Palmer s/t debut 50 YEAR ANNIVERSARY: A Supergroup's The Most Honest Masterpiece.

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Svetonio, Feb 14, 2020.

  1. Svetonio

    Svetonio Forum Resident Thread Starter

    My personal favourite album by Emerson, Lake & Palmer as far as it's the trio's the most honest and the least pompous LP. The first album by ELP is also one of the greatest masterpieces of the 1970's Symphonic rock, along with both following ELP's studio albums Trilogy and Brain Salad Surgery; actually, it's one of landmarks of the genre as in most of the songs the trio reproduced that typical suite form of Classical music.
    Fifty years ago, perhaps the all-time greatest supergroup Emerson, Lake & Palmer were released their debut album that consists of the songs that, although all equally beautiful, are rather varied in style. Indeed, the album is an elegant English candy of musical styles that somehow work together majestically; that is not surprise given the previous experience of the trio members. The talents of Emerson, Lake & Palmer are flowingly combined with their enthusiasm for the new project that was quite unique and original. The difference that Greg Lake and Carl Palmer made to Keith Emerson was spawned the sound that was ahead of anything what The Nice did in previuos years.
    Finally, although the Moog is not over-used at Emerson, Lake & Palmer the album, it includes the huge hit Lucky Man that features one of the best Moog solos in the history of the genre.



    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
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  2. Svetonio

    Svetonio Forum Resident Thread Starter

  3. The Bishop

    The Bishop Forum Resident

    Yes, I adore this album. Kind of like a supercharged version of The Nice.

    I love every ELP album up to and including Brain Salad Surgery, but the debut was probably their only canon album.

    And the solo on Lucky Man isn’t just about the playing, but that extraordinary sound. Love It!
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  4. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident

    Essex, UK
    ELP are a band I've known about since the 70's. A neighbor a few doors down was a big fan, but for me and my crowd we weren't ready for a keyboard based sound, not with Black Sabbath and Deep Purple going full on.

    Still, I didn't actively dislike them, they just took a seat at the back of the bus. Many moons later I got curious when the first of the Deluxe Editions came out. Surround sound mixes and the like were the draw, and I thought what the heck, it's time to dig in. I bought all of their core catalog: Debut, Trilogy, Tarkus, Brain Salad, Welcome Back, Pictures.........

    I intended to experience them chronologically, however this plan immediately went awry - I got hooked on the debut. It's a really nice album, and rewards repeat listens. I did play the others, and enjoy them, but it's the debut and Brain Salad that I return to semi-regularly.

    I did sample titles such as Love Beach, but they seemed to have lost their way. Still, these core titles are excellent, and the debut in particularly is deserving of anyone's attention.
  5. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    NYC Man
    Love the debut, love ELP in general--even including Love Beach, ELPowell, etc. and lots of their solo stuff and other projects. Don't agree with the "most honest" comment.
  6. Bassist

    Bassist Zungguzungguguzungguzeng

    With the benefit of hindsight and another 45 years of listening experience (if not critical maturity) I agree that the first record has the most going for it. Very good songs and a sense that the enterprise had limitless promise.

    I got on board (in real time) with BSS and just about hung around through Works Vol 1. The debut and Pictures were the only other albums of theirs I owned back then though I have bought the others since.

    Welcome Back My Friends was the big turn off for me. Expensive in terms of the very limited money I had available, sold in a nasty cheap sleeve and pressed on nastier, flimsier vinyl. At the age of 12 I took that kind of thing extremely personally. Stand it next to Yessongs and it is inferior in every aspect, even sonically, which is saying something.
  7. Telegramsam

    Telegramsam Forum Resident

    Discovered it five or six years ago and it made me a fan. After investigating the other albums, it´s still my favorite (along with Tarkus side 1), such great musicians and what a singer Greg Lake was! Lots of piano too. I have a Island Uk first pressing that sounds absolutely brilliant.
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  8. Mark B.

    Mark B. Forum Resident

    Concord, NC
    I didn't jump on board with ELP until Brain Salad - which, along with Welcome Back- remains my favorite. I do think it's a great album, especially considering it's a first effort. That said, if "Lucky Man" never again comes up on my Pandora shuffle, I won't feel slighted.
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  9. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road

    The debut is great, but Brain Salad Surgery is by far my favourite
  10. jblock

    jblock Forum Resident

    An outstanding album no doubt, particularly side 1, but Brain Salad Surgery is their crowning achievement. Having said that, I would posit that the song Tarkus is their most realized, cohesive piece as a band. But keep in mind this is coming from a person who thinks the instrumental prelude to Letters From The Front is one of the best things they ever did.
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  11. qwerty

    qwerty A resident of the SH_Forums.

    The self-titled debut was the first ELP I heard, and loved it. Followed the band up to Works, and never felt any of the other albums were as good or consistent as the first. I burned out on prog, so didn't listen to it (or their other album) for decades. Last year when I obtained a CD of the debut. It lost none of it's appeal, each track had it's magic, but as I've heard it so many times don't feel the need to listen to it again.

    Back when ELP were one of the bands around, I heard quite a few stories about girls who bought the first album because they liked the cover art, even though they had never heard of the band or any of their music, and then liked the band once they played the album.
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  12. boggs

    boggs Multichannel Machiavellian

    Very diverse album. Just compare TAKE A PEBBLE, KNIFE'S EDGE, and TANK. What a landscape of sound ! Love it !
  13. newelectricmuse

    newelectricmuse Forum Resident

    I think Brain Salad Surgery is probably their best, their "crowning achievement" as someone put it earlier, but the first album could be my favourite album of theirs overall. It's full of contrasts, from the heavy Barbarian, to the more delicate Take a Pebble, the folky Lucky Man (with THAT solo); even a drum solo I enjoy listening to (and know best for beat). I have always had a soft spot for Pictures, and of course Tarkus (the track) is great, but as an album it's maybe the one I enjoy listening to most. Turn it up loud for the fuzz bass on Barbarian, the organ on Three Fates and those deep notes on the Lucky Man Moog solo!
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  14. Floyd Crazy

    Floyd Crazy Forum Resident

    I love this album but I only discovered it last year when I found a n mint UK 1st issue copy on vinyl at a Charity Shop.
    When this came out in 1970 I was only
    5 years old and I did not get into ELP
    till my older sisters boyfriend bought a copy of Brain Salad Surgery round when I was 11. After that I bought most of there output but missed out on the first album.
    Love the Moog on the last track a great first album from a true Super Group.
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  15. Raylinds

    Raylinds Martinis, music and glowing tubes

    It's truly a wonderful album.
  16. willy

    willy hooga hagga hooga

    Emerson Lake & Homer...

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  17. willy

    willy hooga hagga hooga

    Side 2 of Love Beach is among their best I think. 'Love At First Sight' is simply gorgeous. :agree:
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  18. kwadguy

    kwadguy Senior Member

    Cambridge, MA
    Yeah, as bad as Yessongs sounds (a paper bag recording), Welcome Back sounds worse.

    NB: There's also a quadraphonic issue of Welcome Back.
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  19. rancher

    rancher Unmade Bed

    This first one is my favorite ELP by a good amount, though I too have heard Lucky Man one too many times ...
  20. kwadguy

    kwadguy Senior Member

    Cambridge, MA
    from Emerson's book
    Late one afternoon, I wandered into Advision Studios. Greg was overdubbing some acoustic guitar over some other acoustic guitar. This surprised me because I didn't expect him to be there. But there he was strumming away to what sounded like a Country and Western tune in three-four. It was almost folksy in style and I thought totally out of character with all we had recorded previously. Carl arrived next.

    'Did you know about this?' I asked.

    Carl just shrugged his shoulders as we both listened in the control room.

    When Greg joined us, I asked where that one came from. He was briefly non-commital, then in a rare moment of modesty pronounced it as 'just a bit of fun'. As Carl was now in the studio, 'Would he mind laying a drum pattern over this bit of fun?'

    It wasn't easy because there was no click track, but Carl agreed to try, knowing that this represented the difference between having an album, touring or going home to Birmingham. While all this was going on, I sat back while Greg overdubbed some bass guitar and added a guide vocal. The more I listened, the more appealing the piece sounded; almost like a jazz waltz. There seemed to be an awful lot of strumming at the end and, spotting what I assumed to be the resident Moog Synthesizer in the studio's ante room, got with Eddie Offord to effect a patch. The instrument had sat there so long everybody was afraid to touch it, including Eddie and me. We grabbed a handful of cables.

    'I think if I stick this jack-plug in this hole and this jack-plug in this hole we should get some sort of a noise,' said Eddie.

    I tapped the keyboard hopefully and was rewarded with a rather bland tone.

    'Try doing the same patch again with another oscillator,' I suggested.

    Eddie complied and I tapped the keyboard again. This time it sounded a little more hopeful after fiddling with the oscillator's tuning. One oscillator left, we patched that the same way and Eddie went back into the control room to bring it up on one of the remaining tracks and issue me with a pair of headphones so that I could hear 'the story so far'. The portamento knob seemed to be a load of fun during the level check; you could 'slur' notes. I made a mental note to use the effect when they ran the tape. Greg found the intercom switch in the control room and my ears rang.

    'We'll drop you in at the end.'

    'OW! Turn the ****ing cans down.'


    I was able to see both Greg and Eddie from my playing position and just waited for their signal for me to start playing. When I did, I counted all the possibilities of all the lines I was improvising. There seemed to be a never-ending wealth of 'licks' to be played over the simple modal outro. When I'd finished, I looked up to see two happy faces in the control room.

    'Come and have a listen,' yelled Greg again, down the intercom.

    'Ah, come on. That was only a run through. Give me another pass and I'll really cook.'

    They were both insistent, so I joined them in the control room to listen. But I was not convinced, even as the tapes were finally delivered to the record company. I though it was the most mediocre solo I'd ever played.

    Finally, a huge crate arrived at Drayton Gardens all the way from Buffalo, New York. I excitedly broke into the box and there it was - my own Moog Synthesizer. Its inventor, Dr. Robert Moog, had written: 'All of our previous products were made as supplements for recording studios; they were not designed for road use. I understand that you want to tour with your instrument so, as an experiment, we have built a pre-set box that will enable you to have up to eight different sounds. Good luck.'

    I pulled it all out and began setting it up but it proved more complicated as there was no accompanying manual. I might just as well have tried building my telephone exchange. After an hour, I found out how to switch it on, but that was all. I called Mike Vickers, who must have detected my frustration.

    'Can you bring it over and leave it with me for a week?' he said.

    A week later, Mike called to say he'd got about four different patches (sounds) out of it, but it hadn't been easy. I was eternally grateful for his help. Our first gig was only weeks away and I wanted the Moog to play a major part in the debut.
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  21. Claus

    Claus Senior Member

    ELP’s ST album is their best beside of Trilogy IMO. Great playing and not overproduced like BSS.
  22. kwadguy

    kwadguy Senior Member

    Cambridge, MA
    There's an interesting story of how, when ELP were going to go back out as a reformed unit in the '90s, they had decided to play Lucky Man and wanted to play the solo at the end to sound like the record. Keith apparently could not remember how to do that, and called a friend at one of the progressive-minded mags (maybe keyboard magazine?) to get someone to do a transcription of his solo on the record so he could play it!
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  23. Robbie California

    Robbie California Forum Resident

    I have a very fond memory of hearing the first album.

    I use to frequent The Folk Music Center in Claremont, California that was run by Ben Harper’s grand parents. My brother and a friend of ours would spend time in the store just looking around at all the unusual instruments and generally just hanging out because the place had such a cool vibe.

    Anyways, we were in the store one day and the owners asked us if we wanted to come by the store the next night because they were getting in the debut album by Emerson Lake and Palmer. They were really pumped to hear it but I was more like ‘Ok ... who are they again?’ I had heard “America” by the Nice and I had the first King Crimson album but I had no idea of the formation of this new supergroup.

    So the next night we get there, along with another half dozen other invited friends and settle in. They had pillows thrown all over the floor, offered everyone some tea and after about 20 minutes they lit a bunch of candles, turned off the lights and Charles dropped the needle on side one.

    After the final note of side two we were all silent a half minute before someone spoke. We didn’t talk too much but everyone felt compelled to hang around for 10-15 minutes because of the shared emotional attachment.

    There were some quiet thank you’s and goodbyes and then everyone headed home ... done in. Whew!
  24. StarThrower62

    StarThrower62 Forum Resident

    Central NY
    They lifted a number of 20th century classical themes to construct a couple of pieces including the Barbarian, and Knife Edge. I don't think the composers were credited initially. The later editions credit Bartok, and Janacek.
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  25. kwadguy

    kwadguy Senior Member

    Cambridge, MA
    A '40 minute composition aptly named Pictures at an Exhibition"? Clearly, the reviewer is not aware that it's a famous piece of classical music.

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