Emerson, Lake & Palmer, The Best of Emerson Lake & Palmer (1980)
Less to do with the news of Keith Emerson and Greg Lake dying last year (though in both cases sad news, sure) and more to do with me being won over when I spot the LP-versions of old favourite CDs or tapes from my former collections. This album was big for me. About as brilliant and absurd as prog got and I got way into this – and then I made it out. I still like Emerson, Lake & Palmer and I have a few of the studio and live albums but this compilation puts it about as succinctly as you can get when it comes to prog (ie, not really an option). But a trim-enough, single-album compilation is definitely not over the top even when a lot of the music on it most certainly is.
I was spellbound when I heard this stuff – possibly because my intro to ELP was about a 4-second clip of them on a rock’n’roll documentary, “Tread the road cross the abyss/Take a look down at the madness” – the keyboard was being pushed and pulled and this sounded like heavy metal in a renaissance moment, romantic, bewildering, absurd and yet wonderful. That was it – just a few seconds. For years. And then I was given an ELP record and I thought it was pretty great but the compilation album helped to guide me through their career. Then it was on to a few of the other albums and then I shelved them for years. I was a bit powerless when I saw this. Got that weak at the knees, arm-behind-back feeling. Alright, alright, take my damned money…I’m not sure I’ll listen to it all that often but I blasted it the other day, first day in the house, and I loved it. Oh, Carl Palmer’s drumming – which I once thought was magical, legendary – is now fucking awful to my ears. But there’s something – at least in some of the tunes that, er, still turns me on…I always thought the cover was great. So good to have that cover record-sized, finally…
Sample Track: Trilogy
The Vinyl Countdown is a document of every LP I listen to, brand new discoveries and old-old favourites; extremely pre-loved, previously abandoned or with the shrink-wrap having just been removed it’s all here at The Vinyl Countdown