Emerson, Lake and Palmer

trilogy_emerson_lake__palmer_album_-_cover_artEmerson Lake and Palmer
Trilogy
Brain Salad Surgery
Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends…Ladies and Gentlemen

BMG
by David Chiu

There was a period in Emerson Lake and Palmer’s history in which the progressive rock trio were an unstoppable force and these three albums from 1972 to 1974 – recently re-released as part of the ongoing ELP catalog reissue program – merely reaffirms their popularity at that point. 1972’s Trilogy continues on the band’s modus operundi started by the first three album– the self-titled record, Tarkus and Pictures at at Exhibition—in melding rock and classical music that yield both bombastic and brilliant results: “The Endless Enigma Parts 1 and 2,” “Fugue” and the dynamic tittle song. Those elp_-_brain_salad_surgeryare coupled with album’s best known tracks: an exuberant reinterpretation of Aaron Copland’s “Hoedown” (the group would later tackle another Copland work “Fanfare for the Common Man”); the playfully quirky “The Sheriff”; and guitarist/singer Greg Lake acoustic ballad “From the Beginning.” The followup, 1973’s Brain Salad Surgery is arguably the band’s signature record along with Tarkus—it’s a masterpiece containing ELP’s signature “Karn Evil No. 9, First Impression, Part 2” that has been played endlessly on classic rock radio. Other interesting twists and turns appear on the record; from the English music hall tune “Benny the Bouncer”; the majestic version of Blake-Parry’s “Jerusalem”; and an interpretation of Ginastera’s “Toccata.” In addition to “Karn Evil No. 9,” the other famous track is another Lake ballad, the yearning “Still…You Turn Me On.” ELP’s popularity culminated with the 1974 triple record live Welcome Back My Friends… that features the notable and best songs from ELP’s previous albums—it’s merely a showcase of the instrumental chops of Lake, drummer Carl Palmer and the incomparable keyboardist Keith Emerson, whose recent death still sadly lingers when you hear the dazzling virtuosity, such as his performance of “Piano Improvisations” from the live record. Both Trilogy and Brain Salad Surgery contains alternate mixes of each respective albums songs as well as B-sides, including the track “Brain Salad Surgery,” which isn’t on the original record, and the track with the long-winded title “When the Apple Blossoms Bloom in the Windmills of Your Mind I Will Be Your Valentine.”

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