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Articles Home » 1977 Articles » Emerson Lake And Palmer - 1977 Works Part 1
Emerson Lake And Palmer - 1977 Works Part 1

ARTIST: Emerson Lake And Palmer
ALBUM: Works Part 1
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: SD 2-7000 (USA), K/K4 80009 (UK)
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: 1989, Atlantic, 781 409-2 * 2008, Victory (USA), 393 484 002-2


LINEUP: Keith Emerson - keyboards, piano * Greg Lake - lead vocals, guitar, bass * Carl Palmer - drums, percussion * Joe Walsh - lead & slide guitar

TRACK LISTING: 01 Piano Concerto No 1 * 02 Lend Your Love To Me Tonight * 03 C'est La Vie * 04 Hallowed Be Thy Name * 05 Nobody Loves You Like I Do * 06 Closer To Believing * 07 The Enemy God Dances With The Black Spirits * 08 L.A Nights * 09 New Orleans * 10 Two Part Invention In D Minor * 11 Food For Your Soul * 12 Tank * 13 Fanfare For The Common Man * 14 Pirates


Years ago a three year break between releases was almost unheard of as a record a year, sometimes two followed by road work that would kill most contemporary bands in the twenty first century was generally the policy companies demanded from their artists. With 1973's classic 'Brain Salad Surgery' and 1974's double live opus 'Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends' the last anyone heard from ELP, it was assumed the trio had called it quits. Not so of course and ELP's 'Works Volume 1' was one of the biggest events of 1977 for progressive fans. For everyone else music had moved on with disco picking up steam, AOR play lists looking for shorter more accessible songs and punk rock rearing its spiky head at a frightening pace; ELP were now seen as out of place, monolithic museum relics of a bygone era. This was compounded by the fact the comeback kids rested their hopes on a double album with each player getting a side and meeting together at the end. The critics, who as David Lee Roth famously pointed out a couple years later were all starting to look like Elvis Costello, naturally hated the album with ELP only adding fuel to the fire by embarking on a massive tour with a full orchestra. Ahh, those were the days!

The Songs
This was the first ELP album I laid down my hard earned lunch money for so in advance of the following rundown, it does hold a special place in my collection since at that time I was blissfully unaware of the group's previous albums. Indeed I had some catching up to do, but despite all the criticism I've heard and read over the years from other progressive fans concerning 'Works Volume 1', I still feel it deserves a better shake than its received. Emerson's side long 'Piano Concerto No. 1' with three movements and orchestra is not as boring as it sounds. An appreciation of early twentieth century classical music helps, but this is a beautiful piece of music that holds up well. Greg Lake's five songs on side two are the albums radio friendly cuts with 'Lend Your Love To Me Tonight' and the very beautiful and oh-so French 'C'est La Vie' the strongest of the set, the latter released as a single. 'Carl Palmer covers side three with vibrant colours and jazz fusion flavours although it's my least favourite of the solo efforts. Joe Walsh provides lead and slide guitar on 'L.A Nights' yet the song lacks anything special. Much better is the short and sweet 'Two Part Invention In D Minor' and the traditional prog rock of 'Tank', but overall and even now, Palmer's work fails to win me over. The band pulls it all together on side four with their infamous cover of Aaron Copeland's 'Fanfare for the Common Man' and 'Pirates' which is about as near to early ELP as the album gets making for a nice ending to this lengthy tome.

In Summary
The 'Works' tour never really took off. Touring with an orchestra was unwieldy and had quickly become a money pit. They were sent packing mid-tour and with ELP facing dwindling audiences, Journey was added as support. It was during this leg of Journey's tour that a young singer named Steve Perry was brought along as part of the band's entourage and as we all know eventually filling the spot as vocalist. ELP released 'Works Volume 2' later in the year, this time a single album and finally the much maligned 'Love Beach' in 1978; an album I didn't think was all that bad although it was enough for the band to split, moving on to various projects until another reunion in the '90s.

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