THE LONG PLAY

 

”The Long Play" is a continuing Sunday evening Feature on The GOAT. This year, Every Sunday Evening, Album Rock WXYG, The GOAT will feature a full album at 8:00 PM from the halcyon musical days of 1970.

1970 was Quite an amazing year in Album Rock history. Gonna be a tough choice every week. So many great ones to choose from.

We hope you’ll tune in next Sunday evening, November 29th at 8:00 PM for the debut album from Emerson, Lake and Palmer, simply called, “Emerson, Lake and Palmer”.

It was released in the UK in November 1970 on Island Records.

Recording took place at Advision Studios in July 1970 when the group had yet to perform live, and lasted for three months. The album was supported by the group's show at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer went to number four on the UK Albums Chart and number 18 on the Billboard 200 in the US. In Canada, the album reached number 17 on 3 separate occasions, beginning May 8th, and was in the Top 100 for 35 weeks. "Lucky Man" reached number 48 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in the US.

The cover art painting is by the British artist Nic Dartnell. Although it has been said to be originally intended for the American group Spirit, and that the bald-headed man on the left of the cover is Spirit's drummer, Ed Cassidy, the artist denied this in an interview with Mike Goldstein of RockPoP: "I'd like to take a moment and dispel a rumor that, according to Wikipedia, the image is somehow linked to the LA band Spirit. The fact is that, at the time I painted the ELP 'Bird', I also painted a portrait of Spirit which I sent to them in LA. A very similar bird was featured in the corner of that painting. I got a message from Spirit to say that if they had received their painting in time they would have put it on the back of Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus. I became friendly with Randy California over the years and I took the photograph that is on his 1982 12" EP All Along the Watchtower. The bald image in "Bird" has no connection to Ed Cassidy of Spirit and doesn't look anything like him. Ed still has the Spirit portrait – so I'm told."

Rolling Stone reviewed this album in early 1971, and gave it a terrific critical review.

“We were forewarned by the British music press that Emerson, Lake & Palmer would be a "super-group," and indeed it was hard to see how they could miss. An extraordinarily inventive and tasteful organist, Keith Emerson, as the prime moving force of the Nice, was one of the few performers capable of holding his own against the flood of guitar oriented heavy rock groups of the ten thousand ton variety. He is also one of rock's most flamboyant showmen, and watching little Keith toss a Hammond organ around on stage and indulge in one of his orgies of key ripping was an unforgettable sight.

Unfortunately, the Nice suffered from extremely weak vocals and a lack of strong original material and as a consequence Emerson failed to get as much exposure as he might have. Now with Emerson, Lake & Palmer the situation has changed. Though Emerson is "featured" on piano and organ, he has some extremely strong support from Greg Lake (formerly with King Crimson) on vocals, bass, and guitar; and from Carl Palmer (formerly with Atomic Rooster a group formed by Arthur Brown's ex-organist Vincent Crane) on drums. There are also some very good new compositions by all involved.

It is rather hard to typify the music that Emerson, Lake & Palmer play, though I suppose that your local newspaper might call it "jazz influenced classical-rock," which means that while Eugene Ormandy might buy a copy Tommy Roe sure as hell wouldn't. If you're familiar with the Nice you probably know what to expect. Everyone turns in a fine performance and I was most surprised by Greg Lake, as I was not much taken with him before his singing here is extremely good as is his bass playing. Keith Emerson is heard to great advantage and at last he might achieve some of the recognition he has long missed. To my thinking Emerson (along with Brian Auger) is one of the few organists in pop music today worth his weight in semi-quavers. He is also a very sensitive and effective pianist.

This is such a good album it is best heard as a whole. However, my own particular favorites are "Knife Edge" and "Lucky Man." "Knife Edge" is a very tight, well put together song with some absorbing and heavy organ and a beautiful solo by Emerson. "Lucky Man" has interesting lyrics and someone (probably Emerson) plays a terrific solo on something that sounds like a cross between a flutophone and a Waring blender which I assume to be some insidious sort of synthesizer much like those one would learn to build for $37.50 in Popular Mechanics. While Carl Palmer is an exceptionally good drummer I find his solo on "Tank" to be a bit too mechanical and a little boring. "The Three Fates" has a very nice pipe organ solo, but towards the end becomes disturbingly reminiscent of "Baba l.u." The album is very well recorded and makes good use of many special effects. (In this respect it is much like "Godzilla.")”

PersonnelEditKeith Emerson – Hammond organ, piano, clavinet, pipe organ, Moog modular synthesizer
Greg Lake – vocals, bass, acoustic and electric guitar
Carl Palmer – drums, percussion
Production

Greg Lake – producer
Eddy Offord – engineer
Emerson, Lake & Palmer – arrangement, direction
Tune In and Turn On, next Sunday evening, November 29th, and every Sunday evening at 8:00 PM for The GOAT'S "The Long Play.”


Don’t forget, right after the “Long Play”, we do a “Replay” of this week’s GOAT GUEST DJ SHOW.


 

 

 

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