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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Album Review: Welcome Back My Friends: ELP

Anyone who's ever read more than four posts on this blog knows I'm an Emerson, Lake and Palmer fan. In the 70s-80s I would've gushed and sputtered and not made sense. It was like that. Wasn't just them, I would've done the same about at least a half-dozen bands then. The difference is, that here we are in 2011 and I'm still like that about ELP, or maybe pathetically worse. So don't expect objectivity because I have none. As I hear all this music on this album now, it's all so much more perfect and tight that I not only wonder at their musicianship but at my good taste when I was so fucked up. It's like a double treat. Not only am I adoring them all over again, but I get to pat myself on the back. What the hell more can you get happy about in life? Back to the album. The recordings are from their 73-74 , "Someone Get Me A Ladder" Tour. They were individually and collectively riding their first apex together. Fast as light, charged and tightly timed. Emo's wizardly keyboards, Carl's precision timing, Greg's heavy bass, masterful guitars and soaring voice. Nobody could touch them then and I've yet to hear anyone touch them since. Three guys who create the music of powerful realms. You can feel them getting off on the sound they make. It's joy. This 2-disc cd set has 12 full songs in all, and the Tarkus, Piano Improvisations and Karn Evil 9 suites as each a single cut. They made the most engaging long rock songs in history. And this compilation is all their early best played at furious speed and strength. If it wasn't plastic I'd request being cremated with it. Every moment is charged with energy and drive. The kind you want to help propel you to the heavens. Thanks, Cam and Birdy for a well-loved Christmas present. Everlasting thanks to Emo, Greg and Carl for their fearless creativity. But wait there's more... I'll post about Works next, their second big apex, IMHO.

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