Emerson Lake And Powell - 1986 Emerson Lake And Powell

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited August 2 in year-1986

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ARTIST: Emerson Lake And Powell
ALBUM: Emerson Lake And Powell
LABEL: Polygram
SERIAL: POLD 5191 (UK), 829 297-1 (USA)
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 1988, Polydor, 829 297-2 * 1990, Polydor, 829 297-2 (+ 2 bonus tracks)

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image
LINEUP: Keith Emerson - keyboards * Greg Lake - vocals, bass * Cozy Powell - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Score * 02 Learning To Fly * 03 The Miracle * 04 Touch And Go * 05 Love Blind * 06 Step Aside * 07 Lay Down Your Guns * 08 Mars, The Bringer Of War * 09 The Loco Motion (1990 bonus) * 10 Vacant Possession (1990 bonus)

Background

The early 80's was a shifting soundscape, both musically, and with the personnel who made up many of the popular acts of the time. The years 1982 and 1983 saw the rise of successful prog/AOR bands make it big on the charts, namely Asia and Yes.

Meanwhile, 70's luminaries Emerson Lake And Palmer had faded into yesteryear decline. Keith Emerson was involved with film scores, Greg Lake pursued a solo career (ref 1981 'Greg Lake' album), though did fill in temporarily for John Wetton as the singer/bassist in Asia during 1983, while original drummer Carl Palmer was occupying the drumseat for that same band.

When Emerson and Lake pursued the idea of a reunion in 1985, the final piece of the jigsaw (Palmer) was already committed, so the drum spot went to hard rock vet Cozy Powell, who had previous stints with Rainbow and Whitesnake up to this point.

His recruitment added bulk to the ELP sound, which ironically excluded guitars; Emerson's keyboard taking center stage! The album was recorded between 1985 and 1986, and is a brash melodic prog rock feast with oodles of commerciality in the vein of 1980's era Yes but with tons more keyboards and a heavier rhythm section.

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The Songs

Though there are only eight tracks, all of them (bar the lounge-club jazz flavoured 'Step Aside' and the grandiose but luscious ballad 'Lay Down Your Guns') are hefty slices of keyboard driven rock. Forget the likes of Gregg Giuffria and other such pretenders. Listen to how keyboards should be played by a master.

The 9 minute opening matinee of 'The Score' is a Keith Emerson synth master-class with his lead lines and brass parps played in detuned sevenths dominating preceding. The end sequence where Powell slams his double kick drums for all they are worth sends us on our way.

We segue more or less immediately into 'Learning To Fly', this track more of a vocal effort, not a million miles away from Asia though obviously heavier with Powell's influence.

The next album highlight is the dark and brooding 'The Miracle', meandering through a thorny forest of jagged musical ideas and structures, before the sunlight of a melodic chorus cuts through the dark like a swathe.

Glorious synth parps introduce us to 'Touch And Go', and is maintained as the song theme throughout. This track found its way into the US Top 40 during 1986.

'Love Blind' is another tremendous track, perhaps slightly mellower with Emerson borrowing some of Geoff Downes synth textures, but all in all, it's pompous keyboards all over the place!

The closer 'Mars: The Bringer Of War' is more weighty keyboard bombast, based off a classical piece (I think it was from Holst's 'The Planets'?). I'm not sure what ol' Mars would've thought of all this back in the days of myth and legend.

In Summary

Though this formation of ELP was relatively short (Powell left at the end of 1986), this is a prime example of where many styles of rock fused themselves together during the heart of the 80's. And not a sign of a guitar in sight!

Lovers of prog rock, art rock, pomp rock, commercial .. whatever.. you'll find it in the space of these fantastic eight tracks. Hear three guys at the top of their game doing what they do best. Recommended, especially if you are a fan of keyboards.

Video

The Score


The Miracle


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