Album review: EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER – The Anthology 1970-1998 (4-LP Box set)

We’re giving away a copy of the boxed set in June – check out our Competitions section!

David Randall chatted to Carl Palmer for Get Ready to ROCK! Radio in June 2018.  This hour special features a selection of ELP tracks plus Atomic Rooster and Asia.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer - The Anthology 1970-1998 (4-LP Box set)

BMG [Release date 31.05.19]

The big labels must be laughing again, with the resurgence in vinyl popularity allowing unbridled reissues and recycling.  Doesn’t it feel like the late 1990s?  The last few years has seen the reissue of the ELP catalogue on CD, often expanded with bonus tracks.  Now comes, perhaps belatedly, the vinyl version of the 2016 anthology release.  It should be pointed out that this box set doesn’t exactly replicate its predecessor in terms of track listing.

I always thought that if modern vinyl is mastered from digital sources rather than the original tape masters, surely some of that original warmth (the raison d’etre of hardcore vinyl addicts) is going to be lost?  Apparently for the true analogue to analogue experience you’ll need to buy pressings that pre-date the mid-1980s.  Of course, the other variable is the quality of the pressing.

The Anthology box set is mastered from digital sources although at half speed for “superior quality”.  The big attraction for collectors might actually be the ‘galaxy effect’ coloured vinyl.

This collection cherry picks all the key tracks from the earlier albums (including most of the first two) and collects nuggets from their later incarnations.  Inquisitive punters will therefore be thankful  that ‘Fanfare For The Common Man’, ‘I Believe In Father Christmas’ and C’est la Vie’ are all present and correct.

By the time of 1977′s ‘Works’ the band had already taken time off and there was a four year hiatus since the previous album.  They had displayed the worst excesses of prog and now found themselves on the eve of punk rock and an industry revolution.

1992′s ‘Black Moon’ may not have been Emerson Lake & Palmer as we knew them but the earlier excesses were curtailed and with an AOR sheen befitting of the age they produced their best “later” abum.

Pioneers of prog pomp, revered and reviled in equal measure, Emerson, Lake & Palmer were famously described by BBC DJ John Peel as “a waste of talent and electricity”.

A Marmite band maybe, but their greatness was certainly great and there is enough of that in this 4-LP anthology.  And that galaxy effect vinyl will look nice in your regenerated vinyl collection.  ****

Review by David Randall

Parts of this review originally appeared in 2016.

Album review (reissues, 2016)
Book review (On track…ELP)

Track listing
Side One
1. The Barbarian/ 2. Take A Pebble / 3. Knife-Edge / 4. Lucky Man
Tracks taken from the album Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1970)

Side Two
1. Tarkus: i. Eruption / ii. Stones Of Years iii. Iconoclast iv. Mass v. Manticore vi. Battlefield vii. Aquatarkus /
2. Bitches Crystal / 3. A Time And A Place
Tracks taken from the album Tarkus (1971)

Side Three
1. Promenade (Part 1) / 2. The Gnome / 3. Promenade (Part 2) / 4. The Hut Of Baba Yaga (Part 1) / 5. The Curse Of Baba / 6. The Hut Of Baba Yaga (Part 2) / 7. The Great Gates Of Kiev / 8. Nutrocker
Tracks taken from the album Pictures At An Exhibition(1971)

Side Four
1. The Endless Enigma (Part 1) / 2. From The Beginning / 3. Living Sin / 4. Hoedown / 5. Abaddon’s Bolero
Tracks taken from the album Trilogy (1972)

Side Five
1. Jerusalem / 2. Still …. You Turn Me On / 3. Karn Evil 9 1st Impression – Part 1 / 4. Karn Evil 9 1st Impression – Part 2 / 5. Toccata
Tracks 1-4 taken from the album Brain Salad Surgery(1973), 5 from Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends – Ladies and Gentlemen (1974)

Side Six
. Fanfare For The Common Man / 2. Pirates / 3. Tank
Tracks taken from the album Works Volume 1 (1977)

Side Seven
1. Peter Gunn Theme / 2. C’est La Vie / 3. Watching Over You / 4. I Believe In Father Christmas / 5. Honky Tonk Train Blues / 6. For You / 7. Canario
Tracks 1-3 taken from the album Works Live(1993), 4 & 5 from WorksVolume 2(1977), 5 & 6 from Love Beach (1978)

Side Eight
1. Farewell To Arms / 2. Affairs Of The Heart / 3. Romeo And Juliet / 4. Daddy / 5. Hand Of Truth / 6. Tiger In A Spotlight
Tracks 1-3 taken from the album Black Moon(1992), 4 & 5 from In The Hot Seat(1994), 6 from Then & Now (1998)

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