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Thread: 50th anniversary of hallmark ELP album

  1. #1
    Member Firth's Avatar
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    50th anniversary of hallmark ELP album

    Today celebrates the release, 50 years ago, of Emerson Lake & Palmerís ground-breaking, self-titled debut album. The album hit the top 5 in the UK and the top 20 in the U.S. Whatís your favourite track from it? https://ELP.lnk.to/ELPAlbumFA
    On the verge of indecision
    I'll always take the roundabout way

  2. #2
    Knife Edge

  3. #3
    Member jefftiger's Avatar
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    Wow, I recall my brother bringing that album home, probably within a few days of its US release in early 1971. He had gotten me into the debut King Crimson album the year before.

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    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eclecticfuneral View Post
    Knife Edge
    Yep. A monster, that one.
    He did not know that the sword he'd hold, would turn his priceless empire into fool's gold...

    http://www.discogs.com/user/moecurlythanu/collection

  5. #5
    "Take a Pebble," the very first song I ever sang in my very first voice class. The sheet music freaked out my teacher. "Um, is it OK if I don't play all these notes?" she asked.

  6. #6
    I will go for Tank, such a totally different track at that time from anything they'd done in previous. Almost Zappaesque. The solo is ferociously quick, CP was 20, and some of Gregs best bass work.

  7. #7
    My favorite cut from ELP's Debut Album is "The Barbarian". This song perfectly lays out the band's aggressive fusion of Rock and Classical Music. Also IMHO, ELP's Debut is one of their most consistent albums.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SongForAmerica View Post
    "Take a Pebble," the very first song I ever sang in my very first voice class. The sheet music freaked out my teacher. "Um, is it OK if I don't play all these notes?" she asked.
    This live version is superb:
    On the verge of indecision
    I'll always take the roundabout way

  9. #9
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    This album sounds killer on vinyl.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by SongForAmerica View Post
    "Take a Pebble," the very first song I ever sang in my very first voice class. The sheet music freaked out my teacher. "Um, is it OK if I don't play all these notes?" she asked.
    Thatís awesome !

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    Hmmm, I know it gets extra props because its demonstrably less pompous or gauche than their later albums, sort of the ELP album its OK to like, but.....

    the lack of material and rush job nature of it limits it for me. Take a Pebble, much lauded, seems pretty slight for its length. Lucky Man, bar its famed closing solo, much the same. That really leaves tracks 1, 3 and Tank as genuinely worthwhile. I'll take cover now......

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    ^Well, I've never thought of it as their best album either. It's a 4/5, where Trilogy and BSS- for me- are 5/5 classics. They are much more developed IMHO.

    It's the second side where I think the shortage of material is apparent. I've always preferred their ensemble playing to the long soloing. I never really took to the church organ section of 'The Three Fates'- I do like the band section with Emerson on piano. I agree that the intro to 'Tank' is intriguingly Zappa-esque, but I'm dubious about including drum solos like this on studio albums. At least it's not that long, I guess, especially compared with the mammoth solo Palmer was doing on their 1977 tour...

    The rest is terrific, although I've always found that 'hoedown' section in 'Take A Pebble' to be corny as well.

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    bah, humbug … a waste of talent and electricity ))

    PS: knife edge, three fates, lucky man (end bit)

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    This album sounds killer on vinyl.
    It does...although my English Manticore copy has Lucky Man playing about a half-step (semi tone) too low. Not sure if that affected any other vinyl versions?

    Take a Pebble is total magic from start to finish, but with extra points going to that piano moment just after the acoustic guitar plays it's last note...a beautiful progression that doesn't appear anywhere else in the song or in any live version that I've heard. The middle section of Take a Pebble has, to my ears at least, some of the flavour that would start to appear on ECM records in the following years.

    Matt.

  15. #15
    The best tracks are the Bartok and Janacek covers.

  16. #16
    Take a Pebble has to be one of the most influential pieces of progressive rock music - countless bands have found inspiration in the middle section. For example, there is no Banco without it. And it is indeed magic. Some decades of listening haven't worn its impact on me not a bit. Keith's imagination and sensitivity fly to heights which are reserved only for the very few on this one - and his blending of jazz improvisation with classical virtuosity gave birth to a whole new school of approaching keyboards in the context of rock music.


    I love this debut and consider it a landmark in progressive rock music. It's raw, unpretentious and direct as a punch in the face. Nothing that came from ELP later on sounded as energetic and urgent as this first LP - although of course they did have some great records in the next 3-4 years to come.

  17. #17
    Member Paulrus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    For example, there is no Banco without it.
    IMO half the first gen Italian bands were launched by ELP's debut.

    Take THAT Village Voice Velvet Underground fanatics!
    I'm holding out for the Wilson-mixed 5.1 super-duper walletbuster special anniversary extra adjectives edition.

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    Interesting that a substantial amount of the surviving live footage comes from this first album period. You can see/hear them evolve...the Lyceum version of 'Take A Pebble' has Emerson slipping in a bit of what would be 'Eruption', for instance.

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    What a great first statement this album was! I will always prefer Trilogy among the first five as it was my introduction to the band, but each has a lot to recommend it, and the s/t has the distinction of not including any 'humorous' bits.

    Pretty amazing to think that everything from the debut through BSS was recorded within a span of three years. Talk about the flame that burns the brightest...
    David
    Happy with what I have to be happy with.

  20. #20
    ^^^
    Indeed! - I was just about to say that it's hard to fathom that just 10 months after the release of this lp, they were in the studios recording Trilogy. I don't know how much of the material that made it on to that latter album was finished at the time - but the leap from ELP to Trilogy is huge, & to make it in such a short period of time is breathtaking.

  21. #21
    Member Firth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by proggy_jazzer View Post
    What a great first statement this album was! I will always prefer Trilogy among the first five as it was my introduction to the band, but each has a lot to recommend it, and the s/t has the distinction of not including any 'humorous' bits.

    Pretty amazing to think that everything from the debut through BSS was recorded within a span of three years. Talk about the flame that burns the brightest...
    Late 69 to 74, is a heady set of years for rock. Genesisí progression over than span is quite phenomenal as well.
    On the verge of indecision
    I'll always take the roundabout way

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by per anporth View Post
    it's hard to fathom that just 10 months after the release of this lp, they were in the studios recording Trilogy.
    PLUS they were performing constantly in-between.

    To me, this remains their second best release after BSS. Side one displays two of their main faccets in the adaptations (albeit here more loosely than later, more like interpolations) and the experimentalist take on binary song-form. The drumming ending "The Barbarian" is mindblowing and a landmark case of power percussion. "Take a Pebble" is perfect as it is, with that three-part mid-section possibly the most colourful elaboration of whim and dream they ever attempted. And Lake's 'jolly-guitar-strumming-in-a-moist-cave-with-a-cuppa-drinking-buds' is a wonderful visualization (or indeed audialization) of romantic escapism. Musically and artistically speaking, this kind of impulse obviously came as naturally and purposefully to them as similar ideas would to post-rock artists 20+ years later on. I enjoy "Pebble" so much that I really couldn't care about live versions, although the spot lent itself ideally to endless reimaginations and improvisations.

    Side two shows their third and some would say dominant faccet; the individual instrumentalism of intent. It's all ego and mostly very good at that, except for perhaps the anachronism of featuring the church organ - Emerson could arguably have left us something more intriguing if he'd chosen to go with a harpsichord or whatever. Palmer's solo in "Tank" appears like a response to Paul Hammond's solo on "Gershatzer" (from Death Walks Behind You) in Palmer's previous band, Atomic Rooster, but these kinds of showoffs were pretty common back then. The "Tank" melody itself is a curious and interesting little thing.

    This was before Grandma Moses overtook all stuff, of course.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  23. #23
    I saw them live at the Eastown Theater in Detroit, at the time the first disc was released and I can tell you we had never seen anything like it. For that reason this record simply resonates with me and is an all-time favorite.
    I'm not lazy. I just work so fast I'm always done.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by eclecticfuneral View Post
    Knife Edge
    I remember on a ski trip in Switzerland in the early 70's finding Knife Edge on the juke box in the restaurant we were eating lunch at.. My brother was a huge ELP fan and it was funny seeing him ask my dad for some coinage to play a song. Dad obliged then the look on his face when the song kicked in was priceless.. My Dad did warm to Keith's concerto on the Works album years later even asking me to let him know when Keith would be playing in our area.

  25. #25
    Great story :-)

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