Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Trilogy

Year of Release: 1996
Label: Rhino Records
Catalog Number: 72226
Format: CD
Total Time: 42:25:00

Emerson Lake And Palmer released two albums in 1972, the live Pictures At An Exhibition and Trilogy, their follow up to 1971's Tarkus. This album yielded the band another hit in "From The Beginning," the nearly obligatory "Greg Lake acoustic ballad" (nearly" because Tarkus didn't feature one), which I'll honestly tell you I didn't realize was ELP until I bought this CD some years ago. It is warm and light, and actually a very nice track and one I have always liked, even down to the chirping/singing bird-like Moog noodlings from Emerson. Trilogy reached number 5 on Billboard's charts, the highest position the band had reached to that point and yet it is of the albums before and after that the average prog rock fan knows (average as in not a diehard ELP fan). From reports I've read in various places, ELP carefully planned out this album... though I have a few quibble or two with their choices, as you'll see.

The album opens with "The Endless Enigma (Part One)" which begins in a cinematic way, perfect for a sci-fi horror film - if someone said it was the score for War Of The Worlds or some other 50's feature, I'd not doubt it. A mix of atmospheric keys and scrabbling piano - it's an intro style that recurs in fashion a decade later or so in "Black Moon" Within short order, we get more typical ELP with Emerson briefly playing an "exotic instrument [that Emerson bought] from an Arab merchant while visiting in Tunisia" (according to the ELP website) called a zourka, adding rumbling piano to Lake's equally rumbling bass, and Palmer's sparse percussion. It is a piece that foreshadows what the band would do on Brain Salad Surgery. When the piece kicks in proper, it is a keyboard and drum dominated mix, yielding control only to Greg Lake's vocals. Emerson's beautiful piano solo "Fugue" provides a mostly calm and relaxing interlude before "The Endless Enigma (Part Two)" begins. It does, at times, seem hurried. Trumpeting synths herald the start of "Part Two."

It's Palmer's drums that kick off "The Sheriff," a wild west-themed ditty with percolating organ from Emerson. I'd set this song beside their own "Jeremy Bender" and Billy Joel's "The Ballad Of Billy The Kid." The piece ends with a ragtime/Scott Joplin inspired piano riff from Emerson. This is followed by a spirited rendition of Aaron Copeland's "Hoedown." Emerson gives his Hammond organ its usual workout over Palmer's snappy drumming, the former getting quite violent at times. Lake's bass is in the mix, but often seems buried a bit in the mix (this is the original Atlantic CD release I've reviewing, so it may have suffered from the same sonic problems the debut did).

It's an interesting contrast to follow this high energy piece with the initially low key and mellow "Trilogy" which has Lake sounding a bit like Paul McCartney. Oh, but the band get to muscular churning soon enough, Lake and Palmer jamming behind the high-pitched keyboard excursions of Emerson. Just as you think that the rhythm needs to break before outlives its welcome, it does? and become all the more dynamic for it, as Palmer's percussive attack breaks away from Lake's throbbing bass. With its "it's over, we must move on" theme, it is the opposite of the earlier "From The Beginning," where the theme there was "we belong together."

The weakest track here is "Living Sin" (which, if you wanted to lay out a concept, could be how we get from "From The Beginning" to "Trilogy"), mainly due to Lake uncomfortable vocal delivery, as his voice is not suited to being "deep throat." Not their finest moment, though musically it's okay, featuring a nice bit of percussion from Palmer.

The album ends with Emerson's martial "Abaddon's Bolero," which, though uncredited on the album sleeve, is said to be based on Ravel's "Bolero." The subtle, trilling flute-like keys and hypnotic percussion that grows louder by small degrees, indicating the distant armies are approaching, reminds me of Camel's later "The Homecoming" (Nude). Lake's bass sounds more like a tuba or a bassoon. While a characteristic of progressive rock is extended arrangements? this stretches that perhaps a minute or so too far.

With the "Endless Enigma" suite, "From The Beginning" and "Hoedown," being the album's highlights, what results is very good ELP release. There's cool factor in the outro to "The Sheriff" in terms of Emerson's playing, but, it provides the right lead in to "Hoedown," which would otherwise be too great a contrast with "From?" "Living Sin" could easily have been left off without hurting the album at all.

Originally released by Atlantic Records in 1972 (19123-2)

The Endless Enigma (Part One) (6:37) / Fugue (1:57) / The Endless Enigma (Part Two) (2:00) / From The Beginning (4:14) / The Sheriff (3:22) / Hoedown (taken from Rodeo (3:48) / Trilogy (8:54) / Living Sin (3:11) / Abaddon's Bolero (8:13)

Keith Emerson - Hammond Organ C3, Steinway piano, Zoukra, Moog Synthesizer IIIC, Mini Moog Model D
Greg Lake - bass, electric and acoustic guitars
Carl Palmer - drums and percussion

Emerson Lake and Palmer (1970/1983/1996)
Tarkus (1971)
Pictures At An Exhibition (1972)
Trilogy (1972/198?/1996)
Brain Salad Surgery (1973/1983/1996)
Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends (1974)
Works, Vol. 1 (1977)
Works, Vol. 2 (1977)
Love Beach (1978)
In Concert (1979)
The Best Of Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1980)
Black Moon (1992)
Live At The Royal Albert Hall (1992)
The Atlantic Years (1992)
Works Live (1993)
The Return Of The Manticore (Box set) (1993)
In The Hot Seat (1994)
The Best Of Emerson, Lake and Palmer (1994)
Classic Rock (1995)
Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival (1997)
King Biscuit Flower Hour: Greatest Hits Live (1997)
Then & Now (live) (1998)
The Very Best Of Emerson, Lake and Palmer (2000)
The Original Bootleg Series From Manticore Vaults, Volume 1 (2001/2006)
The Original Bootleg Series From Manticore Vaults, Volume 2 (2001)
Live In Poland (2001)
Show That Never Ends (2001)
Live (2002)*
Best Of The Bootlegs (2002)
Solo Anthology (2002)
The Original Bootleg Series From Manticore Vaults, Volume 3 (2002)
Live In Poland (2003)
Greatest Hits Live (2003)
An Introduction To? (2004)
Three Classic Albums (2004)
Ultimate Collection (2004)
Critical Review 1970-1992 (2005)
Bootleg Box Set (2006)
Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults, Vol 4 (2006)
Lucky Man: Best Of Emerson, Lake & Palmer (2006)
The Birth Of A Band: Isle Of Wight Festival (2006)
The Essential Emerson, Lake & Palmer (2007)
From The Beginning (CD/DVD) (2007)
Works 1 & 2 (2009)
A Time And A Place (4CD Box) (2010)
Live At The High Voltage Festival (2010)

Pictures At An Exhibition (VHS/DVD) (1970/2002)
Welcome Back (VHS/DVD) (1993/2001)
Live At The Royal Albert Hall (VHS/DVD) (1996/2001)
Works Orchestral Tour: Olympic Stadium, Montreal, 1977 (DVD) (1998)
The Manticore Special (DVD) (1998) (broadcast on TV 1973/1974)
Masters From The Vault (2004)
Live At Montreux, 1997 (DVD) (2004)
Critical Review 1970-1995 (DVD) (2005)
Beyond The Beginning (DVD) (2005)
Music In Review (DVD) (2005)
Pictures At An Exhibition - 35th Anniversary Edition (DVD) (2005)
Live Broadcasts: Collector's Rarities (DVD) (2006)
Pictures At An Exhibition - Special Edition (40th Ann. Edition) (2010)

*this is of the Isle Of Wight festival, too.

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: June 1st 2003
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.emersonlakepalmer.com
Hits: 1272
Language: english


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