For fans of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer and keyboards in general, Once Upon a Time in South America is a real treat. The 4-CD (also available on vinyl) collection features live performances in South America by the legendary progressive rock band Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.
The majority of the concerts took place in 1993 in Chile and Argentina. Even though most of the pieces that appear on Once Upon a Time in South America are familiar compositions by the band, there is a lot to discover.
One of the great qualities about Keith Emerson was that he used a wide range of keyboards and his variations and improvisations on familiar melodies made his music highly enjoyable and refreshing.
This album features two versions of Pictures at an Exhibition, one of their most iconic works that has rarely appeared on other recordings.
Throughout the album, Keith Emerson delivers stellar keyboard performances. As I mentioned earlier, he liked to modify familiar melodies with new solos and other variations, switching keyboards and sometimes embedding familiar melodies from movies and other sources.
Carl Palmer is an impressive rhythm machine. He is renowned for his creative, varied and powerful drumming style.
Greg Lake also delivered masterful performances, although his voice suffered a little throughout the tour. In addition to his unmistakable vocals, he also played guitars and some great bass lines.
The tracks selected cover the band’s entire musical history, from their early hits Lucky Man and From the Beginning to Hoedown, Pictures at an Exhibition, Tarkus, Karn Evil 9 and Fanfare for the Common Man.
Acclaimed vocalist, guitarist, songwriter and composer Greg Lake passed away on Wednesday, December 7, 2016. He was a founding member of pioneering progressive rock bands King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
Gregory Stuart Lake was born on November 10, 1947 in Parkstone, Dorset, England. He started playing guitar at 12 and wrote his first song, “Lucky Man”, at the same age. He developed into a full-time musician at 17, playing in several rock bands until his colleague from Dorset, Robert Fripp invited him to join King Crimson as their vocalist and bassist.
Fripp and Lake got to know each other when they shared the same Dorset guitar teacher who taught them a wide range of music including classical pieces by Paganini and post WWII classics. Lake also listened to early American rock and roll and was inspired by Copeland and Prokofiev.
Greg Lake participated in two of King Crimson’s seminal albums, In the Court of The Crimson King (1969) and In The Wake Of Poseidon (1970).
Greg met keyboard maestro Keith Emerson during a North American tour in which Emerson’s band, The Nice shared the bill with King Crimson. Greg and Keith had a lot in common: diverse musical influences and a yearning to reinterpret classical works while creating new classics in a new musical genre.
After returning to England, Greg and Keith were introduced to Atomic Rooster drummer Carl Palmer, by Robert Stigwood, and subsequently they formed Emerson Lake and Palmer (ELP). This was essentially the first progressive rock superband. Emerson Lake and Palmer achieved immediate fame with their debut at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970.
Emerson Lake and Palmer’s self-titled first album went platinum. It was produced by Greg Lake and included Lake’s song that he had written while still in school: “Lucky Man.” This now classic song became a popular part of the band’s repertoire and was played frequently on FM radio.
With ELP, Greg Lake recorded six platinum albums between 1970 and 1977, including “Emerson, Lake & Palmer,” “Tarkus,” “Trilogy,” “Brain Salad Surgery,” the triple live album “Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends” and “Works Vol. 1“. They topped the bill at the colossal 1974 festival California Jam, playing to an audience of over 500,000 spectators.
Greg Lake was in the process of finishing his autobiography titled “Lucky Man” that is scheduled for release in 2017.
“Yesterday, December 7th, I lost my best friend to a long and stubborn battle with cancer,” said Greg Lake’s manager and friend Stewart Young. “Greg Lake will stay in my heart forever, as he has always been. Despite his illness which he knew to be terminal he always took the view about his life, career and family that he was indeed a lucky man… His family would be grateful for privacy during this time of their grief. Many thanks.”
Greg Lake discography:
Too Old to Go ‘Way Little Girl/Dreams Don’t Bother Me, with The Shame (1967)
Reputation / Love, with Shy Limbs (1968)
I Believe In Father Christmas / Humbug (1975)
Greg Lake (1981)
In Concert on The King Biscuit Flower Hour (1995)
From The Beginning: The Greg Lake Retrospective (1997)
From The Underground: The Official Bootleg (1998)
From The Underground II – Deeper Into The Mine: An Official Greg Lake Bootleg (2003)
Keith Emerson and Greg Lake Live From Manticore Hall (Manticore Records, 2014)
Greg Lake / Manoeuvres (Creative Musical Arts, 2015), remastered
With King Crimson:
In The Court of The Crimson King (1969)
In The Wake of Poseidon (1970)
Live at the Marquee Club, 1969 (Discipline Records, 1998)
With Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Emerson, Lake and Palmer (1971)
Pictures At An Exhibition (1972)
Brain Salad Surgery (1973)
Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends… (1974)
Works, Volume 1 (1977)
Works, Volume 2 (1977)
Love Beach (1978)
Emerson, Lake & Palmer In Concert (1979)
The Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1980)
The Atlantic Years (1992)
Black Moon (1992)
Live At The Royal Albert Hall (1993)
Return Of The Manticore (1993)
Works Live (1993)
In The Hot Seat (1994)
Brain Salad Surgery – Special Edition (1996)
Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival (1997)
ELP Live On The King Biscuit Flower Hour (1997)
Then And Now (1998)
Fanfare For The Common Man – 2 CD The Anthology (Sanctuary Records, 2001)
The Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol. 1 (Sanctuary Records, 2001)
The Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol. 2 (Sanctuary Records, 2001)
ELP Live in Poland, The Original Bootleg Series, From The Manticore Vaults (Sanctuary Records, 2003)
ELP Best of the Bootlegs The Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults, 2 CD Disc Set (Sanctuary Records, 2003)
Emerson, Lake & Palmer remixed by Steven Wilson (2012)
Tarkus remixed by Steven Wilson (2012)
Trilogy remixed by Jakko Jakszyk (2013)
Brain Salad Surgery remixed by Jakko Jakszyk (2013)
Emerson Lake & Palmer The Anthology (BMG, 2016)
With Emerson, Lake & Powell:
Emerson, Lake & Powell (1986)
Live In Concert (2003)
The Sprocket Sessions (2003)
Pictures at an Exhibition is one of the great progressive rock classic albums. It is also one of the greatest live albums released in the early 1970s. The three progressive rock pioneers, Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer were at their prime. They recorded this live album in 1971 in Newcastle (UK).
Rock and classical music are brilliantly combined in Pictures at an Exhibition, which is a progressive rock tribute to the music of Russian composer Mussorgsky. The three trailblazers transform the classical compositions by injecting early synthesizers, wild electric organ blues progressions, energetic rock drums and Greg Lake’s melodic sensibility on vocals and guitars, although he also joins his two bands mates during their most energetic moments on electric bass.
The Deluxe Edition is a real treat for ELP fans. Disc 1 includes a remastered version of the original album along with a Pictures at an Exhibition Medley bonus track recorded live at the Mar y Sol Festival in Puerto Rico in 1972.
Disc 2 includes another live performance of Pictures at an Exhibition; this time in London. I love these different live recordings because many of the solos vary. The remarkable organ improvisation in “Blues Variations” varied from concert to concert. Additionally, Disc 2 contains live versions of earlier material, such as The Barbarian, Knife-Edge and Rondo.
In summary, Pictures at an Exhibition, Deluxe Edition is a fabulous recording that showcases the mastery of three talented musicians who broke new ground by fusing classical music and cutting edge rock.
Greg Lake, the memorable vocalist and bassist for King Crimson and Emerson Lake and Palmer, moved away from progressive rock in the 1980s. He recorded two albums, Greg Lake (1981) and Manoeuvres (1983) that feature 1980s-style AOR rock, hard rock and pop, with the typical reverberating pounding drums of the era.
Both albums are now available, remastered, as a two-disc set. The best part of the songs on Disc 1 are the guitar solos by the great Gary Moore (who passed away in 2011). Disc 1 has three bonus tracks that feature members of popular rock band Toto.
Disc 2 includes a great progressive rock song, “I Don’t Know Why I Still Love You” that has an Emerson Lake and Palmer feel, including majestic electric organ and synths by Tommy Eyre, fretless bass by Tristram Margetts and grand percussion by Ted McKenna. This band had a great potential as a progressive rock act, but the early 1980s was a cruel era for progressive rock in the UK.
The CD booklet includes extensive liner notes and interviews with Greg Lake.
Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP) guitarist, bassist, vocalist and composer Greg Lake released a statement about the late Keith Emerson, who died on March 10, 2016 in California.
“To all ELP friends and fans all over the world, I would like to express my deep sadness upon hearing this tragic news. As you know Keith and I spent many of the best years of our lives together and to witness his life coming to an end in the way that it has is painful, both to myself and to all who knew him.
As sad and tragic as Keith’s death is, I would not want this to be the lasting memory people take away with them. What I will always remember about Keith Emerson was his remarkable talent as a musician and composer and his gift and passion to entertain. Music was his life and despite some of the difficulties he encountered I am sure that the music he created will live on forever.
My deepest condolences go to Keith’s family.
May he now be at peace.”
Composer, keyboardist and synthesizer pioneer Keith Emerson, passed away on March 10, 2016 in Santa Monica (California, USA). Keith Emerson was one of the one of the greatest keyboardists in rock history and a founder of legendary progressive rock band Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
Keith Noel Emerson was born November 2, 1944 in Todmorden, West Riding of Yorkshire, England. In the late 1960s, Keith Emerson’s skill as a keyboardist attracted international attention with pioneering progressive rock band The Nice. He later formed Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP) in 1970. ELP became one of the most excellent and influential progressive rock groups of the 1970s.
For more details about Mr. Emerson, read the ELP biography and his Wikipedia profile
Photo: Dr. Robert Moog and Keith Emerson in the 1970s
Progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion, ambient electronic music and beyond