Singles Vinyl Box Set Review

Emerson, Laker and Palmer

Simple (BMG)

7 inch vinyl box available here now.

Little known as a group of singles, Emerson Lake and Palmer have collected 12 of their singles in one large collector’s box with a few rarities. Wayne AF Carey checks it out…

Call me what you want all the punks out there. I can take it. Music comes from all walks of life and purist haters will be waiting for me with caustic comments to review this. You know what? Who cares ? I grew up with this stuff because my climbing hippy uncle alienated me from my dad who tried to feed me a diet of The Bee Gees and Abba. His record collection was: Alan Parsons, ELP, The Doors, Yes, Santana, Hendrix, Floyd. Now you speak. Listening to this now may sound mental but it was important to my ears at the time. Well, I had already been seduced by the Ska/Mod scene and flirted with Bowie and the joys of Top Of The Pops, yet this thing intrigued me. I was too young for punk and it was fucking funny flipping through his vinyl with Never Mind The Bollocks tucked next to Brain Salad Surgery and Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine at the age of fourteen. Bang! My brain exploded into a world of music that made no sense. Listen to everything and listen to what I did. Prog, punk, pop, cheese, mod, ska, the first hybrids of hip hop. Oh yes oh yeah! ELP was a game changer for me at that time and this unique collection is like a nugget of magic to listen to…

A pack of twelve vinyl singles from a band that never really released singles and was your typical album band. So why not treat the hardcore prog brigade to a fantastic package of stunning vinyl? A foreword by Carl Palmer in the booklet, twelve 7-inch singles all in different colours, a few rare photos and a super pack of square postcards all surrounded by a trip-induced psychedelic box that works. Many things here have been published elsewhere, such as in Japan, France, Angola, Germany and the United States. Everyone has heard of it and denied having loved it at some point in their life.

Tracks like the excellent Lucky Man and the Sabbath-esque Knife Edge show you the talent this trio had to offer. They may have recorded dodgy stuff like Jerusalem or Fanfare For The Common Man, but in between there were plenty of gems beyond the silly. Take tracks like From The Beginning which is an absolute gem and fits right in with 60s hippie idealism as well as the Woodstock era. Sure, with prog, there’s a lot of bullshit around nonsense, but it still pulls you into an era of music that people claim to hate but have a secret love for it. Even John Lydon now admits to loving Floyd. Just listen to the full Brain Salad Surgery album and tell me there’s something you don’t like.

ELP created a noise that thousands of people tried to imitate and couldn’t touch until Pink Floyd made its mark. Listen to Hallowed Be Thy Name, which contains elements of early glamor mixed with dancehall boogaloo. Also take Still…You Turn Me On which is the song that Meatloaf has based his entire career on. Even listening to Canario gives you a glimpse of the early glamor that Mud and Slade plundered to create their own stomper hybrid without the shaky keyboards. Listen to Black Moon sounding so much like Led Zep’s When The Levee Breaks and you’ll have your head swerved. Also take Queen: We Will Rock You as a reference.

Is it cool to like Emerson Lake and Palmer? It’s too fair ! Sit back and listen and you’ll find out how many groups have dived and looted some of their stuff at any given time. This is a stunning collection for die-hard ELP fans and new listeners. Run and jump in…

Words from Wayne Carey, editor of Louder Than War. His author profile is here

Jack L. Goldstein