Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends (1974)

FrontCover1.JPGWelcome Back, My Friends, to the Show That Never Ends ~ Ladies and Gentlemen is the second live album by the English progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, released as a triple album in August 1974 on Manticore Records. It was recorded in February 1974 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California during the group’s 1973–74 world tour in support of their fourth studio album, Brain Salad Surgery (1973).

The album was a commercial success, reaching number 4 on the Billboard 200, the band’s highest charting album in the US.[1] In the UK, the album peaked at number 6. The album is certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for 500,000 copies sold in the US. Following its release, Emerson, Lake & Palmer took an extended break from writing and recording.

The album was recorded in February 1974 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California during the group’s 1973–74 world tour in support of their fourth studio album, Brain Salad Surgery (1973). Its title comes from the introduction to the show spoken by the show’s Master of Ceremonies (Pete Murray, the UK disc jockey) and the opening line of “Karn Evil 9: First Impression, Part 2”.

To record the album, staff and equipment were brought in from Wally Heider Studios in Los Angeles, including a 24-track mobile recording unit and a 40-input console. Peter Granet, one of the engineers, called it “the finest recording experience I’ve ever had”. The band used a Quadrophonic PA system on the tour, allowing a Quadrophonic mix of the album to be released on three 8-track cartridges. A four-channel sound LP, known as Quadradisc, was planned for release but it was scrapped due to engineering issues with master recording which prevented JVC, the manufacturer, from cutting a stable master to meet the format’s specifications.

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Most of the recordings on the album were first used for broadcast on the American rock music radio show, The King Biscuit Flower Hour. In 1999, the radio recordings were released on CD.

AllMusic gave the album a mixed retrospective review, saying that it “makes one realise how accomplished these musicians were, and how well they worked together when the going was good.” They praised the set for including all but one song from Brain Salad Surgery, and particularly commended the performance of “Karn Evil 9” as being far superior to the studio rendition. However, they noted that unlike most live albums of the era, Welcome Back did not incorporate studio overdubs, limiting the band’s ability to recreate moments from their albums and resulting in poor sound quality: “Even the most recent remastered editions could not fix the feedback, the occasionally leakages, the JapanAd.jpgecho, the seeming distance – the listener often gets the impression of being seated in the upper mezzanine of an arena.” (by wikipedia)

The year was 1974, and progressive rock supergroup Emerson Lake & Palmer had just finished an unbelievable run of chart topping studio recordings since their inception in 1970, and headed out to a massive stadium world tour dubbed ‘Somebody Get Me a Ladder’, which was documented in this legendary live album Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends-Ladies and Gentleman. Originally released as the first ever triple-vinyl live rock album, this live set showcased the true musical powers of the band onstage, pulling some of the best songs from their first four studio albums and turning them into musical theater for their fans.

A band fully capable of not only writing their own fantastic songs, but also taking traditional pieces and recreating them in their own vision, ELP put both on display here alongside daring improvisations for a live prog masterpiece. The late Keith Emerson’s uncanny abilities on his array of keyboards (Hammond organ, Moog, and piano) are on full display throughout, highlights being of course the epic “Tarkus”, the upbeat romps “Hoedown”, “Toccata”, and his gorgeous “Piano Improvisations”. Greg Lake adds some stellar lead guitar and Carl Palmer drops in an acrobatic drum solo on the classic “Karn Evil 9”, while the band deliver powerful melodic prog in the form of “Jerusalem” and the yearning “Take a Pebble”, with the lovely Lake ballads “Still…You Turn Me On” and “Lucky Man” housed within for good measure.

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Bombastic, virtuosic, and most importantly, melodic, are just a few descriptions of what you are in store for on Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends-Ladies and Gentleman, quite simply a mandatory live album for any fan of ’70s rock … and a wonderful tribute to this legendary band. (seaoftranquility.org)

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Personnel:
Keith Emerson (keyboards)
Greg Lake (bass, guitar, vocals)
Carl Palmer (drums, percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. Hoedown (Copland) 4.27
02. Jerusalem (Parry/Blake) 3.18
03. Toccata (Ginastera) 7.22
04. Tarkus 27.12
04.1. Eruption (Emerson)
04.2. Stones Of Years (Emerson/Lake)
04.3. Iconoclast (Emerson)
04.4. Mass (Emerson/Lake)
04.5. Manticore (Emerson)
04.6. Battlefield (Lake) / Epitaph (Fripp/Lake/McDonald/Giles/Sinfield)
04.7. Aquatarkus (Emerson)
05. Take A Pebble / Still…You Turn Me On / Lucky Man (Lake) 11.05
06. Piano Improvisations (including Friedrich Gulda’s “Fugue” and Joe Sullivan’s “Little Rock Getaway”) (Emerson) 11.52
07. Take A Pebble (Conclusion) (Lake) 3.14
08. Jeremy Bender / The Sheriff (Emerson/Lake) 5.24
09. Karn Evil 9 / 35.14
09.1. 1st Impression (including “Percussion Solo (Con Brio)) (Emerson/Lake/Palmer) 17.26
09.2. 2nd Impression (Emerson) 7.36
09.3. 3rd Impression (Emerson/Lake/Sinfield) 10.17

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Keith Emerson:
02 November 1944 – 11 March 2016

Greg Lake:
10 November 1947 – 07 December 2016

The Nice – Same (1969)

OriginalFrontCover1Nice was the third album by the Nice; it was titled Everything As Nice As Mother Makes It in the US after Immediate’s distribution changed from Columbia to Capitol. Nice had been initially released in the US with a slightly longer version of Rondo 69 not available on the UK or on the Capitol distributed US versions. The first US version of Nice was briefly reissued in 1973 by Columbia Special Products.

Continuing the Nice’s fusion of jazz, blues, and rock, this album consists of studio (1–4) and live (5–6) tracks, the latter having become firm favourites in the band’s live performances.

The album reached number 3 in the UK Album charts.

The UK version of the album came in a gatefold sleeve, showing photographs of the band relaxing at an unknown location, the interior of which featured handwritten notes by Keith Emerson.

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Azrael was the first thing I wrote with Lee – now revisited it relates to the Angel of Death. The 5/4 riff revolves round in a circular motion rather like the birth, life & death cycle, and proves to be an interesting medium to improvise in. The verses are taken in common time (4/4). The quote from Rachmaninoff’s Prelude (in) C# Minor is intentional as when it was written. Rachmaninoff had Edgar Allan Poe’s vision of a man coming back to life in the coffin after burial.

For the number I detuned the strings on the piano slightly to give it a “honky-tonk” effect Brian Davisonwhich helped in creating an air of something ageing. I’d like to apologise to Amen Corner for not retuning the piano afterwards. They had to use the same piano after our session, unfortunately they didn’t need a “Winifred Atwell’s Other Piano” sound.

“Azrael” had been the B-side of the Nice’s first UK single release, “Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack”. As well as the Rachmaninoff quotation, the track relied on Lennie Tristano’s Turkish Mambo. The album version is lighter in tone than the original, and taken at a slightly faster pace, but retains the menace of the original.

On Hang on to a Dream we have Duncan Browne to thank for the choir.

At one of our London Concerts I had the pleasure of performing Lalo’s Symphonie Espaniol (sic) with violinist John Mayer who also leads Indo-Jazz Fusions.[4] We all thought the main riff too good to be forgotten after (a) one performance and set about giving it a new treatment. The words were written on a very dull journey from Newcastle to Birmingham and it became “Diary of an Empty Day”.

People often ask us “why don’t you play Blues”. The Blues to us is a Universal language. Musicians from different speaking countries on first meeting will know exactly where they are on the basic blues structure. Brian, Lee and I have all been through this grounding and have said what we wanted to say in the blues for the time being through other groups. At rehearsals we’ll usually warm up with a twelve bar. That’s how the opening of “For Example” happened. However we didn’t leave it there. The B minor blues Keith Emersonmoves into its relative major of D for the main theme then back again. The movement in E which follows is rather Hendrix-inspired after which the original D major theme is given a “Gregorian” feel and a 6/8 jazz waltz treatment in F. It is as the title says an Example.

The track added jazz players (including Joe Newman and Pepper Adams) with musical figures reminiscent of the work of Oliver Nelson as well as a section inspired by Gregorian chant and fleeting references to the Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood”.

Side 2 [tracks 5 & 6] was recorded on our first live appearance in New York at Fillmore East. Here we have Rondo ’69. After the performance an urgent telegram was sent back to England- “please send more trousers”.
She once belonged to Bob Dylan. She now belongs to you, me and anyone else who cares to listen. Keith Emerson.

Quotes of the theme to the film The Magnificent Seven can also be heard.

The live version of “Rondo” was also performed by Emerson, Lake & Palmer at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970. (by wikipedia)

The Nice’s third album was their first to break them into the star recording bracket in the U.K., where it reached number three on the charts. Though only measuring six songs in Lee Jackson.jpgall, it covered a lot of territory, in a rich mixture of psychedelic rock, jazz, and classical that did a lot to map the format for progressive rock. The extended pretension of some of the numbers, viewed less forgivingly, might also seem like an antecedent to pop/rock. But the studio side of the LP (in its pre-CD incarnation) included one of their best tracks, a cover of Tim Hardin’s “Hang on to a Dream,” with grand Keith Emerson classical lines and an angelic choir. It also included a reworking of the B-side of their first single in “Azrael Revisited,” a slight throwback to the more playful psychedelia of their roots with “Diary of an Empty Day,” and the nine-minute “For Example,” in which Emerson stretched out his jazz-classical mutations to a fuller length, throwing in a quote from “Norwegian Wood” along the way. More attention was given to the second side of the LP, recorded live at the Fillmore East, with a berserk workout of a number from their debut album, “Rondo” and a 12-minute overhaul of Bob Dylan’s “She Belongs to Me.” (by Richie Unterberger)

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Personnel:
Brian Davison (drums, percussion)
Keith Emerson (keyboards)
Lee Jackson (bass, vocals)
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Roy Harper (vocals on 09.)

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Tracklist:
01. Azrael Revisited (Emerson/Jackson) 5.57
02. Hang On To A Dream (Hardin) 4.45
03. Diary Of An Empty Day (Lalo/Jackson) 3.59
04. For Example (Emerson/Jackson) 8.53
05. Rondo ’69’ (Bach/Brubeck/Emerson/Jackson/Davison) 7.55
06. She Belongs To Me (Dylan) 11.51
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07. Hang On To A Dream (Mono Single Mix) (Hardin) 4.45
08. Diary Of An Empty Day (Mono Single Mix) (Lalo/Jackson) 3.59
09. St. Thomas (BBC Session, June 1969) (Rollins) 2.29
10. Pathetique Symphony 4th (Live at Fairfields Hall, 1969) (Tchaikovsky) 10.21
11. Lt Kije (The Troika) (Prokofiev) / Rondo (Bach/Brubeck/Emerson/Jackson/Davison)  (Live at Fairfields Hall, 1969) 8.01
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Ekseption – Beggar Julia’s Time Trip (1970)

FrontCover1.JPGFor this, their second album, the band had some changes in the line-up: both Rob Kruisman (saxophones, flute, guitar, vocals) and Huib van Kampen (guitar, Tenor saxophone) left the band, being replaced by Dick Remelink ( saxes, flute). Drummer Peter de Leeuwe also left the band (but returned for their next album), being replaced by Dennis Whitbread. Also the band had a lead singer called Michel van Dijk, plus some guest appearances from Tony Vos (saxes, tonytone, electronic effects, and also the main producer of some of their albums), Linda van Dyck ( voice on “Prologue” & “Epilogue”), and Eric van Lier (trombone, tuba), who also was going to participate in their ‘00.04’ album from 1971.

This album is really a concept album about a beggar named Julia who does a time trip through several centuries (more or less as I understood the concept). The main composer in the original musical pieces in this album is keyboard player Rick van der Linden, with some collaborations with lyrics from singer Michel van Dijk, who really only sings in two songs (‘Juila’ and ‘Pop Giant’), and from Linda van Dyck who does some narration. There are some sections in the album which really are done with electronic sound effects and their function is more to work as links to other musical pieces. These electronic sound effects make this album sound a bit influenced by psychedelia, and they really sound like ‘experiments’ maybe done with Moogs or with other electronic devices.

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As in every album by the band, there are several arrangements done to Classical Music pieces (Albinoni`s ‘Adagio’, J.S. Bach`s ‘Italian Concerto’, and Tchaikovsky`s ‘Concerto’). The appearance of an electric guitar solo in ‘Concerto’ and its previous appearance as the B-side of the ‘Air’ single in 1969 makes me think that ‘Concerto’ was really recorded for their first album, but was finally released in their second album. Of these Classical Music pieces I prefer more ‘Adagio’ and ‘Concerto’. There are also some brief appearances from other uncredited Classical Music pieces in some parts of the album, like some bars from Rachmaninoff`s First Piano Concerto and a bit from J.S Bach`s ‘Sicilano in G’, a musical piece which the band was going to record in a full arrangement for their ‘Ekseption 5’ album from 1972.

This is maybe their first attempt for a full Prog album, having a conceptual story, and with each musical piece being linked one after the other without interruptions (other to the natural end of the Side One in the old LP version). The Jazz, Rock, Classical and Pop influences are very present, and maybe in this second album the band sounds more ‘mature’, more ‘serious’, and with maybe having less inclinations to appear in the radio, even if they still released some singles. (by Guillermo)

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Personnel:
Rein van den Broek (trumpet, fluegelhorn)
Cor Dekker (bass)
Michel Van Dijk (vocals, percussion)
Rick van der Linden (keyboards, spinet, percussion)
Dick Remelink (saxophone, flute)
Dennis Whitbread (drums, percussion)
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Gerard Beckers (electronics, effects)
Linda van Dyck (vocals on 02 + 09.)
Eric van Lier (trombone, tuba)
Jan Schuurman (electronics, effects)
Tony Vos (saxophone, percussion, electronics, effects)

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Tracklist:
01. Ouverture (v.d. Linden) 3.23
02. Prologue (L. v. Dyck/v.d. Linden) 2.21
03. Julia (M. v. Dijk/v.d. Linden) 2.22
04. Flying Power (v.d. Linden) 0.32
05. Adagio (Albinoni) 3.45
06. Space I (Bach) 0.44
07. Italian Concerto (Bach) 5.03
08. Concerto (Tchaikovsky) 3.53
09. Space II (R. v.d. Linden) 0.25
10. Pop Giant (M. v. Dijk/v.d. Linden) 3.55
11. Space III (v.d. Linden) 0.21
12. Feelings (v.d. Linden) 3.08
13. Epilogue (L. v. Dyck/v.d. Linden) 0.57
14. Finale: Music For Mind/Theme Julia (v.d. Linden) 4.00

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The Nice – The Swedish Radio Sessions (1967/2001)

FrontCover1.jpgOne of the mainstays of the early Prog-rock/Art-Rock genre were Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Their popularity was enormous worldwide and their fans ran the gamut from mainstream pop enthusiasts to hardcore stoners.

But that was the 70’s. Tonight it’s an incarnation from 1967 in which the common link is keyboard maestro Keith Emerson. The Nice came on the scene right at the time of Psychedelia and were a sizable hit with audiences. They blended an interesting mixture of Pop, Psych, Jazz and Art-Rock into one relatively seamless presentation and had an enthusiastic following as the result.

Here´s a very rare live session done by The Nice while on tour in Sweden. Recorded by Sveriges Radio with a reasonably sedate audience, this live document of The Nice offers a few disappointments. First off, the vocals were not the strong suit of The Nice, and Keith Jackson’s voice is flat a lot of the time, a well documented weak aspect of the band which probably hampered their universal success.

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But that’s a small nit to pick for an otherwise long-thought-lost radio session by a band that, at the time were just getting ready to release their first album and were destined to do great things.

What more than makes up for any vocal deficiencies is the fact this recording is so good and is something of an anomaly for a period of time where live recordings were rare and well recorded ones even rarer. (by pastdaily.com)

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The Nice were booked to play live on Swedish radio in the fall of 1967, prior to the release of their debut record while they were still a quartet. Organist Keith Emerson was not yet the dominate force he became following the departure of guitarist Davy O’List, who is quite prominent on this session. The music is a bit of a mishmash, with Bob Dylan’s “She Belongs to Me” starting a bit erratically but finally coming together. Their own composition “Flower King of Flies” has a more subtle vocal by bassist Lee Jackson than the studio version they eventually released, though he has trouble staying in tune. The instrumental jam upon jazzman Charles Lloyd’s “Sombrero Sam” seems a bit like filler, but the turkey of the evening is a forgettable cover of Vanilla Fudge’s overwrought “You Keep Me Hanging On.”

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A quick take of their own “The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack” is followed by the gem of the date: a 12-minute workout of “Rondo,” better known as jazz pianist Dave Brubeck’s “Blue Rondo à la Turk” (though the Nice were initially credited with composing the piece by their own label, Castle gets it right).

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This version of “Rondo” easily eclipses all the other versions by the Nice (even though the rhythm is still very stiff compared to its composer’s recordings) because of the interaction between the organist and the guitarist. Considering the vintage of this long overlooked music, the sound is quite good, so any fans of the Nice should consider this to be a lost treasure worth acquiring. (by Ken Dryden)

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Personnel:
Brian Davison (drums)
Keith Emerson (organ)
Lee Jackson (bass, vocals)
Guitar – David O’List (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. She Belongs To Me (Dylan) 6.06
02. Flower King Of Flies (Jackson/Emerson) 4.25
03. Sombrero Sam (Lloyd) 7.27
04. You Keep Me Hanging On (B.Holland/Dozier/E.Holland) 6.44
05. The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack (Emerson/O´List) 3.07
06. Rondo (Brubeck/Emerson/Jackson/Davison) 12.14

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Ekseption – Same (Classic In Pop) (1969)

FrontCover1.jpgEkseption was a Dutch rock band active from 1967 to 1989, playing mostly-instrumental progressive rock and classical rock. The central character in the changing roster, and the only band member present on every album, was conservatory-trained trumpeter Rein van den Broek (10 September 1945 – 11 May 2015). The band knew some commercial success in the 1970s, having Dutch top ten hit singles with their adaptations of Beethoven’s “Fifth” and Bach’s (Celebrated) “Air.” The second album, “Beggar Julia’s time trip” (1969), won the Dutch Edison Award for album of the year, and the first five albums all went gold.

Ekseption grew out of the high-school band The Jokers, which van den Broek formed in 1958. They changed their name to The Incrowd (after the Ramsey Lewis song) before discovering that name was already taken. Finally they settled on the name Ekseption in 1967. The group played jazz, pop and R&B covers, but in 1969, shortly after keyboardist Rick van der Linden joined, they were impressed by a gig of The Nice, and van der Linden decided to concentrate on producing classical rock, modern re-interpretations of classical works for rock band. Most of their subsequent albums contain both original songs and re-interpreted classical pieces.

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It quickly became evident that van der Linden had assumed leadership of the group, and in a 1972 press release interview accompanying advance copies of the album Ekseption 5 he openly said so. After 1973’s Trinity album he was asked to leave the group by his bandmates, and in the fall of that year he formed a new group Trace, during which time he was replaced by Dutch keyboardist Hans Jansen. Jansen took Ekseption in a jazzier direction, with two LPs of original compositions, but lackluster sales caused the band to break up in 1976. An offshoot band, named Spin, formed later that year and released two more albums, but success also eluded them.[2] In 1978 Trace and Spin merged to become Ekseption once again. Periodic reunions (with new members) appeared until van der Linden’s death in 2006. (by wikipedia)

And here´s their debut album from 1969:

“Ekseption’s idea to record well-known classical themes started in 1968, when the group visited a concert of a British group called The Nice. The six boys were impressed by the way The Nice mixed pop and classical music.
A few weeks after the concert Ekseption was invited to play with one of the finest symphony orchestras in Holland – the North Holland Philharmonic – at a big festival in Haarlem.
The obvious man with Ekseption to handle this project was 22 year old pianist Rick van der Linden, who is also one the promising young classical pianists in Holland. Rick, who finished Conservatory and has played piano recitals with well-known orchestras, started to arrange several classical themes for the festival.
Some weeks before the event, however, Ekseption was told that the orchestra refused to perform with a pop group. That part of the festival was cancelled, but Ekseption stuck to the idea and decided to use the arrangement of Beethoven’s “The 5th” for their new record.
“The 5th” was an instant smash hit and stayed for seven weeks in the national Top Ten. This LP was the result of requests for more ‘classical pop’ from Ekseption’s many fans.” (taken from the original liner notes)

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This was their first album, which consisted of covers of classical (which they were best known for), one original, and more. They do a cover of Beethoven’s “Fifth Symphony”, entitled “The 5th”, which actually became a hit. This is basically a rock version of the famous Beethoven composition, with organ, guitar, bass, drums, and horns. The song starts off with the famous symphony version (sounds like a recording sampled from a real symphony orchestra), but then quickly changes to a rock version. They do a cover of JETHRO TULL’s “Dharma For One”, which is quite a bit tamer than the original, not so aggressive. They even include the proper, Ian Anderson-like flute where needed (just like the original). “Little X-Plus” is a band original, and a nice piece with some jazz influence and nice use of flute. “Ritual Fire Dance” is a nice number complete with horns, some ’60s sounding guitar. They also cover George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”, which is truly the album’s high point. There’s also Bach’s “Air on G String”, which is the song that PROCOL HARUM borrowed for their hit “A Whiter Shade of Pale”. This of course, is the Bach composition done EKSEPTION style, with harspichord from Rick van der Linden, and horns, and you won’t mistake this for Procol Harum.

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EKSEPTION is one of those bands that don’t have much middle ground, you either dig the band or you don’t. It all depends how much you like the idea of a band “rocking the classics”. I still think this is much better than what Apollo 100 done (Apollo 100 was a British group who gave us the hit “Joy”, which was a pop take on Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”, and most of the rest of the stuff they did was rock versions of classical songs, and in my opinion, not as good as what EKSEPTION did). (by proghead)

I include a very rare single from 1967 … Ekseption before Rick van der Linden joined the band …

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Personnel:
Rein van den Broek (trumpet)
Cor Dekker (bass, guitar)
Huib van Kampen (guitar, saxophone)
Rob Kruisman (saxophone, flute, guitar, vocals)
Peter de Leeuwe (drums)
Rick van der Linden (keyboards)

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Tracklist:
01. The 5th (van Beethoven) 3.28
02. Dharma For One (Anderson/Bunker) 3.30
03. Little X Plus (v.d.Brock/Dekker/v.Kampen/Kruisman/d.Leeuwe/v.d.Linden) 3.34
04. Sabre Dance (Khachaturian) 3.50
05. Air (Bach) 2.55
06. Ritual Firedance (de Falla) 2.18
07. Rhapsody In Blue (Gershwin) 4.04
08. This Here (Timmons/Hendricks) 4.15
09. Dance Macabre, opus 40 (Saint-Saëns) 2.26
10. Canvas (Bennett) 2.31
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11. Talk About Tomorrow (van Kampen/Kruisman)
12. Mojo Ann (van Kampen/Kruisman)

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Rick van der Linden
(5 August 1946, Badhoevedorp, North Holland – 22 January 2006, Groningen)

The Nice – The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack (1967)

FrontCover1The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack is the 1967 debut album by the English psychedelic rock and progressive rock group the Nice. It is considered one of the first albums in the latter genre.

The name Emerlist Davjack is a pseudonym created by combining the last names of the four members of the group; Keith Emerson, David O’List, Brian Davison, and Lee Jackson.

The album was promoted by a sampler (featured on the Castle Communications 2000 box set “Here Come The Nice” (CMETD 055-1)) featuring a commentary by John Peel, which included the following comments:

1967 was a strange year for pop music with groups experimenting with new sounds and bouncing on and off bandwagons with dizzying speed and agility. They were calling themselves ridiculous names and regretting it shortly. The Nice came together in a void and will be here when the others are in pantomime in Wolverhampton.

The cover, photographed by Gered Mankowitz, shows members of the band shirtless, wrapped in cellophane.

The original disc credits all compositions to “Emerlist Davjack”; later releases gave more specific credits.

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At the 1967 Windsor Jazz & Blues Festival, lead singer Jackson said the song “Flower King of Flies” was about Beatle Paul McCartney. “The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack” was used as incidental music for the 1968 children’s television drama “The Tyrant King”, directed by Mike Hodges and written by Trevor Preston for Thames Television, from the London Transport book by Aylmer Hall. The 6-part series also featured music by the Rolling Stones, the Moody Blues and Pink Floyd.

“Rondo” includes a short excerpt from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Toccata & Fugue in D Minor, as well as an extended quote and re-harmonization of the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s “Blue Rondo à la Turk”. “The Cry of Eugene”, which was later re-recorded by Jackson’s group Jackson Heights, refers to “Harlequin & Columbine”.

The album was named as one of Classic Rock magazine’s “50 Albums That Built Prog Rock”.(by wikipedia)

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The 1998 Castle Communications reissue (ESM 647) of the only album by the progressive band as a quartet runs circles around every other version of this album on CD, including the material in the 1995 Charly Records box, which was pretty good. Otherwise, the music is a flawed but valiant effort at progressive-type art rock, a little too heavily influenced by spaced-out, druggy psychedelia and suffering severely from the lack of a real singer in the ranks of the band. Keith Emerson’s organ and piano flourishes never sounded crisper, and Davy O’List’s Hendrix-ish guitar is in sharp relief as well. Mostly, though, this record still suffers from the fact that the players had virtually no experience in a recording studio, and seem uncomfortable working without an audience in front of them. (by Bruce Eder)

This album surprised me. The music is a blend of psychedelic and progressive rock, somewhere between The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and Thick as a Brick. Rondo is the centerpiece but inventive and exciting music abounds. The problem is that it is not an instrumental album. The lyrics and vocals are borderline embarrassing. An instrumental version of the album would be a 5* classic. (Jeff Yutzler)

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The Nice’s debut album, and the only album released by the band as a quartet, is more of a band-oriented effort than their subsequent works. It shows the group in a more formative stage, playing typically English psychedelic rock with only a few hints of the classical/progressive music they would soon be remembered for. And although this isn’t in the same class as, say, a Pink Floyd or Deep Purple, there is some interesting material here that you’d rarely hear Keith Emerson attempt ever again. Emerson’s keyboard virtuosity manages to peek through in spots here, though he’s not the dominant force in the band quite yet. Regardless, his organ fills in “Flower King of Flies” are bedeviling, dissonant playing in the bluesy “Bonnie K” is unexpected, and pieces like “Rondo” and “War and Peace” rank among his first classical adaptations. He also handles the harpsichord well in the album’s title track.

Music by the Nice even at this stage in Emerson’s career is quite dense and demanding, and is something of an acquired taste, even for prog rock fans. Nevertheless, this album is the band’s most accessible outing, and fans of Emerson, Lake & Palmer may find this album a fascinating piece of history. (Russell Newton)

This is really not the best LP of The Nice (because of the vocals parts), but it was the start of a brilliant career of an organ player called Keith Emerson. And on this album you can hear his first masterpiece … called “Rondo”.

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Personnel:
Brian Davison (drums, tubular bells, timpani)
Keith Emerson (keyboards, harpsichord, vocals)
Lee Jackson (bass, guitar, vocals, timpani)
David O’List (guitar, trumpet, flute, vocals)
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Billy Nicholls (background vocals on 02.)

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Tracklist:
01. Flower King Of Flies (Emerson/Jackson) 3.20
02. The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack (Emerson/O’List) 2.49
03. Bonnie K (Jackson/O’List) 3.24
04. Rondo (Bach/Brubeck/Emerson/O’List/Davison/Jackson) 8.21
05. War And Peace (Emerson/O’List/Davison/Jackson) 5.13
06. Tantalising Maggie (Emerson/Jackson) 4.35
07. Dawn (Davison/Emerson/Jackson) 5.17
08. The Cry Of Eugene (Emerson/Jackson/O’List) 4.41
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09. The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack” (Single Version) (Emerson/O’List) 2.49
10. Azrial (Angel of Death)” (Emerson, Jackson) 3.44
11. The Diamond Hard Blue Apples Of The Moon (Davison/Jackson) 2.48

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Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Pictures At An Exhibition (VHS rip) (1970/1986)

FrontCover1.jpgELP is one of my favorite bands right up there with Zep, Floyd and Alice. Theirs is a unique sound and a singular vision. That vision is brought to light exquisitely by this DVD. It is a treat to see the young trio playing their instruments and such, but after a while them just standing and playing would start to get old (especially after repeated viewings). I mean, you can watch Keith Emerson’s hands all day long, but that isn’t going to mean you can play like him.
There are some groovy psychedelic effects in the middle part of the show that both both enhance the viewing experience and illustrate what ELP is all about. The swirls turn into comic-book images (not cartoons). These are Marvel comics characters from the 60’s by Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko– two artistic visionaries that were doing with pen and ink what ELP did with sound. The visuals are thus a perfect match! Dr. Strange and the Fantastic Four in particular are well suited to ELPs music.
Some people may be annoyed that they can’t see the band clearly the whole time, but there is plenty of unadulterated footage of the band doing its thing. By the time the visuals start you ought to be in the proper state of mind to enjoy them them anyway. They wash over you just like the music does. (by Psychedelic Cowboy)

There are some unfortunate things about this video. The special effects are annoying to the point of being nauseating. The overly “creative” post production crew really got carried away with the psychedelic tint & color saturation effects.
Yes, the performance is over the top. But so is about every live rock performance from that era. Just look at the recently released Zeppelin DVD. But hey, the era was what it was. I’m just glad that some of these bands were captured live while they still had some fire in their bellies. (by M. A Maupin)

Without any doubts: “Pictures At An Exhibition” ist one of the finest classical adaptions by a rock group ever recorded.

Recorded live at the Lyceum Theatre, London,  9 December 1970

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Personnel:
Keith Emerson (organ, synthesizer)
Greg Lake (bass, vocals, guitar)
Carl Palmer (drums)

Directed by Lindsey Clennell

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Tracklist:
01. Promenade (Mussorgsky)
02. Gnome (Mussorgsky)
03. Promenade (Lake/Mussorgsky)
04. The Sage (Lake)
05. The Old Castle (Mussorgsky)
06. Blues Variation (Emserson/Lake/Palmer)
07. Promenade (Mussorgsky)
08. The Hut Of Baba Yaga (Mussorgsky)
09. The Curse Of Baba Yaga (Emserson/Lake/Palmer)
10. The Hut Of Baba Yaga (Mussorgsky)
11. The Great Gates Of Kiev (Lake/Mussorgsky)

Total time: 40.37

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Keith Emerson:
02 November 1944 – 11 March 2016

Greg Lake:
10 November 1947 – 07 December 2016

 

 

 

Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Live ´77 (Montreal) (VHS rip) (1983)

FrontCover1Emerson, Lake & Palmer took an extended break in 1974. They regrouped in 1976 to record Works Volume 1 at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland and EMI Studios in Paris, France. It is a double album with one side of an LP containing songs by each member and a fourth of group material. Much of the album was recorded with an orchestral accompaniment; Emerson’s side consists of his 18-minute, three-movement “Piano Concerto No. 1”. Lake contributes five songs he co-wrote with Sinfield, and Palmer’s includes two covers of classical pieces by Sergei Prokofiev and Bach. One of the two group tracks, “Fanfare for the Common Man”, is a cover of the same-titled orchestral piece by Aaron Copland, who gave permission to have the band release it. Works Volume 1 was released in March 1977 and peaked at No. 9 in the UK and No. 12 in the US. A single of “Fanfare for the Common Man” was released and reached No. 2 in the UK, the band’s highest charting UK single.

In November 1977, Works Volume 2 was released as a compilation of shorter tracks recorded from 1973–76 during various album recording sessions. The album was not as commercially successful as the band’s previous albums; it reached No. 20 in the UK and No. 37 in the US. Three tracks from the album were released as singles: “Tiger in a Spotlight”, “Maple Leaf Rag”, and “Watching Over You”.

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The two Works albums were supported by North American tours which lasted from May 1977 to February 1978, spanning over 120 dates. Some early concerts in 1977 were performed with a hand-picked orchestra and choir, but the idea was shelved after 18 shows with the band due to budget constraints. The final concert with the orchestra and choir took place on 26 August 1977 at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal that was attended by an estimated 78,000 people, the highest attended Emerson, Lake & Palmer concert as a solo act.[49] It was released in 1979 as Emerson, Lake & Palmer in Concert and reached No. 73 in the US. Emerson wished for a double album release, but Atlantic Records decided against it due to the band’s pending dissolution at its time of release. In 1993, the album was repackaged with additional tracks as Works Live, and put out on video in 1998.[49] According to Lake on the Beyond the Beginning DVD documentary, the band lost around $3 million on the tour. Lake and Palmer blame Emerson for the loss as the use of an orchestra on tour was his idea (by wikipedia)

And here´s a VHS-rip from their show in Montreal …

I´m a strong fan of Ermson, Lake & Palmer but to be honest … in their last years they had lost the direction … but this is yet a nice performance …

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Personnel:
Keith Emerson (keyboards)
Greg Lake (vocals, bass, guitar)
Carl Palmer (drums, percussion)
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A 70 piece unknown orchestra

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Tracklist:
0.1. Abaddon’s Bolero (Ravel/Emerson)
02.. The Enemy God Dances With The Black Spirits (excerpt from ‘The Scythian Suite’, 2nd Movement) (Prokofiev)
03. Karn Evil 9 – First Impression – Part II (Emerson/Lake)
04.. Pictures At An Exhibition:
04.1. Promenade (Mussorgsky)
04.2. The Gnome (Mussorgsky/Palmer)
04.3. The Hut Of Baba Yaga (Mussorgsky(Lake)
04.4. The Curse Of Baba Yaga (Emerson/Lake/Palmer)
04.5. TheHut Of Baba Yaga (Mussorgsky)
04.6. The Great Gate of Kiev (Mussorgsky(Lake)
05. C’est La Vie (Lake/Sinfield)
06. Lucky Man (Lake)
07. Piano Concerto No.1, 3rd Movement, Toccata Con Fuoco (Emerson)
08.. Tank (Emerson/Palmer)
09. Nutrocker (Fowley)
10. Pirates (Emerson/Lake/Sinfield)
11. Fanfare For The Common Man (Copeland)

Total time: 1.25.30

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Sky – Same (Vol. 1) (1979)

FrontCover1Sky were an English/Australian instrumental rock group that specialised in combining a variety of musical styles, most prominently rock, classical and jazz. The group’s original and best-known lineup featured classical guitarist John Williams, bass player Herbie Flowers, electric guitarist Kevin Peek, drummer Tristan Fry and keyboard player Francis Monkman.

In 1971, John Williams (already one of the most acclaimed classical guitarists in the world) released the fusion album Changes – his first recording of non-classical music, and the first on which he played electric guitar. Among the musicians working on the album were Tristan Fry (an established session drummer who was also the timpanist for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, and had played Timpani on The Beatles ‘A Day In The Life’) and Herbie Flowers (a former member of Blue Mink and T. Rex, as well as a busy session musician who, amongst other things had recorded the bassline for Lou Reed’s ‘Walk on the Wild Side’).

The three musicians became friends, kept in touch and continued working together on various projects during the 1970s. One of these was Williams’ 1978 album Travelling, another substantially commercially successful cross-genre recording. As well as Fry and Flowers, the record featured former Curved Air member Francis Monkman (who in addition to his progressive and psychedelic rock background as guitar and synthesizer player, was a trained and accomplished classical harpsichordist).

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In 1979, Monkman performed on Louis Clark’s album (per-spek-tiv) n., on which he collaborated with an Australian session guitarist called Kevin Peek. Peek was a musician equally adept at classical guitar and pop/rock styles, having built up a reputation both as a chamber musician and as a long-standing member of Cliff Richard’s band, as well as for working Manfred Mann, Lulu, Tom Jones, Jeff Wayne, Shirley Bassey and Gary Glitter.

The success of Travelling inspired Williams and Flowers to set up Sky, their own long-term cross-genre band. Fry and Monkman were swiftly recruited, with Kevin Peek being the final addition. The band began writing and recording instrumental music drawing on their collective experience of classical, light pop, progressive and psychedelic rock, light entertainment and jazz. After a protracted search for a record company, Sky signed with the small European label Ariola Records.

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Although Sky was run democratically (with all members contributed music and/or arrangements), the presence of John Williams in the lineup was regarded as the band’s biggest selling point and was emphasised in publicity. Williams’ concurrent solo instrumental hit – “Cavatina – Theme from The Deer Hunter” – also helped to raise the band’s profile. However, this selling was counterbalanced by some negative reviews from critics accustomed to Williams’ classical performances, who remained unimpressed by his new direction with Sky.

Sky’s self-titled debut album (released in 1979) was highly successful in Britain and Australia, quickly reaching gold record status and eventually topping out as a platinum record. The album featured versions of Eric Satie’s “Gymnopedie No. 1” and an Antonio Ruiz-Pipò ‘Danza’ , as well as original compositions by Monkman and Flowers. Monkman’s ‘Cannonball’ was a minor hit single, and the keyboard player also contributed the twenty-minute second-side composition “Where Opposites Meet” (intended to combine and display the band’s diverse influences) (by wikipedia)

This is the debut album from the session musician supergroup Sky. The idea behind this band was to assemble virtuoso instrumentalists and adept composers who possess an appreciation for classical music, allowing it to infiltrate their own playing and writing. The concept was admirable, and was manifested more fully in future albums; however, on this recording the songs never seem to unfold completely.

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With the exception of Kevin Peek’s fiery adaptation of Antonio Ruiz-Pipó’s Spanish guitar piece “La Danza,” this album plods along with no apparent destination. Melodies seem undeveloped but trudge forth nevertheless, presumably for the sake of completing the album. Given the presence of world-class guitarist John Williams, his contribution is hardly detectable, and Francis Monkman’s omnipresent harpsichord becomes tiresome midway through the album. And the monotonous rhythm of bassist Herbie Flowers and drummer Tristan Fry does nothing to alter the tediousness of these pieces. It would be a stretch to call this progressive or classical rock; it is merely instrumental pop/rock. (by Dave Sleger)

I can´t agree with this review … maybe this album is not a masterpiece, but´s it´s the beginning of one of the finest classic-rock formations from this time … with a lot of very interesting sounds … especially in “Where Opposites Meet” … or: listen to the guitars on “Danza” … what a sound …  !

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Personnel:
Herbie Flowers (bass)
Tristan Fry (drums, percussion)
Francis Monkman (piano, synthesizer, harpsichord)
Kevin Peek (guitar)
John Williams (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Westway (Flowers) 3.39
02. Carillon Flowers) 3.29
03. Danza (Ruiz-Pipò) 2.58
04. Gymnopedie No. 1 (Satie) 3,41
05. Cannonball (Monkman) 3.42
06. Where Opposites Meet (Monkman) 19.22.
06.1. Part 1 (3.38)
06.2. Part 2 (2.24)
06.3. Part 3 (5.28)
06.4. Part 4 (5.39)
06.4. Part 5 (2.21)

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Various Artists – Celebrating Jon Lord – The Composer (2014)

FrontCover1Jon Lord is remembered as the founder of Deep Purple and one of the seminal rock keyboardists of all time. But Lord was also a respected composer, something he pursued alongside and throughout his tenure in Deep Purple. His untimely death in 2012 from a pulmonary embolism cut short a stellar career that was much richer than many realize.
With this album, Lord gets his due. An impressive cast of characters came together to perform select works live in the Royal Albert Hall. The result is something best described as cinematic. As individual pieces, the drama, energy, and emotion shines through. As a live concert it is a wonderful celebration of one man’s life work. (by innocentwords.com)

The passing of Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord in 2012 was sad for the obvious reasons, but also because he was about to release a just finished re-imagining of his “Concerto for Group and Orchestra,” a piece Deep Purple first played live at the Royal Albert Hall in 1969, and one that is often cited as the first true meeting of classical and rock. Lord was a big part of the heavy orchestral prog rock sound of Deep Purple, and he could rock when needed, or take center stage and play pretty as the soundtrack for a majestic autumn wind. He played with other bands as time went on, including Whitesnake, but in his later years he increasingly pursued his aspirations as a classical composer.

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Which brings us to this set, one of two volumes derived from a historic tribute concert held April 4, 2014 at Royal Albert Hall that marked the 45th anniversary of when Lord’s “Concerto for Group and Orchestra” first debuted there. Surviving members of Deep Purple were on hand for the tribute, as well as Paul Weller, Whitesnake’s Micky Moody, Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson, Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman, and many others, including the Orion Orchestra conducted by Paul Mann. The evening opened with a classical set from the orchestra, which is what we have here, then went to a more rock-oriented second act, before concluding with a set by Deep Purple — the rock and Deep Purple portions of the evening are available as Celebrating Jon Lord: The Rock Legend, the other volume of this tribute set.

Among the highlights of this opening classical portion are the majestic “Fantasia” (from Sarabande), complete with horns, and a beautiful “All Those Years Ago,” which features vocals from Micky Moody and illustrates just how much vision Lord really had for a classical/rock fusion, and in retrospect, how Deep Purple personified that vision. (by Steve Leggett)

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Personnel:
Miller Anderson (vocals on 04.)
Mario Argandoña (percussion on 01., 04., 06. + 07.)
Steve Balsamo (vocals on 03.)
Matthew Barley (cello on 02.; =$:)
Jerry Brown (drums on 01., 05. + 07.)
Margo Buchanan (vocals on 06.)
Murray Gould (guitar on 01., 05. + 07.)
Nigel Hopkins (piano on 01., 03.  05. + 07.,  organ on 02.)
Jeremy Irons (speaker on 08.)
Paul Mann (piano on 08.)
Jacqueline Martens (violin on 02.)
Micky Moody (guitar on 03.)
Darragh Morgan (violin on 06.)
Neil Murray (bass on 01., 05. + 07.)
Anna Phoebe (violin on 03.)
Kathryn Tickell (pipe om 02.)
Rick Wakeman (synthesizer on 05.)
Wix Wickens (keyboards on 01. + 07. piano on 06. )
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Tracklist:
01. Fantasia (from Sarabande) (Lord) 4.14
02. Durham Awakes (from Durham Concerto) (Lord) 8.54
03. All Those Years Ago (Lord/Balsamo) 6:47
04. Pictured Within (Lord) 9.09
05. Sarabande (Lord) 8.36
06. One From The Meadow (Lord/Brown) 9.58
07. Bourrée (from Sarabande) 7.22
08. Afterwards (Lord/Hardy) 4.20
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