2 LP on 1 CD
## 1-6 "Emerson, Lake & Palmer" 1970 Rhino (3*)
Lively, ambitious, almost entirely successful debut album, made up of keyboard-dominated instrumentals ("The Barbarian," "Three Fates") and romantic ballads ("Lucky Man") showcasing all three members' very daunting talents. This album, which reached the Top 20 in America and got to number four in England, showcased the group at its least pretentious and most musicianly - with the exception of a few moments on "Three Fates" and perhaps "Take a Pebble," there isn't much excess, and there is a lot of impressive musicianship here. "Take a Pebble" might have passed for a Moody Blues track of the era, but for the fact that none of the Moodies' keyboardmen could solo like Keith Emerson. Even here, in a relatively balanced collection of material, the album shows the beginnings of a dark, savage, imposingly Gothic edge that had scarcely been seen before in so-called "art-rock," mostly courtesy of Emerson's larger-than-life organ and synthesizer attacks. Greg Lake's beautifully sung, deliberately archaic "Lucky Man" had a brush with success on FM radio, and Carl Palmer became the idol of many thousands of would-be drummers based on this one album (especially for "Three Fates" and "Tank"), but Emerson emerged as the overpowering talent here for much of the public. The reissues of this album on either the Victory or Rhino labels are much superior in sound and graphics to the older Atlantic compact disc.
- Bruce Eder (All Music Guide)
## 7-15 "Trilogy" 1972 Rhini (4*)
After the heavily distorted bass and doomsday church organ of Emerson, Lake & Palmer's debut album, the exhilarating prog rock of epic proportions on Tarkus, and the violent removal of the sacred aura of classical tunes on Pictures at an Exhibition, Trilogy, ELP's fourth album, features the trio settling down in more crowd-pleasing pastures. Actually, the group was gaining in maturity what they lost in raw energy. Every track on this album has been carefully thought, arranged, and performed to perfection, a process that also included some form of sterilization. Greg Lake's acoustic ballad "From the Beginning" put the group on the charts for a second time. The adaptation of Aaron Copland's "Hoedown" also yielded a crowd-pleaser. Prog rock fans had to satisfy themselves with the three-part "The Endless Enigma" and "Trilogy," both very strong but paced compositions. By 1972, Eddie Offord's recording and producing techniques had reached a peak. He provided a lush, comfy finish to the album that made it particularly suited for living-room listening and the FM airwaves. Yet the material lacks a bit of excitement. Trilogy still belongs to ELP's classic period and should not be overlooked. For newcomers to prog rock it can even make a less-menacing point of entry.
- Francois Couture (All Music Guide)