Emerson, Lake & Palmer: Keith Emerson (keyboards); Greg Lake (vocals, guitar, bass); Carl Palmer (drums, percussion).
Producers: Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Carl Palmer, Peter Sinfield.
The larger-than-life music created by ELP was dependent upon the equally sizable musical/personal egos of its members. By 1977, the inevitable acrimony between the three had caused an aesthetic and spiritual decline. On the two separately issued volumes of WORKS, we can see a band on the verge of coming apart. Though the songs and arrangements are uniformly strong, there's precious little interaction. Many songs seem to feature only one member of the band at a time, the other two presumably having little use for their mate's ideas. Ironically, this allowed the members' individual styles to be seen that much more clearly.
Emerson's pianistic roots are made plain on impressive and unprecedentedly faithful renditions of "Maple Leaf Rag" and "Honky Tonk Train Blues" as well as an original tune--"Barrelhouse Shake-Down"--in a similar mold. Lake's balladic leanings are eloquently expressed in the poignant, devotional "Watching Over You." Palmer's precise polyrhythmic capabilities and previously underexposed compositional talents are seen on the instrumental "Close But Not Touching."