Encores, Legends & Paradox: A Tribute to the Music of ELP
First Appeared in The Music Box, May 1999, Volume 6, #5
Written by John Metzger
Nearly thirty years ago, Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, and Carl Palmer burst onto the music scene with their remarkable self-titled debut album. The trio managed to smash the mold for what defined rock 'n' roll as they drew liberally from classical music to create a new genre that has since been labeled progressive rock. With the release of Encores, Legends & Paradox, it's as if the music industry has come full circle.
Progressive rock has faded from the mainstream, though it continues to maintain a small, loyal following. Consequently, this tribute album sounds as out of place in today's market as Emerson, Lake & Palmer [ELP] did in 1970. The idea for a tribute album was originally conceived by Magna Carta recording executives Peter Morticelli and Mike Varney. They contacted Robert Berry, who had worked with Emerson and Palmer in the band 3, and asked him to produce half the tracks on Encores, Legends & Paradox. Trent Gardner from Magellan was brought in to produce the other half of the disc.
All ten of the songs included on Encores, Legends & Paradox were reworked to bridge the gap between ELP and the progressive rock of today. The new arrangements really do work quite well, serving to capture the musical energy and vitality that was the three-headed behemoth known as Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. One of the best guest spots on this release comes from John Wetton, who handled the vocals in Asia. Wetton's vocal rendering of Bitches Crystal comes very close to capturing the magical singing style of Greg Lake. However, it also draws attention to the weaker vocals contained on much of this album.
It's really next to impossible to accomplish anything more than what Emerson, Lake & Palmer already did. When all is said and done, Encores, Legends & Paradox serves merely to remind the world of just how unique, different, and important ELP was to rock 'n' roll. Then again, is that not what tribute albums are all about?
Encores, Legends & Paradox is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 1999 The Music Box