829 297-1 Y-1 Emerson, Lake & Powell
Produced by Tony Taverner/Greg Lake
Released on June 1986
Find it at GEMM
829 297-1 Y-1 cover  

I t’s been so long, your “welcome back,” my friends. ELP returned, sort of, keeping their moniker intact with the addition of drummer Cozy Powell in lieu of Carl Palmer. Yes, it may seem like an Alan Whitewashing of Palmer’s absence on the surface, but Powell’s staid playing is in line with Palmer’s recent contributions to Asia anyway. That bit of awkwardness out of the way, onto the music, which is the real story here. Emerson, Lake & Powell represents the band’s best music since the earlier Works (and perhaps as far back as Brain). Many mused that ELP was merely cashing in on the success of Yes and Asia, but for every concession to contemporary music are two steps that return to the old wonders. The band was clearly conscious of their absence and the anticipation it fostered, making plain the intent of their return on “The Score” -- “It’s been so long your welcome back my friends/To the show that never ends.” (Unfortunately, the lyric sheet is riddled with typos like that.) Their point is clear: ELP intends to pick up right where they left off (Love Beach, but don’t panic). The new friends are reassuringly familiar, from the classical adaptation (Gustav Holst’s “Mars, The Bringer of War”) to the cool delivery of “Step Aside.” Honestly, I can’t find a bad song in the batch; Keith Emerson’s melodies are a cause for celebration and Greg Lake’s lyrics rise to the occasion. Time has clipped their wings a bit so that the epics might not soar as high as once, but even at the altitude of a “Learning To Fly” ELP clears the bar that tripped up Asia’s followups. The album’s most recognizable track is “Touch And Go,” which likely led some to speculate that Emerson, Lake & Powell was comprised completely of shorter songs. Not so, says “The Miracle,” a seven-minute shadow of what might be should a nuclear war occur. (“Lay Down Your Guns” likewise calls for peace, though I always come away humming “Lend your guns to me tonight” for some strange reason.) Throw in “Love Blind” and you’ve got the bundle, which is more than most could have reasonably hoped to come away with. True, 90125 and Big Generator were probably better albums, but Emerson, Lake & Powell isn’t the jarring reinvention that they were, and so likely to ruffle fewer feathers. Certainly a nicer place to linger than Love Beach, at any rate.

829 297-1 Y-1 back cover 829 297-1 Y-1 lyric sleeve
829 297-1 Y-1 back cover 829 297-1 Y-1 lyric sleeve


  1. THE SCORE    9:10
  2. LEARNING TO FLY    3:52
  3. THE MIRACLE    7:02
  4. TOUCH AND GO    3:35
  5. LOVE BLIND    3:08
  6. STEP ASIDE    3:42
  7. LAY DOWN YOUR GUNS    (Music by Keith Emerson, Lyrics by Greg Lake/Steve Gould)    4:20
  8. MARS, THE BRINGER OF WAR    (Gustav Holst, adapted by Keith Emerson/Greg Lake/Cozy Powell)    7:53

    Lyrics by Greg Lake, Music by Keith Emerson unless noted


KEITH EMERSON -- keyboards
GREG LAKE -- vocals, bass and guitars
COZY POWELL -- drums and percussion
Tony Taverner -- engineer, mixing
Debra Bishop/Koppel & Scher -- design

return to EMERSON, LAKE & POWELL discography

UK June 1986 Polydor LP/CS POLD 5191  
US/CAN June 1986 Polydor LP/CS 829 297 lyric sleeve
RUS 1986 Melodia LP C602646300  


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