EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER – Tarkus [2CD Deluxe Edition] (2012)
EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER’s eponymous LP was only a rehearsal. It hit hard because of the novelty of the act (allegedly the first supergroup in rock history), but felt more like a collection of individual efforts and ideas than a collective work.
All doubts were dissipated by the release of “Tarkus”. Side one of the original LP is occupied by the 21-minute title epic track divided in suites, beating both Genesis’ Supper’s Ready and Yes’ Close to the Edge by a year.
Unlike the latter group’s cut-and-paste technique to obtain long suites, “Tarkus” is a thoroughly written, focused piece of music. It remains among the Top 10 classic tracks in progressive rock history.
Because of the strength of side one, the material on the album’s second half has been quickly forgotten — with one good reason: the title track is insuperable.
These are great compositions anyway; “Bitches Crystal” and “A Time and a Place” make two good Prog tracks, the latter being particularly rocking.
The two short tracks under the 3-minute mark “Jeremy Bender” and the rock & roll closer “Are You Ready Eddy?” were unnecessary.
“Tarkus” is a landmark in rock music history, especially to the ears of Prog fans — no Greg Lake acoustic ballads, no lengthy jazz interludes. It is an indispensable album to understand the evolution of the genre.
Three time Grammy-nominated producer and engineer Steven Wilson (who has also recently remixed classic albums by Jethro Tull and King Crimson for acclaimed 40th anniversary editions) worked from the original Greg Lake produced multi-track tapes to remix both albums. The result is excellent.
Both versions, the original and the 2012 Stereo Mixes (including previously unheard outtakes) sound great.
BUY IT !