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GREG LAKE ‘From The Beginning’
Sanctuary CMEDD1240 (75:00) (78:30) (2004)

Bassist/vocalist Greg Lake, best known as one third of 70s prog supergroup Emerson Lake & Palmer, has recorded some fine material since the late 60s, both in and out of ELP.

This anthology / sampler kicks off with two King Crimson tracks, including In The Court Of The Crimson King, the title track their classic debut (now rightly considered one of the best rock albums of all time). Highlights from ELP follow, although 7 tracks does not do this era justice, especially as Karn Evil 9 is in severely abridged form.

ELP need no further introduction so then we get Greg’s solo hit I Believe In Father Christmas, a genuine treasure, and a solo live rendition of 21st Century Schizoid Man, 9 minutes of pure magic; Lake at his best, a heavy classic too.

That said, however, some of the 70s solo material we can do without, being orchestrated or acoustic pap. Closer To Believing we certainly are not.

Disc 2 leads with eight tracks from Lake’s two early 80s solo albums, his most metallic work and very welcome too considering their criminal unavailability on CD. Nuclear Attack, featuring Gary Moore, is essential listening.

Through the mid 80s there’s some solo rarities and Emerson Lake & Powell (a worthy and oft overlooked project) before the 90s ELP reunion; Paper Blood was as good as anything ELP recorded in the 70s, and without the acoustic kitsch.

Apart from proving that the Greg Lake and Manoeuvres LPs demand decent treatment, this is a largely worthy introduction, with tracks everyone will skip over or skip straight to.


Review by Joe Geesin

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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