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Emerson Lake & Palmer: Love Beach (remastered)

Well, we knew it was inevitable...BMG have been reissuing the ELP catalog here in 2017, and now we've come to their 1978 release Love Beach, easily the weakest album in their catalog, one that was lambasted upon its release back at the close of the 1970s. Looking back, many of the famous progressive rock bands were moving into poppier directions, as punk & disco were all the rage and new wave was just starting to appear on the horizon. Though fans were in an uproar back when Love Beach was first released, ELP really weren't doing anything bands like Genesis, Yes, Gentle Giant, Rush, and Jethro Tull hasn't already done, which was move into more commercial waters to keep up with then current music trends.

Listening to Love Beach here in 2017, it's actually not as bad as we all perceived it back in the day. Sure, coming after the wealth of stellar material that was the two Works albums, as well as the landmark Brain Salad Surgery from a few years prior, Love Beach is certainly a step in the wrong direction, but in hindsight there's still some solid material here. "All I Want is You" is a charming slice of progressive pop, containing a great Greg Lake vocal and some symphonic Keith Emerson keyboards, and "For You" is dramatic & majestic, Lake's silky vocals and velvety bass lines swirl around Emerson's nimble piano & synths and Palmer's intricate drum fills. "Taste of My Love" has the feel of vintage ELP, though the bombast is slightly tempered, but still a strong track, but "The Gambler" is mediocre bluesy pop and the title track is pure sugar, neither close to anything we'd come to expect from this band. However, "Canario" is a wonderful classical-meets-prog instrumental gem that lets all three members show off their musical skills in a big way, while the album closes with the 20-minute epic "Memoirs of an Office and a Gentleman", another vintage sounding slice of symphonic rock from a band who made their millions cranking out music of this nature. Also included here are some outtakes and alternate mixes, nothing really much of a revelation, but worth a cursory listen. After the release of Love Beach and the subsequent bad press it received, the band broke up for many years until a reunion in the early 1990's.

Overall, Love Beach really isn't as terrible as it was first perceived, as roughly half the songs are actually quite good. Yes, the inclusion of a few generic pop tracks brings it down a bit, but the album is still worthwhile for those handful of strong compositions that carry on the classic ELP sound. Perhaps it was the album cover with the band standing on a Bahamas beach with their shirts open that scared everyone more? Certainly not the image we'd come to expect of ELP, but looking back, it's not the disaster of an album we all thought. Some interesting insight into the making of the album included in the booklet, and overall a nice presentation of a much maligned album.

Track Listing
Original 1978 Album [2017 Remaster]
01. All I Want Is You (2:36) Lake, Sinfield
02. Love Beach (2:46) Lake, Sinfield
03. Taste of My Love (3:33) Lake, Sinfield
04. The Gambler (3:23) Emerson, Lake, Sinfield
05. For You (4:28) Lake, Sinfield
06. Canario (from Fantasía para un gentilhombre) (4:00) Joaquín Rodrigo
07. Memoirs of an Officer and a Gentleman (20:12) Emerson, Sinfield
– a) Prologue / The Education of a Gentleman
– b) Love at First Sight
– c) Letters from the Front
– d) Honourable Company (A March)
Bonus Tracks:
1978 Alternate Mixes
08. All I Want Is You
09. Taste of My Love
10. The Gambler
11. For You
12. Honourable Company (A March)
1978 Rehearsal Out-Takes
13. Canario (4:38)
14. Letters from the Front
15. Prologue / The Educaton of a Gentleman

Added: August 5th 2017
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2667
Language: english

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