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Palmer; Carl: Working Live Volume 3

Working Live - Volume 3 once again finds Carl Palmer performing live with a guitar and bass driven three piece outfit to reinterpret some of the music he played with ELP. Obviously the lack of keyboards in this power trio immediately changes the dynamics of the music and Palmer has skilfully rearranged six pieces for this format. Kicking off with "Peter Gunn", the lack of keyboards forces the guitar to the front of the sound and while Palmer is an obvious focal point throughout, it is the six string work of Paul Bielatowicz that everything relies on. What this results in is a far more blunt, crunchy attack than you will be used to for these songs and one that sometimes brings an interesting alternative, but all too often can feel like being bludgeoned with a flurry of notes. The harshness of the guitar sound also brings a lack of subtlety in places that can detract from the atmosphere that made tracks like "Romeo And Juliet" and "Bitches Crystal" so involving in the first place.

It isn't all bad news though, with the twenty two minutes centre piece of "Pictures At An Exhibition" being absolutely crammed with drama. The trio, who are rounded out by the excellent bassist Stuart Clayton veer all over the place, with passages that are quiet and restrained in a way that evokes the ELP version, while in other sections there is an almost heavy metal guitar onslaught that charges headlong into jazz fusion territory. It is by far the most successful interpretation on the disc and the one that really demonstrates this trio at their most powerful. "Nutrocker" is, as you would expect, a quick fun infused romp, that makes way for "In A Moroccan Market", which is basically a nearly nine minute excuse for Palmer to play an energetic drum solo that really does go a long way to show why he is such a highly regarded percussionist.

The Working Live series has often split fans of ELP, with some revelling in the chance to hear a different take on songs they know and love, while others find Palmer's vision to be too heavy metal oriented. Volume 3 will undoubtedly reaffirm those divisive opinions and as I did with the first two albums in this series, I found myself wishing I had witnessed the live shows themselves rather than having to listen to the recorded versions. It feels like this project would make for a stonking live experience that somehow loses its edge on CD.

Track Listing
1. Peter Gunn
2. Romeo And Juliet
3. Pictures At An Exhibition
4. Bitches Crystal
5. Nutrocker
6. In A Moroccan Market

Added: November 21st 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Carl Palmer
Hits: 1801
Language: english

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