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This 9 minute studio recording maintains the focus on piano, with Lee Jackson's vocals being frankly rather poor. Emerson eventually switches to organ for a decent solo pretty much the one on "Blues variation" on ELP's "Pictures"supported by some rather clumsy bass-work. New as this song may be in Nice terms, I cannot in all honesty recommend seeking out "Elegy" simply in order to acquire it.
In a reversal of the inclusion of two live versions of studio tracks, the version of the Third Movement of Tchaikovsky's "Pathetique" is a studio recording of a piece first heard live on "Five bridges".
This rendition does not really add anything to or indeed take anything away from that version, indeed the impression is gained that this was recorded live in the studio. In all, a rather poor epitaph for a band which showed great promise. In retrospect, it is clear that Emerson needed to work with musicians who were capable of challenging him and driving him on to his creative peak.
The remaining duo proved through their link up with Patrick Moraz in Refugee that they too were far from a spent force. As for "Elegy" though, it is really only for the devoted fan of The Nice. Although admittedly a posthumous release, I was very surprised at the rather dismissive tenor of many of the reviews of this album to date.
Hopefully this record will be reappraised soon as being a release worthy of anyone's consideration as I feel it does enhance an already rich legacy left behind by this very fine and innovative band. So what if Charisma wanted to ride the slipstream of the lucrative ELP juggernaut? Here we get Tim Hardin's melancholic waltz tune expanded and inflated beyond anything the original composer would have ever dreamed of or perhaps feared The trio set forth on a very arresting and lengthy jazz jam at it's centre that contains some wonderful piano from Keith and tasteful support from Lee and Brian on bass and percussion respectively.
We also meet here the technique of plucking the piano strings with a guitar plectrum from inside the soundboard which Emerson later exploited on Take a Pebble with ELP. He also employs some Celeste with which to further broaden the tonal palette of textures and all things considered, this is perhaps one of my favourite acoustic dominated pieces by Emo ever.
Other examples would include the sublime adaptations of Country Pie and She Belongs to Me of which only live renditions are available unfortunately. Given the meagre harmonic materials afforded by Dylan's music, Keith must have approached these entreaties with some scepticism but he was able to embellish very simple chord progressions with a dizzying array of modulations and stylistic departures that surmounted the modest scope of the originals.
The piano introduction is particularly inventive and showcases that Keith could get from A to Z by every conceivable route in the musical roadmap. Lee's vocal on this tune is one of his most assured, and he obviously relished the relative simplicity and modest range that the melody encompassed, in comparison to many of the more arduous vocal tasks Emerson had set him previously.
I am normally a fan of Dylan's lyrics but on this particular song 'Big Nose' is guilty of burying same in a trough of knowingly cryptic and impenetrable conceit that communicates precisely zilch: Crimson flames tied through my ears Rollin' high and mighty traps Pounced with fire on flaming roads Using ideas as my maps We'll meet on edges, soon, said I, Proud 'neath heated brow The transition from piano to organ on the heavier improvisational section of the tune is enervating and the interplay between the three is 'Goosebumps R Us' thrilling as they sprint into the distance leaving Dylan's tune quite appropriately as a tiny speck on the distant horizon.
There follows a very haunting passage of achingly poignant sustained organ chords before the Nice reprise the opening verse section of the song to a very inventive and satisfying bluesy tag-line ending: Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now. A very underrated adaptation of a very overrated song which probably is deserving of a compositional credit in it's own right.
This track was originally going to be included on the Five Bridges album but was left off at the last minute. Towards the end Brian Davison punctuates the underlying groove with a delicious ride bell cymbal pattern that still sends a shiver of delight down my spine every time. Blinky was a very fine player and his performance on this track is all the evidence anyone should ever need as to his credentials of being one of the greatest jazz influenced rock drummers on a par with the more widely celebrated Ginger Baker et al.
There is a ferocity and primal energy throughout this that will have the listener feeling quite drained at the conclusion. Employees of the Hammond Organ Co really should be escorted from the room before this starts as their flagship product is subject to the sort of sadistic torture that no diligent craftsman should ever witness.
Emerson impales the creature, strips it of it's teeth and treats the umbilical innards as a sort of visceral banjo in places. At one comical moment Keith's perverse sense of humour is evidenced by his coaxing the vocabulary of 'Baby Clanger' from the kiddies TV show from the organ which must be where I got the expression from in some my reviews?
Those rather wince inducing comparisons at around this time of Emerson being the 'Hendrix of the organ' do have some foundation here but perhaps 'Hammond Taxidermist' may have been a more fitting analogy. Don't let this guy anywhere near ANY of your furniture. The band is now even improving this technique. They are covering a cover! And since there was really little material to make a full album, they will almost triple the length of Tom Hardin's Hang On To A Dream in comparison with their prior release!
It will Album) the showcase for Keith to demonstrate his skills on the piano during a long solo. The Nice also proposed another Dylan song they already did this on their previous studio album and even if Keith is excellent again on the organ, this song is not a jewel of music to say the least. And it goes on like this till the end of this album. Some classical inspiration for the Third Movement - Pathetique and another excellent live version of America from Bernstein although the last couple of minutes is quite chaotic.
Now, the worst of all is that the last two are extremely well played and the noticeable dominance of Keith Emerson is just a confirmation that he has always had a dominant position in The Nice although his band mates were very good musicians IMO.
At the time of release of Elegy, he had already embraced his ELP career. The bonus tracks hold an old B-side track from '68 Diamond Hard Blue Apples Of The Moon and material spread over their earlier releases already of which the very special Dawn is not without interest. In all, this is an average album and the taste of the Nice to serve the same meals several times is just whispering to me to downgrade it to two stars.
The studio tracks are awful at worst and pointless at best. Once again the band decides to take on a Dylan cover, this time choosing my beloved "My Back Pages," and while I appreciate the band's efforts to embellish it during the instrumental breaks, I find that I just can't get beyond the singing.
Dylan's vocals in the original might irritate some, but he conveyed a perfect balance of humility and majestic power in them. Jumping forward a few years, the version that The Byrds did on Younger Than Yesterday preserved the emotional heft of the original vocal part while adding some nice harmonies and making it a bit more tuneful. This version, though, is a vocal massacre, and whether the tendency to fall out of key repeatedly was intentional doesn't really matter to me.
Among the list of artists whose work I generally respect, this is one of the worst Dylan covers I can think of 25 - Elegy (7) - Inside (CD, another contender for this title is a "My Back Pages" that The Ramones did on Acid Eaters.
The other studio track is the band's interpretation of the 3rd movement of Tchaikovsky's 6th symphony, done in live form on Five Bridgesand it's as dull and pointless as before. As I've said before, the movement is amazing and majestic and rousing and everything a scherzo should be, but it doesn't seem like the band read: Emerson really knew what to do with it. There's a distressing sense of auto-pilot here that wasn't really present on the band's "Karelia Suite" interpretation, and certainly wouldn't be present on Pictures at an Exhibition.
The live tracks are a little better on the whole, but not enough so to save the album. In "Hang on to a Dream," the vocal parts improve from "awful" to "anonymous," thanks to the elimination of the generic female chorus and Jackson's very quiet and timid delivery, so that helps some, though not a lot.
Emerson leads the band through a lot of different styles over the course of 12 minutes, and it's fun to hear Emerson fully turned loose, but the mid- section could have just as easily been transplanted into any other song. Personally, for this sort of Emerson playing, I'd much rather listen to his piano improvisations in the Welcome Back live album a few years later.
And finally, there's a minute rendition of "America," which is a lot of fun for about 6 minutes, then gets a little too organ-stabby-feedback-y for a while, but ultimately is still a blast on the whole.
If there's a reason to buy this album, it's definitely "America. I should note that the version I acquired, the CD release, has a bunch of bonus tracks, but these are just the studio renditions of a bunch of stuff from the first couple of albums. Were the people reissuing this were counting on the first albums going out of print, so that this album would be the only way to get those tracks? In any case, don't let these entice you into thinking you're getting live or alternate renditions of these tracks if you've already heard Emerlist Davjack and Ars Longa.
Recently remastered minus the Emerliststavjack tracks. It sounds so much better than the Virgin cd. No it wasn't the flagship Hammond C3 that Emerson abused, it was the smaller L spinet. Also he used a microphone to tap the piano strings and rub along them.
So the album? A sweep up of left o In spite of the dark sound which the remastered? This posthumous work was compiled after the band's scattering by manager Tony Stratton-Smith on the last studio recordings The N For my money, this album, which was released after the Nice Album) disbanded, is the best of the lot of their original 5 releases.
It has been re-released many times as Keith Emerson with the Nice, a double album that includes "Five Bridges". Hang on to a Dream and My Back Pages are only marred by w You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not. Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved.
Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker. It contains some dazzling piano work by Keith, before Album) band takes off on a mammoth jazzy flight that eventually becomes an avant-garde experiment before boogie-woogie Keith comes into his own with another acceptable vocal part at the end tying the jam together. America is all fire and brimstone, with another absolutely towering performance from Mr. Emerson who plays like there's no tomorrow and goes out in a blaze of pyrotechnics and sonic effects.
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