Search - Emerson Lake & Palmer :: Return of the Manticore

Return of the Manticore
Emerson Lake & Palmer
Return of the Manticore
Genres: Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (7) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #3
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #4

From the ashes of England's late '60s psychedelic pop scene came a group of bands that tried to expand rock's boundaries by incorporating visionary lyrics, arrangements that mimicked the scope of classical symphonies and...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Emerson Lake & Palmer
Title: Return of the Manticore
Members Wishing: 5
Total Copies: 0
Label: Rhino / Wea
Release Date: 11/21/1995
Album Type: Box set, Original recording reissued
Genres: Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
Styles: Progressive, Progressive Rock, Album-Oriented Rock (AOR)
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaCD Credits: 4
UPC: 081227223427

From the ashes of England's late '60s psychedelic pop scene came a group of bands that tried to expand rock's boundaries by incorporating visionary lyrics, arrangements that mimicked the scope of classical symphonies and lengthy instrumentals that showcased the players' technical prowess. In retrospect, the limitations of such a bloated approach seem obvious. By the end of the '70s, the so-called progressive rockers were considered comical dinosaurs, and none of these bands was as reviled as ELP. Keyboardist Keith Emerson, bassist-vocalist Greg Lake and drummer Carl Palmer deserved much of the derision: They were often pompous and humorless. But the group's box set proves that ELP did create some enduring music-though certainly not enough to justify four CDs. The set takes its name from the "mythical beast" that first appeared on the cover of Tarkus, and the material is divided between "the classic recordings" and new recordings by the recently reunited group. ELP was at its best when it combined Emerson and Palmer's over-the-top playing with simple pop melodies: The synth solo erupts from Lake's modest folk ballad, "Lucky Man," and the trio's take on "The Peter Gunn Theme" is inspired. Other highlights include the creepily seductive "Still... You Turn Me On," a previously unreleased tune called "Bo Diddley" and an Emerson arrangement of Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man." --Jim DeRogatis

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CD Reviews

Classic ELP, but hardly anything new....
Grigory's Girl | NYC | 06/01/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a great box set, but if you're looking for unreleased ELP tracks, you're going to be disappointed. Most of their albums are represented here, except for In the Hot Seat (which hadn't been recorded yet), the first (and best) recording of Pictures, the Emerson, Lake, and Powell album (which is a shame, as it is very good), and the "3" album (which was garbage for the most part). The new tracks are good (especially the new version of Touch and Go, which is much more dynamic than the original), but there are only 3 unreleased tracks, "Bo Diddley", a live version of "Rondo", and "Prelude and Fugue". The latter is a studio version that was part of Emerson's Piano Improvisations off the triple live album. The Rondo rendition is pretty good, but not as tight as The Nice's previous versions (though Palmer has a furious drum workout). Most of ELP's unreleased stuff went onto Works Vol. 2, which perhaps would explain the lack of unreleased tracks. If you have all the ELP albums, you can skip this. If you're a completist, pick it up. Good liner notes, too."
Excellent overview of one of the best progrockbands ever
J. Talsma | Amsterdam, Netherlands | 04/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Let's face it, no compilation is complete of course and almost always will there be people who'll miss their favorite track(s), that is unavoidable, certainly when considering that ELP issued a mere 12 original albums on CD, 3 of them being a double CD (Welcome Back My Friends ....., Works vol. 1 and Works Live) and this box has 4 CD's, so those who complain about lacking a certain track should buy the orignal album(s), for them this collection is not meant. But for others, ELP fans and completists alike and also for those who do not want to own everything this band released this is a welcome stay. It brings forth the highlights, no less, from all their albums, from the 1970 debut "Emerson, Lake and Palmer" through the 1992 triumphant return "Black Moon" (with the exception of "Pictures at an Exhibition" and the recent "Live at the Royal Albert Hall" though) and their 2 decades plus spanning career. Because of the release of the new "In the Hot Seat" about the same time it doesn't contain material from that album. Although ELP were not a "hit" band, they disliked singles and were a true album band, this box contains all the greatest hits you can mention and some more. Believe it or not but suites like Take a Pebble (live), Tarkus, Karn Evil, Fanfare for the Common Man, Pirates and Memoires of and Officer and a Gentleman are all there, in their original form, length and glory, clockin in over 10, 20 and even 30 minutes. Furthermore there is wealth of wellknown and (maybe) lesserknown tracks, varying from beautiful sung and played ballad-like songs through their own adaptions of classical works through blues, jazz, rock and everything in between. ELP was one of the first and only bands to fuse different musical styles to create a new and unique sound, without becoming something as a potpouri. They showcased their brand of music which blended with a lot of different styles and demonstrated their ample musical qualitities. Emerson as composer on a wild array of keyboards, from classical and modern (blues and honky tonk) piano, Hammond organ and a pionier on such nonroad instruments as the Moog Modular Synthesiser, even astonishing its inventer, and the Yamaha triple-keyboard multisynthesizer GX1 (to be heard from Works vol. 1 onwards), Lake as singer/songwriter/producer on fine vocals, acoustic, electric leadguitar (on Tarkus, Karn Evil) and bass guitar, and Palmer on drums, authentic and electronic percussion, tympani and the like. Together they were a strong outfit, completing each other. Apart from being solely a collection of album tracks this box has much more on offer. Not much bonusmaterial though, the only really outtake as a grouprecording is "Bo Diddley" (disc 3, track 6) from march 1975/april 1976 and therefore recorded at the making of Works vol. 1. It could have fitted on Works vol. 2 but was omitted and left in the vaults. From Emerson was a piano-etude "Prelude and Fugue" (disc 4, track 7), composed by Gulda, left in the can, recorded way back as far as january 1971, before Tarkus and was not appropriate to include on that album. To my opinion it is much similair of a part of the piano improvisations on the live Welcome Back My Friends in "Take a Pebble" (here disc 2, track 3), not to be confused with the Emerson composed "Fugue" as intermittent between "The Endless Enigma" part 1 and 2 (here disc 3, track 3). Those mentioned two tracks are the only outtakes, at least on this box set, which were not included on one of the original albums, which lacks studio-outtakes in general. Furthermore included in this set is a sprawling 15 minute livetake Rondo (disc 2, track 7), the Nice showstopper (from their first album "The Toughts of Emerlist Davjack"), a reworking of Dave Brubecks "Rondo a la Turk", an instrumental, performed by ELP at the end of 1970, just after the splits from The Nice, King Crimson and Atomic Rooster respectively and forming Emerson Lake and Palmer but yet without much new livematerial and shortly after the release of the debutalbum. Apart from the knowledge that this is played by the ELP members and therefore not by the Nice trio, which makes is slightly interesting, is has not very much on offer. After their reunion in the nineties they played "Rondo" on most liveshows, ending the set with it, or being a part of "Fanfare for the Common Man", with Emerson abusing one of his Hammond organs (also to be heard on the excellent "Works Live" album). So with only those 3 extra tracks this whole box would not trick many fans to buy it, when they own already all (or most) of the original albums. With the aid of producer Keith Olsen (also responsible for production of "In the Hot Seat" album) and numerous backingvocalists and even a second guitarplayer (!) - Tim Pierce - ELP went back to their legacy and re-recorded tracks from their illustrious past: The Nice (a Tim Hardin song), King Crimson and Arthur Brown, even Emerson Lake and Powell, the Lake Christmas single (also in a reworked version on Works vol. 2) and for the first time "Pictures at an Exhibition" in studioformat, (all on disc 1). That is what this box has on extra offer and is elsewhere not available (although on latterday re-issues of "In the Hot Seat" album the same recording of "Pictures at an Exhibition" was added). So a must buy for true ELP fans or those who like progrock, without being withheld by the fact that ELP is much more than an average progrockband. It comes with a small book with some helpfull information and a collection of pictures which adds to the atmosphere. All in all I would say a most complete compilation which shines a bright light on this band of bands. They and their fans deserves it!"
ELP - Great Overview, But Not Many Rarities
Steven Sly | Kalamazoo, MI United States | 02/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This sprawling 4CD box set was released in 1993 after the return of the band to the studio and concert stage after a break up that lasted more than a decade. If you are looking for a bunch of rarities this collection is probably not for you. There are a few included here and there, but this is mostly previously released stuff with the addition of several new recordings on the first disc. If you are looking for a great overview of the band's career up through "Black Moon" album, this collection may be right up your alley. One interesting thing that they do is not have the tracks in chronological order. Tracks from throughout their career are mixed and matched so you might have a track from 1971 next to a track from 1993. It makes for some interesting back to back sequences.

The fist disc contains the new recordings. First Emerson Lake and Palmer re-do "Touch And Go" the single from the short lived Emerson Lake and Powell version of the band. It is pretty much a rehash and not much is changed. The band also does covers of bands that each individual member was in prior to ELP. The Nice's "Hang On To A Dream" (Emerson), King Crimson's "20th Century Schizoid Man" (Lake), and The Crazy World Of Auther Brown's "Fire" (Palmer). The disc also includes a new studio recording of "Pictures At An Exhibition" which had only been previously released live. There is also a re-recording of Greg Lake's "I Believe In Father Christmas". Since most consider the original a classic I am not sure that I understand why they chose to re-write this. The rest of the first disc contains a live version of "Peter Gunn", "Tiger In A Spotlight", "Toccata", "Trilogy", "Tank" and "Lucky Man". As was ELP's career the quality of these tracks vary significantly.

Disc two has only one unreleased track a live version of "Rondo". This is fine I guess, but do we really need another live version of "Rondo"? It also contains the epic "Tarkus", "From The Beginning", "Take A Pebble" (the 20 minute live version from "Welcome Back My Friends......), "Knife Edge", "Paper Blood" and "Hoedown.

Disc three concentrates on shorter tacks. Only one previously unreleased track on here as well with a version of "Bo Diddley" which is nothing spectacular. Also included are "The Barbarian", "Still...You Turn Me On", "The Endless Enigma", "C'est La Vie", "The Enemy God Dances With The Black Spirits", "Bitches Crystal", "A Time And A Place", "Living Sin", "Karn Evil 9", "Honky Tonk Train Blues".

Disc four again has only one unreleased track, "Prelude And Fugue". This disc also contains two tracks from what is considered one of ELP's weakest discs "Love Beach". The single "For You" is here as well as the 20 minute epic "Memoirs Of An Officer And A Gentleman". "Memoirs" is actually pretty good for the most part, but kind of peters out towards the end of it. The rest of the disc consists of "Jerusalem", "Fanfare For The Common Man", "Black Moon", "Watching Over You", "Piano Concerto No. 1 Third Movement", "Pirates" and "Affairs Of The Heart".

All in all this box set is a very good overview of ELP's career which is why I picked it up. If you already have all of the previous albums though, this one probably will not be for you, but as a career overview it is great.