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Anything progressive is thought-provoking, even controversial, and EMERSON LAKE AND PALMERs second album - Tarkus on Island ILPS.9155 - has created a wide diversity of opinion among critics and reviewers. But, devotees will come down on the side of greatness and rate Tarkus a natural progression from ELPs debut L.P. If you listen to both albums this is made clear. The whole of Side I is called Tarkus and is one continuous track with themes running through it. One movement merges easily into the next, and the pattern is established with Lakes songs joined by Emersons central theme. If you look at the inside sleeve pictures of the tank-like Armadillo youll be able to see that the story is being followed in the music on the record. Battlefield is the climax on Side 1 and the theme seems to mingle with the song. Anti-war! Slow, dramatic, atmospheric and beautiful in parts. Brilliant ELP! Aquatarkus ends the story with the Armadillo walking out to sea. Emerson ends the side instrumentally as it began. Climatic and dramatic with the early theme apparent, ending with heavy discords and one final long chord. See this side as a complete suite, and you discover the excitement ELP intended.
Side 2 is a set of different songs that have no connection at all with Side 1. The Only Way (Hymn) on Track 3 is the only classical Emerson on the record. He plays St. Marks Church organ and there is a very good song from Lake based on Toccata in F and Prelude VI Bach. Notable piano and bass work on this. A Time and a Place is incredible! Great Lake vocal on this fast raver, with good Hammond organ riff from Emerson. Palmers drumming strong and to the point.
Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer have, in Tarkus, once again proved their undoubted superiority!