(Click to enlarge)

Anything progressive is thought-provoking, even controversial, and EMERSON LAKE AND PALMER’s 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 ELP’s 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 Lake’s songs joined by Emerson’s central theme. If you look at the inside sleeve pictures of the tank-like Armadillo you’ll 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. Palmer’s drumming strong and to the point.

Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer have, in “Tarkus”, once again proved their undoubted superiority!