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Dr. Music talks with Keith Emerson
I recently had the honor of speaking with the genius that is Keith Emerson.
We had a chance to discuss the new CD, Live At Manticore Hall, along with a host of other things. You can listen to our entire conversation by clicking the play button on the device below! I have included a list of content below that includes time signatures (in bold) for those who prefer to jump to a particular segment. I hope you enjoy listening to Keith as much as I enjoyed talking with him.



0 - 10:35           Keith talks in detail about how the new album with Greg Lake came
                           about, and his feelings toward the new arrangements.

10:36 - 14:29   It's been said that you were disappointed about the Moog solo
                           in "Lucky Man" because that first take that was used was just you
                           experimenting in the studio. Have you grown comfortable with the
                           "Lucky Man" solo over the years?

14:30 - 19:21   If I had someone that had never heard ELP, what would be the first 
                           thing you play for them?

19:22 - 22:05   Keith talks about having his modular Moog synthesizer cloned, and 
                           the prospect of the Moog company developing the Keith Emerson 
                           signature model.

22:06 - 23:05   On the CD, Greg mentions that you were in the studio writing music 
                           together. Are we going to hear any of that?

23:06 - 25:19   Why were you so adamant about having a trio when you were
                           forming ELP?

25:20 - 27:51   Keith talks about being asked to join Yes.

27:52 - 30:32   If Chris Squire called and asked you to join Yes today, would you
                           say "Yes"?

30:33 - 31:55   Does the new studio technology excite you, or are you more for
                           the "old school" approach?

31:56 - 33:30   What does a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction mean to you, if
                           anything?

33:31 - 40:42   Keith discusses the ELP legacy and the artistic side of the music.

40:43 - 41:10   Do you follow any of the current music scene?

41:11 - 44:22   Keith discusses the current state of progressive rock and jazz.

44:23 - 45:35   Is there anything about Keith Emerson that we don't know?

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Emerson Lake Live From Manticore Hall
Live From Manticore Hall
Keith Emerson & Greg Lake
 
For any fan of progressive rock, your eyes and ears are standing at full attention with just the sight of these two names. Along with Carl Palmer, these two musical geniuses are responsible for an incredibly large amount of the formation of progressive rock as we know it today. Keith Emerson was part of the English band The Nice, while Greg Lake was recording with what many consider to be the most important band in the history of progressive music, King Crimson. When Emerson, Lake and Palmer got together and formed ELP, the world of progressive rock was changed forever.
 
It had been many years since ELP stopped recording and performing together when this recording was done. Emerson and Lake decided to tour together before they were to join Carl Palmer for a monumental reunion that saw them headline the 2010 High Voltage Festival in England. This is a recording from that tour.
 
Like Greg Lake’s solo release from last year, Songs Of A Lifetime, this is a bit of a “storyteller” kind of performance. It’s an intimate look into the depths of the songwriting aspects of Emerson and Lake and their work over the years. There’s a personal charm and warmth in this performance. Sometimes the music of ELP can be a bit cold, complex, and rigid - they definitely weren’t James Taylor or Neil Diamond. But, the serious complexity of “Tarkus” or “The Barbarian” is softened a bit by Lake and Emerson telling their tales of these legendary pieces with splashes of humor and an overall comfort in their voices. Lake’s little giggle around the 7:55 mark in “Tarkus” is one of the highlights of the record for me. That half-second chuckle told me that these two were confident, comfortable, and still thrilled to be playing this stuff together. This set gives you two friends that got together to reminisce over some of their proudest moments. It just so happens that these two friends are brilliant maestros with extraordinary and flawless musical abilities.
 
I think you get equal parts of both Emerson and Lake with this one. Songs like “From The Beginning” and “C’est La Vie” are reflective of Lake’s more accessible and simplistic writing style, while “Tarkus” and “The Barbarian” are more composition than song, with unorthodox song structure and lengthy keyboard runs. Both song types are dazzling in their own ways. “Tarkus” is by far the most stunning piece of music here because of its musical integrity, but I do think it’s “Lucky Man” that has the two worlds of Emerson and Lake stroll the pastures of musical eden hand-in-hand most effectively. Lake tells the story of bringing “Lucky Man,” a song he wrote when he was just 12 years old, to Keith Emerson during the recording for the first ELP record. Emerson, of course, recorded his legendary Moog solo for the song in one take, and the rest is history. The recording of “Lucky Man” here is something extra special because it allows Emerson to experiment on the Moog and expand on his interpretation of the solo he’s most famous for.
 
This set really caters to the hardcore ELP fan. The guy who has all the albums and knows every note of “Tarkus” is really going to appreciate the “deep cuts” and the more personal perspective of this. If you’re only a fan of the accessible stuff like “Lucky Man” and “From The Beginning,” (1) you should be ashamed of yourself and (2) you probably stopped reading this some time ago anyway.

 




 
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