Artist: Greg Lake
Album: Songs Of A Lifetime
Label: Cherry Records
Review: Diego Camargo
First, Greg Lake was the vocalist/bassist of King Crimson and then of Emerson Lake & Palmer, both bands are pillars to what Prog Rock would be in the 70’s.
After ELP broke up in 1978 he basically did… very little, in the music scene. He released 2 solo albums in 80’s (81 & 83), participated in the ELP (this time as Emerson, Lake & Powell) come back in 86 and again with the original ELP line up in 92. Since then he has released sporadic live albums here and there.
In 2012 Greg was writing his biography and the idea of a new tour appeared to him. The one that he would be alone on stage singing the songs that he considered crucial to his career and telling the stories of his musical life.
So far so good, it would be probably a great DVD and a great experience on stage, but all in all, as a live album, it doesn’t work at all.
Musically speaking, what’s the point of having a great musician like Greg live, with a playback in the background? And what's worse, the versions on the playback are the ones from the 90’s ELP comeback, not the originals. And it’s kind of a shame having Prog classics like ‘21st Century Schizoid Man’, ‘Epitaph/The Court Of The Crimson King’ and ‘I Talk To The Wind’ by King Crimson and ‘Trilogy’ and ‘Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression Part 2’ by Emerson, Lake & Palmer played that way with such bad and fake arrangements.
While Greg tells his stories, they are all great and very, very interesting, but by the second time you listen to it, they’re all boring and old already. Like I said, for you to go to the concert or even watch a DVD that would be great. But to release a CD from it? I don’t get it.
Greg sings basically his solo songs from ELP times like ‘From The Beginning’, ‘Still… You Turn Me On’, ‘C’est La Vie’ and of course, ‘Lucky Man’. He also plays a few classics such as ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ by Elvis Presley and ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’ by The Beatles.
The set also includes the inexplicable presence of ‘Touch And Go’ from the Emerson, Lake & Powell (1986) album. If he wanted to play something from that album it could have been ‘The Miracle’ instead. Other good songs (and fairly pop ones) like ‘A Time And A Place’, ‘The Sheriff’ or ‘Benny The Bouncer’ were forgotten.
In conclusion, don’t get me wrong, Greg Lake is one of the most humble and good guys on Prog World. But we’re talking about music here, and even if he still has a powerful voice, Songs From A Lifetime (2013) doesn’t go anywhere. If you’re not a hardcore fan, or if you weren’t in the one of the shows… avoid it.
You can preview the song 'Still... You Turn Me On' on our Podcast #10 HERE.