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Greg Lake - 'Greg Lake' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/6e/70/7d/1227_GregLakeGregLake_1304968800.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 09, 2011    
 
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Re-issue of Greg Lake's eclectic album.

Back in 1979 after the break-up of Emerson, Lake & Palmer singer/bassist Greg Lake found himself at a loose end, and having taken a strained band situation as far as humanly possible it seemed like a solo career was the best option. Recruiting friends like successful guitarist Gary Moore, Sensational Alex Harvey Band/MSG drummer Ted McKenna, bassist Tristan Margetts and latter day SAHB keyboardist Tommy Eyre, Lake set about making his first solo album. However, he didn't really have any idea what direction he wanted to go in, as this CD re-issue of his first self-titled album shows. Some of the recording was also done in L.A. with celebrated session musicians like guitarist Snuffy Walden and Toto members Steve Lukather, David Hungate and Jeff Porcaro.

Whilst Lake is far too talented a musician and writer to have done anything truly bad, he'd just come out of the much-maligned ELP era that gave us the bands least well received albums, 'Works Vol. 2' and 'Love Beach', on which the band had also seemed confused about their own direction. 'Greg Lake' has some gems, the aggressive opener 'Nuclear Attack' was certainly one with a rich vocal from Lake and some fiery playing from all concerned, although Gary Moore would go on to do his own version that became better known. Similarly 'Retribution Drive' was another upbeat rocker with Moore's classy guitar and a great breakdown, whilst the ballads 'It Hurts' and 'Let Me Love You Once Before You Go' had memorable choruses and sublime musicianship despite their excessive cheesiness.

Elsewhere things didn't work so well, with the repetitious and poppy Bob Dylan cast-off 'Love You Too Much' sounding more like Wings at their most average, the lyrics of 'Black And Blue' being overly soppy and 'The Lie' being confused and directionless despite some good work from Moore and drummer Ted McKenna. However, there were good bits in the more ELP sounding 'Someone' (complete with a sax solo from the great Clarence Clemons) and the simple acoustic based rock and roller 'Long Goodbye', whilst the military drumbeat, synthesised bagpipes and spoken words of the closing track 'For Those Who Dare' were truly bizarre.

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'Greg Lake' was an eclectic album but suffered from the fact that the different styles didn't really flow together, with Lake seemingly unsure what to do with his main collaborator and leaving Gary Moore to improvise over the songs, with mixed results. On the plus side it's a well produced album with a few highlights that the remaster has done well to bring out, although for once the sleeve notes from Malcolm Dome don't have enough detail and Lake himself seems unable to give any insight as to why the album ended up being what it was. A confusing but interesting album whose release has been made all the more poignant by the recent sad loss of guitarist Gary Moore.

Phil Ashcroft

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