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ELP’s Keith Emerson Goes To The Movies With Box Set

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Keith Emerson at the MoviesIn the midst of the usual catalogue activity for Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Cherry Red’s Esoteric Recordings imprint has a new treasure for fans of keyboardist Keith Emerson. The 3-CD box set Keith Emerson at the Movies collects Emerson’s scores for seven motion pictures originally released between 1980’s Inferno and 2004’s Godzilla: Final Wars.  The set was originally released in 2005 on the Castle label, but has since gone out-of-print.  This version features the same tracks, but adds new packaging and a fresh remastering.

Following the (first) break-up of Emerson, Lake and Palmer in 1979, Keith Emerson made his solo debut with the soundtrack to the Italian film Inferno, and the transition into the world of film scoring wasn’t much of a stretch for Emerson.  With ELP, he had already been working on a widescreen canvas as a musical storyteller, incorporating orchestral and conceptual elements into the group’s brand of progressive rock.  In Malcolm Dome’s fine essay accompanying At the Movies, Emerson recalls his first exposure to the power of the cinema, when his parents took him as a youngster to see Walt Disney’s Bambi. Then The Magnificent Seven, so memorably scored by Elmer Bernstein, opened his eyes (and ears) to the power of music on the big screen.  Certain ELP compositions – such as “Tank” and “The Three Fates,” both from the group’s 1970 debut – were even conceived by Emerson as having “a very soundtrack type of appeal.”

After nearly landing assignments for such high-profile pictures as Chariots of Fire (he turned it down) and The Elephant Man (he “didn’t get the gig,” in his own words), Emerson landed his first scoring gig for Inferno.  For the Dario Argento-directed horror film, Emerson enlisted conductor-arranger Godfrey Salmon who had worked with ELP on their 1977 American orchestral tour.  The presentation here adds a track of “Inferno Extras.”  Soon, he was able to bring his talents to American cinema, as well, nabbing the composer slot for the Sylvester Stallone/Rutger Hauer action film Nighthawks in 1981.  He even performed a cover of The Spencer Davis Group’s “I’m a Man” at the request of his record label, taking lead vocals himself!  This edition replicates the sequence of the long out-of-print LP version of the Nighthawks soundtrack.  For the 1984 movie Best Revenge starring John Heard and The Band’s Levon Helm, Emerson provided a title song featuring Helm on vocals and Helm’s Band-mate, Garth Hudson, on accordion.  Alas, the LP’s Levon Helm showcase track, “Straight Between the Eyes”, has been replaced here by “For Those Who Win.”

In addition to those pictures, Keith Emerson at the Movies also features his scores to two more Italian horror flicks – 1984’s Murderock and 1989’s La Chiesa (The Church) – and two Japanese films: 1983’s animated Harmagedon and 2004’s Godzilla: Final Wars..  Ben Wiseman has remastered all of the scores contained in this set produced by Mark Powell for Esoteric.  Each disc is housed in the clamshell box in a paper sleeve.

After the jump, we have more, including the complete track listing and links to order! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 26, 2014 at 10:11