From the vaults of the King Biscuit Flower Hour syndicated radio concert series comes this single-CD distillation of two performances from March 7, 1974, in Tulsa, OK, and November 12, 1977, in Wheeling, WV. By all accounts this was a prime epoch in terms of inspiration and, subsequently, commercial success. The supergroup features the collective Herculean sound produced by former Nice man Keith Emerson (keyboards), Greg Lake (bass/vocals) from the incipient incarnation of King Crimson, and Carl Palmer (percussion), late of the burgeoning Atomic Rooster. Fresh on the heels of its fifth effort Brain Salad Surgery (1973), Emerson, Lake & Palmer (E.L.P.) hit the road, and The Biscuit -- as the weekly broadcast is affectionately known -- captured the power trio at the height of its prog-rock prowess. The half-hour plus "Karn-Evil 9," as well as "Still, You Turn Me On," are from the 1974 Tulsa, OK, set. A lilting acoustic reading of "Lucky Man" and a monster "Hoedown" likewise hail from that specific show. The ambitious double-LP Works (1977) became the next studio undertaking. The format gave each member the equivalent of an album side, as well as a side for the band. The effort was greeted by some as a pretentious and demanding listen, while others lauded the project as a worthwhile use of E.L.P.'s considerable and respective talents. "C'est La Vie," "The Enemy God...," "Pirates," and "Fanfare for the Common Man" -- the latter of which is another aggressive rock & roll interpretation of an Aaron Copland classic -- were taken from Wheeling, VA. Although behind the scenes the group was beginning to dissolve, you'd never know it to hear the hard-driving precision with which they execute the opening "Peter Gunn Theme" or the good-time bounce of "Tiger in a Spotlight." An expanded two-disc version of these recordings can be found on E.L.P.'s efficiently titled King Biscuit Flower Hour (1997) entry. That set, which is highly recommended for inclined parties, also contains some multi-media CD-ROM concert footage, as well as interview clips from the mid-'90s.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer