Greg Lake

From the Underground, Vol. 1

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While a CD with this material was available through Greg Lake's website, this 2010 release on the British Lemon label marks the first time it's been out via a standard release. With 13 tracks spanning 1967 to 1994, it's something of a mishmash of rare and unissued cuts from throughout the bulk of his lengthy career, encompassing his stints in several bands both huge and obscure. Hardcore collectors might be most interested in the songs dating from two of his pre-King Crimson outfits: "Don't Go Away Little Girl," a 1967 single (of a Janis Ian composition) by the Shame, and the 1968 Shy Limbs 45 "Love," which is more psychedelic. King Crimson are acknowledged on the live 1969 recording of "A Man, a City," though that (like some other tracks) has seen some low-profile collector-targeted releases elsewhere. Emerson, Lake & Palmer's prime is represented only by a slightly lo-fi 1974 concert version of "Lucky Man" on which Lake is backed just by acoustic guitar (which is also found on ELP's Then & Now CD). Otherwise, there's an assortment of live ELP, Emerson, Lake & Powell, Asia, and Greg Lake Band recordings from the 1980s and 1990s that are less interesting stadium AOR-prog rock efforts. This is clearly marked as a collector-oriented recording, so it's difficult to complain about in some respects, but it's fair to say that only the devoted completist will want to seek it out. The non-chronological sequencing also does its listenability no favors, as does a jumble of styles that makes it difficult to fathom which music fans might be able to enjoy it all the way through.

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