RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Greg Lake – Songs of a Lifetime
Esoteric Records

Rating: B-

Greg Lake, famous for playing bass and singing in both King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, has released a new live CD titled Songs of a Lifetime.  The CD is Greg’s version of a Storyteller’s episode on VH1.  He plays songs, takes time to discuss the history of the song, or artist that influenced him, with the audience.  The end result is an intimate bond between artist and performer.

The best of the bunch are “Tribute to the King,” “Epitaph/The Court of the Crimson King,” “Touch and Go,” “Still…You Turn Me On,” “Lucky Man” and “Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Part 2.”  When lake talks about this music and then performs the songs there is magic in the air and it makes this a very unique release that will be worshipped by his fan base. However, there are some issues.

He starts the show off with “21st Century Schizoid Man” and then abruptly ends the song too early in order to begin addressing the audience.  There are also some time wasted playing Elvis and Beatles songs, sure they are important to Greg’s growth as artists but these only rob the CD of more of his own music.  That said; don’t let these things scare you away.  If you are a fan of Crimson or ELP then this is a must own.

Next time around, Lake would be smart to take some video cameras with him as this performance begs for a visual aspect.  A DVD release of Songs of a Lifetime would really be something special.  For now, though, the CD will suffice as Lake is still an amazing artist with an outgoing, open personality who can still bring it, musically.

Greg sums it up best, “From time to time during the writing these songs would crop up that were in some way crucial or extremely important in the development of my career” he explains. "These were not always songs that I had written myself, but sometimes songs that had been written and performed by other artists as well. I realized that they actually represented the journey that I had shared together with the audience over all these years.”

By Jeb Wright