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The Nice: Elegy

Album Notes

Back in 1972, ELEGY was the first compilation of the Nice's work ever issued. Rather than being a collection of hits, however, it was a selection of left-over vault items assembled by the manager, Tony Stratton-Smith, after the trio's breakup. And given those origins, it was a phenomenal record. The live version of "Hang On To a Dream" was one of Keith Emerson's finest moments on the piano, allowing him to meld George Gershwin and Tim Hardin, among other glorious attributes. Emerson's piano and organ work on Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages" made that his best Dylan adaptation, even if Jackson's singing is a disappointment, especially in the opening section. And the live rendition of "America" is the best representation that the piece ever had in the group's hands. Even "Pathetique," adapted from the Third Movement of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6--their one major concession to the future of progressive rock here--holds together well as a rock trio reduction of a symphonic work. This reissue is a considerable improvement over the earlier issue, even though the bonus tracks have been cut back--the earlier expanded version added a clutch of psychedelic-era outtakes from the other end of the group's history, when they were a quartet. The two bonus tracks on EMI's 2009 edition include, "Country Pie" and the live BBC version of "Pathetique," a rip-roaring performance, and the perfect companion to the studio arrangement on the main album.


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