The Deal: Three CD set reissue reveals normal side of acid rock pioneers as well as new prog to rock with.
The Good: If you thought prog rock pioneers Emerson, Lake & Palmer's work was something best enjoyed with a tab of acid, Volume 2 is a pleasant surprise. "Honky-tonk Train Blues" and "Show Me The Way To Go Home" show off the boys' interest in ragtime, as does "Barrelhouse Shakedown" and Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag." Surprisingly, they're all done straight, with no psychedelic hued improvisations. But if you like your gray matter scrambled there's a small taste of the traditional EL&P menu served up in a lyrical version of "Brain Salad Surgery." On Volume One, the trios solo works are featured. Emerson's cut is pompously classical and excruciatingly long. Greg Lakes's "Lend You Love to Me Tonight" sounds like a Neil Diamond outtake. Palmer's solo work is a convoluted as you remember from the EL&P classics. The most interesting part is the trios' reunion for two cuts. "Fanfare for the Common Man" and "Pirates" take you back in the space/time warp, demonstrating the statement they made on '74's "Welcome Back My Friends, To The Show That Never Ends" is still valid.
The Bad: Need to be fan to really enjoy it.
The Verdict: It's a trip for trippers expecting one.