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Published: 2005/02/04
by Katie Mavrich

Working Live, vol. 2 – Carl Palmer Band

Sanctuary Records 06706-86356-2
Some think that the drums are one of the easiest musical instruments to pick up and play — you don’t have to remember that Every Good Boy Does Fine, the difference between flat and sharp, or where to place your fingers to produce the right note. All you have to do, people think, is be able to keep a beat. Easier said than done, and the Carl Palmer Band – Palmer is formerly of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and then Asia – with its quick beats and intricate rhythms, is a testament to the skill that it takes to beat a drum — or several at once.
Working Live, vol. 2 was recorded during a 2003 UK concert and includes some Palmer percussion reworkings of original ELP songs with the help of guitarist Shawn Baxter and bassist Dave Marks.
While the progressive rock icon does indeed show off his talents, he lets the talents of his band shine through as well. In the opening track on the album, "Hoedown," it isn’t the percussion that grabs a hold of you and won’t let go, it’s the stunning guitar riffs. Of course, it is Palmer’s take on the ELP song, so perhaps this was done on purpose. The same can be said for "Trilogy." Yes, Palmer’s drumming outright rocks, but here the guitar is still the shining star.
It’s actually a bit disappointing at how much the percussion seems to be downplayed throughout the six tracks. Again, it is impressive, and Palmer does dispel the thought that it is an easy craft to learn, but it is the guitars that make you want to listen to Working Live, vol. 2 over and over again.
So, if Working Live, vol. 2 wasn’t so heavily pushed as a percussion album, but as more of a rock or even prog-rock work, then it wouldn’t be a bit of a let down. But this is an album that will definitely suit Palmer’s, as well as ELPs, diehard fans very well.

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