The Nice

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Matt Wilson
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The Nice

Postby Matt Wilson » 14 May 2021, 03:17

Did I review any Nice albums in reap corner in the last few weeks? No matter, I shall vomit my jejune verbiage henceforth and fear of repetition be damned...

I'm a fair ELP fan so I had to check these guys out in more detail. Emerson's Nice style is very similar verging on identical to his playing with Lake and Palmer. It's all here - the bombast, the classical allusions, his tone, humor, etc. One of the things I find most unfortunate with this music is the vocals as I mentioned (much to C's chagrin) in another thread. Simply put, Lee Jackson can't sing. While this doesn't bother me per se, it is noticeable and every (most?) time(s) someone is warbling in the midst of the furious playing I make a face. Anyway, here we go:

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The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack
Released in '68 but recorded in '67 - and it sounds like it. Pure psych with such titles as "Flower King of Flies" and "Rondo" (after the Dave Brubeck number), which are two of the best cuts here by the way. I like it fine and the antecedents of Keith's later brilliance is on display. It's not STELLAR by any means but the title track is ace (released as a 45 with the interesting "Azrial" as a B-side) and as a souvenir of a time long gone it'll do.

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Ars Longa Vita Brevis
Another 1968 platter, but this time way more progressive, or rather "pre-prog" since the critics tell us the Crimson boys invented that genre the next year. Could've fooled me, as there's a suite, classical references, and a side-long song which definitely ain't like "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands," "Going Home," or Love's "Revelation." Folks, it's progressive in all but name. I'm probably gonna say I like it better than the debut, but not by much. Points are awarded for ambition, but the joie de vivre of the summer-of-love vibe of Emerlist is gone forever. Tit for tat, you lose what you had, but you gain what you wanted. In this case "Daddy Where Did I Come From," "Little Arabella," and "Intermezzo from the Karelia Suite" are more than time-filler on side one while we wait for the title track on side two.

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Nice
After the excellent "America/Diamond Hard Blue Apples of the Moon" and "Brandenburger" 45s of the previous year, 1969s Nice finished their Immediate tenure. There's a bit of a throw-away feel to this endeavor, as titles such as "Azrael Revisited" (why did they change a letter?) and "Rondo '69" suggest, but the thing is - they're pretty good versions of those songs. "For Example" is one of their better longer tunes too. Quality-wise, it's more or less in line with the first two. There's no clear consensus as to which is the best Nice LP, and all of these offerings have their adherents.

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Five Bridges
Just like these overachievers released two albums in 1968, they did the same in terms of recording two LPs in '69. Five Bridges (released in 1970) could be the most ambitious project The Nice ever undertook. A mixture of classical music and rock in a mostly live setting. Better recorded than the Immediate albums too. Sometimes the classical overwhelms the rock, but if this mixture is your idea of prog, then you'll love it. To these ears, they mangled Dylan with a masterburtory take on "She Belongs to Me" on the last album, but here Keith mixes the slight "Country Pie" with the Brandenburg Concerto and what do you know - It seems to work. There's even a filler track at the end of the LP called "One of Those People" which is a foreshadowing of "Are You Ready Eddy" from Tarkus.

Unfortunately, I don't have Elegy yet so my erudite scrawl taken as gospel in these parts will have to be written at a later date.

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C
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Re: The Nice

Postby C » 14 May 2021, 09:17

This is excellent Matt - good lad.

Of course I don't agree with everything you wrote but in my view you identified the salient points.

Ars Longa has always been my favourite but I love them all.

Incidentally, Elegy is a good live album but this is even better [trust me]:

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Rorschach wrote:it [Tubular Bells] is indeed a very terrible thing. I had a nice Dusty Springfield song buzzing round my head before that bugger displaced it.

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robertff
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Re: The Nice

Postby robertff » 14 May 2021, 10:15

Got time for the Nice, indeed have all their albums but I prefer the first three ELP albums by some way.

Like others have mentioned the poor vocals were a disappointment and a turn off, Emerson clearly knew what he was doing with the formation of ELP.

.

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The Slider
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Re: The Nice

Postby The Slider » 14 May 2021, 13:59

I like the first one very much, bits of the second and not much of any of the others
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C
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Re: The Nice

Postby C » 15 May 2021, 21:39

The Slider wrote:I like the first one very much, bits of the second and not much of any of the others


You cloth eared old bugger!

The (almost) eponymous third is a delight



and Five Bridges is a corker!







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Rorschach wrote:it [Tubular Bells] is indeed a very terrible thing. I had a nice Dusty Springfield song buzzing round my head before that bugger displaced it.

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Re: The Nice

Postby Jimbly » 15 May 2021, 23:53

I love them but Jackson is awful. I saw the reformed line up twice, I loved seeing them. but objectively it was Emerson and sidekicks. You can hear me me claping on the live album recorded in Glasgow.
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yomptepi
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Re: The Nice

Postby yomptepi » 16 May 2021, 20:05

Jimbly wrote:I love them but Jackson is awful. I saw the reformed line up twice, I loved seeing them. but objectively it was Emerson and sidekicks. You can hear me me claping on the live album recorded in Glasgow.


So you were the audience then...
You don't like me...do you?

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Re: The Nice

Postby C » 16 May 2021, 21:21

yomptepi wrote:
Jimbly wrote:I love them but Jackson is awful. I saw the reformed line up twice, I loved seeing them. but objectively it was Emerson and sidekicks. You can hear me me claping on the live album recorded in Glasgow.


So you were the audience then...


I was there too but at the Royal Albert Hall (or was it the Royal Festival Hall?)

The latter I think. Yomp you were there too - weren’t you?

My memory isn’t what it used to be....!




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Rorschach wrote:it [Tubular Bells] is indeed a very terrible thing. I had a nice Dusty Springfield song buzzing round my head before that bugger displaced it.

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The Slider
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Re: The Nice

Postby The Slider » 17 May 2021, 10:51

it was you, Neil J and me.
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Re: The Nice

Postby Tom Waits For No One » 17 May 2021, 12:33

As an aside, when The Nice split and Lee Jackson formed Jackson Heights he teamed up with the late, great Charlie Harcourt.

http://www.readysteadygone.co.uk/farewe ... -harcourt/

Top bloke and the member of the greatest band to never quite make it the Junco Partners.
Give a shit or be a shit.

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Jimbly
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Re: The Nice

Postby Jimbly » 17 May 2021, 21:33

yomptepi wrote:
Jimbly wrote:I love them but Jackson is awful. I saw the reformed line up twice, I loved seeing them. but objectively it was Emerson and sidekicks. You can hear me me claping on the live album recorded in Glasgow.


So you were the audience then...


yes, and some of the pictures I took ended up on Emerson's official website.
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Quaco
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Re: The Nice

Postby Quaco » 20 May 2021, 16:41

The first two are great, when they still had elements of psychedelia. Sound effects, tubular bells and trumpets, cut-up bits, silly song ideas all mixed with some great playing. Even Jackson's braying works on some of the songs ("Eugene"), but they were wise to mix it up. Only recently did I learn that O'List sings "Flower King of Flies" on the debut, and Emerson himself sings "Happy Freuds" and some other vocals on the second. The secret weapon in the group, though, was Brian Davison. A player who just makes everything sound good, plus he has some interesting flashy things and Chinese tuned-gong shit now and then. Far superior, in my view, to Carl Palmer who was a pretty face and had all the depth and subtlety of a high school football jock. Good for a fling in the sack, but he's just on/off, pound away, admire himself in the mirror, and he's done. ;)
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Re: The Nice

Postby C » 20 May 2021, 18:24

Jim-lad: where have you been ?

Nice to have you back

[did you see what I did there....?]




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Rorschach wrote:it [Tubular Bells] is indeed a very terrible thing. I had a nice Dusty Springfield song buzzing round my head before that bugger displaced it.