KING CRIMSON – In The Court of The Crimson King
KING CRIMSON – In The Wake of Poseidon
KING CRIMSON – Lizard
KING CRIMSON – Islands
Buy the 40th anniversary 2CD sets of these four titles! Amazing sound!!
These are the four initial works by one of the best and most important British bands of all time: King Crimson. Start with these four and then decide if you wish to venture forth. I can support the next phase of the band, with “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic”, “Starless and Bible Black” and “Red”, but I absolutely go no further than their live album “U.S.A.” – all of their initial works were released by Island Records (UK).
Nothing I had heard previously could prepare me for “In The Court of The Crimson King” – I was about 12 years old, but I remember my reaction like it was yesterday. Very little music that I can bring to mind even comes close to “21st Century Schizoid Man” (perhaps only Faust’s “Why Don’t You Eat Carrots?”). For fans of the debut K.C. album, I can recommend the multiple volume set “Epitaph”, with it’s live 1969 shows.
Already splintering by 1970, I think I got “In The Wake of Poseidon” and the McDonald & Giles LP at about the same time; they remain inextricably linked, for me. I already knew that I liked the sound of the mellotron from The Moody Blues, but “In The Wake of Poseidon” takes mellotron fandom to a whole ‘nother level.
“Lizard” is the odd man out, here. A new lead vocalist. Jazz musicians. Wha…? It grew on me at the time, and I am still fond of it in 2010. The 40th anniversary edition is super crisp, very clear – and sounds mighty, all remixed. Definitely the “odd man out” K.C. album.
“Islands” was easier to digest when new, but, again: A new lead vocalist. Thank goodness for “The Sailor’s Tale”! Hook, like and sinker – I kept my favorite British band. I somehow missed seeing this version of K.C. play live – well, I was too young, in any event – 13 / 14 years old?
I finally got to see King Crimson play live in my hometown in June, 1973 – for “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic” – it was virtually my first rock concert (I was not quite 15 years of age). To say the least, it made quite an impression on me. It would be at least another 6 or 7 years in my young life before I saw anything else that matched the intensity of this show (possibly Ultravox in ’78 or Magazine in ’79?).
We are lucky that Mr. Fripp is still alive and releasing archival material to the delight of fans. You should read his blog sometime; fascinating stuff!