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September 23, 2006


Henry Holland

Ah, the long promised King Crimson post! Of course, you weren't going to write about Boz dying, but still. :-) An excellent summary, but you just couldn't resist this, could you?

accepted an invitation from Keith Emerson to form a group that went on to define prog-rock excess and bloviation

You write as if those are bad things. On the first charge, guilty, but for me personally, that's one of the reasons I love ELP so much. They couldn't be bothered with that tedious old piece of nonsense "Less is more" and I'm glad for that.

As for bloviation and prog-rock excess nobody will ever top Yes ca. Tales from Topographic Oceans. ELP were minimalists in comparison.

Brian Olewnick

Nice piece, Steve. As I think I've told you before, I was a KC head from the first album through "Red", after which I struck out for jazzier environs (and traded in all my rock albums, including KC). 7-8 years ago, I became curious how I'd hear the first KC record some 30 years after the fact and picked it up. A pretty much expected to still enjoy Schizoid Man and the "Moonchild" with its nods to the London free improv school and I knew I'd find Epitaph and the title track impossibly ponderous, but I was surprised how much I found myself liking "I Talk to the Wind", execrable lyrics aside.

I long pondered going through the same thing with the 2nd album but, when I looked through the titles, I could remember the pieces pretty clearly and, Tippett apart, knew I couldn't bear much of the rest, including the Holst ripoff....

But, in retrospect, 'Islands' might have been my favorite. I have a strong memory of listening to that for the first time, hearing Harry Miller's arco bass at the beginning of "Formentera Lady" and having no clue what it was. I'd forgotten about "Sailor's Tale" (was the Sharrock reference based on a specific citing by Fripp? I didn't know they'd covered Sanders either, so I guess that's possible). So maybe it's time to pick that one up for a 3-+ years later spin....

Rob Cervero

Nice essay. This was the first Crimso line-up I saw live. Because the musicality and instincts of the band (sans Fripp) tilted toward the jazz-funk vernacular, it's the only rendition of the band that could truly jam. Boz's vocal range impressed -- from the ballad of 'Islands' to the funk of 'Ladies of the Road' -- given this was a line-up on a fairly tight leash controlled by the CEO, Mr. Fripp. I liked Boz's bass riffs on Islands for the very reason they filled spaces with simple bottom or provided backbone rhythm, which was what was need in that album, IMO. I must say I'm surprised that more former members never severed ties with Crimson given the band's tumultuous history.

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