Friday, May 05, 2017

King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King, An Observation by King Crimson (1969)

Cat's foot iron claw
Neuro-surgeons scream for more
At paranoia's poison door.
Twenty first century schizoid man.

Blood rack barbed wire
Polititians' funeral pyre
Innocents raped with napalm fire
Twenty first century schizoid man

Twenty first century
Twenty first century
Twenty first century
Twenty first century schizoid man

Death seed blind man's greed
Poets' starving children bleed
Nothing he's got he really needs
Twenty first century schizoid man.

Twenty first century
Twenty first century schizoid man
Twenty first century schizoid man

Welcome to the twenty first century

Years ago, Pete said something like: "everyone has a copy of In the Court of the Crimson King in his record collection." I didn't then, but I do now (on both CD and vinyl). My CD copy is the Definitive Edition, which was released in 2009. My LP is a Canadian gatefold pressing, but I do not know the date it was pressed, though it is probably not from 1969.

I am pretty sure that I have a complete run of KC recordings on CD, including some of the ProjeKCts (but only some releases from the Collector Club), and many recordings on vinyl and/or CD by current and former members, most notably Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew. For many years, I went down the Robert Fripp rabbit hole and ended up in very strange places. Think recordings by Bill Reiflin, Trey Gunn, Tony Levin, Adrian Belew, Bill Bruford, Brian Eno, etc. All of which led to Steve Gorn, David Torn, The California Guitar Trio, Jeffrey Fayman, etc, etc...

This record is perhaps the first truly prog rock record, a genre I have a love/hate relationship with. I admire some of it but hate vast quantities of it. I also have a love/hate relationship with this record, despite it's ranking by most people as a classic. There is some fantastic drumming on this record.

The truth is that I never really like King Crimson until I heard Discipline in the early 1980s. I guess I should also say that I discovered some earlier KC that I quite like, particular Red. In my ever so humble opinion, this record has two excellent tracks: 21st Century Schizoid Man and The Court of the Crimson King. The former track is so good it might be worth the price of the record. The rest of the tunes don't do as much for me. OK, OK, Epitaph is not bad.

A very proggy thing to do is s to have movements in songs, or very long song titles, like these:

21st Century Schizoid Man (Including Mirrors)
I Talk To The Wind
Epitaph (Including (A) March For No Reason; (B) Tomorrow And Tomorrow)
Moonchild (Including (A) The Dream; (B) The Illusion)
The Court Of The Crimson King (Including (A) The Return Of The Fire Witch; (B) The Dance Of The Puppets)

I have heard that this type of song naming really had to do with royalties, since the record only contains five tracks. I have no idea if that explanation is correct.

I saw King Crimson in concert years ago. Oddly, I saw PJ Harvey the same weekend. Anyway, the gender imbalance of the KC audience had a curious effect. The women's restroom had no queue: the men's did. I had to wait to pee, while the women just walked straight in. That never happens.

I do love the album jacket. It's epic. There is a prescient comment on the video below: "I'm going to enjoy this before it gets taken down..." If it's gone, it's gone.

No comments: