Lee Speaks About Music… #31

Red (40th Anniversary CD/DVD Edition) – King Crimson

KC - Red


The bands 7th album Red in some way was like its predecessor Starless And Bible Black in that some of it’s material came from improvisations they performed live at many of the bands shows whilst on tour. The same line up had originally started work on the album in March 1974 and it was in between working in the studio and going out playing live that by the summer, tension had built up between David Cross and the other band members. Basically on stage Cross felt he was being drowned out by the rest of the band, and by the end of the tour at the end of August in the same year Robert Fripp ejected him from the band reducing it to a trio.

It was a time when everything was even getting a bit too much for Fripp and many of the recording sessions that they had to make the album, he himself decided to drop out of and leave the other guys to it. It was also a time that former member Ian McDonald had approached Fripp to rejoin the band. Fripp himself was considering having him back for the live tour to promote the album after its release, but in the end he decided there was not gonna be a tour and on the 24th of September a month before the album was released. He abruptly put an end to King Crimson and disbanded it for many years to come.

McDonald’s time was not entirely wasted though and he did get to play on a couple of the tracks as a session player. Even the former member Mel Collins got to play on a track along with a few other session players in which one was an unknown Cello player and must of been that unknown that not one of the bands members cannot even remember the poor guys name :))))))). David Cross also featured on the album as a session player though his parts were played when he was an actual member of the band.

Though the album Red had been constructed just like Starless And Bible Black using live material with studio overdubs, it did have a different production in comparison to both Larks’ Tongues In Aspic and Starless And Bible Black and personally for me the production Red got does not do the album justice at all.

It lacks a lot of quality in the dynamics department, its perhaps the only album out of the 3 in this incarnation that Fripp gets to stand out more and takes on more of a role than Wetton did on the other 2 albums, but it can also tend to drown out everything else on some of its tracks leaving it lack lustre in the sound department.

The album was completed when everything around Fripp’s world was falling apart. Even on its release it was widely criticised and did not even make the top 30 in the album charts. It was only later on down the line many years later that it got more praise, but as albums go I certainly think this album is good, but also overrated.

The 40th Anniversary Edition Release…

I have to say the 40th Anniversary release of Red is the most disappointing release out of all the 6 albums I have in this series so far. Talk about rushing things out to make a buck and this one certainly was, and I have to say it does suffer for it.

The rush job I am speaking of is the fact that this release was actually put out in the same year and even a month before the 40th Anniversary of In The Court Of The Crimson King. It was released on 21st September 2009 5 years before its 40th Anniversary and Steve Wilson decided he wanted to work on this album first being as it was one of his favourites.

Considering it was one his favourite albums he never even bothered to do a new stereo mix of the album, and the CD that comes in this package is in fact the same CD you got with the 30th Anniversary release from 2004 apart from the bonus tracks.

However both Wilson & Fripp did eventually decide to do the new mixes for the 40th Anniversary Edition and released them on a Double CD in 2013. Will I buy it?. NO! :))))))))))))))))). Because even the 2013 Double CD has been botched up with errors on it by all accounts of them labelling the discs the wrong way around.

The 2 CD’s contain both the 30th and 40th Anniversary Editions and 4 bonus tracks that are on this DVD spread over the 2 discs. From reviews I have read the new mixes are marginally better, and to be honest I would expect them to be. But my incentive is the 5.1 mix and not the stereo release.

King Crimson also released a 24 Disc Box Set entitled The Road To Red in the same year of 2013. But the £130 price tag put me off :)))))). I am also not fan of how these Box Sets have been packaged either. They are done on the cheap with how the discs come in cardboard sleeves and even some of the discs are even slotted into a sheet of cardboard. I thought the packaging of these CD/DVD Slipcases was done on the cheap, but nowhere near as cheap as the way they have packed all the discs in that box set :)))))).

In reality you only have to look at the many albums there are of King Crimson and the biggest majority of them are in fact compilations and box sets.

King Crimson have only ever made 13 studio albums to date. The other few hundred they have are put out to siphon the money from your wallet I am afraid, they would even go as far as draining your blood from your veins, and you would have to be a 21st Century Schizo Nutter to go that far and buy them all (LOL)

The Packaging & Artwork…


The same quality packaging as pointed out in my previous reviews comes with all 40th Anniversary CD/DVD Editions, they have been done slightly on the cheaper side of things but never the less look presentable and do a good enough job.

Has for the artwork it’s all photography and shows the 3 band members on the front and a VU recording level meter on the back on a black background. Not the most exiting album cover but never the less does the job. The booklet is not as informative as others are in this series either and it does not even include the lyrics.

Red (40th Anniversary CD/DVD) Review…

The 40th Anniversary CD/DVD Edition of Red by King Crimson was released on the 21st September 2009. The only real thing you are getting new with this release is the 5.1 mix. the bonus tracks and video content. For surround freaks like myself, this will no doubt be the major incentive of buying this release.

The CD & Bonus Tracks.

The original album tracks on the CD are remasters and the same as what came with the 30th Anniversary Edition has I have already mentioned. To be honest the sound quality is good but it’s not up to the standards of the quality that comes with the other releases in the 40th Anniversary CD/DVD Editions, and is nothing to write home about either.

You do however get bonus tracks though, and you get 3 of them on the CD. You get a Trio version of  “Red“. A Trio Instrumental version of “Fallen Angel” and the Full version of “Providence” to which are all very good I will say.

The DVD.

SS 1

The DVD has a nice touch of animation upon loading and you get to see the needle on the VU recording level meter move into the highest peak of the red area. Then it presents you with the menu screen pictured above. Has with most of the DVD’s they come with many extras besides the 5.1 mix and this one does come with video content as well. But let’s first take a look at the audio content.

The DVD contains the 5 original album tracks from the original master tape. The stereo version comes with 4 bonus tracks as well and you have the choice of the MLP Lossless 24/96 or the PCM 24/48 quality audio formats.

The 5.1 Surround Mixes come in the form of a DTS 24/48 mix and an MLP Lossless 24/96 as well. But you only get 3 of the bonus tracks with the 5,1 mixes and not 4.

The audio format quality is superb I will say but my personal gripe would be with the original master tape not being up to the standards it should of been, and it may have either downgraded over the years or the production and recording of Red was never that good in the first place.

To be perfectly honest I could not tell you because I got into King Crimson late and I have never had the album on vinyl to make any real comparison.

SS 2

The screen menu above shows you the bonus tracks and I have to say the Trio mixes for me are way better recordings than the album tracks, and have been newly mixed by Fripp & Wilson.

The DVD Video Content.

SS 3

The screen above shows the videos that comes on the DVD. All the 4 video listed above come from ORTF in France. Basically it’s a TV Channel that shown the band playing live on Television and was broadcast on the 22nd March 1974.

Has with all this content that comes from Television back in those days it was only ever broadcast in mono, not the best of sound quality however this is not that bad and is not only a bit of nostalgia but quite watchable. The band still consisted of Fripp/Wetton/Cross and Bruford and as well as the material from their 2 previous albums your get to see how “Starless” was originally played with Cross playing the lead lines on his violin.

The 5.1 Mix.

Once again the 5.1 mix was done by both Steven Wilson & Robert Fripp. Despite the fact that there are not any of the original multi track master tapes missing here this one does not have the same exiting quality the other albums have I am afraid. For example it’s not really going to give you anything really that new and fresh in the way of breathing a fresh bit of life into the way the album comes across, and for some reason some tracks work better than others.

There is no doubt in my mind that the quality of the original master tapes of Red are either not up to scratch or it was just badly recorded in the first place. It could also be down to the mix having way too much saturation in it, and some of the tracks do not seem to work that well at all for a 5.1 mix to really to give you a better presentation over the stereo mixes.

Out of the 5 original tracks on the album the only two that work maybe better for the 5.1 mix are “Providence” and “Starless“. No doubt that all the tracks have been recorded over the 6 channels but there is just no real buzz here I am afraid and “Providence” is perhaps the only one that does seem to say a bit more.

Now the 3 bonus tracks that have been given the 5.1 treatment are an entirely different kettle of fish and do sound amazing in 5.1 and blow the original tracks away.

I am not by any means saying that the 5.1 mix on the album has been given a piss poor poor job. I Just think there is something amiss with the overall quality and production the album never had in the first place, or that over the years the master tapes have worn down. The bonus material has a lot more superior quality about them, and this release is a long way off the mark of the others I have so far in this series.

Musicians & Credits…

Produced & Arranged by King Crimson. Cover by John Kosh. Photography by Gered Mankowitz. Equipment by Chris, Tex, Harvey and Peter Walmsley. Recorded at Olympic Studios, London. Engineer George Chkiantz. Assistant Engineer Rod Thear.

Robert Fripp: Guitars/Mellotron.
John Wetton: Bass/Vocals/Lyrics (On Starless)
Bill Bruford: Drums/Percussion.

Former King Crimson Personnel:
David Cross: Violin (On Providence).
Ian McDonald: Alto Sax (On One More Red Nightmare and Starless).
Mel Collins: Soprano Sax (On Starless).

Additional Personnel:
Mark Charig: Cornet (On Fallen Angel)/Bass Cello (On Red) (Uncredited).
Robin Miller: Oboe (On Fallen Angel).
Unaccredited Musician: Cello & Double Bass (On Starless).
Richard Palmer James: Lyrics (On Fallen Angel and Starless).

The Original Album Tracks Review…

The original album Red by King Crimson was released on the 6th October 1974. The album contained 5 tracks over a playing time of just under 40 minutes. The material that made up some of the album came from a live show they played at the Palace Theatre in the Province of Rhode Island on the 30th June 1974. The rest of the other material was recorded live and overdubbed in the Olympic Studios in London England between the months of July and August of the same year.

Track 1 Red.

The album kicks off with its self titled instrumental track entitled “Red“. It’s almost like a thrashed out metal version of “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part 2” in some ways, and though it does have the power, it does not quite have the finesse and arrangement that Lark’s has to offer in with its more diverse structure, and with how all the other musicians stand out so well in the musical department.

Red if anything is a very well driven track with Fripp’s distorted driven guitar overpowering everybody else. There is no doubt that Fripp is playing more of a dominant role here, and Wetton is playing a more laid back part in relation to the 2 previous albums he played on. Even Bruford’s drums are seated well at the back but still manage to bleed through all the distortion here.

However it does come down around the 2:45 to allow Mark Charig‘s bass cello to be heard who was unaccredited on the album for his small part as well. It then builds back up to it normal groove and ends off very well in the same way how it started.

The piece is played over multiple time signatures of 5/8, 7/8 and 4/4. It’s also said it’s polyrhythmic melodies use whole tone scales. To be perfectly honest I don’t give a damn about the technical jargon and at the end of the day it’s how the music comes across and speaks to me :))))))).

There is no doubt that Red is a great track on the album and a superb starting point. Personally I do not feel it’s as strong as some of the material we got on both their previous  albums, but never the less it’s a contender for the top spot on this album without a doubt.

Track 2. Fallen Angel.

Fallen Angel” is an upbeat ballad of a song that has elements of jazz fused into it with the addition of Mark Charig on Cornet and other session player Robin Miller on Oboe. Both instruments work very well to give it that jazz presence and vibe. To be honest if you take these elements out of the way, it would say very little about jazz at all.

It’s the only track on the album that features Fripp on acoustic guitar as well as electric to which he mostly uses on this album. Wetton’s bass and vocals work very well on the song, so too do Bruford’s drums. It’s also the only song on the album that Richard Palmer James contributed all the lyrics too as well.

The song was made up from an unused song of Wetton’s entitled “Woman” at the time, and Fripp used one of his riffs from Larks’ Tongues In Aspic to make music what it is here. It’s a very nice song and they all do a great job on it.

Track 3. One More Red Nightmare.

A song penned by Fripp & Wetton in which the nightmare here is about a plane crash. The songs main strident theme was originally developed from a lot of their live improvisations. It’s also been noted for it’s trashy sounding cymbal breaks which came from a 20 inch Zilko cymbal that Bruford found in a rubbish bin in the rehearsal studio.

A lot of Bruford’s inspirations came from Billy Cobham at the time who had quite a huge influence on him whilst making this album.

It features Ian McDonald on alto sax, who very much adds the excellent jazz element and touch to the piece. The remaining trio do the business on the song. This for me personally is one of the best structured songs on the album, and it’s very much the highest contender for the top spot on the album.

Track 4. Providence.

The 2nd instrumental piece on the album is a live improvisation that was recorded at the Palace Theatre in the Province of Rhode Island in the USA on the 30th June 1974. It’s title may have even been inspired from it being played in the province. It features the original quartet line up and was recorded before David Cross had left the band. His violin also features heavily on the piece and it’s perhaps more of an avant garde jam than anything else.

It’s perhaps the weakest track on the album, but never the less sounds well effective for 5.1 listeners :))))))))))))).

Track 5. Starless.

A song that John Wetton wrote the melody line and lyrics too that was originally intended for their previous album Starless In Bible Black. Due to both Fripp and Bruford not liking it, it very much got shelved for this album.

Though for this release it did get a couple of alterations. The first was from Bruford adding a 13/4 time signature around Wetton’s bass riff, and second change was made by Fripp getting Richard Palmer James to write and change some of Wetton’s lyrics.

I have to say it’s very confusing considering both Fripp & Bruford never liked it in the first place, especially has they had been playing the song live on a number of occasions during March to June has a quartet before any changes were made at all. The changes that were made were very little and did practically nothing to how the song went along in the first place.

The only real changes that were made on this release on the album that did make the difference, were by the additions by the other session players and Fripp replacing Cross’s violin with his guitar, and also making it a bit longer.

There is no doubt in my mind that this version of “Starless” is the best of them all. Besides the trio doing their great job on the track it features both Ian McDonald on alto sax and Mel Collins on soprano sax and they both add the sparkle and jazz flavour to the piece. There is also an unaccredited musician with no name who contributed both cello and double bass to it, though the double bass part could of also of been easily played on the cello.

Starless” is without a doubt the classic song on the album, it’s also been one of my ultimate favourite songs of King Crimson for years. It contains a beautiful melody line and goes through some really great changes and has a great build up to it all. It grabs the top spot on the album for me and is a perfect was to finish the album off with.


The 40th Anniversary Edition of the bands 7th album Red is not the best of these releases at all. It’s way below the sound quality of the other 5 albums I have so far in this series. My incentive for buying these albums is for the 5.1 mixes, and the mixes of the original tracks are not really gonna breath any new life into them I am afraid. It’s only the 5.1 mixes of the 3 bonus tracks that do have the same quality that we got with the other albums in this series, that stand out the most on this release.

To be honest not even the stereo mixes on this album are any better than previous releases, and the only thing you are getting extra here for your money is the bonus tracks and the video content on the DVD.

Overall it’s disappointing especially when you hear how well done the other releases have been done in this series. The only real magic here is without a doubt the bonus tracks and I am glad I never paid as much as some of the other releases in this 40th Anniversary series cost me. However I am still glad I did purchase it even for the very little that is very good on here.


The album Red by King Crimson is a very good album but not a solid album even though it only has 5 tracks on it. The real strength of the album is contained in only 3 of its tracks which are “Red“. “One More Red Nightmare” and it’s classic “Starless“.

For this reason alone I feel that the material on the album is not on par with the previous 2 albums in the trilogy, especially has they both had more tracks on and were much more consistent albums with the amount of better material that made them up.

It also lacks the production the other 2 albums had in the trilogy, which is why I personally feel that this particular album was overrated just like the many said back in the day of its release.

If you cannot make a solid album with only 5 tracks then something is amiss that’s for sure. I am not saying that both Larks’ Tongues In Aspic and Starless In Bible Black were solid albums by any means, but overall they certainly had more stronger material to make them up. I would also say that the strongest album out of the trilogy would have to go to Larks’ Tongues In Aspic.

However you look at the album Red by King Crimson it was very much part of a trilogy of albums from a really great line up of musicians. Even some of its older musicians played a major part on this particular album to make the material stand out so well. For a lot of today’s fans there is no doubt that Red would be amongst the bands top albums. Personally for me it would not make the grade of my choice of their best albums. But no doubt it’s still a must for my collection.

Starless And Bible Black…

The CD track listing is as follows:

01. Red. 6:16.
02. Fallen Angel. 6:03.
03. One More Red Nightmare. 7:09.
04. Providence. 8:10.
05. Starless. 12:26.
06. Red (Trio Version) #. 6:27.
07. Fallen Angel (Trio Version) (Instrumental) #. 6:26.
08. Providence (Full Version) #. 10:08.

Lee’s overall Complete Package Value Rating…

The Packaging Rating Score. 7/10

The Bonus Tracks Rating Score. 10/10

The 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 7/10.

The Original Album Rating Score. 7/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #30

Starless And Bible Black (40th Anniversary CD/DVD Edition) – King Crimson



With the band now down to a quartet after the abrupt decision by James Muir to leave. Bill Bruford added an arsenal of percussion to his drum kit so that the band was still able to tour their previous album Larks’ Tongues In Aspic. It was with the band now being more about drawing their attention and focus on American Jazz and more used to playing improvisation’s in a European style that they got to perform new improvised pieces live on stage, much of which was used to make up the biggest majority of their 2nd album of the trilogy.

The album Starless And Bible Black was very much a combination of studio and live material that made it all up. Only 2 of the 8 tracks that make it up were recorded in the studio, the live material was taken from 3 different venues the band played during October and November of 1973. Many of the live tracks were also overdubbed in the studios and the audience removed from them to make it appear more like a studio album.

The 40th Anniversary Edition Release…

The 40th Anniversary CD/DVD Edition of Starless In Bible Black was released on the 3rd October 2011. You will notice with all the editions in this series that they was not released in chronological order of when they came out, nor was they released on their 40th Anniversary either, and in some cases way before.

I think that they went on the idea that as soon has their debut album reached its 40th Anniversary. They would simply release all their other albums in the same series and they was also do so in no particular order, and this was even released before the album that came before it Larks’ Tongues In Aspic.

On the 20th October 2014 they even released a 27 Disc Box Set of the album entitled Starless at a price of £130. I myself opted for the CD/DVD release at a more respectable price of £14.89 from Amazon.

The Packaging & Artwork…


These 40th Anniversary CD/DVD Editions are all packaged the same and the slip[cases that hold the discs have been constricted from 2 thin layers of cardboard. Cheaply done but never the less are good enough and in my own opinion are certainly more presentable than how they packaged all the 27 discs in their £130 Box Set. Now that thing has been done entirely on the cheap and even some of its discs are just slotted into a thin sheet of cardboard, and the others just in cheap individual cardboard wallets with no sturdy plastic disc tray holders.

The Artwork.

The albums artwork is perhaps less interesting, and I have to say does very little or any kind of justice to the albums title. It was painted by Tom Phillips who even included the phrase “this night wounds time” on the back of the album, which was from his own signature work from a Victorian Novel entitled A Humument he was doing some alterations on back in 1970.

Starless In Bible Black (40th Anniversary CD/DVD) Review…

Has with all these 40th Anniversary CD/DVD Editions they come with an array of features especially on the DVD. The 5.1 mix of the album is my personal incentive for buying these albums all over again, but the extra bonus tracks you get on the CD and even the high quality stereo audio you get on the DVD makes these packages well worth the price.

The DVD without a doubt is far more superior in the quality than what the CD will ever be. It’s really only the video content from years ago that’s on the DVD that is never gonna be of any really great audio quality at all, and serves in general as a piece of nostalgic history in reality.

The CD & Bonus Tracks.

The CD comes with the new 2011 mixes done by Steve Wilson & Robert Fripp but only 6 of the 8 original tracks do have these new mixes, due to not having the original multi track master tapes of “Trio” and “The Mincer“. Both of those tracks are the same that was released on the 30th Anniversary HDCD version from 2005.

The bonus material is excellent on the CD and the good thing here is that they mainly consists of material that was not featured on the album, and the improv of “The Mincer” is the only one of them that was on the album, only here it does not have the abrupt ending like it does on the album. It’s also all live material and is like listening to a mini concert.

You get 5 bonus tracks in total and they are as follows “The Law of Maximum Distress, Pt. 1 [*]“. “Improv: The Mincer [*]“. “The Law of Maximum Distress, Pt. 2 [*]“. “Dr. Diamond [*] [Live, June 23rd 1973]“. “Guts on My Side [*] [Live, March 19th 1974]“.

The DVD.

SS 1

The DVD’s main menu screen is simple enough to get about and packs in quite an array of extras in the audio department and even contains a couple of videos. The DVD also contains the new 2011 mixes by Steve Wilson & Robert Fripp and come in high quality audio formats of a Lossless Stereo MLP mix in 24/96 and a PCM Stereo mix in 24/48.

Now let’s take a look at some of the other extras we do get on the screen below besides the 5.1 mixes which I will discuss later.

SS 2

As we can see from the menu above starting at the top it comes with the 30th Anniversary remastered tracks of the original stereo album tracks. These also come with same audio formats has above.

Next up we have 35 minutes of the 1973 Live in Zurich concert and you can see the set list on the following menu screen.

SS 3

The Mincer” from this concert is the actual track they used for this album and I have to say it also works very well sandwiched in between parts 1 & 2 of “The Law Maximum Distress“. The audio comes in PCM Stereo 24/48 only but is a really great bit of concert footage to have.

SS 4

Next up as we can see from the screen above we have the additional tracks section. The 1st track is the only one that comes with a 5.1 mix and this version of “Easy Money” has been taken from King Crimson’s Night Watch album and is purely awesome how both Wilson & Fripp have done the mix on it. It also comes in the form of an high quality audio format of 24/96 and is stunning.

The rest of the tracks in this section come in the form of PCM Stereo 24/48 only, and it even includes a couple of Radio Spot adds that promoted the album at the time of its release.

The final section of the extras menu contains the video footage and in here we have a live version of “Easy Money” from Central Park in New York from the 25th June 1973. It also contains another video they have titled “Fragged Dusty Wall Carpet” but to be honest it’s that short I am not really sure if it’s a track at all :)))))))))) and it’s just a bit of an extension of the 1st track.

The video footage was filmed by Atlantic originally for promotional purposes and it’s a nice bit of nostalgia to be included here.

The 5.1 Mix.

Once again just like the superb 5.1 mixes that was on their previous album Larks’ Tongues In Aspic both Steve Wilson & Robert Fripp have totally matched the outstanding job on the mixes for this album. Though 2 of the tracks namely “Trio” and “The Mincer” could not be mixed into 5.1 due to the original multi track master tapes being lost. But once again they have been very well up-mixed into 5.1 by Simon Heyworth and Robert Fripp using Pentio Software.

Though both the up-mixed tracks are never gonna be as good as the rest of the tracks, they are quite good in the way they have been mixed, and do have that bit more about them than the stereo mixes do. But it’s only really the genuine 5.1 mixes here that will blow your mind, and they are purely stunning in every detail of how they project over all the 6 channels.

Musicians & Credits…

Produced by King Crimson. Cover design by Tom Phillips. Equipment by Chris and Tex. Recorded at Air Studios, London and at the following live venues The Apollo, Glasgow. Volkshaus, Zurich. Concertgebouw, Amsterdam on the 23rd October and the 15th & 23rd November and in the studio in January 1974. Engineer George Chkiantz. Assistant Engineer Peter Henderson. Lyrics by Richard Palmer James.


Robert Fripp: Guitars/Mellotron/Electric Piano & Devices.
John Wetton: Bass/Vocals.
David Cross: Violin/Viola/Mellotron/Electric Piano.
Bill Bruford: Drums/Percussion.

The Original Album Tracks Review…

The original album Starless In Bible Black by King Crimson was recorded between October 1973 – January 1974 and officially released in the UK on the 29th of March 1974. The album consisted of 8 tracks played over a total playing time of 46 minutes 41 seconds. The album was constructed and put together mainly by live material that was overdubbed in the studio and the audience was removed to make it sound more like, and present itself as a studio album. Only the first 2 tracks on the album were written in the studio to make the album what it is.

I have to say that considering the album was made this way the album presents itself in exactly the same way has their previous album Larks’ Tongues In Aspic which very much was a real studio album, and the only one out of the whole trilogy. Even the material we have on Starless In Bible Black is very strong, and once again highlights the individual talents of each member of the band superbly in how it’s put across. This for me personally is where the 3rd album in the trilogy Red really lacks the strength that both the 1st and 2nd albums had in the trilogy.

Not only does Red lack the individual characteristics of the band members, it also lacks the dynamics and quality recording both these albums have. Even it’s best track “Starless” was intended for this album in the first place.

Track 1. The Great Deceiver.

The album kicks off with one of the finest songs the band ever wrote “The Great Deceiver“. The diversity of this upbeat song is a pure classic. The lyrical content and its title is based around the devil and even though they were written by Richard Palmer James it was Robert Fripp who came up with the magic line “cigarettes, ice cream, figurines of the Virgin Mary” having seen some souvenirs being marketed in Vatican City.

Both lyrically and musically the song kicks ass and is very much my personal favourite track on the album and merits my top spot award.

Track 2. Lament.

Lament” is another great song, though I have to say it’s title bears no relation to James  lyrics what so ever, and is entirely out of context. The lyrical content is based around fame or being a famous rock star in this case and liking many things about it.

Though John Wetton may put over the lyrics half way through the song in perhaps a distressing way. I am afraid the lyrics do not pertain to sadness, grief or sorrow, and they should of just titled the song “Fame” because the title they chose here, is a very strange one to say the least :)))))))))).

Track 3. We’ll Let You Know.

The first of the 4 instrumental tracks on the album “We’ll Let You Know” is very much a live improvisation or on stage jam to be more precise they done at the Apollo Theatre in Glasgow. The venue has been long demolished now and Fripp remembers how it was even Greens Playhouse before it was the Apollo and how it had customised carpets with the words “It’s Greens” embroidered on it.

It was even said that Al Jolson had a sell out week at Greens in the 20’s and was that good he brought the promoter a Rolls Royce.

King Crimson tended to play more live improvisations back in these days than their actual tracks from their own albums. Though they can still do the same today just as easily as well.

I have to confess they are not the kind of band I would want to see live due to this factor of playing something new all the time either. For me going to a concert is about seeing the band play the songs and music you heard on their albums you brought in the first place, and are familiar with. This is why some of the tribute bands are getting more successful for doing as well these days.

Hearing something like this track for the first time being played live on stage for the first time, would have many saying “come on get on with it, and let’s hear what we came here for” :))))))).

They may be great musicians but even if I was at the Genesis concert were they played the whole of The Lamb Lies Down On The Broadway album live before the album was released. I am pretty sure I would of been bored to death, because music like this has to allow the time to grow into it I am afraid, and you are certainly not going to enjoy it that much upon the first listen that’s for sure.

Once grown into even though “We’ll Let You Know” will speak better to you, especially for its use of fusion, and even I can listen to it with ease now. But it’s still never gonna have any contention or pose a threat to the other material we have on this album that’s for sure. Though I do have to say it sounds amazing in 5.1 and works very well for it as well.

Track 4. The Night Watch.

The ballad song of the album “The Night Watch” is very much a classic and an high contender for the top spot on the album. This piece was originally performed as an instrumental piece live for the first time at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam in November 1973. During the performance the mellotron broke down. Later on both the mellotron and Wetton’s voice was recorded and overdubbed in the studio on the piece for the album release.

To be honest this is a song that perhaps you would not mind hearing played live for the first time, simply because it more instantly likeable and accessible. The lyrics by James are very good and he actually wrote them in 1972 before joining the band. It was in fact an essay he wrote about Rembrandt’s famous painting of the same title of the song, and pertain to the artist.

Track 5. Trio.

Another live improv that come from the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam only this time a much more structured beautiful piece of music that was intentionally designed for a quartet. But the fact that Bill Bruford just sat there with his drumsticks crossed in his hands on his chest and never played a thing. It very much became a trio hence the title of the piece.

Though Bruford never contributed to the piece Fripp still very much gave him writing credits to it on the basis that he used his own initiative and knew it did not need any drums or percussion on it. I bet there was no doubt he enjoyed listening to the other 3 members playing it and was too taken in by its beauty.

It’s very much an expressive piece of work and no doubt is another contender for the top spot on the album.

Track 6. The Mincer.

The Mincer” is the final of the 4 vocal tracks on the album, though it has very little words at all. Once again this was an instrumental piece and came from the live concert they played in Zurich. Wetton overdubbed his voice on the track in the studio and wrote what little lyrics we do have here to sing too.

There is no doubt that the original live instrumental piece would of went on a lot longer, but unfortunate for the band the master tape had run out and you can even hear the warbling noise of it has it comes to an end, and they just left the end of it on this recording.

It’s perhaps not the most professional way to put a track like this on an album, and in all honesty they should of just recorded it again in the studio rather than just overdub some vocals on it, and say that will do.

Had they have done so it may well have been another contender for the top spot on the album, especially as it has a great groove and feel about it, and the way it so very well builds itself up. They could of even further developed the piece too to make it a lot better than it is. Don’t get me wrong I quite like the track, but the fact they went about things here in a very unprofessional way does not really help it I am afraid.

Track 7. Starless & Bible Black.

No doubt the most unusual piece of music to be merited as the albums self titled track. My guess is that the reason why it was chosen was entirely down to it’s strange title and nothing else. The truth of the matter here is that the music we get here for the albums title was not what it was first intended to be at all, and if Wetton had got his way the song we got on the album Red entitled “Starless” would of been titled “Starless & Bible Black” and would of been on this album instead.

It was during the making of this album that Wetton wrote the lyrics for the instrumental piece of music that eventually appeared on the Red album. The fact the Fripp never thought the lyrics were good enough and Bruford never really liked the song in the first place is the reason for it ending up on Red and this other live improvised instrumental piece ending up here instead.

Starless & Bible Black” was also taken from the concert they played at Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. It’s very much an interesting piece of work that features the band interacting very well with each other, though just  like “We’ll Let You Know” it’s something one would have to grow into and would not want to hear for the first time being played live on a stage.

I certainly do not think it’s a contender for the top spot of the album, and neither do I feel that it should merit the title of this album either. I personally think that Wetton had right idea in the first place and not Fripp I am afraid, especially as far of what should of been the album’s track here, and the fact that Fripp never went along with the idea he would of been better off calling the album “The Great Deceiver“. But maybe the devil got to him :))))))).

Track 8. Fracture.

The instrumental piece “Fracture” for many this may be their favourite track on the album, and no doubt this is the best instrumental piece on the album that is an high contender for the top spot. It’s also the longest track on the album and Robert Fripp describes it has the most difficult piece he has ever played on his guitar.

To be perfectly honest I would not have any idea how difficult this piece is and every time I have seen Fripp play live on video with King Crimson he just makes everything looks so of damn simple, though I am sure he has some fine technique in his playing approach, but when it comes to talking about the many guitar greats there are in this world, I certainly would not put Fripp amongst them.

The very thing I like about Fripp is the fact that he lets his other musicians shine more than himself for most of the time. There is no doubt that Wetton’s bass playing on the first 2 albums in this trilogy stands out a mile in relation to anything that Fripp is really playing at all. He comes into more of a feature on the final album in the trilogy and drowns the rest out :))))))).

But no doubt that Fripp does get to feature a lot more on this superb track and it not only has some heavy riffs, but also has some very intricate guitar melody arpeggios played over some of the chords in it. It’s a very powerful track with a great build and puts an end to another magnificent album.


To sum up my review for this 40th Anniversary Edition of Starless In Bible Black by King Crimson it’s got to be the best release of the album. Once again the 5.1 mixes will blow your socks off and even the 2011 mixes are very well done and sound much better for it.

The original vinyl album would of certainly had some downgraded quality issues down to its time slot limitations being 46 minutes in the first place. The extra bonus tracks on the CD are a superb addition as well.

Once again the DVD is where the real quality lies and the extras and all you are getting here makes it tremendous value for its price point.


To conclude my review of the original albums tracks I would say that what we have here is on the same par with Larks’ Tongues In Aspic. I also feel that some of the material is slightly stronger too, even though there is no doubt that a couple of tracks on Starless In Bible Black do not measure up to it being more of a solid album than their previous album.

It’s very hard for me to personally pinpoint why I have always seen Starless In Bible Black has my favourite of all King Crimson albums, especially has I do feel that it’s not a solid album. I guess it has something to do with the best tracks on the album more than anything. I still rate both the first 2 albums in this trilogy the best and they could of easily of made a solid double album out of the best material on the 2 albums.

Cigarettes, Ice Cream, Figurines Of The Virgin Mary…

The CD track listing is as follows:

01. The Great Deceiver. 4:02.
02. Lament. 4:04.
03. We’ll Let You Know. 3:40.
04. The Night Watch. 4:40.
05. Trio. 5:39.
06. The Mincer. 4:08.
07. Starless & Bible Black. 9:10.
08. Fracture. 11:18.
09. The Law of Maximum Distress, Pt. 1 [*]. 6:41.
10. Improv: The Mincer [*]. 4:21.
11. The Law of Maximum Distress, Pt. 2 [*]. 2:27.
12. Dr. Diamond [*][Live][Live, June 23rd 1973]. 4:00.
13. Guts on My Side [*][Live][Live, March 19th 1974]. 4:30.

Lee’s overall Complete Package Value Rating…

The Packaging Rating Score. 7/10

The Bonus Tracks Rating Score. 8/10

The 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 10/10.

The Original Album Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #29

Larks’ Tongues In Aspic (40th Anniversary CD/DVD Edition) – King Crimson



At the end of promoting the bands previous album Islands. Robert Fripp decided to break away from all the previous members that were involved in the previous incarnations of the band including its only other longest member who had been with the band from the start. It’s lyricist Peter Sinfield.

There is no doubt that King Crimson found it increasingly hard to keep it’s musicians and keep a consistent line up, and by now it was getting to Fripp that much that he started to look at those musicians outside of the band who shown more of an interest in the band. One of those musicians was a long time friend of Fripp who had voiced his opinion to him way before that he was keen to join the band. He was none other than singer and bass guitarist John Wetton.

Wetton was the first new recruit for what was to become the 5th incarnation of the band. To be honest I have no idea why Fripp chose to drop its long time lyricist Peter Sinfield in the first place, but my guess is that Wetton had something to do with it. Richard Palmer James was to become the bands new lyricist a musician who had played in many other bands all of which featured Wetton on bass and vocals.

James was also the founding member of the band Supertramp in which he played guitar and wrote all the lyrics for their debut album. So my guess is that when Wetton joined James came along with him and poor old Sinfield was out the door.

The free experimental improvising percussionist Jamie Muir was the next recruit to join. Another long time admirer of the band was the drummer from Yes. Bill Bruford. Bruford felt he had given all he could to Yes and was brought in to pair up his drums with Muir.

The final recruit was a new musician by the name of David Cross. Cross played violin and was also handy on the keyboards though he had no previous experience with any well known bands like the other recruits had, and King Crimson was to be his first piece of musical history he contributed too.

A New Musical Sound Direction…

Without any elements of brass and flute and just a solo violin it very much meant that Robert Fripp had intended to change sound and style of King Crimson. It was perhaps eminent after their disappointing last album Islands. It was time to be a bit more experimental with the new band line up.

With both Fripp and Cross being able to play the keys, it still allowed them to keep the ever present sound of mellotron ongoing and still feature heavily in the bands music. But it was perhaps the array of percussion that Muir had onboard his rig that gave them the more experimental side of things. With the addition of Bruford adding support on the drums to the backline it allowed Wetton to have more of free lead role on the bass.

There was no doubt that Wetton was the best bass player the band had seen at this point since they had Greg Lake. His contribution to the trilogy of albums that was about to be sprung upon us was outstanding.

King Crimson if anything had become even more adventurous at this stage and the new line up even added jazz fusion into the pot as well. The bands 5th album Lark’s Tongues In Aspic was the first new step in putting the band back on the right path with its new sound and direction. No doubt it was a much stronger album than Islands which in all honesty was very poor in relation to it I personally thought.

The 40th Anniversary Edition Release…

The 40th Anniversary Edition of Lark’s Tongues In Aspic was released on the 26th October 2012. It was released in 3 versions. A 2 CD version that contained a new remaster and new Steve Wilson mix of the album. A CD/DVD version containing the new remaster on the CD and 5.1 mix on the DVD along with an array of other bonus material. It was also released as a massive box set containing 13 CD’s a DVD and a Blu Ray.

Amazingly the box set can still be picked up at a reasonable price of £89.99 on Amazon. Unlike the much smaller 6 disc box set release of In The Court Of The Crimson King which is being sold on there for ridiculous amounts of money and approaching the £400 mark. I myself settled for the more reasonable CD/DVD Edition which I got for £14.85 from Amazon.

The Packaging & Artwork…


The construction and quality of the packaging is very much all the same on these CD/DVD releases. They use 2 very thin layers of cardboard glued together to make the slipcase with and 1 thicker layer to construct the box that the slipcase can be stored in. It’s quite light weight and not the best of quality, but never the less ample enough to do the job.

Once again the booklet contains very well detailed information about the time the album was originally released, and includes all the info about this new release. The CD labels are also of a lot better quality than what we seen on their debut album too.

The Artwork.

The artwork was done by a London company called Tantra Designs. The cover illustration depicts a union of the sun and moon, and conveys the same idea that harkens back to their debut album. Fripp may have returned back to the basic symbol of their first album to say that this was a new beginning.

Larks’ Tongues In Aspic (40th Anniversary CD/DVD) Review…

The 40th Anniversary Edition of the bands 1973 album Larks’ Tongues In Aspic is another superb release that comes packed with a lot of extra features especially on the DVD. All the original multi track master tapes were available and intact for this release, and the quality is purely awesome.

The CD & Bonus Tracks.

The CD comes with the new 2012 mixes done by Steve Wilson & Robert Fripp and sounds excellent. It comes with 3 bonus tracks all of which are alternative takes and mixes, with the bonus tracks it has a total playing time of 77 minutes 56 seconds. The bonus tracks are as follows: Lark’s Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 1 [Alt. Mix] #. Book of Saturday [Alt. Take] #. The Talking Drum [Alt. Mix] #.

The DVD.


Once again the DVD goes through some lovely animated transitions upon loading and you are presented with the main menu as seen in the picture above. Besides the 5.1 mix of the album I will get to later, we get a great array of extras on the DVD. There is the new 2012 Stereo mixes done by Fripp & Wilson of the 6 track album that come in audio quality of 24/96 MLP Lossless and PCM 24/48 formats.

It also includes the 30th Anniversary Edition Remasters from the original tapes which come in 24/48 PCM audio quality. An albums worth of alternative takes and mixes done by Steve Wilson in the same audio quality. You also get near enough 54 minutes of live video footage of the band playing live in the studio in Bremen from October 1972. 30 minutes of which is a new improvisation they done at the time they called “The Tapestry Of Life“.

The 5.1 Mix.

Has with all these 5.1 mixes in the 40th Anniversary Editions are done by both Fripp & Wilson and this is why these mixes are certainly more adventurous than any Wilson mix done on his own. Personally they are way better than any Wilson 5.1 mix and will blow your head off in how they have been done.

There can be no doubt what so ever that a good 5.1 nix will inject a new lease of life back into any old recording. There is quite a massive difference between hearing the 5.1 mix over the stereo mix of these albums. For example you will get to hear what every musician is doing so clearly and the sound of their actual instruments project superbly with the dynamics that the 5.1 mix has giving them more of the realistic sound to them as well.

To put it in a nutshell you are never going to hear how good Wetton’s bass is on your stereo mixes whether you have the album on CD or Vinyl I am sorry to say they just cannot project the realism a 5.1 mix can give you. Wetton’s bass sounds purely outstanding on the 5.1 mix. It’s as if he’s come into your room and plugged his bass guitar into your subwoofer. That’s how good these mixes really are.

Because these albums also feature loads of percussion. It has been very well utilised over the whole 6 channels with the placement of it all to which allows the space for every instrument to breathe and project so superbly. In many ways it’s been done with a cinematic approach that will enable certain parts of it to whack you on the back of the head.

They have also made adjustments to the levels on some of the tracks so you are going to have to be extremely careful with the volume controls on your amp. To be honest this is something that is not of the norm to do, and some people may not like exactly what they have done here either, but it has been done very effectively I will say.

In some ways I suppose it’s a bit like what Mike Oldfield done on his Amarok album to get back at, and annoy Richard Branson. Though it’s not that piercing :))))))))))). Like I say it’s only on certain tracks and the opening one “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part 1” is one where they have lowered the levels on its intro and the sound will only come from the front speakers at first. When everything else comes into play the levels are accentuated in higher volumes and will hit you with a driving force.

It’s certainly not apparent on the stereo mix on the CD and you will find yourself turning up the volume on the 5.1 mix cause it does seem very low at first. No doubt it’s been done on purpose for the effect it now gives you, and I have to say it works very well for it too. Just watch how much you turn it up, otherwise you will have the whole neighbourhood on your back (LOL). The 5.1 mix comes with 2 choices of 5.1 audio a DTS & MLP Lossless 24/48.

Musicians & Credits…

Produced by King Crimson. Cover design by Tantra Design London. Equipment by Kettle, Simmons & Walmsley. Recorded at Command Studios, London between January & February 1973. Engineer Nick Ryan.


Robert Fripp: Guitars/Mellotron & Devices.
John Wetton: Bass/Vocals/Piano.
David Cross: Voilin/Viola/Mellotron.
Bill Bruford: Drums.
James Muir: Percussion & Allsorts.

The Original Album Tracks Review…

Larks’ Tongues In Aspic by King Crimson was released on the 23rd March 1973. The album contained 6 tracks over a total playing time of 46 minutes, 36 seconds. The tracks were made up of 4 songs with words and 2 instrumental pieces. It was the first of a trilogy of albums and step into a new experimental and improvisational direction.

Track 1. Larks’ Tongues In Aspic (Part 1).

Larks’ Tongues In Aspic (Part 1)” is an experimental improvisation and the longest track on the album. It’s unusual title may have been the thing that sparked off Fripp to do 4 parts over the years, though none of the other parts in reality musically have nothing to do with it at all, and there is no similarities to the first part at all, and parts 3 & 4 are very much structured around part 2 and similar to it. For me personally this first part is by far the best of them all.

The piece opens up with marimba glocks and chimes and builds it way along to where the cymbals very much sort of represent the crickets singing in the night. The intro takes up 2 minutes and 52 seconds and is played by both James Muir & Bill Bruford. The percussion comes to an end and in comes David Cross on violin followed closely by Robert Fripp on guitar. Then in comes John Wetton on the bass and the whole thing goes into a frenzy of jazz fusion.

That all said the whole piece is very much a very dramatic piece of work even if it does have this frenzy of jazz fusion thrown into its equation. It not only describes the night with its percussion playing the role of singing crickets, but also describes the dawn of the morning with the larks singing and the sun rising and bringing in the new day.

When Fripp first approached Cross to join the band he told him that he wanted to do something a bit on the Indian side of things. There is no doubt that sun and the moon on the album cover are well apt to this opening piece, and in reality it only represents this piece and none of the other 3 parts that were done of “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic“.

Though Fripp originally wanted something with a touch of east to it, he very much incorporated a touch of the orient and even an Egyptian equation to it as well. Besides all the mad fusion here we have some excellent expressive passages played by Cross on the violin from the 7:40 onwards.

It really is a superb piece of work that even has a coda section to which a recording of a drama played on a radio station in Scotland was used in it that Muir provided. The radio drama was entitled ‘Gallowglass‘ and you can quite clearly hear the judge passing his sentence to the criminal with the words “you shall be hanged by the neck upon a gibbet, until you are, dead”.

There is no doubt that “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic (Part 1)” is filled with diversity and it’s one of the highest contenders for the top spot on the album.

Track 2. Book Of Saturday.

When it comes to changing the tempo and toning things down a bit. King Crimson have always been able to do it in great style. For those who think King Crimson is nothing but a noise they really have not paid any attention to what they are all about at all I am afraid.

The “Book Of Saturday” is very much a classic ballad of a song just like we seen on their earlier albums with songs like “I Talk To The Wind” and “Cadence And Cascade” from their first 2 albums. It’s a beautiful song that contains some of Fripp’s more refined guitar playing and the whole band make it shine. No doubt this is another contender for the top spot on the album.

Track 3. Exiles.

Exiles” picks up the drama once again and is more of a powerful ballad. The lyrical content provided by Richard Palmer James is well in context with the songs title here. It’s another piece that kicks off with the use of some great percussion from Muir and Bruford. The mellotron is also used heavily on its introduction too.

The song once again features the more refined side of Fripp on guitar and  Wetton not only handles the vocals and bass with ease, but also contributes a nice bit of piano into the piece. The violin work by Cross on the piece is yet again very expressive and contributes a lot to the dramatics of the piece. He also plays flute on this one too.

It’s very much another King Crimson classic of a song  and another high contender for the top spot of the album.

Track 4. Easy Money.

The heat gets turned up again for what is perhaps the most powerful track on the album “Easy Money“. One of the things the band King Crimson have always had is the ability to do is change tempos so superbly. This song no doubt rocks with a superb groove and feel. I have to say listening to this one in 5.1 surround sound will blow your mind with just how superb this track really is. The drums, percussion and bass on this are pure class.

For me personally songs like “Easy Money” and “The Great Deceiver” from the album Starless And Bible Black that followed are pure class written songs that have much more about them. They speak more highly to me than whatever the likes of “21st Century Schizoid Man” and “Red” will ever speak to me as well, which are also great, but far from what I would call class I am afraid.

Easy Money” is my personal favourite track on the album and merits my top spot award. But no doubt up to this point of the album, it is filled with contenders for the spot as well.

Track 5. The Talking Drum.

An instrumental piece with another great groove that builds up slowly and contains a very interesting trumpet sound which sounds very much like a fly or a bee flying around. The trumpet sound was made by Muir by attaching a brass mouthpiece to a length of tubing that spiralled around his head whilst blowing through it, causing the Doppler effect.

Both Muir and Bruford interchange with each other on the drums in time signatures of 4/4 and 5/4. Wetton adds to the groove with his bass and Fripp’s guitar and Cross’s violin play around the rest. It’s another great track on the album and was widely played live many times after too, with other incarnations of the bands line up.

Track 6. Larks’ Tongues In Aspic (Part 2).

The 2nd part of the self titled album track is another uptempo and powerful instrumental piece. Many other pieces were made up using Fripp’s guitar riff. You will not only hear it in parts 3 & 4 of “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic” but it also features along another riff on the self titled album track “Red” as well. It’s perhaps one of Fripp’s most overused riff’s out of them all.

Once again the band do the business on the piece even if Bruford does want to do another quick take like he suggests at the end of the track. It’s very much another contender for the top spot on the albums and puts an end to a very satisfying album and one I would put on par with the very best of their albums.


Larks’ Tongues In Aspic was the only King Crimson album that James Muir contributed too. When he joined the band in mid 1972 he was very much into Buddhism at the time and his belief got more stronger that he left the band abruptly not so long after the release of the album whilst they was on tour. He went back to his own country in Scotland and became a monk and lived in a Monastery there.

Though Muir did briefly return to the London music scene in 1980 to record with his old friends Derek Bailey and Evan Parker from his old band The Music Improvisation Company. No recordings we ever released by them. Though he did get to collaborate with King Crimson’s old drummer Michael Giles to work on the film score for Ghost Dance done with David Cunningham that was released in 1983. After he retired completely from the music business and went into painting.

There is no doubt that Muir’s contribution to the percussion on Larks’ Tongues In Aspic was a dominant feature and one that even Bruford would of learned a few things from him in the percussion department. The percussion was to become more of a regular feature throughout King Crimson’s output of work from here on and King Crimson was the only real well known band Muir got to play with.

Many of King Crimson’s fans would describe both Larks’ Tongues In Aspic and Starless And Bible Black as the build up albums of the trilogy that contributed for what was to come in how good the 3rd album in the trilogy Red turned out. Personally when it comes to solid albums containing solid material on them that makes up an album. I would say that both Larks’ Tongues In Aspic and Starless And Bible Black contained a lot more stronger material on them. In reality the album Red was made out of the leftovers of what the band were doing at the time.


The 40th Anniversary Edition of Larks’ Tongues In Aspic by King Crimson is very well worthy package of buying again for its sheer quality. The 2012 new mixes on the CD is up there with the vinyl album if not better. But the DVD is where the real quality lies. The 5.1 mix is purely awesome and no doubt in my mind it will provide the listener with an entirely new and fresh way of hearing this magic album. It will simply blow your socks off and leave both the vinyl album and CD in the dust for breathtaking quality.

The bonus features on the DVD are once again are in abundance and even the film footage is well worthy of seeing. For its price point it’s worthy of every penny and more. I am well over the moon with the CD/DVD editions in this series so far and you are getting high end quality with them.

To conclude my review of Larks’ Tongues In Aspic. It’s very much an album that many would say was experimental, but it’s a combination of both improvisational and composed material that allowed the band a lot of scope and freedom to express themselves individually, and it resulted in the making of a solid album with all 6 tracks upon it.

No doubt in my mind it’s up with their best ever work and the album that was to follow it was marginally better in my book.

As You Twinkle By In Moccasin Sneakers…

The CD track listing is as follows:

01. Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 1. 7:24.
02. Book of Saturday. 6:00.
03. Exiles. 8:52.
04. Easy Money. 9:02.
05. The Talking Drum. 9:31.
06. Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2. 12:15.
07. Lark’s Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 1 [Alt. Mix] #. 4:55.
08. Book of Saturday [Alt. Take] #. 6:36.
09. The Talking Drum [Alt. Mix] #. 9:05.

Lee’s overall Complete Package Value Rating…

The Packaging Rating Score. 7/10

The Bonus Tracks Rating Score. 8/10

The 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 10/10.

The Original Album Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #28

Tales of Auld Reekie – Dancing With Ghosts



The Tales of Auld Reekie is the latest album by Dancing With Ghosts and was just recently released on the 14th September of this month. Dancing With Ghosts is another side line project by the unsigned artist and English Song Folkster Karl Robins. Karl is a superb songwriter when it comes to writing traditional folk songs and one I would personally put on par with another truly great English Songwriter and artist Ralph McTell.

Though with Dancing With Ghosts Karl also has another fine lyric writer to help him out with having Andy Waterhouse onboard with him. He also contributes to the vocals on the album as well. They also have a fine female vocalist with Sheree Hemingway helping them out along the way, and Gary Hetherington is the very man, who not only adds his magic touch with all the other instrumentation to support Karl’s acoustic guitar. But he is also the producer who makes everything shine and sound so superbly, and there is no doubt that this album comes with a solid production.

Tales of Auld Reekie is the 3rd studio album by Dancing With Ghosts and this fine Group of old companions have churned out some truly amazing folk songs since they got together in 2013 and released their debut album Spirit of Beblow (Visions Of Holy Island) on the 3rd January 2014.

Karl Robins released an album with a collection of old songs he had wrote way back in the 80’s he did with John Carey whilst getting this new album ready to be released. That album was titled Easy Street and it’s an album I very much purchased and still tremendously enjoy, I also reviewed that album here: https://leespeaksoutaboutmusic.wordpress.com/2017/08/30/lee-speaks-about-music-25/ and I myself made the artwork for the album.

A couple of days before the release of Tales of Auld Reekie in the late evening Karl sent me the album for free as a kind gesture, and asked me if I would do the album cover for it. I was only too glad to be able to help out, and the next day I quickly got to work on the artwork and based it around the title of the band and the albums name and sent it to Karl.

Having listened to the album and even though I did the artwork and had the album for free. There was just no way I could accept it for free. It was a pure quality piece of work that had been done on it, and everything about it spoke to me just like a professional album you would buy from a record store with the solid material and production the album had. So I decided to buy the album and show my support to the band and give a little to support the charity the proceeds are going too.

The Band


Gary Hetherington. Karl Robins. Andy Waterhouse. Sheree Hemingway.

Has old as this fine bunch may appear. There is bags of experience that goes into making up this line up of Dancing With Ghosts. They all go back a long way together and in some cases have known each other for decades. It’s this experience what makes this band work so well together.

Gary is very much more of a multi instrumentalist and producer with a great vision to see just what other elements a stripped down acoustic song needs to make it shine. He is very handy on the mixing desk and comes with great ear to be able to bring out the best quality in the end product that’s been put together. His contribution to the band is very much a magical one.

Karl is very much a singer songwriter in his own rights. He is a very experienced musician who has been crafting fine songs for decades on his acoustic guitars. He also comes with a great voice and has the technique to layer and construct superb harmonies.

Andy comes with a fine voice that also works superbly in working alongside Karl’s voice. They both can take on the lead roles and harmonies to make these songs work so well. He also contributes in another big way to with the lyrics, and the biggest majority of songs on this album are in fact written by Karl and Andy.

Sheree is another excellent contribution to some of the songs in this fine outfit. Her vocals and harmonies are not only great, but they also lend an hand to giving the band more of a variety. They work so well with the band and upon this album they are like a breath of fresh air to hear, and help make the songs to be that much more interesting and provide another light and touch to it all.

The Concept Behind The Tales of Auld Reekie…

To be able to write a bunch of songs has good as they are on the album the Tales of Auld Reekie you very much need to travel places to see things that catch your eye and give you a firm subject matter to write about. The name of the band alone Dancing With Ghosts will no doubt have bearing on subject matter of being more based around some haunting places and events that have taken place in history.

The city of Edinburgh in Scotland is a place that goes way back in history and no doubt has some very haunting tales and places. It also has some brutal criminal history with the likes of Burke and Hare and some sad history regarding its famous dog Bobby who spent the rest of his days mourning at his masters grave

The city of Edinburgh was also nicknamed Auld Reekie down to its poor sewerage system many moons ago in its old town. Quite often the sewerage would pour out of its drains and roll all the way down the Royal Mile causing smog and a stench.

Though the album the Tales of Auld Reekie is not a concept album in the sense that it tells one continuous story throughout all its tracks. It does have a concept in that each song is based around the history of Edinburgh and is superbly portrayed in the way they have presented the album. It makes a very fascinating concept and truly magical album.

Tales of Auld Reekie Album Review…

The album the Tales of Auld Reekie by Dancing With Ghosts was released on the 14th September 2017 and contains 11 tracks over a playing time of 46 minutes and 50 seconds. Has with all Dancing With Ghosts albums the tracks consist of songs with vocal tracks  and instrumental tracks.

This one contains 7 songs and 4 instrumentals and I have to say it comes with a superb high quality production and is a solid body of work with everything that’s upon it. It does not disappoint in anyway and the album tracks have been very well placed in the way that it presents itself very well to the listener.

Track 1. DinEidyn’s Air.

The album introduces itself with a lovely acoustic instrumental piece that features some gorgeous melodies on the acoustic guitar, and is accompanied very fittingly by an accordion it could even be a reed organ played on the keyboards. Whatever it is the piece is a beautiful little ditty of a tune.

The name “Din Eidyn” goes back centuries to the days of the Celts and the Cumbric language which when translated in Old English you get the name Edinburgh. The word “Din Eidyn” is also believed to have been found in a Welsh poem. The poem speaks of it has being a hill fort in the territory of the Gododdin.

The “Air” put at the end of title we have here comes from Edinburgh being situated in the central belt of Scotland and there also lies Firth of Forth on the southern shore so you can take in its air so to speak.

Track 2. Greyfriars Bobby.

The “Greyfriars Bobby” is the first song on the album and features the beautiful voice of Sheree Hemingway and wonderfully backed up by the voices of Karl Robins and Andy Waterhouse. The lyrics they have put to the song are truly amazing with how so well they have put them in context here. The music is handled by Karl & Gary and it even has a tad of touch of Simon & Garfunkel’sScarborough Fair” about it with it’s wonderful melody.

The subject matter of the song is based on a true and very sad story from the19th century of a famous dog named “Bobby” owned by his master John Gray who was a policeman and worked in the city of Edinburgh patrolling the streets at night.


Bobby The Famous Sky Terrier.

When John Gray died they buried him in Greyfriars Kirkyard. His dog spent the rest of his life some 14 years in total sitting and morning at his masters grave. Bobby died in 1872 and they buried him at the gate of Greyfriars Kirkyard near his master. They even built a statue of him and he is still very popular with the tourists today, and people come from all countries to get a picture of themselves standing next to his statue.

The “Greyfriars Bobby” is a true classic song and one of the highest contenders for the top spot on the album. For many this could easily also be their personal favourite and this album is full of contenders for sure.

Track 3. A Person of Qualitie.

The longest track on the album “A Person of Qualitie” is a fine song based around the some of the history of Corstorphine in the west of Edinburgh back in the 17th century and the wealth of lords, lairds and peers and how land and property got passed on down the line. The person of qualitie or quality in question was one such laird and owner of land called James Baillie who Lord Forester took note of due to having no children of his own, and seen Ballie has the right person to pass over his title and his castle.

Though Ballie was not the man of qualitie that the 1st Lord Forester had seen, and had a roving eye for other woman. The one woman that caught his eye and seduced was his own niece Jane Hamilton who was married to Edinburgh burgess James Nimmo. However later on both Hamilton and Ballie had a big quarrel over the incident which resulted in Hamilton stabbing him to death with his own sword. Hamilton was charged and sent to prison for the killing and later executed at the Cross of Edinburgh.


Corstorphine Doocot.

The castle was demolished around 1797 and apart from the ancient dovecot (pictured above) that stands near the east end of Dovecot Road in Corstorphine, a suburb on the northwest side of Edinburgh. It is also said that it is haunted by a white lady often identified with Christian Hamilton or her by her married name of Nimmo.

All 4 members of the band feature on this cracking and once again the lyrics are superbly put into fine context to put across this bit of history and the music, vocals and harmonies do the business.

Track 4. Arthur’s Seat.

Well I suppose at some point you could not do a concept album about Edinburgh without mentioning “Arthur’s Seat” and this one is another wonderful instrumental piece that perhaps captures the beauty that can be seen of the city from it. Karl’s acoustic guitar and Gary’s orchestration do a grand job and it’s a a beauty of a piece.

Track 5. 17 Coffins (Mystery at Arthur’s Seat).

Another super traditional folk song performed by all 4 band members is one that tells the mystery of the 17 miniature coffins that contained miniature dolls inside that was found on the hills of Arthur’s Seat by a group of boys way back in June of 1836. Even till this day it’s still a mystery as to where they came from and why they was left there.

Many theories has to why they were made have been speculated over the years even down to the 17 victims that fell by the hands of Burke & Hare. Today only 8 of the coffins exist and they are on display in the National Museum of Scotland.


The Mysterious Miniature Coffins.

17 Coffins (Mystery at Arthur’s Seat)” is another song superbly portrayed and put across by the band, and is another really high contender for the top spot on the album.

Track 6. Messrs Burke & Hare.

Up next we have a classic bit of songwriting and my personal fave of the album that merits the top spot award on the album. “Messrs Burke & Hare” reminds a lot of the great songwriter and artist Richard Thomson who I myself have been a fan of ever since he was with the folk rock band Fairport Convention. When it comes to writing traditional folk songs Thompson without a doubt is up there with best of them, and in my opinion so is this song.

Once again an amazing job has been done on putting these lyrics into context and it portrays the evil doing’s of Burke & Hare superbly with Andy taking on the vocals and Karl and Gary doing the business on the instrumentation.

Track 7. Jingling Geordie.

A song with a lot of spirit about it in the way the band put this fine story over with its merry pace and feel about it all. The title perhaps suggests that this is about a chap who came from Newcastle, but the Geordie here is about a very kind wealthy Scotsman by the name of George Heriot who was the Goldsmith for King James VI of Scotland and his wife Anne of Denmark. It was through having this position that made him very well off and wealthy.

When Heriot died in 1624, he left the bulk of his estate and his money and requested for an hospital to be built in his own city of Edinburgh to care for orphaned children. The hospital was built and opened later on during the 17th century and was later turned into a school and today it’s known has George Heriot’s School.

The “Jingling Geordie” is another fabulous song that puts over another fine piece of history about Edinburgh and is once again put into context beautifully with the lyrics here.

Track 8. Johnny One Arm.

Another fascinating and great song that tells the story and tales of John Chiesly a guy with a short fuse who was not at all happy with the decision the judge George Lockhart made over the substantial amount of alimony money he had to pay his wife each year for the upkeep of his wife and 11 children. It resulted in Chiesly shooting dead the judge in broad daylight.

Over the years since the said event happened back in 1689 many tales and inaccurate accounts have found their way of how it all happened. Some say the event happened has Lockhart had just left the church on Easter Sunday and proceeded to walk along the Royal Mile. Others say that Lockhart was shot in the courtroom on the day he made his decision.

Has to how Chiesly became noted for having only one arm was also a bit of a mystery, and it was said that the arm he used the gun to shoot the judge with was badly severed by those who arrested him. Other accounts say he received more brutal torture when they hanged him at the gallows. Such has chopping his right hand off whilst still alive and hanging him in chains with the murder weapon tied to his neck.

It’s also said that he was left hanging on the gallows and his body disappeared, believed to be taken by his friends or relatives so that they could bury him. It was not until 1965 that a skeleton was found in a cottage in Dairy in Scotland where Chiesly was born. The skeleton was also found with the murder weapon lying next to his neck.

Today and for many years people have claimed that the ghost of John Chiesly can still be heard screaming in torture running along the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.

It’s another cracking song the band so very well put across and another contender for the top spot on the album.

Track 9. Where the Ghosts Hide.

An enchanting ghost song that features the beautiful voices of Sheree Hemingway and Karl Robins working in fine unison in the way of a duet and canticle on this wonderful song. Once again the music is skilfully handled by Karl and Gary and even though this song is not pertaining to any history of Edinburgh, the ghostly tale is very fitting to the hauntings about it and to the bands name.

Track 10. The Deacon.

A song about William Brodie a Scottish cabinet maker who was more commonly known by his prestigious title of Deacon Brodie for his deacon of trades and an Edinburgh city counsellor. Though Brodie appeared to many has a respectable and reputable man he was very much a scallywag with the ladies, and a gambler and thief.

He was also the local locksmith and worked on many of the houses of the rich in Edinburgh. He used to make moulds of the keys so he could make his own keys and rob their houses to help pay for his gambling habit. He even copied the keys to the bank and robbed that. He also recruited a gang of 3 thieves to help him do the robberies which included a grocer and cobbler.

Both William Brodie and one of is accomplishes George Smith who ran the grocers shop were hanged for their deeds on the 1st October 1788 at the Old Tolbooth in the high street in front of a crowd of 40.000. There was even a popular myth spread around that Brodie was the very man who made the gallows he was hanged on.


Brodie’s Advertising Figure On The Royal Mile.

You can still today see the remnants of Deacon Brodie around Edinburgh including on a couple of pubs. Even the fictional character Jean Brodie from Muriel Spark’s famous novel The Pride Of Jean Brodie was said to be descended from Deacon Brodie.

The “Deacon” is another superb job the band have done here and is another contender for the top spot on the album.

Track 11. Standard Guage Folly.

The album comes to a close with an instrumental piece solely done by Gary Hetherington. This fine orchestral piece was inspired by the marvellous shenanigans surrounding the new tram system in Edinburgh and is very apt to it all I have to say and a cracking way to end off a truly superb album.


The Tales of Auld Reekie by Dancing With Ghosts without doubt contains a very strong body of work that has been very skilfully crafted around the history of Scotland’s capital city Edinburgh. It’s also very well portrayed with its well crafted lyrics that have been put into great context and the music that supports it, is very well apt for the genre of traditional folk.

It’s a very fascinating concept album that takes in many different stories from the 17th century upwards, and for me personally it’s been quite an educational and enjoyable experience not just in listening to the album, but learning about it all and doing a lot of research to make this review for the superb album.

I feel that this is an album that would do well being sold in shops and places around Edinburgh and would even be a good thing for tourists to pick up,.

But unfortunately down to the way music hardly sells these days. making a physical product of the album in the way of a CD can be very costly thing to do, and it more than often ends up leaving the artist out of pocket.

Which is really a shame. Because no doubt this album is as good as any album even made by the likes of Richard Thompson. Ralph McTell or any other mainstream artists in the world of traditional folk music.


Tales of Auld Reekie by Dancing With Ghosts is available in the form of a Digital Album from Bandcamp. You can pay what you want for the album and all of its proceeds will be put into  ‘We Shall Overcome’ which is a fund raising event where the money goes into charities to food banks for the needy and to support the homeless.

You only have to look at the picture of the band to see that these people are genuine and even take after perhaps George Heriot the “Jingling Geordie” on track 7 of the album. Only these are not as wealthy as he was to be able support it all by themselves. With your money you can help and get yourself a truly magical and enjoyable album by doing so in return.

The album can be obtained from the following link here: https://dancingwithghosts1.bandcamp.com/album/tales-of-auld-reekie

The track listing of the album is as follows:

01. DinEidyn’s Air. 1:56
02. Greyfriars Bobby. 4:55
03. A Person of Qualitie. 5:51
04. Arthur’s Seat. 3:09
05. 17 Coffins (Mystery at Arthur’s Seat). 4:07
06. Messrs Burke & Hare. 5:04
07. Jingling Geordie. 3:27
08. Johnny One Arm. 4:22
09.Where the Ghosts Hide. 4:20
10. The Deacon. 5:07
11. Standard Guage Folly. 4:32

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #27

In The Wake of Poseidon (40th Anniversary CD/DVD Edition) – King Crimson



After the very successful start with their debut album and a tour of America the band King Crimson were left with only 2 original members from its original line up. They were Robert Fripp and the bands lyric writer Peter Sinfield.

Many session players were called in to make their 2nd album In The Wake of Poseidon including 2 of the bands original members Greg Lake and Michael Giles who had left the band. Lake done all the vocal tracks for the album apart from one of them, and Giles played all the drums on the album. Fripp had even considered bringing in an unknown Elton John at the time to do all the vocals, but in the end decided not to ask Elton.

Other session players included Michael’s brother Peter Giles on bass and Keith Tippett on piano. Tippett was the only one of them at the time Fripp had asked to become a full time band member. But he turned it down and preferred to remain a studio collaborator and only ever played live with the band once.

Though both Mel Collins who played sax and flute on a couple of tracks and Gordon Haskell who sang on one of the tracks were session players on this particular album. They were made official members of the band afterwards.

The very fact that most of the bands members from their debut album had left, did leave the door open for Robert Fripp to take soul command of the band, to which he very much did do. He even wrote the biggest majority of the music for their 2nd album too, and the only tracks that he never solely wrote was “Cat Food” and “The Devils Triangle“.

The Devils Triangle” was in fact written by the classical composer Gustav Holst. It was a piece he composed for his works of The Planet’s and was entitled “Mars: The Bringer Of War“. It was very much a piece that Fripp had played with Giles, Giles & Fripp back in 1968 before King Crimson were born.

They even covered the piece later has King Crimson when they supported The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park back in July 1969. But it was during their American tour after the release of their debut album in the late part of 1969 that both Robert Fripp and Ian McDonald developed it further live on stage.

Although on all those early occasions when they covered and arranged Holst’sMars” from The Planets and even covered it under that title too. Holst’s legal estate forbid King Crimson to use the piece at the time. To get around it Fripp and McDonald put in a different staccato riff and they changed the title to “The Devils Triangle” for the release on their 2nd album.

It was very lucky that they both never got sued, because not only did they change the title of the piece, but it was also credited on the album to Fripp & McDonald writing the piece, and no way on this earth did that slight change make it that much difference to original piece by Holst. The BBC even used an extract of it in Doctor Who as well. So they was dead lucky I will say. Much later on in 1997 it featured on the compilation album Epitaph to which is was rightfully credited to Holst and arranged by Fripp & McDonald.

The 40th Anniversary Edition Release…

The 40th Anniversary Edition of In The Wake of Poseidon by King Crimson was released on the 4th October 2010. Has far as I know of unlike In The Court Of The Crimson King that had 3 releases, this one only comes in the form of the CD/DVD version. I also paid a bit more for this one too, and it cost £17.50 from Amazon.

Unfortunately also unlike In The Court Of The Crimson King not all the multi track tapes could be found for every track on the album and the one that was missing was “The Devils Triangle“. So for the 5.1 mix it had to be up-mixed to 5.1 to which that track was handled by Simon Heyworth whilst Steve Wilson done the 5.1 mixes on the rest of the album tracks.

Despite “The Devils Triangle” only having an up-mix to 5.1. I have to say that Heyworth has done an incredible job of it. There are also a couple tracks on Starless and Bible Black he had to do the same thing with as well, and whilst listening to the whole album in 5.1 just like this album, you cannot even notice any degradation in the sound quality and he’s done a bang on job with them.

Even though these tracks are not genuine 5.1 mixes they still sound remarkably good and a lot better than the Pseudo 5.1 mixes done by Ben Fenner on Steve Hackett’s Defector album I reviewed on the 8th of August.

Why on earth Barclay James Harvest could not of done the same thing on their 3 disc Deluxe Edition of their 1974 album Everyone Is Everybody Else I reviewed earlier back in July is beyond me. They chose to completely leave off the best track on the album just because they could not find the multi track tape for it. They really done a piss poor job of the whole thing. But no doubt they was working with novices and not the quality engineers who are doing the work here on the King Crimson albums.

The Packaging & Artwork…


All of these new CD/DVD Anniversary releases very much are constructed in the same way and come in a box to store the slipcase that holds the discs. The slipcase is constructed out of 2 thin pieces of cardboard glued together to make it look a bit thicker. It’s very light and not as sturdily made. The box comes in handy to store the slipcase and is made of a slightly better cardboard. So it has been made on the cheap, but never the less does a reasonable job.

The booklet comes with very little information on this release unlike the others I have got so far. The labels on the discs are also better printed on this release too, unlike they was on their debut album. The artwork for the album cover comes from a painting done in 1967 by Tammo De Jongh. It depicts The 12 Archetypes or The 12 Faces of Humankind.


The 12 Archetypes.

In The Wake Of Poseidon (40th Anniversary CD/DVD) Review…

The 40th Anniversary Edition of In the Wake Of Poseidon by King Crimson was released in a CD/DVD package on the 4th October 2010. Although the original album only contained 8 tracks. The original tracks add up to 10 on this release due to them making “The Devils Triangle” into 3 parts. I have to say once again I am impressed with this release and the quality of the contents that are on both the CD and DVD.

The CD.

The CD contains a new 2010 mix done by Steve Wilson and Robert Fripp from the original album from the 1970 master tapes, apart from “The Devils Triangle” to which is the original stereo mix as the master tape had been lost. The new mixes of the 7 other tracks are very good and there are no additions added as far as I can make out.

The sound quality is well good and I cannot fault anything here, though I dare say some purists may complain even if I myself think this is much better. But for those who do not, the original album is included on the DVD.

CD Bonus Tracks.

The CD comes with 3 bonus tracks the first of them being “Groon” which was the B’ Side of “Cat Food” that was released as a single back in the same year the album was made. We also get and alternative mix of the last album track “Peace – An End” and finally we get a version of “Cadence & Cascade” with Greg Lake singing the song instead of Gordon Haskell.

The bonus tracks are very good I have to say and to hear Lake singing one of the classics on the album is a real bonus and it was recorded back in 1970 too. I still prefer it sung by Haskell though and that would be down to hearing it sung by him in the first place.

The DVD.

SS 1

So far out of the 6 albums I have of these 40th Anniversary Editions the menu screens for this release has to be the worst I have seen. There are no animations when the DVD loads apart from the usual Global Discipline Logo, and nowhere on the DVD have we even got a picture of the albums artwork. Instead it just shows this background picture of some clouds.

SS 2

The DVD comes with many extras has we can see by the picture above, and includes the 2004 release of the 30th Anniversary Edition from the original master tapes. It also comes with the 2010 new mixes done by Steve Wilson and Robert Fripp and includes the bonus track “Groon“. Other bonus tracks on the DVD include the original single release of “Cat Food” as well as its B’ Side “Groon“.

It also has a Cadence & Cascade Versions where you get 3 different version of the song. An unedited master. A Greg Lake guide vocal version and an early instrumental take. There also Groon Versions which features 3 takes of it. Take 1, 5 & 15. You also get a rehearsal version of “The Devils Triangle” and the alternative mix of “Peace: An End“.

All of which comes with high end audio of a choice of MLP Lossless Stereo  24/96 and PCM Stereo 24/48. But the best thing for me are the 5.1 mixes which I will discuss next.

The 5.1 Mix.

The 5.1 mix of this album was done by Steve Wilson. Out of the 6 I have so far this is the only 5.1 mix that was done by Wilson on his own and Robert Fripp was not involved in the mix. Maybe he was away and unavailable at the time, but I have to say Wilson has done a superb job of the mix and once again it does sound stunning. It’s also great to see that they included “Groon” also with the rest of the album tracks with a 5.1 mix.

The only track that does not have a 5.1 mix is “The Devils Triangle” down to the fact that the original master tape was lost. But once again the up-mix done by Simon Heyworth sounds really great and even effective, but will not breathe the life and fresh feel of it like the 5.1 mixes will do. But I take my hat off to Heyworth as well because you cannot hear any gradation between the tracks and it does not even sound out of place for doing it the way he has so superbly managed to achieve it.

For surround freaks like myself these 5.1 mixes are pure heaven I will say, and are well worthy of getting. It brings out the best of the album by far and it’s purely awesome.

Musicians & Credits…

Produced by Robert Fripp & Peter Sinfield. Cover Painting by Tammo de Jongh. Sleeve Design & Inside Painting by Peter Sinfield. Equipment by Vick & Dik. Recorded at Wessex Sound Studios, London. Engineer Robin Thompson. Assistant Engineer Jeff & Tony.

Robert Fripp: Guitars/Mellotron (Tracks 2,3,7)/Electric Piano (Track 7)/Devices.
Peter Sinfield: Words.

Former King Crimson Personnel:
Greg Lake: Vocals (Except track 3).
Michael Giles: Drums.

Future King Crimson Personnel:
Mel Collins: Saxophones (Track 2)/Flute (Track 3).
Gordon Haskell: Vocals (Track 3)

Additional Personnel:
Peter Giles: Bass Guitar.
Keith Tippett: Piano.

The Original Album Tracks Review…

The original album was recorded between January – April 1970 and released on the 15th of May 1970. The 8 tracks on the album had a total playing time of just over 41 minutes. The album reached number 4 in the UK album charts and it was the bands highest charting album ever. Most of the tracks on album was written very quickly and some come from way before work started on the album that were performed live at earlier concerts.

Track 1. Peace – A Beginning.

The album starts off with a short 50 second acapella with Greg Lake singing Peter Sinfield’s words written about peace. It’s a piece that features in the middle and end of the album, and perhaps done in the way one would make a concept album. Even all the tracks run into each other to give it the sense and feel of a concept album as well, though I would not say that In The Wake Of Poseidon is one at all.

I like the way they have applied reverb to Lake’s voice on the beginning and it takes it away towards the end, it’s quite effective and even has a couple of notes played by Robert Fripp at the end to bring it into the next track.

Track 2. Pictures Of A City.

This is where the album kicks off properly and in great style too. “Pictures Of A City” is perhaps your “21st Century Schizoid Man” with some of its jazz fusion elements it has about it and also Fripp’s fast guitar work. It’s not got the same raving energy by any means, but never the less has some really great progression in the piece. For me personally this is a much better song than that opener on their debut album. It has by far a greater style about it all and Lake’s voice still has that hard edge about it without the distortion applied to it.

The addition of Mel Collins on the sax adds an element of power very well to it all, especially to the jazz vibe. Collins was still in the band Cirkus at the time and Fripp had bumped into him before awhile back has both King Crimson and Cirkus used to share the same nights at the Marquee Club in London. That’s also were he bumped into the pianist Keith Tippett. Though Tippett’s piano was not needed for this track both of the Giles brothers Michael on drums and Peter on bass certainly was, and they do a superb job.

Pictures Of A City” the band had played live on a number of occasions back in 1969. Though it had another title to it back then which was “A Man, A City” and quite often played over the longer 10 minute mark. It was further developed for their 2nd album and given the new title. It’s a superb song and one of my personal contenders for the top spot on the album.

Track 3. Cadence And Cascade.

There is no doubt the tracks on the first side of this album were carefully placed to represent the same feel and mood we got with their debut album In The Court Of The Crimson King. “Cadence And Cascade” is another King Crimson pure classic just like “I Talk To The Wind“. It has the same refined sweetness about it, and I have to say I can see why Fripp chose his old mate Gordon Haskell to sing it, and feature this version on the album rather than Lake’s version.

I am by no means saying Lake could not sing it. But for me personally it was better suited for Haskell’s voice. Even though Haskell went on to become the bands main singer over the next 2 albums that followed. I have to say I did miss Lake’s voice a lot on the album’s Lizard and Islands. Overall I would certainly say that Lake was the better singer out the two here, but different singers can bring along something else to add to the pot, and it does work extremely well here.

Fripp’s acoustic guitar work on this beautiful song contains loads of overdubs to get it to sound as good as it does on this track. But it works superbly for it. Listening to the stripped down version on the early instrumental take on the DVD is another thing. Because it only has one guitar, backed up by bass and drums only. It sounds entirely different. Parts of it also are very reminiscent to Sandy Denny’sWho Knows Where The Time Goes” as well.

This is the only other track Collins featured on the album, and here he plays the flute and it’s gorgeous. it’s almost like Ian McDonald has not left the band and they are both truly excellent woodwind players. Tippett’s piano also works superbly on the song and the whole band do it justice.

Once again I have fallen in love with the melancholy side of things we got from their debut album, and just like that album, the classic melancholic song is my favourite track on the album and merits my top spot award.

Track 4. In The Wake Of Poseidon.

The self titled track of the album is perhaps your “Epitaph” from the debut album. Though they are not the same of course but they do both feature lashings of mellotron and dramatics about them. In some respect you could quite of easily of made a double album out of In The Court Of The Crimson King and In The Wake Of Poseidon with how the material is very close and works so well. I would of personally threw off a couple of tracks though :))))).

This is another superb piece of work the band do so well on and no doubt another contender for the top spot on the album.

Track 5. Peace – A Theme.

The 2nd part of the opening track on the album is a lovely acoustic guitar instrumental version played by Fripp. It’s slightly longer than the first track and it’s another fabulous piece on the album.

Track 6. Cat Food.

“Cat Food” was released as a single a couple months before the albums release in May 1970. Although it never reached very high in the charts it did however get the band broadcast on Top of The Pops on the 25th of March where they filmed themselves miming the song the night before the show was put out. It was also King Crimson’s first ever TV appearance.

There is no doubt that this is another superb song and for me personally it’s the 2nd best track on the album and very high contender for the top spot. In many ways “Cat Food” is another song the original line up of band did earlier, and Ian McDonald contributed to the writing with Fripp and Sinfield. The song also reminds of the type style we got from the great classic songs they did later on like “Easy Money” from Larks’ Tongues In Aspic and “The Great Deceiver” from Starless And Bible Black. No doubt these 3 songs are all King Crimson classics.

Track 7. The Devils Triangle.

The longest track on the album happens to be an arranged cover of “Mars” from Gustav Holst’s Planets. A piece that was worked on mostly live on stage by Fripp and McDonald before it found its way here. They even credited themselves as the writers at the time, and to be honest I do not know how on earth they got away with it.

OK there is no doubt they added their own things to it but there is also no doubt that they plainly focused the piece on Holst’s classic and even worked around his melodies on the piece. No way on this earth does that give you the right to say you wrote the bloody thing :))))))))))).

The piece builds up well with the drums and bass in the style of Ravel’sBolero” oddly enough :))))))))))). It uses lashings of mellotron and no doubt it’s centred around Holst’s great piece with its melody lines. Then it all comes down to an halt before unleashing it’s power before going into a very Avant Garde way with Fripp thrashing it out on his guitar, and Tippett doing a mad frenzy on the piano keys. They are all having a ball by the sounds of it and then it finally winds down with some swirls on the mellotron and a few odd notes coming from the guitar.

There is no doubt the band do a superb job of it all here and in reality it also has to be a contender for the top spot on the album. However I feel that it’s perhaps slightly out of place on this album, and feel it would of been better suited on either of their 3rd or 4th albums.

Track 8. Peace – An End.

The album ends off where it started with the 3rd and final part of “Peace“. It’s the longest part of them all and this time they make more of a song out of it with how it develops. It’s a very subtle way to put an end to another remarkable album by King Crimson.


The 2nd album In The Wake Of Poseidon by King Crimson is an album that perhaps replicates and lives up to the same standards of their debut album. To be honest I even think it’s very slightly marginally better.

I have to say that Robert Fripp done a remarkable job holding it all together after more or less the whole band had left him, and bringing some of the guys back to work on it as session players, and bringing in the other session players to make it all happen.

The other superb job Fripp done was with how close he managed to maintain the written material we had here on the 2nd album, especially has the biggest majority of music on In The Court Of The Crimson King was in fact written by Ian McDonald. The written material on both albums are more or less a carbon copy with how the tracks present themselves.

It’s very much like I said earlier you could easily make a double album with the 2 albums. I also think if you was to take away “Moonchild” and “The Devils Triangle” from both albums and put “Groon” on instead it would of been a solid double album.


The 40th Anniversary Edition of In The Wake Of Poseidon by King Crimson is a splendid package to have. Without a doubt this is best recording of the album I have encountered with its new mixes, and Steve Wilson’s 5.1 mix is purely awesome. The DVD does not come with any video content like some of them in these editions do, but the quality audio and extras that are on it make it well worth the price tag.

No doubt in my book In The Wake Of Poseidon is very much amongst the very best of albums King Crimson ever made, and I very much fail to see anybody who liked their debut album not liking this one.

Never Need To Worry With A Tin Of ‘Hurri Curri’…

The CD track listing is as follows:

01. Peace – A Beginning. 0:50.
02. Pictures Of A City. 8:01.
03. Cadence And Cascade. 4:37.
04. In The Wake Of Poseidon. 8:25.
05. Peace – A Theme. 1:14.
06. Cat Food. 4:53.
07. The Devil’s Triangle (Part I). 3:46.
08. The Devil’s Triangle (Part II). 4:00.
09. The Devil’s Triangle (Part III). 3:45.
10. Peace – An End. 1:54.
11. Groon (2010 Mix). 3:32.
12. Peace – An End (Alternate Mix). 2:05.
13. Cadence & Cascade (Greg Lake Vocal). 4:32.

Lee’s overall Complete Package Value Rating…

The Packaging Rating Score. 7/10

The Bonus Tracks Rating Score. 8/10

The 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 10/10.

The Original Album Rating Score. 9/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #26

In The Court Of The Crimson King (40th Anniversary CD/DVD Edition) – King CrimsonKC - ITCOKC


Back in October 1969 the band King Crimson unleashed an album that was perhaps the biggest ever influence in the world of Progressive Rock music. The album In The Court Of The Crimson King certainly made its mark and changed the style and direction many bands were soon to follow suit, more so than before when it was released. Even the band Genesis were that impressed that they even brought one of the 3 Mellotron’s they owned a couple of years later. Progressive Rock was to become for many the new in thing back in its day and the blues went out of the window.

The band was originally conceived in November 1968 and was born on January 13th 1969 in the Fulham Palace Cafe in London. From then on everything came together very quickly but not without the many problems that was to confront them along the way.

They first set out playing a few gigs around Newcastle under the name of Giles, Giles & Fripp and made their first debut gig under the name of King Crimson at the Speakeasy in April 1969 and from then on word soon spread it’s way around about the band.

Within no time at all they was invited by radio DJ John Peel to record a live session at the BBC’s Maida Vale Studio’s. A few days later Jimi Hendrix seen the band play at the Revolution Club and declared they was the best band in the world. But Island Records A&R boss Muff Windwood was totally unimpressed by the band and said they reminded him of The Tremeloes.

Between April and June of 1969 the band set out to make their debut album and were given one of the top renowned producers to help them make it. None other than The Moody Blues producer Tony Clark. During the days spent in the studio and playing live gigs the band decided they was not happy with how the album was going and decided they wanted to produce the album themselves.

In the following month on July 5th 1969 King Crimson supported the Rolling Stones at London’s Hyde Park. Where they opened up their set with “21st Century Schizoid Man“. They also played another couple of the songs that was eventually going to be featured on their debut album “The Court of the Crimson King” and “Epitaph“.

On the 21st July 1969 the band decided it was time to have another go at recording their debut album after 2 failed attempts with Clark and walked into Wessex Sound Studios in London to start work on it for the 3rd time and go it alone. On the 10th October their debut album was released and King Crimson had stamped their mark on the world of progressive rock.

Despite mixed reviews of the album it reached number 5 in the UK Album Charts and 28 in America and was certified Gold in both countries. Though the album was only ever a second generation corrected copy due to a misalignment of the tape heads during the mixdown process. Resulting in the loss of high frequencies which had thrown some distortion into the mix.

Things did not help when they had lost the original 1″ 8 Channel Master Reel at the same time which meant that all releases afterwards on vinyl, cassette and CD were only ever 2nd and 3rd generation copies and throughout the 80’s and 90’s most reissues of the album was very poor quality copies that were several generations removed from the stereo sub-master tape.

However the original master tape was found in 2003 and in the following year 2004 Fripp released it on his own record label Discipline Global Mobile on CD stating the recording was from the original master which had a way better recording of the album and was also done with a 24 bit recording too.

The 40th Anniversary Edition Release…

In October 2009 Robert Fripp collaborated with Steven Wilson to work on what was going to be the 40th Anniversary release of the album. For the first time they was now able to make a 5.1 release from the original master tape that was rediscovered back in 2003. The 40th Anniversary Editions were released in 3 different editions on the 23rd November 2009.

The releases consisted of a 2 CD edition that featured a new stereo remaster and Wilson mix of the album. A CD/DVD edition featuring the new remastered CD and a DVD that contained the 5.1 mix and a lot more bonus material. And they even released a 6 disc box set containing 5 CD’s and 1 DVD.

I myself have only this year finally decided to update my King Crimson collection and I have to confess the £393 price tag for the 6 disc box set was way out of my reach :)))))) So I settled for the CD/DVD Edition to which I got from Amazon at a more respectable price of £14.94p.

The Packaging & Artwork…


All of these new CD/DVD Anniversary releases very much are constructed in the same way and come in a box to store the slipcase that holds the discs. The box to be honest is better constructed with the cardboard they used to make it with and they only used one thicker layer of cardboard to make it with.

The slipcase on the other is constructed out of 2 thin pieces of cardboard glued together to make it look a bit thicker. It’s very light and not as sturdily made. So it has been made on the cheap, but never the less does a reasonable job.

The printed artwork is also very light in texture and on the picture I have on display here of the package I have toned it down to look better and it does in fact look better here than it is on the package I have to say. The actual artwork on the CD labels are that light it looks as if it’s been printed on very thin paper and not the best at all.

It also comes with a very informative booklet that details very well the time the album was made and all the problems that they was confronted with regarding the original recording and how the master tape got lost. It also contains a lot of info about the band and how quickly everything was coming together for the band in 1969 as well as the collaboration with Fripp and Wilson working on the new 40th Anniversary releases.

The Artwork.

It was the bands lyric writer Peter Sinfield’s mate Barry Godber who painted the original artwork. Barry had hung around with band ever since the beginning in 1968 and watched them rehearse many times and was a fan. Robert Fripp was well impressed by his artwork and decided to use it for the album cover. Sadly not long after the album was released in October 1969. Barry died of an heart attack in February 1970 at the young age of 24.

Early Thoughts…

I have to confess that I was never into King Crimson back in the 70’s and I felt that they just made a noise more than anything else with what little I got to hear of them back then. It took another good couple of decades for me to appreciate them, and it was not until the very late 90’s that I first got into them.

My first encounter with them was through a mate of mine I had known for years. We both shared the same interest in music and he too like me was never into King Crimson either. It was in mid 90’s that we both had changed our stereo set ups and got into the world of 5.1 surround sound. Back in them days there was not a lot you could really buy in 5.1 especially for the likes of us who both were into more of your rock and prog rock music which was not the most popular music to get released in 5.1.

So the both of us would quite often end up buying some band or artist we had never been into before, just to see how good the 5.1 mix sounded.

I myself remember buying the band Metallica who I was never into but they had released a live concert on DVD in 5.1 which also had multiple angles on it as well, so you could use your remote to view the concert in different angles. The DVD was called Cunning Stunts. It actually came with 2 DVD’s for about £24 at the time I brought it, and I have to confess the material they played on the 1st DVD never impressed me one bit and I hated it.

Though it did sound very good in 5.1 and the multiple angles were a nice touch and novelty at the time. So was the explosions (LOL) I liked the 2nd DVD better which had “Enter Sandman” on and a few of other songs on there. But there was nothing on it that enticed me to actually go out and buy an album of theirs though, and I never have either.

It was actually at my mates Steve’s house I got to see a new DVD he had brought at the time by King Crimson called Deja Vroom. They released in 1999. I watched the whole live show at his house and boy was I blown away. The 5.1 was mind blowing on it and to see both Tony Levin and Trey Gunn play “Elephant Talk” on Chapman Sticks blew me away. The very next day I went into town and brought the DVD myself from HMV for about £18. Still to this day I love it.

In the following year I brought a couple of their albums starting with Larks’ Tongues in Aspic and Discipline. Then in 2003 they released another live DVD Eyes Wide Open which contained 2 DVD’s. I got it at a cheap price too of £12 and the 1st DVD was of them playing live in Japan and was in 5.1. The 2nd DVD was in Dolby Prologic only which means the rear speaker was in mono only. That concert was of them playing live at Shepherds Bush in London. I was blown away once again by both the mixes and concerts that after that I went out and brought their 2002 album The Power to Believe and eventually brought their entire back catalogue of albums.

I do have to confess though that I was never impressed by both the albums Lizard and Islands and they said very little too me. To be honest I have not played them that much at all and shall have to have another listen to them again now, to see if they speak more to me these days. If they do not those albums I will not be buying again even if they do come now with 5.1 mixes.

In The Court Of The Crimson King (40th Anniversary CD/DVD) Review…

I have to say that I am most impressed with everything that comes in this 40th Anniversary Edition of the bands 1969 debut album In The Court Of The Crimson King. You certainly get your money’s worth with the quality that has been put on the both discs. But even though the packaging may be on the cheap side, the contents are certainly not.

The CD.

The CD contains a new stereo remaster of the original 1969 master tape and I have to say it sounds excellent and leaves my old CD in the dust I am afraid regarding the sound quality. Though there is in fact a change to the track “Moonchild” which was originally 12 minutes 15 seconds long to which after a lengthy discussion between Fripp and Wilson it was decided that it should be edited down to the 9 minute mark. But no fear because the original full version is included as one of the bonus tracks on the CD.

CD Bonus Tracks.

Besides the 5 album tracks you get 5 bonus tracks and the CD comes with a total playing time of  78 minutes 11 seconds. Besides the full version of “Moonchild” I already mentioned there are 2 alternative versions of “I Talk To The Wind“. The first one is an instrumental Duo version featuring just Robert Fripp on acoustic guitar and Ian McDonald on flute. The 2nd version is just an alternative mix and is half a minute longer than the original.

You also get an instrumental backing track version of “Epitaph” you can sing along too and finally a track entitled “Wind Session” which is just them messing about with a motor car :))))))))))) and was used as the intro of “21st Century Schizoid Man“. Overall apart from the last bonus track “Wind Session” they are very worthy.

The DVD.


The DVD menu is pretty straightforward to get around and it does come with some nice animation upon loading to the main menu. Though when playing the album tracks we just get to see the album cover rather than any moving slideshows or animations. But Barry Godber’s artwork is perhaps all one really needs as he done such an incredible job of it.

The DVD comes with a lot of extra bonus features just like we seen on the new definitive editions of the Yes albums Steve Wilson was also involved in. Besides the 5.1 mix (I will discuss later) of the album we get a new 2009 stereo remix of the original album tracks, mixed and produced by both Steve Wilson & Robert Fripp. They also included the original 24 bit original master from 2004 on here as well.

You also get all the bonus tracks that were included on the CD and an Alternative Album which is made up of an instrumental version of “21st Century Schizoid Man” a studio run through of “I Talk To The Wind“. An alternative version of “Epitaph“. A Take 1 version of “Moonchild” and “The Court Of The Crimson King (Take 3)

All of these extras come with a choice of 2 stereo high end audio formats one of which is  LPCM 24/48 and the other is an MLP Lossless 24/96 audio format. So very high quality all the way here I have to say.

Also on the DVD there is a short bit of video footage shot in black & white of the band playing “21st Century Schizoid Man” at Hyde Park in 1969. You get to see the band do the 1st verse of the song and both film footage and the audio is dreadful I have to say. No doubt a bit of nostalgia for you and trust me it is a bit as well (LOL).

The 5.1 Mix.

I have to say that I was well surprised how superb the 5.1 mixes are on these 40th Anniversary releases. I have 6 of them now so far in total and they all blow me away with how well they have been done. To be perfectly honest knowing that Steve Wilson was involved in them I did not expect them to be this good especially having heard the 5.1 mixes on both the live DVD concert releases of Deja Vroom and Eyes Wide Open.

Do not get me wrong here because Wilson does very well detailed 5.1 mixes. But has a rule he never goes over the top with them, and to get anywhere near some of my favoured engineers in this field of 5.1 mixes and to match the quality of the 5.1 mixes that were on both of those DVD’s I mentioned. You are without a doubt going to have to be more adventurous to some degree, and this is something I very rarely if ever have heard on any Steve Wilson 5.1 mix. His best 5.1 mixes to date that I have heard would of had to have been on those new definitive editions of the Yes albums he done.

But Steve Wilson was not the only guy involved in the 5.1 mixes we get here on these King Crimson releases. They was also produced by Robert Fripp himself. Though Fripp claims that on most days Wilson had already done 85% of the work on most of the mixes by the time he got to the office. I do feel that Fripp would of threw in some suggestions of his own regarding the some of the way the instruments were panned to stand out and be effective and stand remarkably so well as they do.

These 5.1 mixes are without doubt as good as the 5.1 mixes done on those both DVD’s from years ago, and they stand out a mile in relation to a lot of the mixes Wilson has ever been involved in. To put it in a nutshell. They are purely Fantastic and leave the stereo mix way behind the times.


According to the booklet the 5.1 mixes come in the form of a DTS 24/48 5.1 surround mix and an MLP 24/48 Lossless 5.1 surround mix. Though the latter according to the disc is a 24/48 LPCM Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix as you can see by the picture above. But I am not complaining one bit, they are both stunning.

Musicians & Credits…

Produced by King Crimson For E.G. Productions David & John. Cover by Barry Godber. Equipment by Vick & Dik. Recorded at Wessex Sound Studios, London. Engineer Robin Thompson. Assistant Engineer Tony Page.


Robert Fripp: Guitars.
Ian McDonald: Reeds/Woodwind/Vibes/Keyboards/ Mellotron/Vocals.
Greg Lake: Bass Guitar/Lead Vocals.
Michael Giles: Drums/Percussion/Vocals.
Peter Sinfield: Words & Illustration.

The Original Album Tracks Review…

The original album In the Court Of The Crimson King was released on the 10th October 1969 and contained 5 tracks over a playing time of just under 44 minutes. Though the bands debut album was perhaps not the first we ever heard regarding progressive rock and certainly not the birth of prog rock has Fripp and many others would describe it. There is no doubt that it is in fact the first album to perhaps feature an album’s worth of it, when you look at the written material that is upon it.

Track 1. 21st Century Schizoid Man.

The opening song “21st Century Schizoid Man” perhaps gave many of their fans something to rave about and it is without doubt the most uptempo track on the album with it being played at quite a fast pace. Sinfield’s lyrics are written very much in a poetic way and perhaps describing the mayhem of how things will be so drastically bad in the future, by looking at how things are developing in the present. The Vietnam War in particular is perhaps the subject matter of the Schizo here.

They are only really clever in the way that many people can make out many different interpretations about them which is a good thing. But as one cannot see into the future they can also be entirely meaningless and proven to be wrong or over exaggerated with some of the interpretations that I have came across. But no doubt they suit the frenzy of the music and are a change from hearing the same old “I Love You” garbage that tends to be found in the biggest majority of pop music.

Musically there is a ton of things going on here and its far from anything easy to play either. There is a load of progression in here with how the song changes its pattern, shape, and direction. Different time signatures of 4/4 and 6/8 mainly and the ending of the song played in free time. A lot of fusion as been thrown into the diversity and the pot. It blends and lends styles of rock and jazz to make it what it is, and no doubt this is progressive rock.

To be perfectly honest this song was never a favourite of mine and it was all a bit too bizarre for my personal taste. I have never been that fond of brass either and that jazz element would of certainly been the thing that threw my off the song. But as one gets older and listens more closely to what is contained in all the bizarre frenzy we have here, you get to analyse everything that is going on and strip it down to what every instrument is playing.

The most complex work on this track is without a doubt played by the bass and drums. To be honest I never seen Greg Lake as a really great player of the bass. But the bass on this song is something else and is superbly done. It’s also hard to believe he actually played it. His voice is far more meeker than this too, and here distortion has been applied to give it more of an harder edge.

Michael Giles is working his butt off on the drums. Ian McDonald’s Alto Sax also does the business on the track too. No doubt Robert Fripp is working his guitar very well into the track, though this is not really a guitar piece at all, and the lead lines are far from anything complicated or interesting and nothing to really write home about either. But no doubt he is a very good guitar player all the same.

There is no doubt that the band Gong may have been influenced by this song especially in some of the sections in the lead break from 4 minutes onwards. I also feel that it opened up the path for a lot of jazz fusion bands too and no doubt they was heavily influenced by this one.

I have to admit I have a lot more respect and like “21st Century Schizoid Man” a lot more than I ever did when I first brought this album. But for me personally I still do not see this one as a contender for the top spot on the album. But that is perhaps down to my own personal taste more than anything else. But no doubt the music is very well structured and it may even be the most complex track on the whole of the album.

Track 2. I Talk To The Wind.

Now this one is much more to my own preferred taste with the beautiful melancholic side of prog rock. It’s more like the Canterbury side of things we got with bands like Genesis a bit later on. Though I am more into early Genesis with what they gave to the world of prog rock, there is no way that Peter Gabriel is a match for Ian McDonald on the flute I will say. The combination of McDonald’s flute and clarinet on this song is pure bliss.

The music is no doubt classically inspired and is very peaceful and serene almost too nice. Lake’s voice on this song is where it works the best with his more meeker, milder and softer side. McDonald also backs him up on the backing vocals on this one too. The combination of the whole band work so well here.

The song was originally written in 1968 when Fripp was playing with the both Giles brothers. They also did a version with Judy Dyble who had not long left Fairport Convention. Though it was more developed and had a lot better arrangement for their debut album.

I have to confess that there are 3 songs on this album that could merit the top spot award. If anything “I Talk To The Wind” is the least complexed song of them all. But it’s beauty is what hits my personal spot and for that reason “I Talk To The Wind” is my personal favourite track on the album and merits the Top Spot Award.

Though it was a most difficult decision to make, and the other two contenders are without a doubt sheer class just like this song.

Track 3. Epitaph.

Once again Sinfield’s lyrics are embarking on the current war in Vietnam around the time and he would of got the idea from looking at gravestones to inspire the lyrical content we have here. In many ways the lyrics are cryptic and some people even see them as some kind of prophecy of things that was to come.

But in all honestly the fact that the world has never really changed that much and was more of a thing that is bound to have carried on, rather than be any futuristic prophecy in reality rather than what people are trying to make it out to be. Never the less these are once again great lyrics and ones that many politicians should adhere too before they make stupid decisions.

Epitaph” is quite dramatic with how it’s put across. Greg Lake sings it with great conviction. Ian McDonald spent hours recording many of his woodwind instruments into the mellotron to give the strings the great orchestral sound he played on the mellotron on the song. Robert Fripp’s acoustic and electric guitars also feature very well throughout the track. It’s very much one of my contenders for the top spot on the album.

Track 4. Moonchild.

The longest track on the album, and for this review I am taking onboard the full version and not the edited down version that Fripp decided to use for the main album track on this release. It’s perhaps my least favourite track on the album even though it does have a bit of charm about it. It’s perhaps too much like a dreamlike fairytale in reality.

Musically it’s perhaps more of a percussion and vibe thing than anything else, and vocally it does not seem to go hardly anywhere with what little content we do have here. It’s also perhaps more avant garde than prog rock as well and is not the best of improvisations with what they are exactly doing here. It lacks a lot of ideas and not a great deal of thought and attention has been put into it I am afraid.

No doubt in my mind it’s the weakest spot on the album and they would of been better off doing the Donovan cover of “Get Thy Bearings” instead that the band used to play at their live shows.

Track 5. The Court Of The Crimson King.

The albums title track is much more like it and here we have great well structured melodies and progression along its path. It’s also has another great dramatic approach to it. For me personally it’s my favourite structured piece on the album and very much an high contender for the top spot on the album. No doubt we have a classic here.

The song features lots of great mellotron from McDonald as well as some lovely flute from him too. Some fine guitar work from Fripp. Fine bass and vocals from Lake and Giles makes it up very well on the drums and percussion. It ends the album off superbly even down to where it goes down and comes back in for an encore.


To sum up the 40th Anniversary Edition of In the Court Of The Crimson King by King Crimson. Both the remastered CD and 5.1 mix on the DVD are top draw for sound quality. Personally I do not think a lot of the earlier versions are gonna match the quality we have here, and as for the 5.1 mix they simply do not have chance of either. The bonus material is also really good, and for money it is without a doubt well worthy of buying again.

For surround freaks like myself I would say it’s a must. But even if you’re not both CD and the high end quality of material on DVD in stereo are the bees knees. You simply cannot go wrong with everything it has to offer here.

King Crimson as a band could never hold a permanent line up unfortunately and this was Greg Lake’s only album he appeared on and left to join ELP afterwards. Though that statement is not strictly true because before he left he agreed to record his vocals for their 2nd album In The Wake of Poseidon to which features Lake singing on all the tracks bar one. He did so in exchange for some PA Equipment.

Just before Lake left in 1970 both Ian McDonald and Michael Giles left to form their own band late 1969 during the bands first American tour. Though Giles did play all the drums on their 2nd album he was only credited as a session player and no longer a band member. McDonald went into session playing and in 1976 formed the rock band Foreigner.


In the Court Of The Crimson King by King Crimson certainly made its mark and was a great debut album, though I would not say it was a solid album with all the material that was put on it. But never the less it’s not that far off being one and for me personally it’s only really one track here that lets the album down if anything.

The band has gone through many line up changes and incarnations throughout their entire career, but never the less Robert Fripp has brought in the right musicians to make it work and be successful as they went along. The band had loads more to offer has they went along too, and their first two albums they made have always been amongst my favourites throughout their entire career.

King Crimson may not be a band for everyone’s taste, and many would regard a lot of their music as noise. I certainly do not think they was at this early stage of their career, and the noise they made later, still had something lying deep beneath its surface with all the excellent musicians they brought in.

It’s very much a band you should never write off after hearing them once. They make music you have to grow into, and once you have you will get to see the finer side of the quality they have always had in the band regarding the many musicians who have played within it.

The Wind Cannot Hear…

The CD track listing is as follows:

01. 21st Century Schizoid Man. 7:24.
02. I Talk To The Wind. 6:00.
03. Epitaph. 8:52.
04. Moonchild. 9:02.
05. The Court Of The Crimson King. 9:31.
06. Moonchild [*][Full Version]. 12:15.
07. I Talk To The Wind [*][Alternate Take][Duo Version]. 4:55.
08. I Talk To The Wind [*][Alternate Mix][Alternate Take]. 6:36.
09. Epitaph [*][Backing Track][Instrumental]. 9:05.
10. Wind Session [*]. 4:31.

Lee’s overall Complete Package Value Rating…

The Packaging Rating Score. 7/10

The Bonus Tracks Rating Score. 9/10

The 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 10/10.

The Original Album Rating Score. 8/10.