King Crimson has a somewhat off-and-on existence and a revolving door of musicians joining and leaving, but the constant is guitarist and founder Robert Fripp. Fripp is a tremendous guitar player, but his attempt at writing a column for Guitar Player Magazine didn’t go too well. His objective was to write a column on the craft of playing the guitar, and he approached it as a purely philosophical topic. I thought it was fairly interesting, if a bit weird, but the general readership, who was expecting something closer to “A Dozen Uses Of The Phrygian Scale” were nonplussed and frustrated at his metaphysical approach to the instrument, and filled the monthly “Letters” column with notes which amounted to “What the #@$* is this guy talking about, and what the #@$* does it have to do with playing the guitar?”
Their sound is an amalgamation of jazz, folk, electronic, symphonic, heavy metal, experimental and a dozen other styles of music. They’ve gathered a large following, mostly by word-of-mouth, since most radio stations have no idea what to classify their music as, even back in the freewheeling early days of free-form radio. The songs I’ve chosen are from the first incarnation of the band, the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.
First up is “In The Court of the Crimson King,” the title track from their 1969 first album, considered one of the first albums of the Progressive Rock genre. Personnel on the track are Fripp on guitar, Greg Lake on bass and vocals, Michael Giles on drums and percussion, and Ian McDonald on woodwinds and keyboards. Peter Sinfield received credit for lyrics, illumindation, and production.
Second is “In The Wake of Poseidon,” title track from their 1970 second album.
King Crimson, your Two For Tuesday, January 19, 2016.