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King Crimson - Earthbound CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

2.45 | 378 ratings

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James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars If ever an album deserved a 'collectors only' rating, it is "Earthbound".

The sound quality is enough to turn off most listeners, but as a diehard Deadhead I'm a little more used to bootleg material. And this isn't the worst bootleg ever; crowd noise is mostly absent and the instruments are usually tolerably distinct, except for the not uncommon moments of extreme saturation.

Performance-wise, this is a decent offering; Collins is excellent, Fripp and Wallace turn in solid and tight showings, and Burrell is...better on bass than on vocals, anyway. During instrumental sections it is almost possible to appreciate him, and during the aforementioned 'scat' sessions it is a struggle not to want to kill him. Maybe Fripp thought that he and Boz had a Zappa/ Beefheart dynamic, or maybe his perception of what makes a good vocalist was somewhat faulty after working with Hammill.

I must say that if I'd been at this concert, I wouldn't consider my ticket money wasted- there's a rawness in the energetic and dirty tracks that foreshadows the ragged edge of Lark's Tongues and Red; it's a much more pared-down menace and wildness in the delivery than in any of the previous studio albums. Subtlety loses out in favor of power, and it is this power which almost redeems this release.

If you are not already a KC fan, this will almost assuredly NOT appeal to you. Even if you are a fan, there are many (many) more live KC albums that show a better band, clearer recordings, and more nuance-filled performances- so if you're contemplating your first live album by the band, do NOT choose this one. However, if you are a fan, and you prefer the raw and heavy side of the band, it is actually fairly full of impressive moments within the seeming shambles.

James Lee | 2/5 |


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