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King Crimson - Earthbound CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

2.52 | 465 ratings

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3 stars Groon! Like a bootleg - rough sound but some great gems.

Earthbound was recorded on the Islands tour with Boz Burrell on vocals, Ian Wallace on drums, Mel Collins on saxes, flutes and mellotron. This was not supposed to be released, and Fripp himself tried to prevent its release and even get it discontinued. On first listen the reason is obvious - the sound quality here is not up to even basic standards of an official live album. There is lots of saturation, the peaks distort, and it sounds like it was recorded by an audience member on an old cassette machine. And the tape runs out in the middle of Sailors Tale. Fripp also likely wanted to prevent its release because he was not happy with this band. According to Sid Smith's Fripp-sanctioned biography of Crimson, there were times during the tour when Fripp was in a grumpy mood, so the band retaliated by doing blues improvisations, which Fripp never wanted to do - he would sit there during the whole blues tune with his arms crossed. Saying this, any Crimson fan should have this in their catalogue. There are two improvs, which are not blues per se, but nonetheless very raw funky jams (with Fripp playing). Boz scat sings on these, and his voice is rough. But they feel real and gutsy, the opposite of polished and sleek. The version of Schizoid Man is actually really excellent here - again raw and loud, with some great sax and drum solos. But the real gem here is the 15 minute version of 'Groon'. This tune otherwise can only be found as the b-side to the original Cat Food single, and on that it is a short and unassuming instrumental. But on this live album, it is a monster, with tons of great improvisations and dark menacing soundscapes. Awesome track. Because of the poor sound quality and rough performance, I can't go above 3 stars, and could not recommend this for the novice. But if you find you really like the improv side of early Crimson, you will want this album. On balance, my rating is 7.0 out of 10 on my 10-point scale (which translates in the PA world to mid 3 stars).

Walkscore | 3/5 |


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