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EARTHBOUND

King Crimson

Eclectic Prog


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King Crimson Earthbound album cover
2.46 | 293 ratings | 47 reviews | 10% 5 stars

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Live, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. 21st century schizoid man (11:45)
2. Peoria (7:30)
3. The sailor's tale (4:45)
4. Earthbound (7:08)
5. Groon (15:30)

Total Time: 46:38

Lyrics

Search KING CRIMSON Earthbound lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

Search KING CRIMSON Earthbound tabs

Line-up / Musicians

- Boz Burrell / bass, vocals
- Mel Collins / alto, baritone & tenor, saxophones, mellotron
- Robert Fripp / guitar
- Ian Wallace / drums

Releases information

LP Island HELP-6 (1972)
CD DGM (2005)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to bsurmano for the last updates
Edit this entry

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KING CRIMSON Earthbound ratings distribution


2.46
(293 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
10%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(17%)
17%
Good, but non-essential (28%)
28%
Collectors/fans only (33%)
33%
Poor. Only for completionists (12%)
12%

KING CRIMSON Earthbound reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars How to salvage a mess

When I first heard this live album in the mid-70's, I went back to the record store to exchange it with another copy, as I was sure it was obviously a bad pressing. You can imagine the visible amusement of the vendor's face and gently explaining me that this was indeed as the album was released. Indeed, Fripp & the boys tried to stop Island Records to release this sore excuse for a live record (a cassette used as a master), but it came out anyway. This was probably one of the worse-sounding album ever released (along with Grand Funk Railroad's Live album, but that was intentionally bad), and I never dared return to it after getting rid of the album in the used vinyl circuit, until recently I fell upon the 30th anniversary remaster version and decided to see how precise were my (bad) memories of it. All I can say is that I didn't find the sound nearly as bad as I did back then, but that's easily explainable with modern technology to clean up badly recorded music. What a job Fripp did with this Live album, one that he disowned for over two decades.

Actually behind the eternal Schizoid Man (not the best version), there is little else material that is present on studio albums, if you'll except Sailor's Tale (from Island, the album, not the company) and even that one is quite different (instrumental) than its original form. The rest of the albums are some improvisations that Crimson was getting famous for, even though the next line-up (Bruford/Wetton) would become famous for. Indeed Peoria is an improvised blues-rock with Burrell singing & scatting over a steady rhythm, while Collins blows a solo or two and Fripp remains mostly rhythmic. Not fascinating, but interesting, even if the fade-out leaves wondering how they could end it. Similarly Sailor's Tale starts on a fade-in, obviously in the middle of a wild and fast improv, but then one recognizes the tune when the group slows down, especially with the two mellotrons. Earthbound is another one of these improvs, one that fits well the mould of this album, but definitely not on par with the future improvs of the next line-up. The flipside opens on the rare Groon (this was the flipside of the Cat Food/Groon single and not available on an Lp), where the improv seems to be the continuation of Peoria, but it gets lost into individual solos (including the inevitable drum solo) and even goes dissonant for a while.

If the sound was not so awful, this would've probably been a great record back then. It is a real shame that the sound quality did not improve as much as I would've hoped (probably expecting too much, I guess) as this got finally released to CD's but I guess there is only so much one can do to an original cassette . When one thinks that Genesis did not agree with their label releasing their live album in 72 because of recording quality, this leaves you perplexed how this one got out in the store's bins a second time, especially when Fripp is soooo keen on quality. If progheads, want to investigate into that era live Crimson, there are some fine releases in the Crimson Collector's Club with much better sound quality, but the one I have is Groon-less. Paradoxically Earthbound is rather interesting enough for those Crimson lovers into their improvisations: this one is loaded with them, even if mostly blues-derived.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#15023) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Review by The Owl
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Great for getting rid of unwanted party guests!

Truth be told, this is an abomination! Between the horrible sound quality (done on a cassette recorder in rain), and the rather inept plodding rhythm section (well actually, Ian Wallace is a decent drummer, just not right for KC.) and a lot of personal friction, it was bound to self-destruct.

This period of Crimson could be described as Fripp's desparation phase, having the record company breathing fire down his neck and being willing to settle for anyone that would stay long enough to fulfill a contract. Mel Collins and Fripp do the best they can given the dire circumstances and Boz's complete ineptness as an instrumentalist at the time (he NEVER played bass before, Fripp had to teach him by rote).

Thankfully, this was all short lived, as Fripp would find his perfect foils in Bruford, wetton, Cross and Muir not long thereafter.

For MASOCHISTIC completeiists only.

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Send comments to The Owl (BETA) | Report this review (#15017) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, March 25, 2004

Review by 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.

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Send comments to James Lee (BETA) | Report this review (#15039) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, May 15, 2005

Review by NetsNJFan
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The First thing one should know before purchasing this live 'recording' is that it is essentially a bootleg. While many fans gripe at the mediocre sound quality of Yes's "Yessongs" or ELP's "Welcome Back.", this one takes the cake. This probably has the worst sound quality of any official release I have ever heard (which is surprising, coming from the perfectionist band leader, Robert Fripp. One must remember however, that this was 1972, and Fripp was under pressure to get an album out from his label, and this lineup of King Crimson had already broken up. So this is a posthumous recording, made from the best available sources, so we take what we can get. Enough about the sound quality, to the actual music:

This is essentially a jam-album, featuring a very blues and jazz oriented band. Wallace (drums), Burrell (vocals/bass), and Mel Collins (Sax) were all the time at odds with Fripp (guitar) who was still pulling the band in a very Prog direction. The other three wanted more control, and Fripp, always a domineering sort of person, refused to give it, (resulting in the breakup in 1972). This album shows those strains, but has many good points. This was a very popular touring lineup, and there strengths show.

The album opens with a strong rendition of "Schizoid Man". Boz Burrell's vocals are processed through a synthesizer to get that same studio distortion as when Lake sang the song, and it works quite well. The band then breaks into a long jazzy break where Mel Collin's sax really shines. Next is "Peoria", a jazz-improv-jam piece, which surprisingly features 'scatting' of all things from Burrell. Overall, not a very impressive piece, but it is energetic and is played well. The "Sailor's Tale" off of the Islands album, is this albums most symphonic piece, and it is good, but pales in comparison with the strong original. The mellotron, (when it can be made out) as well as Fripp's Guitar are fairly good. "Earthbound" is another jazzy piece much in the vein of "Peoria" but it features much more interesting guitar work. Finally, the album closes with "Groon", a fifteen minute expansion of a three minute B-side from 1970 (from "Catfood"). This track is very interesting, especially to fans of avant-garde King Crimson. It features fantastic and funky drumming by Ian Wallace, and very interesting VC3 synthesizer work by Robert Fripp, which remains interesting despite its obvious improvisation. It does, however, drag on a bit too long.

This album is enjoyable, as the only King Crimson live album from its early period (1969-1972), (others have since been released), but its awful sound quality and jazzy- jam nature, and lack of classics (other than "Schizoid") make it definitely for King Crimson collectors only. Start with the studio albums first, if you like those, proceed to this one.with caution - 2 stars.

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Send comments to NetsNJFan (BETA) | Report this review (#37306) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, June 23, 2005

Review by Philo
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars King Crimson release a live album and it turns out to be a poorly recorded (in the crowd Amstrad tape deck) affair and arguably, no, definitely the least inspired line ups that Fripp organised, in fact organisation is what is lacking when it comes to this era King Crimson and especially the whole release of this live album. "21 Century Schizoid Man" from the off lacks a power and the bootleg quality of the album drags it back a few steps though the album gets worse, there is a jam somewhere which is [%*!#]ing terrible. Boz Burrell (bass/vocals) and Mel Collins (saxophone) at this time were members of the King Crimson and the almost constant change of personnel, and clashing personalities, were having a big effect on the bands stability. There are many stories of conflict between both the afore mentioned with King Crimson's leader Robert Fripp and the band does sound as if it is pulling apart. "Sailors Tale" deserves a decent production to gain some dynamic aural symphony of sound but obviously fall flat, which would just sum up the life of this line up completed by drummer Ian Wallace. Again, Fripp would regroup but the next stage would produce the goods for the band, Earthbound is a disjointed effort that may just be the honest testimony to whole experience of the Fripp/Burrell/Collins/Wallace version King Crimson. Sits almost uncomfortably and very shabby beside the other albums in the King Crimson canon.

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Send comments to Philo (BETA) | Report this review (#39680) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, July 17, 2005

Review by hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is obviously the most controversial KC album, its ratings range from one to five star. But what can I say, I just love it despite the really low sound quality and the vocals which are not the best ones. But if you ignore these two points it's a hell lot of fun listening to this live performance. As another reviewer pointed out already, it's really the most jamming KC live concert I know. There are three good reasons (not only one as Hugues thinks) to have this record. Apart of the great jamming piece "Groon" with awesome drum solo there is still "Peoria" and the great funky version of "21st Century Schizoid Man", which I prefer to the one on USA because it's sounding even more distorted there. And the remaining tracks "The Sailor's tale" and "Earthbound" are not much inferior. I'm really happy that this record is existing and I'd like to say thanks to the guy in the audience with the recorder. The only point to critize is that maybe it shouldn't have been published as an official "standard" live album, because it has a very obvious bootleg quality. There are for sure bootlegs which sound worse but I've to say there are as well some of GENESIS having a better quality than this one. On the other hand the point for quality of studio records goes without doubts to KC. Anyway regarding this one here although I like it very much I decided to give it a mediocre rating due to the sound quality. I think it neither deserves one nor five stars!

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Send comments to hdfisch (BETA) | Report this review (#48220) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, September 24, 2005

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars This "album" was a complete disappointment to me. Terrible sound quality wouldn't matter so much to me, but the chemistry of the band doesn't work. In my opinion, Boz cannot sing to this music context, and he cannot play bass very well. Just listen the opening of the first track, and find the most terrible piece of music you can ever imagine to hear, I fear. The other players have had a very bad ride through the last years with the unstable band. Boz had managed to turn them against Fripp, and after the set they ran onstage to do a basic blues jam as an encore, which they knew their pedantic bandleader cannot play well. Luckily there are some long instrumental jams, so the bold blues "singer" has to keep his too wide mouth shut. Most things in life come in waves, there's seven bad years, and seven good years. After this humiliation Robert got rid of the rest of the band on this album, and formed something unique with Bruford, Muir, Wetton and Cross. Thus this kind of bad moments may be meaningful, forcing the people to change in order to reach more satisfying setups to the future. I understood Boz had also a good career after this, when finding a more suitable band and stylistic direction for him.

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#48398) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, September 25, 2005

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars As fellow reviewer James Lee puts it, Earthbound is the definition of a collector's only album. The sound might be way below par, but what is there is a raw energy that foreshadows what would soon come to be as the Larks' Tongue in Aspic era of the band, the experimental years. Beginning with a rousing version of 21st Century Schizoid Man (with a subpar vocal performance from Boz, who seems too into it and loses the feel). Mel Collins is a joy and is the most consistent on this album. Fripp has strong leads and blocky rhythmic sections, and his crunchy sound again foreshadows what direction he was taking. Ian Wallace takes a stab at the drums and succeeds with cohesive and technical beats that never get too out of control. Peoria is a nice little jam with some nice work from Fripp and Collins, and some "shout outs" from Boz telling the crowd to get into it. Sailor's Tale and Earthbound are both mostly instrumental and are varied in sound. Stand out performances on those from Boz and Fripp. The finale to this album is Groon, which is a jazzy number that has incredibly complicated rhythms performed very well from the group. Fripp and Wallace are the stars of this track. Overall, if you can get past very dodgy sound, there is something to like about this "bootleg". If you haven't listened to King Crimson before, then don't even dare pick this up. If you haven't heard live King Crimson before, find another album of the era that's live (you can get it through the King Crimson Collector's Club), I'd recommend checking one of those out. But if you want raw energy, go with this. Me, I give it a 2/5.

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Posted Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Review by Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Now most of us know that this album is very poorly recorded - partially "in the rain, from the back of a Volkswagon Truck". However, this recording shows a very different side to the Crimson King. The rhythm section of Boz Burrell and Ian Wallace is very 'primitive' sounding, not really suited for Crimso, but they give a certain feel to the tracks presented here, with funky jams such as 'Peoria' and 'Earthbound' and you can even hear Mr. Fripp like you've never heard him before - grungey and rough - not meticulous and angular like he is usually. Mel Collins does a fine job with the Saxes (always does) and handles the only bit of Mellotron on the record - 'A Sailor's Tale', which is too short. '21st Century Schizoid Man' is given a lengthy workout, and again, the sound quality lets down a rather interesting version, with the best distorted vocal yet and groovy middle section. 'Groon' is a 15 minute version of the 3 minute avant-garde 'B' side to Cat Food, and is a good reason for owning this record - especially the drum solo ; Wallace's kit was processed through a VCS3 synthesizer, and the sounds produced were rarely heard and hence, would've made the the crowd 'trip out' whether on something or not, so it was kind of revolutionary in a way. Definately a 3 star effort, and I'm grateful that this exists. Naturally, if the recording quality was pristine, it would have many proggers drooling !!

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Posted Saturday, December 09, 2006

Review by OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars One of the worst recordings ever.

I've heard some pretty poor recording in my time, but few measure up to the basic butchery of an otherwise pleasant experience. This stuff can put some Black Metal recording quality to shame. Think Bathory's Return with incessant static popping. That's how abysmal it is. If you can get past the annoying fade outs and the incessant popping, it's actually not half-bad a concert experience.

Besides the fact that I never, ever, in my dreams want to hear Boz sing "21st Century..." again, the track is quite good in its improv state, with really nice instrumental play from the band. The opening of it just makes me want to literally stab my ears because of how poorly it is done in comparison to Lake's performance on the debut album. It's so over-dramatic to the point of being cringeworthingly laughable. I guess the thing that excites me the most, an anecdotal piece of information if you will, is how much my guitar playing sounds like the ending instrumental section before we go back to the familiar verse and chorus.

The only reason this record is remotely inspiring or insightful is the work of Fripp and Collins, two masters of their craft who manage to pull off an interesting live show, despite it's many flaws, none of which can particularly be credited to them. This is a jam album in every meaning of the world, and this can lead you too many insightful and inspiring passages, but also many marked by confusion and questions. There's enough good material on here keeping it from being a total disaster, but it's layered in so much filth its difficult to find.

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Posted Thursday, February 15, 2007

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
2 stars FOR COLLECTORS ONLY!!

I never understood why this album has been released in the first place. Was it a contractual obligation toward the recording companyl ? Was Mr Fripp in one of those moods these days? i don't know.

You all know that the concert has been recorded on a...cassette. The sound is worst than a bootleg!! and it's an official KC album. I know when the KC albums have been transfered on CDS . Robert Fripp made sure that EARTHBOUND wasn't released back then in the 90s. But i guess, he changed his mind and this CD was released as part of the 30th anniversary collection. As an ardent Crimson fan, i bought it back for completion purposes , but that stops here. I am listening to it while reviewing this album but nothing new is changing my mind;utterly disposable! At least the CD sound is a big improvement over the LP; but that doesn't save it; the music is not very good either.A lot of jams with a very poor rythm section that doesn't fit with the music. The vocals are atrocious and it sounds like a mess. Thanks god i was not at this concert ready to listen to the goods of ISLANDS.Only MEL COLLINS saves the day>

This is the same line-up than on Islands, but that's the only common point. I am amazed at some reviews on this site giving 4 , even 5 stars to this album. I read that BOZ voice on this album was the best KC ever got. I love KING CRIMSON, but i am not that masochistic.

2 stars means for collectors onlY? so 2 stars! But it could be less.

Thanks god, King CRIMSON will be back in a big way!

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Posted Friday, April 20, 2007

Review by Ricochet
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Earthbound, as a vicious defect and a record romp crossover, is one of the negative down-faming known "stories", at least appreciating it simply and, alternatively, from inside the music "crimsonic" movement. If the story is used as irony instead of a healthy appreciation, it is even more spicy, more homogenously respected, as it is weakly said too. So Earthbound, as live and as the project in between Crimson doing virulent art and Crimson doing virulent (prog default) rock (artistically put, to not say it moronically), disappoints as quality and as a moment who would have preferably been an unrepeatable gem, a thick blood music and a large echo. It's a failure; and it is one in which, I was saying, you check all the senses before considering yourself "ripped-off" by broken sounds and moldy mastering. The extremes go towards judging the album as a radical egocentric decision made by Robert Fripp. In a way, as much as the special detail doesn't interest me, I see instead the ideal of a "live" in the eclectic-genuine Crimson smash period as one purely fantasist, or, by Earthbound, salutary. The hope of this isn't, in the end lost, given another "early prog times" recording placing in a live, 30 years later since this "infamous one" (Ladies Of The Road, CD 1), as other moments, more regressively, share such things. Still, for a progressive, conceptual, artistic, experimental, surreal, dark-orientated, caustic and melodic visceral emphasis of Crimson in the early 70s, a more representative and euphoric, plus fully achieved live would have landed better in the ensemble or the epilogue of the period; a period which, in itself, went excellent (only in particular preferential). Stepping outside this regret, there are the great and free impressions or ironies through which Earthbound sounds bad, weak, maniacal, depressive, irrepressible, as shrapnel noise and latent impressionistic schizophrenia. Etc. (of course)

About the recording's quality, my view is comfortably indisposed by the general flash cleanse miss, which makes music to be as sophisticated as it wants, but of minimal, chopped beauty. The recordings is badly scratching the ears, making out of a hard-listening default pleasure a fight to resist the album. The most annoying details come right as the most intrinsic, so that music's scratch staying drenched and, besides the bombatistic, mandible, defiant. The sound proves a jam of all the break-out, whilst, by finally some taste, a different kind of disturbance catches voice, in the posture of a concrete decibel stepped-on play and of an unaesthetic pedaled intensity. Earthbound is doubtless a crash of musical performance viewpoint and one of sound-producing too, and this, unfortunately, can't sound exaggerate; perhaps only a too suggestive remark.

In the Crimson music that's played, somewhat, things stay better, though not by a chance excellent. I've already said it, a live from the immediate period would have deserved a plus (or a surplice) of magic, frenzy and indubitable quality; have the small groove on the side, it would have seized all frivolous useless shivers. Otherwise, this "mistaken live" has only good moments, some even interesting, acting in a performance of experimentalism, pure schizoid and mental-digressive tones, it site well in the power asthenia and in the rotten symbols, and characterizes classic artists in a treating way of living up their personal nemesis in the side-syringing pathos. Extremely visceral and virulent, as well as unforgiving in an experimental dominating ardor, Earthbound is heavy listening, for fans who forgot the boredom of broken music or the much ignorant lack of character. But even in these points of critic that are from captivating down to acceptable, appears, typical, the complex of bad interpretation, of jam music and of hardly thought art, of a terrible improvisational passion, of a straight dire effect and of a poisoning elixir for the too evaluative soul. Maybe something cacophonous has ambiance as well. Everything tends to be style "grudge", well-pointed only if it doesn't mark the great tiresome of dead times and beaten to a bleed and a sheer corpulence sounds. 21st Century Schizoid Man, the great schlager, useless to be considered otherwise than essential and eternal, has an execrable vocal art, but the powerful instrumental, from the middle of the piece, is quite good class. Peoria is something I do consider a composition gem, too bad of the new sound handicap, entering the dissimulation. I never ever liked The Sailor's Tale, still here it's crispy plus macabre. After this, the joke of the jam and the schist-phonic thickens, the last too pieces share the greatest sin. Earthbound is ephemeral in itself, whilst Groon is too a gem composition, ruined by mud caliber, orgasmic loud-louder-loudest collapse.

For an unbelievable heavy rock cognitive orientation, it is a full shame and blame that the live album is a chop of sound quality and a killing bash art. It is a shame and blame that a quasi-perfect (art) period has such a "live" epilogue and such a "performance" comfort. Un-prodigious, on top of everything. No for Earthbound, no with a regrettable shrug.

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Posted Saturday, May 26, 2007

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
1 stars Down to earth with a bump!

This is an early live collection from King Crimson, released around the same time as "Pictures at an Exhibition" (ELP). When originally released in LP format, these albums (plus others such as the re-released, "Valentine Suite" by Colosseum) sold at a budget price on Island records HELP label. For many, because of their budget price, they offered an introduction to the music of these bands. The success of the venture was however mixed. While ELP's offering was excellent both in terms of quality and musicianship, "Earthbound" did little to encourage the casual buyer to investigate King Crimson further.

The recording quality is little better than that of a bootleg with distortion aplenty, indeed, the sleeve notes actually state that the recordings were captured on a stereo cassette! To be fair, the cassette recorder was plugged into the mixer (sound board), this is not a microphone recording.

Looking through the mist, we find five tracks in total. An 11 minute rendition of "21st century schizoid man" kicks things off, the substantial lengthening of the song being due to improvisations on guitar by Robert Fripp, and sax by Mel Collins. Greg Lake's vocal is replaced by that of Boz Burrell, who rather struggles with the intricacies of the song. It's all rather messy with a distinctive feel of being under-rehearsed. The fact that by the time of these recordings the band was down to a four-piece, with most of the original members having moved on, clearly has a significant impact in this respect.

Two of the five tracks are new compositions, credited to all four current band members. In reality, "Peoria" and "Earthbound" are little more than lengthy jam sessions. Both tracks even find Burrell indulging in vocal improvisation! One can only imagine what those people in the audience who had turned up expecting to hear "Epitaph" and "Court of the crimson king" must have thought.

"The sailor's tale" fades in as "Peoria" fades out, presumably the cassette must have needed turning over at this point. The track is the only one taken from the band's then current album "Islands", Mel Collins moving to mellotron since Fripp is still on his guitar. This track at least has some semblance of a structure, but once again we have a rapid and unsatisfactory fade before it actually ends.

The final track, "Groon" was not considered worthy of a place on an album in its original 3 minute form as a single B-side. Quite why then it would become a 15½ minute monster here is especially puzzling.

Much has been made over the years of the sound quality of these recordings being the reason the album is poor. In reality, the sound is all too audible, it is the lazy, hope you like our new direction performances which are the real disappointment. All "Earthbound" did was to show that the majesty of the band's early mellotron drenched works was well and truly behind them. Avoid!

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Posted Friday, July 06, 2007

Review by Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Even my cassette demos have better quality, I bet! Devoid of usual KC delicacy and sophistication, this concert sounds like a drunk Dixieland band jam-session. 2-3-chord pointless crooning around, total absence of legendary symphonic approach and noisy humiliating drum solo in the end. Satisfied? Well, I bought it mostly because of the booklet featuring newspaper clippings about KC from those times (other albums in my collection were of such edition as well). So, this is definitely a collection’s item, not recommended for KC beginners or those, who still owns 3-5 studio albums of them

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Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Review by jammun
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars As others have noted, be forewarned: Earthbound is a live recording, captured on a cassette recorder. I paid a premium for this back in the day (it was initially only available as an import, and I was a needy college student), and even at that I probably listened to it only once. I have since acquired the remastered CD, and still the fidelity on this album is non-existent. If you have any interest in quality sound, avoid this like the plague. I don't care how intense the music is (and it is intense occasionally), the lack of quality recording ruins the moment. One can only assume that this was released only to meet contractual obligations. So given that the sound sucks, what's to recommend this at all? Not much.

The version of 21st Century Schizoid Man is pretty lame, save for Fripp's guitar solo, which is all over the place and might actually be one of his best if it could be heard in decent sound quality. Peoria is some jazzy funk; same with Earthbound, which reminds me of the rock/jazz/funk found on any Les McCann/Eddie Harris album of the same era. Sailor's Tale is just okay. Get Islands instead.

That leaves Groon, which is the only reason anyone would actually purchase this, it being generally unavailable on any other official release of the time. Groon is one strange duck, an extenuation of the jazz tendencies on display on Lizard and Island, though it too eventually devolves into the aforementioned rock/jazz/funk.

Realistically, this will only appeal to KC completists, which is the only reason I own it.

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Posted Friday, October 19, 2007

Review by Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars An Official Bootleg album released in 1972.

In 1985 the singer of the band in which I was playing then, after knowing that I liked King Crimson`s USA live album, told me: "The live version of "Schizoid Man" from their "Earthbound" album is better!. In 1991, one German friend from one of my brothers, while being in my city on Holidays, asked me: "Is it true that you have the "Earthbound" album?". I said to him, "No, I don`t have it". He then said to me: "But your brother told me that you have it!" (my brother knew that I have the "USA " album, but as he never has liked King Crimson he didn`t remember the name of that live album, so he thought that it was called "Earthbound"). I said to him: "No. The only live album that I have from King Crimson is called "USA" . He was a bit disappointed but as he never have listened to "USA" too, he recorded it in a cassette before returning to his country. (The "USA" album was also a "rarity" in 1991, because it wasn`t available on C.D. then).

I have to say that in 1979-80 I found in some record shops several very expensive L.P. copies imported from England from this "Earthbound" album. I was a bit curious then to buy it but the prices were so high than I never bought it then, and another reason was that the back cover said that it was recorded using a cassette tape recorder, so I really expected a bad quality recording. I also didn`t know then why this album wasn`t released in the U.S. Now that I have it on C.D. I know the reason: maybe this album shouldn`t have been released. Why Fripp released a cheap live recording from his band? Why he didn`t use a more professional recording equipment to record this line-up in concert? I don`t know. Maybe he had some budget restricitions then.

This is really a "Schizophrenic" album, because some of the tracks are not very representative of the original musical style of the band. "Schizoid Man", "A Sailor`s Tale" and "Groon", which were released on previous studio albums ("Groon" was first released as the B-side of the "Cat Food" single in 1970, until being included in the remastered C.D. of the "In the Wake of Poseidon" album) , obviously sound in the original musical style of the band. The live improvised tracks, "Peoria" and "Earthbound", while sounding good and interesting in some parts, sound more like played by another band in a Jazz-Rock-Blues-Funky style. The musicians in this line-up are very good and they played interesting things, in my opinion. I don`t think that Boz Burrell was a bad singer / bass player. Ian Wallace and Mel Collins are also very good musicians, and both particularly shine in some moments. Fripp`s guitar playing is also very good, sometimes a bit noisy, but good. Wallace plays a very good dums solo on "Groon", and Collins plays a lot of very good solos on his sax in most songs

The live version of "Schizoid Man" is very good, more close to the original studio version in some parts due to Collins`sax playing. Wallace also plays the song more in the style of Michael Giles, the original drummer of the band. I like this live version, but I also like the live version which was released in their "USA" album.

The worst thing in this album is the recording, which sounds as a Bootleg, as many reviewers wrote. The performances are not bad, and this album has some interesting things. This is a Heavy live album from this band, not bad, but not of enough quality in the recordings to be sold now in the record shops in the same prices as better live recordings fom this band and others. Now I now why Fripp didn`t want this album to be released on C.D. It is more for Collectors / Dedicated Fans only.

After being for several years "a rarity and a mystery", now I have this album. Now I can see why I didn`t buy it in 1979-80. I was right. The recordings are of bad quality, as expected.

Two members of this line-up are now dead: Boz Burrell and Ian Wallace died a few years ago. RIP.

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Posted Friday, May 16, 2008

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I can say nothing new: terrible sound quality destroyed that record from KC pre-72 era.

When I'm telling TERRIBLE, it doesn't means, that sound is plain, or bad mixed, or too rounded, as often happens, when we're speaking about recording quality of other albums. NO! The quality is terrible in direct sense, sound was recorded ot portative recorder (of that time) and just put on the disc as it is.

It's a mainly reason, why it's almost not possible to speak about album's music: what you are hearing there remains sound, recorded from radio from 70-th.

For a long it was very limited possibility to listen live sound of KC from early years. After USA album, "Earthbound" missed that exclusivity. And now, when you can choose perfect "The Great Deceiver"from the same era, only crazy KC-maniac could be interested in "Earthbound".

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Posted Friday, September 04, 2009

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars It's hard to believe today that Earthbound was the first King Crimson live album to see an official release. Today, of course, we have available to us a whole wealth of archival live material from more or less every lineup of King Crimson that ever undertook a tour - indeed, 2002's Ladies of the Road comes from the same tour as this one, and has a vastly superior sound quality. Thus, if Earthbound was a baffling, inessential, and controversial release when it first came out in 1972, here in 2011 it's just a complete embarrassment.

The major problem with Earthbound is, of course, the recording quality. Why the band's label thought this botched recording to cassette (1972-quality cassette, at that) would ever be acceptable for mass release is beyond me, but there you go. On top of that, I *think* that the performances captured on this muzzy, horribly mixed recording are quite sub-par: there's a version of 20th Century Schizoid Man in which the instrumental soloing sections make it quite clear that only two of the band members (Mel Collins and, of course, the honourable Robert Fripp) even remotely possess the chops of the 1969 lineup, a similarly uninteresting performance of Groon, a passable (though still ruined by the recording quality) stab at The Sailor's Tale, and two new jams (Peoria and Earthbound) which consist of Boz boringly scatting into the microphone whilst the band make a fumbling and altogether half- hearted attempt at something resembling funk, both of which are unbearable.

I say I "think" the performances are sub-par - I can't say for sure because the recording quality is so bad I could easily imagine that any good there may have been in these renditions has been washed out by the tape recording. Trust me, the sound quality is terrible, to the point where it sounds like half the album was recorded in the next room away from where the band were playing. And in this day and age, there is no earthly reason why anyone who wasn't a completely uncritical King Crimson fan should feel obliged to track Earthbound down. When one considers all the many, many alternative live Crimson releases - every single one of which is superior to this one - the fact that the thing actually got reissued from time to time is completely baffling. It's a horribly recorded record of below average performances from a comparatively unimportant lineup of King Crimson.

Get USA, get Absent Friends, get the Great Deceiver box, get the Projekts material, get Epitaph, get Ladies of the Road, and get all the other King Crimson live material you could ever want in the world before you even consider wasting a scrap of your money on this one. As far as King Crimson's discography goes, this is as close as it gets to the bottom of the barrel unless you're willing to dabble in bootlegs - and most bootlegs will sound better than this turkey.

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Posted Monday, August 01, 2011

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
2 stars This is the only official King Crimson album that I never upgraded from LP to CD. It just isn't worth it. I originally found this album in a used record store for three dollars (it still has the price sticker). At the time I thought I paid too much. Now, while I'm glad I have it (just for the completion of their records), I can't justify spending any money to upgrade it.

The recording quality, as many have already said, is poor. It was recorded on a cassette deck from a mixer at a series of concerts in 1972. That doesn't excuse to poor sound. The more recent Collectors Club releases indicate that there were better tapes available.

As for the performances themselves, it's obvious that Boz Burrell at that time was a sub-par bassist, and although some recordings show him as passable, here he is an embarassingly bad vocalist. Ian McDonald, we know, was a pretty good drummer, although not up to the level of any of the other Crimson drummers before or after him, but he does a fair job on these tracks. Robert Fripp and Mel Collins play well, as always.

So, performancewise, I would give this three stars. But the poor sound, and bootleg style editing, like entering The Sailors Tale in the middle of the song, rate only one star.

So by the average, two stars.

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Posted Monday, September 05, 2011

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
2 stars Earthbound? More like Marooned: The fractured state of the Crims.

This is a genuine misfire on almost every level. The band themselves were in a transitional stage. Gordon Haskell was out replaced by Boz Burrell who does not do the songs justice either vocally or on bass. The saving grace of Mel Collins' sax is at least something to look forward to and one cannot dispute the towering guitar work of legendary prog hero Robert Fripp. Even the set list lacks something with waste of space B side 'Groon' and dull 'Peoria'. The 6:44 edit of 'Groon' on "The 21st Century Guide to King Crimson Vol 1" box set is better and interestingly the box set has an edited 9:47 version of '21st Century Schizoid Man', minus the vocals that is, as they no doubt realised how bad Boz sounded.

The sound is as good as I could get if I had been there at Wilmington, Peoria, Jacksonville and Orlando venues recording on my boom box cassette recorder. Actually scratch that, it is worse as I would not have recorded static feedback and drop outs. At times the sound is low fi and muffled, at other times it eats static, and occasionally it is a notch above tolerable. For some reason this was as good as the band could do, yet in the 70s there were plenty of live albums that bury this in terms of sound quality. It really sounds like a bad bootleg and perhaps should have remained out of circulation to surface as bonus tracks to CDs in later years rather than released as official. Listeners would be more forgiving if they were mere bonus tracks.

In June 9th 1972 when "Earthbound" was released in England, the US Atlantic label actually declined to release it on the grounds that it had poor sound quality. Also that same year King Crimson split up, and the following month of the album's release in July Bruford, Wetton, Muir and Cross reformed the band with Fripp as the sole survivor. When Bruford quit Yes 'Melody Maker' likened it to "Rolls quitting Royce". Nevertheless this record testifies to the fractured state of the band, and it is not a pretty sound.

It is difficult to forgive this quality no matter how much you love the band, it is truly the worst you will hear on an official release. We have a raw whispy gutless sound though the band are so energetic and heavy that I can still sit through most of this. You have to be in the right frame of mind to purposely subject your ears to such a cacophony of noise but King Crimsonites will do so relatively easily. It is the archival nature of the material that holds the interest as this was the early phase of the Crims and is a one off live record. The "USA" live album to follow later in 1975 is a better choice of course but the band were tighter and as a cohesive unit were outstanding musically. Boz is the main culprit here who only learnt bass at Fripp's training in a desperate attempt to quickly replace Haskell. This concert followed in the wake of "Islands" where Boz sounded better and then he was replaced quickly by John Wetton just in time for the awesome "Lark's Tongues in Aspic". Bill Bruford was also a better drummer, streets ahead of Ian Wallace who had replaced Andy McCulloch. Peter Sinfield jumped ship indefinitely so it is clear that there was a lot of tension in the band with all these changes.

It is disappointing that the quality is so under par because the music itself is rather excellent. The brilliant '21st Century Schizoid Man' is certainly one of the best things on it and worth getting hold of. It exists on CD on the box set of King Crimson so it is not worth hunting down "Earthbound" if one already has this track. I was astounded at how bad the sound is and with all the live material available these days the album exists as more of a collector's only item or for archival records rather than an essential purchase.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#682760) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, March 25, 2012

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars Raw and dirty doesn't begin to describe King Crimson's first official live album, which isn't even worthy of the description, "bootleg quality." Recorded on cassette tape in a Volkswagen truck in 1972, the presentation of these performances never had a chance. It also has some unwanted fades. The saving grace on an overzealous and histrionic "21st Century Schizoid Man" is Mel Collin's wild saxophone performance over Boz Burrell's energetic bass. "Peoria" is a pleasant bit of jazzy improvisation minus the horrendous scat vocals. "Sailor's Tale" is a fair rendition, but not as smooth as the original, though the guitar is at its most adventurous. "Earthbound" is also an improvisational jam, heavily reliant on Ian Wallace's drums and a funky bass line. As for "Groon," my appreciation for it has grown over time, and it appeals to those who relish the more avant-garde side of King Crimson.

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#912059) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, February 10, 2013

Review by Einsetumadur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 8/15P. I shan't waste too many words about this album. It's the first radically lo-fi album in rock music. It's unlistenable. It's cathartic to the core. I could actually give this recording any rating, in a way.

If I were polemic I'd call this record the first black metal album of music history. In these years certain musicians of the black metal genre also feed their aggressive artworks through lots of tape recorders time and time again in order to get the necessary amount of brutality in the production. People might rightly argue that the band didn't record it in bad sound quality deliberately. That's absolutely true, of course. But Robert Fripp, an intelligent man with a frequently critical attitude towards his own work, surely released this recording deliberately. The band history reveals that the band somehow wanted to undermine the bootleggers' activities by bootlegging their own concerts with a primitive broadcast vehicle. If they had had the modern means of production, they would surely have recorded their shows with better equipment. But, looking back to the year of 1972, they wouldn't have published this thing if they hadn't been convinced by certain qualities of this recording: maybe the raw power, the cathartic performance or the unusual funk jams.

The one sufficient reason for getting this CD is this version of 21st Century Schizoid Man. King Crimson sound as if they were demolishing the whole stage - not a bit of clarity, just cristallised energy devouring your internal ear. Mel Collins' saxophone shrieks, Robert Fripp bathes in oceans of feedback, Boz Burrell screams through Pete Sinfield's VCS3 machine and lets the original Greg Lake version appear pale in comparison to this frantic exorcism. Sailor's Tale is very similar, albeit with Mellotron input and at least some moments which are a bit pastoral.

The point is that King Crimson don't care about anything on this record - and this is the inspiring point about it. The drum solo of Groon, also fed through the VCS3 machine, is ugly and overlong, but still amazes you due to its recklessness. Boz Burrell's scatting in Earthbound and Peoria is ugly and off-key, the funk rhythms are dull - but again it's this certain artistic arrogance which grabs you. The only fault of the album is that the similarly destructive version of Circus by this King Crimson line-up is missing.

Admittedly, I've never ever listened to this album in its entirety. I do listen to 21st Century Schizoid Man several times in a month, however, actually every time when I'm disposed to remind myself how much force and energy a 4-piece band line-up can convey. The sound quality is awful, it's - as I've said - close to being unlistenable, but I have tremendous respect for the band having put this stuff out.

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Send comments to Einsetumadur (BETA) | Report this review (#978636) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, June 15, 2013

Latest members reviews

2 stars In all the time spent listening to music, and albums of the progressive rock sub-genre, there's been an infinite amount of recordings to go through. Many of them are pretty damn good, and are lasting proof of how innovative these groups could be. There have also been albums that show a far more pret ... (read more)

Report this review (#1132652) | Posted by Sheets of Blue | Sunday, February 16, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars In 1970 King Crimson jumped from jazz-oriented rock ("In the Court of the Crimson King" and "In the Wake of Poseidon") to a bit more classical side of things with "Lizard". In 1971 they returned to the idea of having more jazz in their sound with "Islands" and continued going down that path, adding ... (read more)

Report this review (#613218) | Posted by Dayvenkirq | Thursday, January 19, 2012 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Earthbound ? Crimsons first Live album, must have been many prog. freaks waiting for that ! And quite a few must have been very disapointed. Live recording from this early period tends to be of a very pure sound in general, but in this case its plain terrible. On "21st Century Schizoid Man" th ... (read more)

Report this review (#278516) | Posted by tamijo | Monday, April 19, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I know what you're thinking- "What kind of unrefined idiot would give this piece of crap four stars?? And he calls himself a FAN??? Guards, remove this man at once!!!" As a King Crimson fan since '81 (via their appearance on the late night show FRIDAYS), I've avoided this album for many years d ... (read more)

Report this review (#270182) | Posted by Jangoclone666 | Sunday, March 07, 2010 | Review Permanlink

1 stars The poor sound quality on this album is too hard to look past. The version of The Sailor's Tale on this is actually not bad, but I can't listen to this album simply because of the sound quality. I gave my friend King Crimson's entire discography to listen to, but I did not give him this album. ... (read more)

Report this review (#192205) | Posted by evantate09 | Sunday, December 07, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Mediocre sound, it seems to be a bootleg live album, it has a bad, bad reputation...but I like Earthbound very much, as I like Genesis Live, Black Sabbath's Live At Last and all these underrated live albums. Not so many tracks, but very good set-list, this live albums is not the best of all time ... (read more)

Report this review (#164252) | Posted by Zardoz | Wednesday, March 19, 2008 | Review Permanlink

1 stars From the perspective of diehard Crim-head, this dreadful recording only serves to document the band on the verge of collapse. While sifting through the background noise and distortion, one can hear the occasional moment of brilliance, but not nearly enough to redeem the recording. In the days ... (read more)

Report this review (#150471) | Posted by LARKSTONGUE | Tuesday, November 13, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The first official live album by good ol' Crimso. The most loathed of all King Crimson albums, the audio quality is below bootleg-standards, however, if you look beyond the sound quality, you'll realize that this lineup had a distinguishing feature: Raw energy. And indeed, this album is one of raw ... (read more)

Report this review (#149097) | Posted by Axel Dyberg | Monday, November 05, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I was a young guy, when I bought KC's Earthbound in 1973. I was a member of a group of some young people discovering the world of new music. We heard the new appearing records together always looking for the ultimate one. Earthbound was a shock. Nobody by then had dared to publish such a direct an ... (read more)

Report this review (#128135) | Posted by golowin | Wednesday, July 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Well, let's tell to some KC fan the word Earthbound and more than 90 % will surely feel wrong. Anyway, this album is not as bad as it is usually claimed. My dad, for example, thinks that this is KC best album ever made. In Slovakia there was little opportunities to hear raw rocking live perf ... (read more)

Report this review (#113448) | Posted by Hejkal | Sunday, February 25, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars a failure? NO!!!! yes, the album has bad sound quality - so what? this is a live album, amd I have heard worse regarding the sound quality. "Vital" by Van der Graaf Generator comes to my mind, which is one of the best live albums ever and would get 5 stars from me. but I digress... The distor ... (read more)

Report this review (#112363) | Posted by BaldJean | Friday, February 16, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Well, I agree that the sound quality is kinda bad. This was probably recorded with a cheap tape-recorder, but at list they did it! They had to record this great live set!. So, I don't care for the sound quality, this record is still awsome. It features the 1971-72 line-up: Master Robert Fripp: ... (read more)

Report this review (#83138) | Posted by | Saturday, July 08, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Bought this when I was about 14 (1974) as I wanted everything KC had out on vinyl. I didn't understand the album at the time and I guess I'm still unsure. I certainly didn't like Earthbound and for 20 years it sat gathering dust along with USA whilst I wore out the grooves on the studio albums ... (read more)

Report this review (#74166) | Posted by Eastvillan | Wednesday, April 05, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars It deserves a short review, because it's the least interesting KC album (including all of their officialy edited live material). I wonder if it was the only live material Fripp had in his archives at the time. If compared to "Ladies of the road" or any of collectors club concerts from this lin ... (read more)

Report this review (#69301) | Posted by kajetan | Monday, February 13, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars A shame about the sound quality, as the music is quite interesting. This was a good live band no doubt about it. But very unlike all the other Crimsons. If only the sound could have been better I could give this 4 stars. As it is, I have a hard time listening to it and can't possibly recommen ... (read more)

Report this review (#65361) | Posted by | Wednesday, January 18, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This live album captures the best and worst of this incarnation of the band. The version of 21st Century Schizoid Band is my personal favourite - Boz's vocals, distorted by the EMS VCS3 synthesiser, really gets across the power and energy that other versions lack. Robert's guitar solo is spell ... (read more)

Report this review (#60532) | Posted by Pbak | Friday, December 16, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This may well be nearly one of the greatest live albums around if it was'nt for the sound limitations,which makes it a very sad missed opportunity that was lost as the music as a perfomance is some of their best and some of the best of prog or rock. What Earthbound does prove is sometimes the m ... (read more)

Report this review (#46073) | Posted by | Friday, September 09, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Let's face the facts: there is no use in complaining about the sound quality (which is really awful, as the other reviwers pointed). Mr. Fripp refused to release "Earthbound" on CD for years, and when he finally did it, he decided to keep the original sound. But what we have here is a little g ... (read more)

Report this review (#15038) | Posted by M. B. Zapelini | Sunday, April 03, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I have to agree with the awful sound quality this album has. I actually cant tell if Burrell's voices is really distorted in 21st Century Schizoid Man like in the original version or if its the sound quality that's causing that soun effect. But try to look deeper...that version of 21st century i ... (read more)

Report this review (#15034) | Posted by | Sunday, January 30, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I remember buying this for £1.49 when it first came out and felt they'd given their public a discount due to the atrocious sound quality. It really was worth a lot more than this debause of one contribution - Mel Collins. I'm a great lover of the saxophone both in a rock, jazz and fusion conte ... (read more)

Report this review (#15032) | Posted by | Thursday, November 25, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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