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King Crimson Epitaph, Volumes One & Two album cover
3.79 | 215 ratings | 10 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Live, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc 1: 71:37
1. 21st Century Schizoid Man (7:06)
2. In the Court of the Crimson King (6:27)
3. Get Thy Bearings (5:59)
4. Epitaph (7:08)
5. A Man, A City (11:41)
6. Epitaph (7:42)
7. 21st Century Schizoid Man (7:16)
8. Mantra (3:47)
9. Travel Weary Capricorn (3:15)
10. Improv: Travel Bleary Capricorn (2:23)
11. Mars: The Bringer of War (8:53)

Disc 2: 48:36
1. In the Court of the Crimson King (7:13)
2. Drop In (5:14)
3. A Man, A City (11:19)
4. Epitaph (7:31)
5. 21st Century Schizoid Man (7:37)
6. Mars: The Bringer of War (9:42)

Total Time 120:13

Line-up / Musicians

- Robert Fripp / guitar
- Michael Giles / drums, percussion, backing vocals
- Greg Lake / bass, lead vocals
- Ian McDonald / woodwinds, keyboards, mellotron, vocals
- Peter Sinfield / words

Releases information

Discipline (Global Mobile) DGM-9607
Volume 1 (Disc 1): Tracks 1-4 recorded for BBC Radio, tracks 5-7 recorded at the Fillmore East, tracks 8-11 recorded at the Fillmore West (all 1969)
Volume 2 (Disc 2): recorded at the Fillmore West (1969)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to LiquidEternity for the last updates
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Buy KING CRIMSON Epitaph, Volumes One & Two Music

KING CRIMSON Epitaph, Volumes One & Two ratings distribution

(215 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(52%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

KING CRIMSON Epitaph, Volumes One & Two reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I think this compilation of live performances and radio sessions has much more interesting musical material on it, when compared to the studio albums of the 1st King Crimson line-up. Some exceptions certainly exists, but this is my overall feeling of the matter. The sound quality of these recordings is not very good, as they are from late 1960's and done with poor equipment even in the standards of that time. But I have heard much worse audio quality, and the music on the discs is really capturing.

The first four tracks on the CD one are from a BBC radio session, and I understood that these are from a tape which somebody recorded the broadcasted radio show from the air. If this is true, I truly appreciate the sound quality managed to be restored on this release. The performance of "21st Century Schizoid Man" is the best version of this song which I have heard, along with the live versions of the 1972-1974 line-up. The studio version of this tune is much more tamed and sterile. "Get thy bearings" is also a great jazzy track, a cover song written originally by Donovan. Next three songs are from New York's Fillmore East's concert of 21st November 1969. "A Man, A City" is the early version of the song "Pictures of A City". The last four songs on the first CD are from San Francisco's Fillmore West's gig 14th December 1969. Three tracks of these, "Mantra", "Travel Weary Capricorn" and "Improv: Travel bleary Capricorn", form a one, continuous piece of music. "Mantra" is an interesting number, as it was later used as the intro for the song "Exiles". The following song is also good, but it has some painful off-key singing by Greg. Doing a version of Holst's "Mars" is an interesting musical idea, but maybe bit boring to my taste. I guess Fripp was very obsessed by this number, as his composition "Devil's Triangle" on "The Wake of Poseidon" record sounds like his own version of this tri-tonal composition. The second CD has then material from the next day's show from Fillmore West, the highlight for me from these tracks was "Drop in", a Fripp- Lake-McDonald-Giles composition that didn't sadly make it to the studio sessions.

The versions of the mellotron driven pastoral epics "Epitaph" and "In The Court of The Crimson King" work maybe better on the original studio recordings. After all they are symphonic pieces, so they sound nicer when the mellotrons stay in tune, and the playing is done in an accurate manner along composition's predefined arrangements. But The songs with jamming potential (like "21st") work much better on stage, so if you are fond of this band and like good live music, this double CD is a worth of inspecting.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars I was rather keen on listening to this live album since it features songs from their early legendary and original line-up.

Do you like "Schizoid" ? Or "In The Court ? Or "Epitaph ? Then this live recording is for you.

Are you looking to some decent sound recording ? Then this live album is not for you.

Do you think that three versions of "Schizoid", or "Epitaph" and two of "In The Court..." are a bit too much on a double CD set ? Than this album is not for you.

Are you so in love with the fully improv style of this band while playing live ? Then this album might be for you.

I could answer yes to only one and a half of these questions (the first one). Because the sound is rather poor during the fisrt CD, while the second one is quite good. To get a cover of a Donovan song ("Get Thy Bearing") is not my cup of tea. And to listen twice to "A Man, A City" is almost beyond my strenghts. On the contrary, the hypnotic "Mars" which is very much "Bolero" oriented is rather good.

This piece of music must be considered as a document of a prominent progressive band. But with all its excesses as well (noisy and dull improvisations in this case). It's also worth by the fact that you'll find some partial pre-releases of later soings featured on studio albums.

This is for die-hard fans only. Two stars.

Review by The Sleepwalker
3 stars This is my review of King Crimson's live album Epitaph (volumes 1 and 2), released in 1997, recorded in 1969.

The album is a compilation of recordings of live performances in 1996, different versions of 21st Century Schizoid Man, Epitaph, A Man, A City and KC's version of Gustav Holst's Mars. I personnaly would't have minded if not all of these performances were on the album. For example, the first A man, A city, the one on the first disc, is much weaker than the one on the second disc, which is the reason I never listen to the one on the first disc. The same thing happens with Epitaph and 21st Century Schizoid Man.

An Important thing to know before you get this album, is that the sound quality is pretty bad, which sometimes is pretty annoying. Even though the sound quality is bad, it doesn't mean the performances are too. Actually, most of the performances are very good. The first disc contains 2 Schizoid's and 2 Epitaphs, which are nice performances, it also has an early version of The Court Of The Crimson King. Get Thy Bearings is the song I have enjoyed least of the album, mainly because the sound quality kills this song totally. The Three songs Mantra, Travel Weary Capricorn and Travel Bleary Capricorn are three songs that weren't ment to link perfectly to each other, but they do. Mantra is an early version of the intro of Exiles, from Larks' Tongues in Aspic. Travel Weary Capricorn is based aroun't some singing and Travel Bleary Capricorn is an improvisation which I didn't enjoy that much, I have to say. The final song from the first disc is Mars, a very powerful, frightening song which would later appear on the album In The Wake Of Poseidon as The Devi's Triangle, It's a very good and interresting song.

Though the first disc had pretty much weak points, the second disc is much better. It starts of with a pretty good version of The Court Of The Crimson King. The second song is also a very good one, it's the jazzy Drop In, which I have enjoyed very much. The Third song I have found one of the highlights of the album, an excellent version of A Man, A city, which totally beats the one on the first disc, were the saxophone is barely heard because of the sound quality, the version on the second disc has pretty good sound quality. The second disc also contains the best version of Epitaph and a good version of 21st Century Schizoid Man. Just as the first disc, the grand finale is Mars, which is just as good as the first one.

I think Epitaph is a pretty good album, it has some weak points, mostly because of the bad sound quality, but it also contains some rare songs as Mantra and great performances of songs as Epitaph. I have enjoyed disc 2 much more than disc 1. If you can still enjoy music with bad sound quality, this album is worth the money.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Why do we listen to this vintage record?

That was my first question that came into my mind with respect to this late sixties record. Especially with many new bands coming into stream of progressive rock with modernized recording technology? But .. my surfing on the net and the finding of their seventies performance of 'Easy Money' combined with my CD collection of their seventies performance titled as 'The Night Watch' made me eager to listen to this vintage record 'Epitaph ? Live in 1969, Volume One and Two'. My first impression on the first spin of this Epitaph CD was that quite OK on the first three tracks. It's probably I have been listening to it in different version of the box sets 'Frame by Frame' and 'The Great Deceiver'.

'A Man, a City' blew me away man !!!

The fourth track 'Epitaph' is so legendary and so meaningful to me and I do really love this live version. It made me repeat this live version many times. I have to admit that Epitaph has a very special meaning to me. It reminds me to the life after death and how I get prepared myself before I die. But I fear tomorrow I'll be crying and being able to sit and relax in paradise where the river flow underneath as it is mentioned in Quran. Despite the deep meaning of the words (thanks, Mr Sinfield!), the song itself has a catchy melody and mellotron-drenched background that makes the dark mood of the music.

But one thing that finally BLEW me away was when I listened to 'A Man, A City' performed live, in which I have never heard this song performed live before. Yes, I do like the studio version (aka Pictures of a City) as the structure is quite excellent and the melody is really great. But this live version is really different and very inspiring! This song was not recorded in the studio before it was performed in 1969 because the studio version came out one year later when the second album 'In The Wake of Poseidon' was released in 1970. The song was re-titled to 'Pictures of A City'. The recording sonic quality is not good actually. But it's OK, it does not count much here because it was recorded long time ago with limitation on mobile recording. The music composition and performance outnumber the sonic quality, believe me! If you ignore the sonic quality, you will get a top notch composition by prog rock pioneer! I truly admire this live version because the style is much more dynamic and many improvisations performed throughout this extended song. To me this song is a great combination of rock, symphonic and jazz music. Ian McDonald's exploration of woodwind is really stunning and it reminds me to the kind of Van der Graff Generator's music. I can imagine how the crowd were confused as this song was not released when it was performed here in this record. This song finally came out in the next studio album 'In The Wake of Poseidon' (1970).

The '21th Century Schizoid Man' performance is also excellent and I do love the way Greg Lake sings, it's rockier than the studio version. The improvisation tracks from 'Mantra' with nice flute work to 'Travel Weary Capricorn' are great. The band demonstrates their jazzy heart through 'Travel Weary Capricorn'. It's a great track, really, especially on the combination of vocal and improvised flute work. Well, I forgot to notice that Michael Giles is a great drummer / percussionist. He played really well throughout the live record with dynamic drumwork. Fripp guitar improvisation in 'Travel Weary Capricorn' is really excellent. It stops suddenly with 'Paco De Lucia' style guitar work at the opening of 'Improv: Travel Bleary Capricorn'.

'Mars' is a symphonic instrumental piece with dark mood using mellotron as main rhythm section. This song lays a solid foundation for next King Crimson music in 'Three of a Perfect Pair' album with song like 'Industry'. 'Drop In' is another great jazzy music with dark mood. I think, the music of Sting (The Police) was initially influenced by this kind of music, especially on the opening part. This is really an improvisation song that sounds really great to me. The interlude part is really a pure swing jazz music.

Overall, I really consider this album as an excellent prog music collection for those who love King Crimson. It's a must. Keep on proggin' ..!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by tarkus1980
4 stars If you're one of those people that thinks the only true King Crimson was the very first incarnation (hang your head in shame if that's true), then this 2-CD archive release is a necessity (there's actually a 4-CD version directly available from DGM, but it appears to be just more of the same). Featuring a complete show on the second disc (the last this incarnation ever did) and recordings from a few places on disc one, this may not have the best audio in the world, but it's a good overview of the power the band was able to produce on stage. Plus, it has three versions of "Schizoid Man," all with Fripp attacking the solo with much more reckless abandon than in the studio (it's funny to read the liner notes and see Robert ripping on his own guitar playing in the studio version), and more "Schizoid Man" is almost always better "Schizoid Man."

One thing that keeps getting stressed in the liner notes is that, as good as it might have been, Court didn't totally capture the intensity of the band's stage performances, and these performances definitely show a lot of sonic and rhythmic power (the tradeoff, though, is that the stage didn't have as much precision from the mellotron). Aside from multiple renditions of the big three epics of Court (no "Talk to the Wind" or "Moonchild" here), there are two renditions each of "A Man, A City" (later "Pictures of a City") and "Mars" (later "The Devil's Triangle"), and they're a freaking blast. "A Man, A City" might go slightly overboard with the jazzy mid-section, but I enjoy it just fine nonetheless, and the 'main' sections of the song rule as much as they would in the studio version. My definite favorites of this set, though, are the two renditions of "Mars," which do an incredible job of pounding that steady menacing rhythm into my head while the mellotron does its atmospheric thing. So help me, I'm a sucker for a good crescendo, and while the band would have great success in later years with "Talking Drum" and "Dangerous Curves," I'm not totally sure it ever surpassed the sheer grandeur of its live "Mars" performances for head-pounding build-up.

There are also a number of tracks that didn't make it to any studio album, and they're of, um, mixed quality. "Drop In" would later have some of its music reworked into "The Letters," and it's okayish, though it's easy to see why it was relegated to rarity status. "Get Thy Bearings" (which I first heard on Ladies of the Road) isn't very impressive, "Mantra" has completely passed me by every time, "Travel Weary Capricorn" sounds like a bad outtake from In Search of the Lost Chord (not in lyrics, but definitely in music), and "Travel Bleary Capricorn" shows that King Crimson had a long ways to go before it could produce effective improvised jazz rock (I'm not a huge fan of the improvs from the '73- '74 incarnation, but on the whole they're way above what's here).

Overall, then, this isn't a must-have for any King Crimson fan, but as I said, a big fan of the first era would do well to hear this album at some point. Giles is a little less precise than in the studio, as is McDonald, but Lake is mostly spectacular on vocals, Fripp sounds fine, and overall the band gels into something incredibly special. Hearing this album, if nothing else, makes it even more clear why King Crimson became such a huge sensation in such a brief period, and from the historical document angle, that makes this worth seeking out. Don't get it before Court or Poseidon, though.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This release was far too long in coming. Yes, I know some of the tracks are poorly recorded. But the historical signifigance of this band makes it a treasure. This is where serious prog gained a foothold, and became the powerhouse it was in the seventies.

The best parts are the unreleased tracks. Get Thy Bearings is the weakest of them. This Donovan flower child song is just too light for this band. A Man, A City is actually an early version of Pictures Of A City, with a much more dissonant intro, which makes it sound a bit less like a clone of 21st Century Schizoid Man. Mantra eventually became the intro for Exiles in later years, but at this point was the intro to Travel Weary Capricorn a fine song which evolves into a great improv section. Drop In is a jazzy songs, with some great playing by Fripp, McDonald & Lake.

The sound quality is actually worst on the BBC radio sessions, with only Epitaph sounding good. The live material, sounds pretty good, even though much of it was culled from bootleg recordings. The second disk, all one concert, sounds very good.

Latest members reviews

4 stars This double disc release deals with presenting live material from the first KC lineup and it contains extracts from various gigs like the Fillmore East and The Fillmore West (which occupy all disc 2) and BBC sessions from back in 1969. The sound quality is not always brilliant on volume 1 while t ... (read more)

Report this review (#263935) | Posted by Malve87 | Tuesday, February 2, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I believe that a person that buy an expensive CD like these without knowing anything about their sound quality and after that begin to complain everywhere about its bootleg quality is a j@ck@ss. The intention about the whole concept of these KC audio albums is to show to the public a better balan ... (read more)

Report this review (#240630) | Posted by moodyxadi | Sunday, September 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This CD is mostly bootleg quality, so don't get your hopes up. But do at the same time!! The poor sound quality is countered by this being some groundbreaking progressive music!! All the highlights of the legendary record are here, some even twice. But wait, there is also some great improvisat ... (read more)

Report this review (#35991) | Posted by | Friday, June 10, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is so great. This was a great era for King Crimson and especially to hear it live. This double cd has so much material on it you're bound to hear something you like. I happen to like everything on it. I gave this a 4 for being an excellent addition to any prog rock collection. ... (read more)

Report this review (#15509) | Posted by | Friday, June 25, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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