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King Crimson - Red CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.55 | 3246 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I never thought of RED as one of King Crimson's top albums. When it comes to the Bruford-Wetton incarnation of the band, I find LARKS' TONGUES far more satisfying. It must be admitted that RED's opening and closing tracks (the title tune and "Starless") are two of KC's most memorable pieces, but the rest of the album seems a bit of a mishmash. "Providence" is a delightful improvisation which keeps getting stronger every time I play it, but it feels out of place among some much poppier songs, you can tell it was only meant as filler, it only comes into its own when you hear in in its proper context (on THE GREAT DECEIVER box set). "Fallen Angel" and "One More Red Nightmare" are fairly conventional and rather noisy rock songs, not half as charming as "The Nightwatch" or "Easy Money".

However, all Crimso freaks will find the 2009 "40th Anniversary Edition" of this album an essential purchase, for at least two reasons:

1. Two of the bonus tracks, the so-called Trio Versions of both "Red" and "Fallen Angel", sound incredibly powerful and pure. These stripped-down versions have never been released elsewhere, and I assume they were used as base for the official album recording, but you can hear Messrs. Fripp, Wetton and Bruford far more loudly, crisply and distinctly than ever. It's as if the three of them (without cellos, this time) are laying down "Red" right in the middle of your living room. Flabbergasting!

2. The 1974 French TV footage (included in the second disc) may be in mono, but it offers you something many of you will have longed to see: Fripp, Cross, Wetton and Bruford performing all of "Larks' Tongues pt. II", "Lament" and "Starless" absolutely live in the TV studio, with great gusto. ("The Nightwatch" is there as well, but it is spoiled somewhat by primitive video trickery.) It's a pity the French cameramen mainly focus on Cross and Fripp, especially during the first half of the performance. They must have thought: "Who cares about rhythm sections?" But during "Lament" and "Starless" you at least get to see Wetton singing (and what a magical vocalist he is!) and it finally dawns on the cameramen that Bruford, too, is someone they should keep an eye on.

Anyhow, strongly recommended!

fuxi | 4/5 |


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