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  King Crimson - In The Court of the Crimson King
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-15-2019, 02:36 PM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

While the seeds of progressive rock were sown before In The Court of the Crimson King, with bands like Procol Harum, The Mothers of Invention and The Nice exploring classical elements and extended suites in rock music, it was In The Court of the Crimson King that established the benchmark for the genre. While King Crimson often feel like an experimental band, out of step with prevailing trends, In The Court of the Crimson King was the group’s only gold album and a huge influence on the ensuing progressive rock. While guitarist Robert Fripp is the constant member of King Crimson, multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald wrote a lot of the music for the album, while Greg Lake’s vocals are much stronger than the vocalists who’d replace him over the next few years – he departed to form Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.
The consensus opinion on In The Court of the Crimson King is that four of the five songs are terrific. ‘Moonchild’, the exception, starts off nicely enough but quickly descends into ten minutes of directionless noodling. But ’21st Century Schizoid Man’ starts off with a powerful assault, with a distorted Lake vocal and a tangible jazz influence through McDonald’s saxophone and Giles’ complex drumming, a song that has few points of comparison in the rock canon. ‘I Talk To The Wind’ is the gentle ballad, while ‘Epitaph’ and the title track are more conventional progressive rock epics. The performances match the material; Giles is an excellent drummer, Lake’s vocals and bass are superb, while McDonald’s multi-instrumental ability provides fluidity to the arrangements. Sinfield’s lyrics don’t necessarily bear up to close scrutiny, but they’re respectable enough and the fantasy themes set out the agenda for a lot of the progressive rock that would follow.
Sadly, this is the original lineup’s only complete album; Fripp was left with an almost completely different band for the followup albums, and it would take him a few years to find another King Crimson lineup that was as effective.



21st Century Schizoid Man / I Talk To The Wind / Epitaph / Moonchild / The Court Of The Crimson King

[Image: court.jpg]

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  King Crimson
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-15-2019, 02:10 PM - Forum: Prog Rock Chat - No Replies

For many people, King Crimson will forever be associated with the pomp and pageantry of 70s prog rock: Roger Dean cover art, concept suites, and endlessly bad keyboard solos.

But how wrong they are. Yes, King Crimson were there at the birth of this divisive genre – but under the leadership of guitar wunderkind Robert Fripp, they forged a unique path of their own that quickly saw them leaving behind the lyrical whimsy and musical grandstanding of their first few albums to arrive at a sound that was both freer and more focused, embracing improv, world, modern classical and proto-noise rock elements.

And it's this leap into uncharted sonic waters that makes King Crimson one of the most significant bands on the rock timeline. Because it's with King Crimson – and particularly Fripp's dense, geometric fretwork – that a new type of heaviness starts to emerge, one that effectively disengages itself from the blues-derived riffology practiced by the big three of early 70s hard rock – Sabbath, Zeppelin, Purple – and instead creates a starker, colder, darker version of heavy that nevertheless still delivers serious cathartic thrills.

King Crimson distilled this new sound down to its pure essence on Red, but ironically, this was achieved at the expense of the group itself – disillusioned with the music business and undergoing a spiritual crisis, Fripp disbanded King Crimson two weeks before the album was released in October 1974. But as final statements go, Red takes some beating.

'Red' itself opens the album in explosive fashion. Fripp's future shock guitar instantly builds to a crescendo, and then again, but on the third pass, it ends on a horribly queasy discord and plunges down into the song's main riff, which sounds like the clanking gears of some engine of death. The track picks up velocity, driven by Bill Bruford's clattering beats and John Wetton's elastic bass, then folds in on itself, Fripp's guitar pulsating over a see-sawing cello. But all roads inexorably lead back to that grinding, relentless riff.

After that, the two vocal tracks that make up side one (as was) sound almost breezy in comparison, though of course, they're nothing of the sort. 'Fallen Angel' lulls the listener into a false sense of security with its gentle oboe-augmented verses before a brittle spidery riff from Fripp suddenly lowers the temperature to freezing. Wetton sings the title over and over as though haunted by some terrible knowledge while a cornet soars above a stuttering, self-destructing guitar part. In contrast, 'One More Red Nightmare' heaves into view with the swagger of a wounded, pissed off Godzilla. With Bruford playing what sounds like the entire contents of a scrapyard, this track actually swings, but just as Wetton starts to rock out, Fripp cuts him dead with another piece of icy guitar picking. Suitably chastened, the song stomps to its conclusion assailed by some stingingly caustic sax.

'Providence' follows, a live improvisation that builds from disquieting violin through a passage of avant jazz, before Wetton's snarling fuzz bass takes over to throw jagged shadows across Fripp's stratospheric soloing.

But the real showstopper (quite literally at the time, through Fripp was to resurrect the King Crimson brand in 1981) is saved until last, because 'Starless' is pretty much the ultimate prog rock track – if cosmic justice had prevailed in 1974, the likes of Yes, Genesis, ELP et al would have simply downed twin-neck guitars, removed capes and called it a day. The opening sweep of elegiac Mellotron immediately creates an atmosphere somewhere between reflection and unease. Fripp plays some of his most fluid and downright lovely guitar to lead us into the verse/chorus section of the song, where Wetton delivers a spectacularly plaintive vocal with the clarity of a man confronting his own mortality.

Then the third chorus ends on a jarring, unexpected chord, and the ground suddenly gives away beneath your feet. There's a low-end rumble from the gloom before Fripp starts to slowly and very deliberately pick out notes like fingernails scraping at the underside of a coffin lid. Bruford decides to accompany this on wood blocks, which would be comical if it wasn't so unnerving. And so it continues, Fripp's guitar shrieking in desperation as Wetton's growling bass ratchets up the tension to an almost unbearable degree. When the song finally explodes into a sax rock wig-out, the sense of release is enormous (for both band and listener), with Fripp inspired to wring out a sustained bout of manic guitar abuse. But it's in the thunderous coda of the song when the original Mellotron theme returns that the absolute apogee of the new heaviness is reached, the earth-shattering bass underpinning the melody confirming that the end of the world is indeed nigh.

The reissue of Red under review here is of particular interest because of the presence behind the mixing desk of Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson, nu-prog major domo and increasingly the go-to guy for the retooling of classic 70s albums (he did a similar job earlier this year on Hawkwind's superlative Warrior On The Edge Of Time). Alongside Fripp, he's produced a new stereo mix of Red which reinstates some of the grime and murky brute force that had been removed from the 30th anniversary remaster (also included on this reissue), particularly on the title track. There's also a different feel to 'Starless', the intro more ethereal than ever, the middle section even chillier.

With music being a melting pot of cross-fertilisation, technical advancements, compositional innovations and incremental micro-influences, it's often difficult to track the exact origin of a specific sound or genre. Red is that rarest of albums: a clearly defined jumping off point for much of the left-field rock music that was to emerge over the decades following its release. But it's also more than just a document of historical interest – after nearly 40 years, it's still primed and ready to tear the head off the unsuspecting listener.

[Image: crimson.jpg]

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  Beggars Opera - The Final Curtain
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-15-2019, 01:24 PM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

Studio Album, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Overture
2. Lifeline
3. Yes I need someone
4. Africa ... at last
5. Atmosphere
6. Bad Dreams
7. I gave you love
8. Showman in a showdown
9. Now you´re gone
10. Four moons
11. Poet and peasant

Line-up / Musicians
- Linnie Patterson / vocals
- Gordon Sellar / bass, vocals
- Alan Park / keys

[Image: curtain.jpg]

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  Beggars Opera - Lifeline
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-15-2019, 12:54 PM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

Studio Album, released in 1980

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Lifeline
2. I gave you love
3. You never believe I'm human
4. Showman in a showman
5. Yes I need someone
6. Lost in space
7. Now you're gone
8. Bad dreams
9. Four moons

Line-up / Musicians - Ricky Gardiner / guitar, backing vocals
- Virginia Scott / keyboards
?????

[Image: life.jpg]

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  Beggars Opera - Beggars Can't Be Choosers
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-15-2019, 12:51 PM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

Studio Album, released in 1979

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. I'm a roadie
2. Beggars can't be choosers
3. Hungry man
4. You're not welcome
5. Young blood man
6. Union card
7. We must love
8. Keep climbing
9. Bar room pearl
10. Death

Line-up / Musicians
- Clem Cattini / drums
- Ricky Gardiner / guitar, backing vocals
- Linnie Peterson / lead vocals
- Pete Scott / vocals
- Virginia Scott / keyboards
- Gordon Seller / bass, acoustic guitar, backing vocals

[Image: choosers.jpg]

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  Beggars Opera - sagittary
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-15-2019, 12:49 PM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Sagittary
2. Something to lose
3. World crisis blues
4. Smiling in a Summer dress
5. Freedom song
6. I'm the music man
7. Just twenty one
8. Jack the ripper
9. Love of my own
10. Simplicity

Total Time:
Line-up / Musicians
- Colin Fairley / drums, percussion
- Ricky Gardner / guitar, backing vocals
- Linnie Peterson / lead vocals
- Virginia Scott / keyboards
- Gordon Seller / bass, acoustic guitar, backing vocals


[Image: sag.jpg]

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  Beggars Opera - Get your Dog off Me!
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-15-2019, 12:44 PM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing
Side 1
1. Get your Dog off Me! (3:40)
2. Freestyle Ladies (4:20)
3. Open Letter (4:32)
4. Morning Day (4:32)
5. Requiem (2:18)
Side 2
6. Classical Gas (4:28)
7. Sweet Blossom Woman (4:08)
8. Turn your Money Green (4:08)
9. La-di-da (2:53)
10. Working Man (4:33)

Total Time: 39:52

CD Bonus Tracks:
11. Two Timing Woman (3:44)
12. Lady Of Hell Fire (3:43)

Line-up / Musicians - Ricky Gardiner / electric & acoustic guitar, vocals
- Gordon Sellar / bass, vocals
- Colin Fairlie / drums, percussion, vocals
- Alan Park / organ, electric piano, piano, Harpsicord, Mellotron, Moog
- Linnie Paterson / lead vocals
- Raymond Wilson / drums (1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 10)

[Image: dog.jpg]

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  Beggars Opera - Pathfinder
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-15-2019, 12:41 PM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing
Side 1
1. Hobo (4:40)
2. MacArthur Park (8:20)
3. The Witch (5:26)
Side 2
4. Pathfinder (3:44)
5. From Shark to Haggis (6:38)
6. Stretcher (4:50)
7. Madame Doubtfire (4:15)

Total Time: 37:53
Line-up / Musicians
- Martin Griffiths / lead vocals
- Alan Park / keyboards
- Ricky Gardiner / lead guitar and vocals
- Gordon Sellar / acoustic guitar & bass guitar and vocal
- Ray Wilson / drums

[Image: path.jpg]

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  Beggars Opera - Waters Of Change
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-15-2019, 12:34 PM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing
Side 1
1. Time Machine (8:00)
2. Lament (1:51)
3. I've no Idea (7:42)
4. Nimbus (3:43)
Side 2
5. Festival (6:00)
6. Silver Peacock (Intro)(0:22)
7. Silver Peacock (6:33)
8. Impromptu (1:14)
9. The Fox (6:52)

Total Time: 42:03
Line-up / Musicians - Ricky Gardiner / lead guitar, vocals, acoustic guitar
- Martin Griffiths / lead vocal, Cow Bell
- Alan Park / organ, piano
- Gordon Sellar / bass and acoustic guitar, vocals
- Virginia Scott / Mellotron, vocals
- Raymond Wilson / percussion 

[Image: waters.jpg]

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  Beggars Opera - Act 1
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-15-2019, 12:01 PM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing
Side 1:
1. Poet and Pesant* (7:10)
2. Passacaglia (7:04)
3. Memory (3:57)
Side 2:
4. Raymond's road *(11:49)
5. Light Cavalry *(11:57)

Total Time: 41:57
Bonus track on CD
6. Sarabande (3:32)
7. Think (4:25)
Line-up / Musicians - Martin Griffiths / vocals
- Alan Park / organ
- Raymond Wilson / drums
- Ricky Gardiner / lead guitar
- Marshal Erksine / bass guitar

[Image: act1.webp]

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