It’s still overcast and menacing looking outside but, hey, it’s not raining – yet – so I’m going to head out for a quick and easy 7.3k run just to get some mileage into ‘ol Thunder n’ Lightning before the heavens do decide to open up. My album selection is the ‘In the Court of the Crimson King‘ by King Crimson.
This 1969 release represents the group’s definitive album, and one of the most daring debut albums ever recorded by anybody. For many bands and artists, this was the holy touchstone upon which to base all other Prog Rock that was to come.
At the time, it blew all of the progressive/psychedelic competition (the Moody Blues, the Nice, etc.) out of the running, although it was almost too good for the band’s own good – it took King Crimson nearly four years to come up with a record as strong or concise.
Ian McDonald’s Mellotron is the dominant instrument, along with his saxes and Robert Fripp‘s guitar, making this a somewhat different-sounding record from everything else they ever did. And even though that Mellotron sound is muted and toned down compared to their concert work of the era (e.g., Epitaph), it is still fierce and overpowering, on an album highlighted by strong songwriting (most of it filled with dark and doom-laden visions), the strongest singing of Greg Lake’s entire career, and Fripp’s guitar playing that strangely mixed elegant classical, Hendrix-like rock explosions, and jazz noodling. Sadly, lineup changes commenced immediately upon the album’s release, and Fripp would ultimately be the only survivor on later King Crimson records.
For today’s run, it was the perfect dreary overcast soundtrack for a perfect dreary overcast evening’s run.