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King Crimson - USA CD (album) cover

USA

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.02 | 444 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

memowakeman
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A great early Crimson live CD!

This "USA" live album has actually become a legend between King Crimson fans, because it offers the best face of the band with Wetton on vocals, along with Fripp, Cross and Bruford, a total delight. So it was released back in 1975 as a 6-song CD which was actually pretty short, however, its almost 40-minute length pleased all their fans thanks to the great performances and the chosen songs. But wait, 30 years later an anniversary re-issue CD saw the light with the inclusion of two long songs, and this is the album I am reviewing now.

Honestly I got this album from a friend last week, I never bought it and I am not sure if I had already listened to it, anyway, since the first spin on my CD player I was very satisfied and knew I had in my hands (and ears) something I would really dig, because King Crimson is one of my favorite bands, and because I love their era with John Wetton, not only for his vocals, but because the sound they created at that time was very challenging, complex, melancholic and dreamy, desolated and bright, ahead of its time. Anything a KC fan could ask is here, in this now 9-track album that makes a total time of 67 minutes.

It opens with a brief introduction that was entitled "Walk on? No Pussyfooting" which is the prelude to the mighty "Larks Tongues in Aspic (Part II)". In this track, we can feel the power that line-up implemented back then, it was pure progressive rock, intelligently written and masterfully executed live; the sound of violin was great, adding a special flavor. With this Crimson we can listen from peaceful passages, to somber and tense moments, from soft and delicate tunes, to nervous and stinging nuances that made our imagination and emotions vibrate.

The next bunch of songs has classic tracks that are featured in several live albums (mostly bootlegs) that are well appreciated by its fans, it is normal to see those tracks together, like a puzzle need its jigsaws, so it is always nice to listen to "Exiles", "Lament" or "Easy Money", all of them are great tracks, though this time I terribly missed the disarming "Book of Saturday". A thing I should mention is that in some moments of these live records, the voice of Wetton sounds too loud or even jammed, but that's due to the recording sound I think, not really due to some performance fails.

Pure bliss comes next, the final part of the album is easily the best, with three long songs that shows KC's intrepid and top-notch music. First the classic "21st Century Schizoid Man" whose time/tempo changes are simply sublime, then "Fracture" whose name might represent in a metaphoric way the music this band makes, endless fractures condemned but restored and ready to be built and offer endless new stories. Finally, "USA" finishes with the almighty "Starless", one of the best songs ever composed by any band in any musical genre. The performance here is also outstanding.

If you are familiar with this band, you may probably skip this review, but if you are new into them, do not hesitate and get this classic live album, you won't regret. My final grade, 4 stars.

Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 4/5 |

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