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John Wetton - Jack-knife / Monkey Business 1972-1997 (with Richard Palmer-Jones) CD (album) cover

JACK-KNIFE / MONKEY BUSINESS 1972-1997 (WITH RICHARD PALMER-JONES)

John Wetton

 

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2.05 | 3 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
2 stars This is obviously a "for collectors only" kind of release. All the more ridiculous one, as it puts together an obscure, poor rock'n'roll album recorded in 1978 and a compilation of demos and other seedy stuff from a long timeline. First about the studio album Jack-knife.

It contains nine tracks, five of them seemingly covers written by others, two by guitarist Richard Palmer-Jones (best known as KING CRIMSON's lyricist after Pete Sinfield), and two by Wetton and Palmer-Jones together. Let's be honest: I didn't listen to this disc more than perhaps half a minute each song. The music is straight-forward mainstream rock and has nothing to interest me. Don't expect anything even distantly reminiscent of U.K. or ASIA!

"Monkey Business 1972-1997", originally released in the late 90's, is described as a scrapbook in the introduction text. The collaboration between the two musicians started already in 1962 when they met at school. In 1972 they rejoined forces in King Crimson, in which Palmer-Jones only wrote the lyrics. Some of the material that would have been on the follow-up of Red is found here in the demo form. The classic CRIMSON songs 'Book of Saturday' and 'Starless' are featured as lyricless raw demos that were hometaped as a basis for lyric-writing. To be more precise, the latter is only as a half minute beginning - twice! But the disc ends pleasantly with the pair's recording of 'Starless' from 1997. From the same year are 'Doctor Diamond' and 'Cologne 1997', both among the most worthy contents of this release. The latter song, concerning "the mixed feelings of many Americans born after 1945 of German origin on first visiting their emigré parents' home country", is featured also in its original form recorded in 1977. Not a bad song at all.

'Magazines' is a demo from 1974, originally written for King Crimson. 24 years later it appeared on Wetton's album Arkangel. Just before Christmas 1976 Wetton & Palmer-Jones spent a week in a French farmhouse, trying to write some songs for Wetton's solo debut, but the outing emerged only 'The Laughing Lake'. There are several brief tapings of it here. How wise such scrapbook representation is, is very debatable, but in its complete form it is a pretty nice, calm winter song.

So if you're a completionist, you will have interesting things in here (compared to high-prized multiple-disc things like Road To Red this is harmless!). If you're not such person, you will more likely be frustrated of all the mess of short and bad home tapings.

Matti | 2/5 |

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