In the Court of the Crimson King - Island 1969
The discordant approach which gradually was allowed to be a part of the group's expression is largely absent here. "How about "21st Century Schizoid Man"? some might want to ask. Yes, could be, but that song is more or less some a kind of heavy-metal number, and as such it comes natural that there can be scratchy passages. This classic opening track, is probably also the group's most successful rock number. Great and catchy riff, powerful singing (a little George Young sound on the distorted vocals) and lyrics that fit perfectly to the song. If you have heard Ginger Baker's Air Force, you may find similarities to that short-lived band's sound.
The rest of the album may well be called beautiful melodic psychedelia rock. A little like early Moody Blues some may think, but at any rate clearly more interesting than most of this group's music.
Lead-singer Greg Lake's vocals, along with the mellotron, are probably the most significant instrument of the album, and Lake performs the following four great songs with conviction. Especially on "I Talk to the Wind" these two characteristic elements are present. Moreover, fine harmony vocals and beautiful flute playing.
"Epitah" is a very moving number, both melodically and lyrically. Nice tasteful guitar, too.
"Moonchild" is probably the most experimental track on the album; spacey sounds, a little like Floyd, but still in the context of a very beautiful song, which by no means is ruined by the wish to experiment. If you find the extended outro too long, you can always make your own edited version.
Four great songs, and yet the best is still to come. The title song, "The Court of the Crimson King" is a song that just sticks with you, and a song which perfectly sums up the whole album; grand and majesticly.
The many extra tracks are all nice to have, but they are all alternate versions, and as such interesting, but there is nothing that could/should have been included on the original album, which was, is and will be a milestone in rock history.