King Crimson – Live in Guildford, November 13, 1972 (CLUB24)

Live in Guildford, November 13, 1972 (CLUB24)

Civic Hall, Guildford, Surrey, England – November 13th, 1972

(42:41):  Larks’ Tongues in Aspic (Part I), Book Of Saturday (Daily Games), Improv: All That Glitters Is Not Nail Polish, Exiles

Outside of the tapes from the Zoom Club in Frankfurt and the Breman telecast in October 1972, the Jamie Muir live era has been spotty at best.   In 2003 and 2004 two important new tapes surfaced for King Crimson collectors.

One is the November 10th Technical College in Hull recording which was paired with the already circulating November 25th, 1972 Oxford and pressed on the unofficial Improvisations (Reel Masters-002).

The other is the forty-two minute fragment from Guilford on November 13th. Receiving an official release in the KCCC, it is a very good  recording plagued by incessant distortion in the loud passages (which are many).  It’s not the greatest recording, but is certainly good enough to appreciate what the band were attempting to do that night.  

After warm up gigs in Germany, the revamped Crimson with Jamie Muir began a tour of the UK on October 29th at Redcar Jazz Club in North Yorkshire.  Following were shows in Hull and York before the fourth show in the UK at the Civic Hall in Guilford.  

The tape begins with “Larks’ Tongues In Apsic Part I.”  The onslaught is overwhelming and includes the birds chirping in quiet sections (representing the larks?)  They follow with “Daily Games,” a song which will be renamed “A Book Of Saturday” when it would finally be released on the album.  

Fripp thanks the audience for the response and assures them that “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic Part II” will close the evening’s entertainment.  After tuning the Mellotrons they begin a twenty-five minute improvisation called (in this recording) “All That Glitters Is Not Nail Polish.”  

Muir states in an interview that the biggest challenge he faced when playing live with King Crimson was being drowned out by the other instruments.  David Cross faced the same issue with the violin, but they eventually fixed that.  

Muir was different because, given the randomness of his contributions, the road crew couldn’t predict what he would use.  Consequently his contributions are somewhat buried in this part of the show.  

The 25 minutes are occupied by Cross’ violin and Fripp’s manic chopping at the strings.  The rhythm section of John Wetton and Bill Bruford, who would essentially take the lead in the improvisations later on, sound strangely muted and tentative.

As the piece dies down, it segues into “Exiles.”  Only about three minutes of the song is present on the tape.  The very end contains a thirty second fragment from elsewhere in the show (it’s impossible to say what song they’re playing – probably another improvisation).

Afterwards the tape cuts out leaving collectors to wonder about the rest of the show.  The sound quality isn’t the greatest and it is fragmentary, but it is an important piece of tape from an obscure period in Crimson’s history.  I personally thing Muir’s contribution to the music was overrated, but his methods certainly rubbed off on the band and lead them to create some of the most terrifying and memorable progressive rock in the seventies.  

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