Sunday, August 5, 2012

King Crimson 9: A Young Person’s Guide

While King Crimson was considered strictly past tense in 1976, Robert Fripp wasn’t about to let anyone forget what they were, or could have been. A Young Person’s Guide To King Crimson may well have been a contractual obligation, but this two-record compilation, packaged with a booklet crammed with photos, clippings, and a timeline, offered even the converted fan something special. More importantly, it provided a primer for newcomers.
True to his insistence that King Crimson music could not be solely defined by the players, the music is not chronological, nor is “21st Century Schizoid Man” included at all. Side one manages to encompass “Epitaph”, an “abridged” “Cadence And Cascade”, and “Ladies Of The Road”, ending with the ultra-rare Giles, Giles And Fripp take of “I Talk To The Wind”, featuring Fairport Convention’s Judy Dyble on vocals—the only woman ever to perform on a Crimson album. Side two consists of exactly two songs: the title track from Red and that album’s stellar “Starless”.
Side three juggles two different lineups, going from “Book Of Saturday” and “The Night Watch” back to “Peace” and the single version of “Cat Food” from the second album, and tossing in the rare “Groon” B-side before picking up the last two minutes of “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic, Part One”. Side four offers the first two minutes of “Moonchild” (a.k.a. the song portion) and the Bruford-less “Trio” before closing with “The Court Of The Crimson King”, unabridged.
Fripp would go on to use the Young Person’s Guide nomenclature for similar archival digs in the decades to come, and most of these tracks would continue to feature on same. As it is, A Young Person’s Guide To King Crimson itself has never been reissued on CD outside of Japan, where seemingly everything emerges sometime, though the music is readily available numerous places, and cheaper.

King Crimson A Young Person’s Guide To King Crimson (1976)—4
Current CD availability: none


  1. It was reissued on CD in Japan.

  2. I have the Japanese release. Two booklets, one a reproduction of the original. The other is Japanese text. There is also a reproduction of the the then current KC family tree.