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View Poll Results: How would you rank the album?
Horrible! 2 8.70%
Bad 0 0%
Mediocre 4 17.39%
Good 9 39.13%
Very good 3 13.04%
Brilliant! 5 21.74%
Voters: 23. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-17-2011, 09:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default King Crimson - Lizard (1970)

This album was homework in the Prog & Fusion Album Club in January 2011. This is it's discussion thread.

For those who don't know it, here's a description

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Originally Posted by boo boo View Post
Lizard - King Crimson (1970)



This is the third KC album and the third of the Peter Sinfield era, though I often like to refer to it as the medieval era, for obvious reasons. Like the other records from this era it features a totally unique lineup that doesnt appear on any other record. Here the lineup is Robert Fripp on guitar and mellotron, Gordon Haskell on bass and vocals, Mel Collins on sax and flute, Andy McCulloch on drums and Peter Sinfield providing lyrics and synthesizer effects. It also features some guest musicians including piano virtuoso Keith Tippett, trombonist Nick Evans, cornetist Mark Charig and on the title track Yes vocalist Jon Anderson.

This is without a doubt the weirdest album in the KC discography and I realise that's saying a lot. It has the medieval feel of the first two KC records but it's much jazzier. In fact "medieval jazz rock" is the best way I can describe the entire record.

The medieval imagery on this record though is pure Sinfield era Crimson. Circuses, brothels, troubadours, maidens and epic battles. The music itself is too out there to accurately describe, it is the most unique KC album is all I can say, and certainly one of the most underrated. It's one of the more polarizing albums in their discography as in people either love it or hate it. But I love it and rank it among ITCOTCK, Red and Discipline as their finest work.
So, whatcha think about it?
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I personally didn't care much for the album as a whole. There are some beautiful flute playing on Lady of the Dancing Water that I enjoyed and other pretty little details scattered around, but on the whole, I don't get a sense that each song represents a unified whole of something that I really enjoyed.

The epic title track was quite good and the most enjoyable thing about it for me personally. It remedies the album somewhat and made me give it a good rating in the poll. However, for me personally, this is my least favourite KC album so far. Overall, the compositions lack charm I think.
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Old 01-17-2011, 12:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Even amidst all of the Crims' other output, Lizard has always stood out a bit for me by how dark it is despite sounding so bright and brassy on the whole. The title track is amazing of course (Jon Anderson on vocals for the win!), but 'Cirkus' and 'Lady Of The Dancing Water' are two rather strong points in my opinion also.

Also Tore, do you really think that any of King Crimsons's post 70's albums be as splendidly performed/written as they are if they hadn't made Lizard first?
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Old 01-17-2011, 12:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It's a good album. It didn't really blow me away though. As for the songs the opening track "Cirkus" is one of the best openers on any Crimson album. Lady on the Water is a pretty piece and I dig it, but my favorite on here would have to be Happy Family. It's kind of neat how the whole song is a refrence to The Beatles breaking up. As for the weirdest as Boo's review says I disagree. Larks Tongues in Aspic is so far out there in there catelogue for the exception of "Beat" which I don't really want to discuss.
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Old 01-17-2011, 10:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Took me a while to like at all, but even after I got into it. I voted it as mediocre. I do like Anderson's vocals on the Title track. I will also admit I like
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:43 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I gave it a good, as well. I kind of fought over going for very good, but stopped short. I really enjoyed Happy Family as well. I liked it most. Indoor Games was a fun listen...I really enjoyed the mid to end bit of Lizard , and as it outro'd away. Cirkus was okay... Enjoyable at least. Not so much love here for Lady of the Dancing Water, even after a few runs through the album. It's just easiest to overlook.

Not their best, but not bad by any means. Still a fun, twisted listen.
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Old 01-26-2011, 09:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I've never listened to this one. The only King Crimson album I've had a chance to listen to was Court of the Crimson King, which needless to say, is phenomenal. Based on what I've read here I'll have to give Lizard a listen though.
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Old 02-18-2011, 02:45 PM   #8 (permalink)
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This is one disjointed piece of... no, I'm not gonna go that far but it's certainly not a highlight in the vast KC discography. First of all I'll have to give it a onethousandandoneth listen in order to even be able to write about it which speaks volumes about its memorability (even if that's not a primary criterion when talking about the Crimson King). Having gotten past the memory block I'll give it that "Cirkus" is fairly decent in terms of mood and probably my favourite track on the album, but thereafter the fun all falls apart, as does the music.

First of all, Gordon Haskell can't sing for s h i t, and noone will ever be able to convince me otherwise. Second of all, "Indoor games" AND "Happy family" are both piss-poor rewrites of the far superior "Cat food" from the previous album, one crappier than the other. Especially "Happy family" stinks like nothing else in the KC catalogue, sounding like an accidental recording of a truckload of instruments tumbling down a staircase. And where is Fripp? It's like his sole purpose on the album was to lend the studio keys to the others (and possibly ordering them to sound like retards being granted access to the local music school classroom for a day) and nothing more.

The closing title track at least begins on a clean note but not even all the king's Jon Andersons will be able to save it at the end of the day. The childish melody at the beginning sounds like a poor Yes parody at best and the subsequent passage that aims at being 'grand' doesn't do anything noteworthy either. Then come the trumpets, and trumpets generally piss me off so of course they had to make them hold court on here. And when it dies down that mother-copulator Haskell puts forth some inaudible vocals again, and I ask myself: Why? And why oh why does it continue with some deconstructed "Schizoid man"-put-on played at half speed? Fripp, take back those keys and throw these idiots out of the studio! (Thankfully he did thereafter).

So yes, I realize I am gonna go that far after all; It is little more than one disjointed piece of poorly digested feces, with all the amateurish playing that pretends to account for higher art. This may be the worst KC album ever made and one of the most obvious examples of artistic integrity gone bananas. And the fact that it's released by one of my otherwise favourite prog bands only adds to the embarassment.

So if you're new to King Crimson: Beware! Do NOT make this your first listen or you will be forever put off and probably end up spending the rest of your life a Green Day devotee (and make the world a slightly more unhealthy place).
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Old 03-11-2011, 04:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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^This was my first Crimson album (prog album in fact) and I stuck with it. ^_^

But at this point, this falls a bit flat. I don't much like this album compared to most of the rest of their work. Haskell is one of my least favorite vocalists ever. And the stretch of Indoor Games and Happy Family is truly one of the worst in 70's progressive rock if I have my say. I cannot stand either track for any reason save the accidental humor they provide.

But Lady of the Dancing Water doesn't actively offend, and I can enjoy the other two. Cirkus is particularly neat, with Fripp actually playing electric guitar for an epic tritone-y instrumental chorus. And I really like Lizard through the Bolero, I cannot stress how amazing Keith Tippet's piano is on both of these sections. Anderson's vocals aren't spectacular (way better than Haskell's though) but in the first section the folky chorus is memorable and the verses are pretty neat. I really really really like the mellotron break connecting Bolero and Prince Rupert Awakes, and the solos are really beautiful (especially both Oboe solos, which I can be found drooling over). The jazz breakdown in the middle doesn't grab me, but at 8:48 (which I skip to a lot), the minor progression does. The ballad after that does nothing for me, but the dark and weird jazz breakdown is sorta neat after it. Then I just turn the album off, I don't care for Fripp's noodly solo or the disjointed ending.

I don't hate Lizard, but to me it's not Crimson's strongest by any means. 3/5, 9/15 for me.
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Old 03-21-2011, 07:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Lizard is ****in awesome, but tbh I listen to it just for the chorus bit in the first 10 minutes or so "burn a bridge and burn a boat, wear your blizzard season coat...stake a lizard by the throat" and so forth. That should have come up near the end again at least one more time, it would have capped off the noise inbetween.

I like Cirkus on the same album for the bit at the start when he says "squuezes me to her breasts". Good imagery I feel like I'm getting squeezed to breasts.

all in all 8/10.
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