King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black
The Great Deceiver
We'll Let You Know
The Night Watch
The Mincer
Starless and Bible Black
Released 1974
starless Robert Fripp: guitar, mellotron, devices
David Cross: violin, viola, keyboards
Bill Bruford: percussives
John Wetton: bass, vocals
King Crimson. Is it a band, or what? The only common person between the somewhere near 20 personnel lineups called King Crimson is Robert Fripp. Pressed to claim that he is in fact King Crimson, Mr. Fripp would almost certainly disagree.

But that doesn't matter, because several of these lineups have produced some incredible recordings. This is one of them, and this was probably the best Crimson incarnation ever (even though this lineup had some minor changes during its 3 recording tenure).

This record has a few mediocre pieces. "We'll Let You Know", perhaps "Lament", these are not the kind of tunes that made King Crimson one of the most revered bands of it genre. But then there are cuts like "The Night Watch" (which contains one of my favorite "guitar solos" of all time), and Trio, where Mr. Bruford puts down the sticks and then a Mellotron, bass and violin take over and create something breathtakingly simple and beautiful. And then the jazz-tinged title track and Fracture, long improvisational-sounding pieces that are very interesting.

It was over 20 years after this recording was released that it became common knowledge that it was all recorded live. Once told so, it is obvious, but the performances are something most studio musicians could only dream of. A true classic.
Some other releases Year Subjective rating
In the Court of the Crimson King 1969 4.5
Lizard 1970 3
Islands 1971 3
Lark's Tongues in Aspic 1973 4.5
Red 1974 5
Discipline 1980 4