Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Contains a good Vivaldi arrangement
Laon | moon-lit Surry Hills | 09/09/1999
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Hmmm. Not a success. And when people laugh at prog-rock lyrics, they generally mean the sort of thing this album is full of: "The Sea Goat sings Aquarian runes through beads of mirrored tears/Sauve pirate words of apricot crawl out of your veneer..." Or, worse:"I'm upside down I'm an empty town my eyes are full of ghosts/ Of dusty windowed certainty and spider-webbed almosts." The best track is "The Sea Goat", which starts with the line about Aquarian runes etc, but actually has rather decent music, mainly contributed by one Antonio Vivaldi.The worst track is more or less everything else. The biggest faults of this record, which wastes an awesome line-up of talent, are: Sinfield's vocals, which are reedy, and arch in a rather affected way that doesn't suit the "sincere highschool poetry" of the lyrics;The said lyrics themselves; Thin tunes; Bad production; it all sounds so thin that you'd think it was recorded in the boot, or trunk, of a VW. As a result, some quite good playing by Britain's Finest Prog Rock Musos manages to sound rather grating on the ear. Thanks to the previous reviewer for identifying the "Black Pick" reference in "Envelopes of Yesterday" as a stab at Robert Fripp. I'd had this album for years, and never noticed that. "Chaldean", as in the lines: "The Black Pick's found his Chaldean lamp/ After years in a concentration camp" means "astrological". I still don't know what Sinfield means by that line, though. On the other hand, it does explain a line in "Starless and Bible-black", the next King Crimson album to come out after this Sinfield album. (I mean the original 1973 version of this album; Starless and Bible Black followed in 1974.) The song "The Great Deceiver" opens with a reference to a "health-food faggot", which I've always taken to be a stab at Sinfield. Till now, I thought it was gratuitously nasty; now I realise that it's tit for tat, with Sinfield taking the first shot. Ah... King Crimson recrimination songs... I thought only Lennon and McCartney did that sort of thing. Cheers!Laon"
Still....this album holds up
Robert Cossaboon | The happy land of Walworth, NY | 02/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you are looking for the Rosetta Stone of progressive rock, that one album that will define every moment that was and is to come in this fine genre of music----don't look here. What you have instead is a curious cul-de-sac from King Crimson founding member, Pete Sinfield. In case you are one of those few specimens of people who, though they profess to listen to progressive rock, has never heard of King Crimson, know this: their first album, "In The Court of the Crimson King", is a landmark achievement whose importance to progressive rock cannot ever be overstated. Haunting and mysterious, the music of that album will stay with you forever. Just as evocative are the lyrics themselves, especially for the mind-blowing title track. Hence, this album by the band's lyricist. When Sinfield and Crimson parted ways after the band's fourth album, "Islands", he went on to produce Roxy Music's legendary first album. After he launched their career, it was time for the solo album, what you are probably listening to right now. Plans were underway for a follow-up album, but as he states in his liner notes, Emerson Lake and Palmer channeled his energies into their own masterpiece, "Brain Salad Surgery". But is Sinfield's album worth a listen? Definitely. Just don't expect the greatness of the other bands he worked with. The packaging and remastering work are very high standard here, however. If you purchased the CD on the Manticore label you probably got the deluxe version: included, along with the original album artwork and the lyrics, are two bonus tracks from the unfinished second album, "Can You Forgive A Fool" and "Hanging Fire". Curiously the songs are out of order from the original lineup.
For those of you who can remember actually owning the record album of this work, the sound quality will be a revelation for you. It is very sharp and clear; you will swear you were listening to a different album entirely! For me, the best moments on Still were-- "The Night People", which takes the Crimson "Lizard" concept to its logical and frenzied conclusion; "Envelopes of Yesterday" which combines some interesting slide guitar and synthesizer; "The Song of the Sea Goat" because it evokes "Formentera Lady" (my favorite song from that album); and of course the mellotron-soaked title track, which features a fantastic vocal by Greg Lake. Not-so-favorite tracks for me were choppy "Wholefood Boogie" and twangy pop of "Will It Be You", as these songs kind of clashed with the greatness of the stronger tracks; this is, of course, a matter of preference, because Wholefood is a favorite of many listeners. The weak link of this album unfortunately is Sinfield's very weak vocals; on the original record, it was oftentimes almost impossible to hear him unless you had a pair of headphones and the volume turned up. Thanks to the remastering, we can finally hear what he has to say, but there is still a feeling that this solo work might have been better served had he turned vocal duties over to someone else, or at least employed some guest vocalists. In the big scheme of things, however, this will not interfere with your enjoyment. What has Sinfield done since the early seventies? Jack squat! Unbelievably there were no further albums, no collaborations with any artists of note, unless you count a pop song he wrote for Cher, or a VERY rare project he did with Brian Eno around 1979-a Robert Sheckley adaptation. It is therefore altogether fitting and proper that we appreciate the one mark he left on the musical world and lament his absence and continued silence-and hope for better things to come.
Either you get it, or you don't
Anna M. Winnett | Victoria, BC, Canada | 12/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To compare this album to Pete Sinfield's work in King Crimson is like comparing what a carpenter builds on the job to what he does with his own house. This is the intensely personal work of a brilliant poet. I had the original vinyl record back in the 70's, and while the production quality on the re-issue could have been improved (if, for instance, Greg Lake had produced), the album remains one of my most treasured possessions.
The razor-sharp "The Night People," with its stoned-jazz horn section is one of my all time favorite songs. Other standout tracks are "Song of the Sea Goat," Envelopes of Yesterday," "The Piper," "Under the Sky," "A House of Hopes and Dreams," and "Wholefood Boogie."
The title track is the most brilliant of all. With joint lead vocals by Greg Lake, this piece establishes once and for all that Pete Sinfield is not just a songwriter, lyricist, or even poet. At the time of the original recording, this work represents a pioneering achievement in non-visual performance art. Like all art, it has its detractors, but in a musical world so full of pap, I recommend this album to anyone with a spirit of adventure and and a set of really nice headphones."