"Damn, this is irritating. Here we have a big chunk of one album, and two snips from another. None of these add up to anything of the magnitude of the originals. The first two tracks are from the "God Save the King/Under Heavy Manners" album (or dual EP?), and while some might not be upset about missing two of the Frippertronics backdrop tracks, I personally find the loss of "The Zero of the Signified" to be very major, as that piece contains something of the seed of the rebirth of King Crimson in the early 80s. The other part of said seed was embodied in "The League of Gentlemen", from which the last several tracks here are taken. But on that album, there's a clear arc of development that goes throughout the release and which can easily be heard by listening to the course of musical (and subcontextual) development as the recording progresses. Chopping it up, as done here, is really ill-advised, I feel. And the short-shrift done to "GStK/UHM" is all but criminal. Would be rated one star only, except for the fact that what music that does remain here is, of course, excellent quality. Avoid, seek out the originals instead."
League of Gentlemen Best of CD
DAC Crowell | 09/27/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"While using the same cover art as the original "League of Gentlemen" LP, it can be a bit deceptive when you actually realize what is on here. The original album had a lot of philosophical spoken interludes by J.G. Bennett. I would imagine that the copyright on that material ran out, when Fripp went to release the CD version. Or, he found it pretentious, and wanted an album that just represented songs. Whichever, whatever. If you can find the LP, do buy it though, because it's fun to hear the collage theme running through the peice. The two tracks that were added to the original "L.O.G." Lp, are great nevertheless. Again, I would guess that Fripp wanted to compliment the material on the "League" album, by including the song that David Byrne sang, and the other outtake from "God Save the Queen". What I simply CAN NOT COMPREHEND, is why Fripp would not use the extra length of a CD, and simply add more of the "God Save the Queen" songs. It's especially odd songs were cut from "L.O.G.". That great LP should have fully represented its original songs. (Again, since there are outtakes of music by "The Lemon Kittens" on "Minor Man", Fripp might not have been able to obtain the copyright, or was going to be charged too much for its use.) Other of Fripp's LPs from this era, like "The Lady or the Tiger", which he recorded with his wife Toyah, and the 2 LPs with Andy Summers, has simply been deleted. (Odd for someone who, until recently, had his own record company.) Fripp did release a CD of LIVE L.O.G. music a few years back, perhaps as an apology for his chopping job on this minor masterpiece. Or more likely, just Fripp's delight in representing his live sound. Overall, we have to respect Fripp's intelligence, and musical choices, even when he revises his past efforts. This is not a CD which would disappoint any Fripp fan, unless you only liked his 70's "Art Rock" period. Here is Fripp as NEW WAVE ROCKER, hanging out with members past and present of Talking Heads, XTC, and the B-52s. The pedigree of preformers alone demands one's attention, if you liked that era of music. Plus, had this musical experiment not occurred, Fripp might not have partnered with the GUITAR GOD of new wave, Adrian Belew, and DISCIPLINE might not have been recorded. So, what might Fripp say about this chopped up product of two great LPs? "Be Happy with What you Have to be Happy With.""
Fripp Decapitates His Catalog
Brandon Stanley | United States | 09/20/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This is not one album, or the either. This is half of one, half of another. "God Save the King" is a blend of Frippertronic (ambient looped guitar) and vocal Discotronic (funky, disco-esque music) with David Byrne. The "League of Gentlemen" album was a mix of a punk/pop quartet that Fripp had in the late 70's-early 80's before reforming King Crimson. The latter had a blend of songs, concrete sounds (samples of a woman talking, possibly a girlfriend, along with J.G. Bennett the late philosophic mind/disciple of Gurdjeff). Both of these albums have been butchered in two and released as one. To the best of my knowledge, neither has seen a proper release on CD. In fact, Fripp's album "Exposure" was likewise heavily edited and chopped up for some unknown reason sometime in the 80's. If you don't mind hearing two incomplete albums jammed together, check this out. The songs are good, there is no doubt about that. However, you will need to look for older casettes and even vinyl if you want the full experience. Robert Fripp has released everything he's ever plucked out on his guitar to disc, so why not these recordings?"
5 stars for what is here. Complaints about what is missing.
Gang of Fripp | WA United States | 03/18/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The original versions of both League of Gentlemen and God Save the King/Under Heavy Manners are superior to this release. I especially miss the League's complete album format.That said, this period of time for Robert Fripp was a defining moment. The original League of Gentlemen is the most astounding piece of "Rock" music ever produced. It elevated rock music to the heights of intellectual excellence never befor or since achieved. And you can shake your butt crazy dancing to it!Only the Gang of Four came close to what this record accomplished. A reinvention of rock and roll. A landmark.I am dissipointed that not all of it is presented here, and that Fripp and the rest of the league did not record more music.The guitar work on God Save the King is exhilerating, and yes.. more than a little bit scary. BUY IT... and then seek out the originals."
A re-release of a compilation of a "best of" and a remix --
F. J. PRISCO | Seattle, WA USA | 12/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Reading the earlier reviews, it seems a little info might help:
This is a CD version of an album released in 1985; that album was a compilation / remake of some of Fripp's output 1980-81. As noted by others, the LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN had several entertaining snippets of conversation in addition to the music. That was in 1981. None were included here.
Previous to that was Fripp's album of Discotronics, UNDER HEAVY MANNERS. This is represented by the track entitled "God Save the King", but this song doesn't exactly appear there. What does appear there is a backing track called "God Save the Queen", which has no solo. You see, UHM was an album of the backing tracks which Fripp would use in concert to solo over. So the track entitled "God Save the King" is "God Save the Queen" PLUS a solo.
-- But there's more: "Queen" is only the first, danceable part of "King"; the droning second half is another track from UHM (called something like "Red Score Zero"; I've forgotten exactly). Evidently what Mr Fripp did was this: edit "God Save the Queen" and "Red etc" into a single track, record a blistering solo over the whole, and add other tracks from UNDER HEAVY MANNERS and THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN to fill out the rest of the album.
If this sounds a bit skimpy as a new offering, then you understand how I felt in the record store back in 1985, considering this latest Frippish commercial offering; I would in essence be buying just one song -- of which only the solo was actually new.
I debated, and rattled my coins; it seemed rather dear for the price. But the review I'd read still rang in my ears, unforgotten even today: "... a solo so blistering, he must have worn a welding mask and played with an asbestos pick..." I finally walked up to the register; I had to hear if it was true.
It was. Consequently, I've never regretted buying GOD SAVE THE KING, despite its meager stock of unique material.
Also, I do recommend THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN -- not just for the taped conversational comments, but because I don't think the songs included here were necessarily the best ("Minor Man" is especially missed). Even if they were, the mixes are not the same here; the original album hard-panned the guitar and keyboards, where GSTK finds both more centered. Both mixes have their value :-)