David Fricke on 2017's Best Prog Reissues

Can's complete singles, a massive King Crimson box and more

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King Crimson, 'Sailors' Tales'; 'Official Bootleg: Live in Chicago, June 28th, 2017'
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King Crimson, 'Sailors' Tales'; 'Official Bootleg: Live in Chicago, June 28th, 2017'

Sailors' Tales is an epic account, in 27 discs (CD, DVD and Blu-ray), of the uproar in personnel and direction after the implosion of the original King Crimson at the end of 1969, leaving guitarist Robert Fripp as the only founding member in late 1972. The studio albums in between – 1970's In the Wake of Poseidon and Lizard; 1971's Islands – are distinguished by their respective voices (Greg Lake, the Lizard cameo by Jon Anderson of Yes; future Bad Company bassist Boz Burrell); the brief embrace of brass and free-jazz piano on Lizard; and the chamber-jazz impressionism and shadows of Islands. The box details that crisis in course over the original LPs (also available as expanded stand-alone CDs) and the touring force of the Islands band in multiple soundboard tapes. Live in Chicago is the most recent update in Fripp's lifetime saga with Crimson: an entire show by the latest incarnation, now up to eight members with roots and road time in every era. The set list covers each chapter of the canon; the execution is fierce and fresh.

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