APRIL 1975 (37 YEARS AGO)
King Crimson: USA is released.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 4.5/5
# allmusic 4/5
USA is a live album by King Crimson, released in April, 1975.
It was mostly recorded at the Casino, Asbury Park, on 28 June 1974. The exceptions are track 7, which was recorded at the Palace Theatre, Providence, USA, on 30 June 1974, and Eddie Jobson’s overdubs on tracks 2, 3 and 7, which were recorded in a studio.
“USA” was recorded towards the end of King Crimson’s final US tour of the 70s in June 1974. It was issued as an epitaph for the band in Spring 1975. In common with much of Crimson’s output, it was not well received at the time by critics, though its critical reputation has grown immeasurably in the intervening years to the point where a recent review of the ’21st Century Guide to King Crimson’ box set identifies the album as the point “…where Fripp maps out the guitar blueprint for the entire post-punk movement.”
by Lindsay Planer, allmusic
As Robert Fripp had done with King Crimson’s first live LP, Earthbound (1972), USA (1974) is a single-disc concert package documenting the quartet during its most concurrent swing through North America. As with its predecessor, USA was also issued as a sonic cenotaph of the concurrently defunct Krim. So insistent that the band would not be resurrected, Fripp concluded the LP’s liner notes at the time with another three-letter epitaph: “R.I.P.” The 1973/1974 King Crimson included the collective efforts of Fripp (guitar/mellotron), David Cross (violin), John Wetton (bass/vocals), and Bill Bruford (drums/percussion). USA also includes notable violin overdubs by Eddie Jobson on the tracks “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2” and “21st Century Schizoid Man,” as well as electric piano addendums to “Lament.” The opening drone — indexed as “Walk On….No Pussyfooting” for the 30th anniversary release in 2002 — re-creates the typical performance prelude, which is lifted directly from the Fripp and Brian Eno sonic sculpture No Pussyfooting (1973). The brusque juxtaposition of the ethereal opening to the aggressive “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2” jolts the audience into the rips and snorts found during this tautly rendered instrumental. The readings of “Lament” and “Exiles” demonstrate this band’s overwhelming sonic sensibilities. They are able to contrast and incorporate thick, viscous melodies and rhythms with alternately underlying sensitive, as well as ultimately beautiful, musical responses. A majority of the release is taken from a performance on June 28, 1974, at the Casino in Asbury Park, NJ, with the notable exception of “21st Century Schizoid Man,” which was recorded two nights later at the Palace Theater in Providence, RI. The previously mentioned 30th anniversary edition marks the legitimate digital debut of USA. The extended CD format allows for the addition of “Fracture” and “Starless” from the Casino show. Additional live recordings of this band can be found on the four-disc The Great Deceiver collection and Night Watch, as well as Live in Central Park, NYC ’74 and Live in Mainz 1974 from the King Crimson Collectors’ Club.
“Walk On…No Pussyfooting” (Brian Eno, Robert Fripp) – 0:35
“Larks’ Tongues in Aspic (Part II)” (Fripp) – 7:03
“Lament” (Fripp, Richard Palmer-James, John Wetton) – 4:21
“Exiles” (David Cross, Fripp, Palmer-James) – 7:09
“Asbury Park” (Bill Bruford, Cross, Fripp, Wetton) – 7:06
“Easy Money” (Fripp, Palmer-James, Wetton) – 6:41
“21st Century Schizoid Man” (Fripp, Michael Giles, Greg Lake, Ian McDonald, Peter Sinfield) – 8:40
Bonus tracks on 30th anniversary edition CD
“Fracture” (Fripp) – 11:19
“Starless” (Bruford, Cross, Fripp, Palmer-James, Wetton) – 14:55