The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Robert Fripp

1-2-08 Robert Fripp “Exposure”

(Welcome to my first blog of 2008!)

From the time I was literally a child, I knew I liked records on the Island label from England. I wrote to the company, requesting a catalogue, and they sent me one (about 1970 or so)! I was a fan of Traffic, Jethro Tull, Spooky Tooth…and whatever else I could find. Once I got their catalogue, I desired the LP’s I’d never seen: Dr. Strangely Strange “Kip Of The Serenes”, White Noise “An Electric Storm In Hell” etc.

After the release of “Abbey Road” by The Beatles, I became friendly with some of the people who were working at Wallach’s Music City (Lakewood, CA) – I think they thought it was neat that such a little kid was so interested in ‘rock music’ – and I was in there practically every weekend. Once they started selling their “demonstration copies” – they were the place with the listening booths – a clerk’s indifference lead to my discovery of King Crimson (another Island act!). If memory serves, the female clerk found the cover of “In The Court of the Crimson King” to be ‘ugly’, so – out it went, into the ‘sale’ bin of demonstration records – a nice heavy cover, not an Island copy, but a stock copy of the Atlantic Records U.S. version – thick paper stock.

After the atmospherics at the opening of Side One – all hell breaks loose with “21st Century Schizoid Man”. Damn. Nothing else I’ve ever heard sounds like this. Nothing.

It didn’t take long – “In The Court Of The Crimson King” became my favorite album, and sent me back to the record store – a hippie record store this time – to find a British Island copy of the 2nd King Crimson album, “In The Wake Of Poseidon”. Then a U.S. copy of album #3 “Lizard” – hey, the vocalist changed! (But they put their address inside of the cover – I wrote to them, and ‘Crimso Communications’ replied!). And that was all the King Crimson records I could find, as a lad. I asked my brother about King Crimson – he knew of them, and had heard them on the FM radio. Not me – I got there by the cover of that first album. I followed the band through the release of “Red”, the final contiguous King Crimson album, in 1974.

By the time “Exposure” walked down the pike – a lot of water had passed under the bridge. I was more excited about Faust, XTC, Magazine…’79 was indeed a time of change – my first visit to Europe etc. I literally wasn’t interested in a Robert Fripp solo LP – but I duly obtained a nice copy of it (an Australian issue, as I recall). A cursory listen told me that Peter Hammill was on it –but Daryl Hall? The Roches?

So flash forward 28 years. I like the ‘found’ vocals / taped voices, the instrumentals, Peter Hammill, Peter Gabriel…I can hear XTC’s Barry Andrews on keyboards, sounding hot off of his recording of “Go 2”. Maybe if I re-sequence it, I’ll like it even more? Haven’t heard the ‘bonus disc’ yet – and I have just properly listened to “Exposure” for the first time very recently. I still find it hard to imagine that I could possibly prefer Daryl Hall to Peter Hammill, however. The Roches, OK. I did substantially better with “The League Of Gentlemen”, at the time.


Anonymous Jim Donato said...

Re: Exposure

That was my first Fripp album and still the best! It's one heck of an exciting record. I have been known to sing "Disengage" when cooking dinner at home! I need the new 2xCD. Apparently, Fripp wanted to do the entire record with Daryl Hall, but Hall's management [Tommy Mottola] frowned severely on the idea their star tarnishing his rep with thatt flaky Fripp dude, so only a few cuts were green lighted.

6:02 AM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

The 2nd disc in the set has more Daryl Hall...unfortunately. I think I will like this album more removing and moving some cuts around.

6:47 AM  
Blogger chas_m said...

Happy 2008!

Your second sentence "I knew I liked records on the Island label from England" sparked a lot of memories!

I think, as a music collector, I was happiest when that phenomenon occured -- Island in the 70s, Stiff for its entire original run, Cherry Red in the early 80s, Sire for much of the 80s -- I would often buy albums solely because of the cover, the label, or the producer -- "Never Mind the Music!" :)

Found a LOT of good stuff that way. It's a pity that real vision-led labels have gone so far underground/indie that it's hard to imagine finding myself in that space again --

4:08 AM  
Blogger Matt Stevens said...

Its a great and vastly underapreciated record - i love it its up there with Red and Discipline as far as I'm concerned.

9:36 AM  

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