I just got an email from DGM, the King Crimson label, announcing the availability of the new version of The Great Deceiver, formerly a four-CD box set covering the years 1973 and 1974, a very fruitful, creative time for the band. I received it for Christmas about a year after it came out, not too long after I was bitten by the bug for this band, and spent most of Christmas day listening to the music while I read the very extensive book. It would be years before I felt like I really appreciated that period and especially those live discs, as I was enamored of the latest incarnation of King Crimson (at the time, the Thrak era, which would now be two lineups ago!) But eventually the material on those discs grew to be some of my favorite music, period. This box is one of my truly prized possessions, and for years I felt bad that so many potential new fans had to miss out on it due to it being out of print.
But no more! DGM has re-released the box in two separate two-CD sets at an amazingly affordable price – $16.98 each. Volume 1 covers the first two discs of the original box in the original format – Providence 1974, Glasgow 1973 and Penn State University 1974, and Volume 2 covers the Pittsburgh 1974, Penn State University 1974, Toronto 1974 and Zurich 1973 shows. There’s new artwork to fit the new format, obviously, but apparently they’ve managed to shove all the text and photos from the big book in the original box into these two.
(I’m not sold on the PJ Crook artwork adorning the covers, however. I’m a big fan of the original Bill Smith Studios artwork, and I REALLY don’t like PJ Crook’s throwback art – it’s exactly the style of art that people associate with genre “prog” and Fripp has always insisted King Crimson is beyond that. Yet he continues to shackle this stuff to their music . . . )
I’m actually excited about two releases I don’t even need. I’m just excited for you listeners out there who’ve missed out. Now is your chance – jump on it while you can. (A couple of these shows have been released in their entirety on DGM Live, but you’ll be missing something special about this box – the way the music Fripp chose to highlight interacts together. For once, I feel that a cobbled-together live release is stronger than the individual shows.)