John Wetton & Richard Palmer-James — Monkey Business 1972-1997
(Blueprint BP-295-CD, 1998, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2000-05-01
When was the first time you heard “Exiles” or “The Great Deceiver” and were taken aback about the lyrics? It’s a pretty strange role to find yourself by trying to fill the shoes of Peter Sinfield with King Crimson. Richard Palmer-James took that job and has been a long time school friend of John Wetton as well as contributor to the wordier side of some of the best-loved Crimson songs. This disc is an odd collection of early demos, unfinished recordings and updated versions of songs from Wetton’s career including Crimson, recent solo work and a few aborted projects. The most enticing pieces are those with Bill Bruford: “Confessions” and “The Good Ship Enterprise” recorded during the interim between the 1974 King Crimson and UK. These could be the long demos for the Wakeman, Wetton and Bruford project which A&M derailed and ultimately led to UK. Both tracks show signature time keeping from Bruford and some tricky word play from Wetton in what could have been some promising pieces. A few pieces have undergone some lush arranging to wind up in current form on the album including “Starless” and “Doctor Diamond.” But it’s the rough versions of “Book of Saturday,” “Easy Money,” and “Magazines” which give you an account of Wetton’s songwriting process where he enlisted Palmer-James to flesh out ideas and come up with the compelling verse. Monkey Business is for Wetton collectors primarily and those who want to peer into the looking glass of his early writing process.
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more