Better Red Than Dead

22 Jan

NELS CLINE TRIO – “Beer Bottle Collection” (from Ground, Krown Pocket, 1995)

Mention the name NELS CLINE, and I don’t think WILCO, or THE GERALDINE FIBBERS, or BANYAN, or even MIKE WATT. Nope, it’s always KING CRIMSON that springs to mind. That’s because in the mid 90’s Nels recorded a great CRIMSONoid bomb of a record entitled Ground that still sends me when I spin it today. NCT drummer Michael Preussner once told me that before all the acoustic freejazz stuff started gumming up the works in the later 70’s, it had been the heavy foghorns and piercing searchlights of KING CRIMSON and MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA that had really floated Nels’ boat. Ground was a tribute of sorts to them heady days, and the band rips into vintage Fripp/Wetton/Brufordisms like a pack of amplified hyenas tearing apart a zebra in your mama’s garage. Thankfully no one sought to approximate John Wetton’s kinda-cloying tenor vocals, as I think we can all agree that Red-era CRIMSON is best appreciated as a purely instrumental rock force. Right? Right!

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2 Responses to “Better Red Than Dead”

  1. mark January 22, 2010 at 8:13 pm #

    Me and Scott went to see Nels Cline Singers in July. What a great f’in’ band. All kinds of influences checked, but still a very real musical voice from them. 3 posts in day! Woohooo!

  2. mrowster January 23, 2010 at 8:38 am #

    Nels always seems to pull together great groups – I really oughta check out more of what he’s done since Ground.

    And ya get 3 posts only since I’m home sick with a cold and too congested to do much else! Still able to appreciate good music, though.

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