Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

351

Pete Sinfield: Still (Expanded Edition)

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
He may not have stepped onstage during the early heyday of In the Court of the Crimson King (DGM Live, 1969) through Islands (DGM Live, 1971), but lyricist Pete Sinfield was as much a member of seminal art rock group King Crimson as its performing members. A shot heard around the world, Crimson's debut was a confluence of many factors, unequivocally including Sinfield's flowery and sometimes obliquely analogous prose. When Sinfield left Crimson in 1971, citing irreconcilable differences with the group's remaining cofounder, guitarist Robert Fripp, his career appeared to be over. Instead, Sinfield jumped into production with Roxy Music's eponymous 1972 EG/Island debut, and continued to contribute lyrics to ex- Crimson members Ian McDonald and Michael Giles for McDonald and Giles (Island, 1970), Emerson, Lake and Palmer on Brain Salad Surgery (Atlantic, 1973), and English-language albums by Italian progsters PFM.



Sinfield's solo debut, Still (Manticore), was largely lambasted when it was released in 1973. Esoteric's double-disc reissue, however, reveals an album undeniably of its time which—despite certain unavoidable weaknesses—does fare better four decades on, now assessable on its own merits rather than in comparison to Crimson. Sinfield's relatively weak voice is still the album's greatest liability, though a certain vulnerability works well on songs such as the ethereal "Song of the Sea Goat" and the pastoral "The Piper." His narration on the title track works because there's rarely anything quite like hearing a poet read his own words, but when he hands off the chorus to Greg Lake, like a baton in a marathon, it's because he simply hasn't got what it takes to lift this majestic tune where it belongs.



Lyrically, "Wholefood Boogie" is as dated as Islands' "Ladies of the Road," but overall the pen responsible for legendary Crimson tunes such as "I Talk to the Wind" is as aureate and, at times, rococo as ever. What's surprising is the variety Sinfield demonstrates in the music, ranging from the countrified "Will It Be You" and rocking "Wholefood" (despite some especially cringe-worthy singing) to the funky, horn-driven "The Night People." With a range of guests from Crimson circles and beyond, it's woodwind multi- instrumentalist Mel Collins' arrangements for guests including pianist Keith Tippett, trombonist Chris Pyne, and Cor anglais player Robin Miller that make Sinfield's good music even better.



Sinfield's use of a string synthesizer, rather than the tape-driven mellotron, also distances Still's lighter ambience from Crimson's greater gravitas. A second disc of early mixes, an unreleased track from the same sessions (the folksy "Hanging Fire") and a 1975 track from the follow-up that never happened (the pop ballad "Can You Forgive a Fool?") are all nice-to-haves, but it's Esoteric's careful attention to remastering and packaging, with liner notes from Crimson documenter Sid Smith, that make Still (Expanded Edition) the definitive version of Sinfield's sole solo album, and a tremendous improvement over the poorly resequenced Stillusion (Voiceprint, 1993). A footnote in the annals of progressive rock, perhaps, but one that certainly deserves another look.


Track Listing: CD1: Song of the Sea Goat; Under the Sky; Will It Be You; Wholefood Boogie; Still; Envelopes of Yesterday; The Piper; A House of Hopes and Dreams; The Night People. CD2: Hanging Fire (1973); Still (first mix); The Song of the Sea Goat (early mix); Under the Sky (early mix); Wholefood Boogie (early mix); Envelopes of Yesterday (early mix); The Piper (early mix); A House of Hopes and Dreams (early mix); The Night People (early mix); Still (second mix); Can You Forgive a Fool? (1975).

Personnel: Pete Sinfield: 12-string acoustic guitar, synthesizer, vocals; Richard Brunton: acoustic and electric guitars; Brian Cole: pedal steel guitar; Greg Lake: guitar (CD1#8, CD2#8), backing vocal (CD1#4, CD2#5), joint lead vocal (CD1#5, CD2#2, CD2#10); Snuffy: electric guitar, solos (CD1#4, CD1#6, CD2#5, CD2#6); Mel Collins: alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, flute, alto flute, bass flute (CD1#1, CD2#3), celeste; Don Honeywill: baritone saxophone (CD1#9, CD2#9); Chris Pyne: trombone; Greg Bowden: trumpet; Stan Roderick: trumpet; Robin Miller: Cor anglais; Tim Hinkley: electric piano (CD1#9, CD2#9); Phil Jump: piano, electric piano, Hammond organ, Woolworth's organ (CD1#3), Freeman Symphoniser, glockenspiel; Keith Tippett: piano (CD1#1, CD2#3); Boz: bass guitar (CD1#9, CD2#9); John Wetton: bass guitar (CD1#1, CD2#3), fuzz bass (CD1#6, CD2#6); Min: drums and percussion (CD1#2-8, CD2#1-2, CD2#4-8, CD2#10-11); Ian Wallace: drums (CD1#9, CD2#9), snare drum (CD1#1, CD2#3).

Title: Still (Expanded Edition) | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Esoteric Recordings

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz Album Reviews
Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz
By Dan McClenaghan
January 21, 2019
Read The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two Album Reviews
The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two
By Victor L. Schermer
January 21, 2019
Read Mesophase Album Reviews
Mesophase
By Glenn Astarita
January 21, 2019
Read Rasif Album Reviews
Rasif
By Chris M. Slawecki
January 21, 2019
Read Live at the Black Musicians' Conference, 1981 Album Reviews
Live at the Black Musicians' Conference, 1981
By John Sharpe
January 20, 2019
Read More Than One Thing Album Reviews
More Than One Thing
By Gareth Thompson
January 20, 2019
Read Wandering Monster Album Reviews
Wandering Monster
By Roger Farbey
January 20, 2019