Ladies Of The Road

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Originally released: 2002
Ladies Of the Road is a two-volume Special Edition of live performances during 1971-72 drawn from the archives of the King Crimson Collectors' Club.


  • Boz Burrell (bass, vocals)
  • Mel Collins (saxes, flute, mellotron)
  • Robert Fripp (guitar, mellotron)
  • Ian Wallace (drums)
  • Peter Sinfield (FOH sound & VCS3 on Volume One)



Volume One: Ladies Of The Road is a series of performances beginning with the play-in shows at the Zoom Club, Frankfurt through to the final Earthbound tour of America. Volume Two: Schizoid Men is a compilation of sax & guitar solos played during performances of 21st. Century Schizoid Man throughout its life.

Volume One: Ladies Of The Road

Volume Two: Schizoid Men

  • 54'00 11 Tracks


Reviews are listed in chronological order within each section. Please retain a chronological order when adding new reviews.

Entire Release

Date Submitted: 27-Nov-02
By: John Barnes (johnjim at bushinternet dot com)

"Just bought the above.what can i say?i was impressed.never having seen this line up,i could only go on the evidence of earthbound.theyhave gone up 100's of percent in my's not many places but it has got an edge to the full version of "in the court...." available?Saxon eat your heart out!!!!"

Date Submitted: 30-Nov-02
By: Richard Royston (troyston at snet dot net)

"1. Presumably ‘The sailor's tale’ and ‘Get thy bearings’ are from the Zoom Club.

"2. 'Schizoid men 1' and '2' are from Jacksonville. 'Schizoid men 5' is from 'Earthbound'. The others are presumbably from unused Earthbound-era tapes.

"3. At least four tracks are abridged, but only ‘Formentera Lady’ is listed as such. Why? ‘Cirkus’ omits the first giant riff and the 'megaphonium fanfare' verse, while in ‘Groon’ the drum solo and various other bits have been edited out. And of course ‘In the court of the Crimson King’ stops just before the rude bit. I have to admit that most of the edits are an improvement...

"4. Where's the title track? (cf. ‘Cirkus’ CD)"

Date Submitted: 8-Dec-02
By: Jordan Brehm (03jrbreh at alma dot edu)

"I recently purchased the Ladies on the Road cd and have listened to it about 5 times through.

"So far I really like the first cd. The songs chosen are good selections for the era.

"The second cd is the one I go back and forth on . ...

"On one hand it is a great idea to put all the solos together, but it doesn't strike me as a cd that i might listen to frequently.

"Don't get me wrong the clips are absolutely sick and definately forshadow the King Crimson dynasty."

Date Submitted: 10-Dec-02
By: Stephen Risebury (Stephen.Risebury at btinternet dot com)

"I love the brief, bluesy version of 'In The Court' on here, but I am trying to understand why it is so short.

"Putting to one side the chance of a technical difficulty, are we to understand that Robert is saying 'Look, I'm putting this on the CD for you for completeness, but as you can see it is derivative, twelve-bar rubbish, so thats enough of that!"?"

Date Submitted: 15-Dec-02
By: Brian Daniloski (meatjack at meatjack dot com)

"A pleasant surprise! Quite a good disc from my least favorite incarnation of King Crimson (Although at first I wasn't crazy about the latest lineup either, they seem to be gelling quite nicely these days). I don't belong to the Collectors' Club, so with the exception of a couple of cuts on the recent "Cirkus" and "Beginners Guide to KC Collectors' Club" CD's, my only exposure to live material by this version of the band was the practically unlistenable "Earthbound" album (and I'm referring to some of the music on that album as well as the widely documented bad sound quality). One wonders why, if Crimso had live tapes of this quality of the 71-72 lineup in the vault, was "Earthbound" ever released. These recordings sound great, and there is some great playing going on here.

"Upon listening to this disc (and reading about this lineup), it's apparent that this was one hell of a conflicted band that became more so as time went by. At times this makes for some very tense but exciting musical moments. As with the first lineup of Crimso, the real standout soloist here seems to be the saxophonist, in this case Mel Collins (No disrespect to guitarist Robert Fripp, although his playing is very good, he really seemed to come into his own later with the Fripp/Bruford/Wetton/Muir/Cross lineup, or maybe his playing just sounded more in place there.). Collins is simply amazing. At times his playing is so frenetic it's dizzying. Sometimes it sounds like he's playing so hard that his head is ready to blow off. Ian Wallace continues the tradition of high caliber Crimson drummers. He's more of a basher than the others, but it sounds so damn fun. Boz Burrell's singing is good and his bass playing competent. I've never been fond of Peter Sinfield's new-agey imagery but by this point in time (his final year with the band) his lyrics were at their least inspired (oh well, for me, Crimso's strong suit has never been their lyrics). What can be said of his VCS3 manipulations other than that it must have been quite a mind fuck to have been an early 70's concert goer, most likely inebriated on the popular illicit substances of the time, when he kicked that thing in!

"Disc One-Ladies of the Road

"Pictures of a City" sounds just as good as versions by the first Crimso lineup. Fripp's sudden tempo wind up when they kick into the middle section is a head spinner.

"The Letters" is a good performance. However, I like the main riff of this song much better as a part of "Drop In" where I don't have to contend with Sinfield's silly soap opera lyrics. There's a nice guitar coda by Fripp on this version that isn't on the original.

"Formentera Lady" is quite a charming tune. Fripp provides tasty guitar embellishments on the chorus.

"The Sailors Tale" is always a lot of fun, an initially up tempo helter skelter of a ride that settles into a nice little groove before heading back on it's manic course (It would have been nice to hear the Fripp/Belew/Levin/Bruford/Mastelotto/Gunn lineup do this song, or the Fripp/Bruford/Wetton/Cross lineup for that matter). The guitar/sax interplay on this number is masterful.

"The track "Cirkus" is worth the price of this disc alone. A pretty sinister song to begin with, the slower tempo and ominous dual Mellotrons on this version really make it more evil than ever. Plus, it's nice to hear a live song from "Lizard".

"It's nice that Fripp left out much of the "blooz" jams that this lineup was known drag him into (check out "Earthbound" for painful examples of this). "Groon" treads a bit into this territory. This is the 71-72 Crimso that I'm more familiar with, a not entirely comfortable band that if not for Fripp's efforts would have become nothing more than a boringly self indulgent, albeit above average, jam band. However, this track is much more tolerable since Boz doesn't do any of his "scatting" here. (He'd probably just tell me that it don't make no difference what I think about him but it makes a whole lotta difference what he thinks about me amowmamowmameemowawooohoo, anyway. he he.)

"Get Thy Bearings" worked better in the original incarnation of Crimson with Greg Lake's singing. However, there is some quality playing from Wallace and Collins here.

"21st Century Schizoid Man" really is THE quintessential KC song, at least of the lineups that existed between 1969-74 (I'm still trying to forget about that version on "Vrooom Vrooom". Adrian Belew was simply not meant to sing this song. And what's with that faux John Lennon vocal that he's trying to do? Yikes! Yes, there are times where you shouldn't give the people what they want, and for good reason). Although many songs from one lineup of Crimson did not work well in another lineup's repertoire,

"Schizoid Man" usually always managed to sound amazing and this version is no exception.

"The most unusual thing on this disc is a little 49 second snippet of a "blues'd out" version of "In The Court of the Crimson King". Upon hearing the first few seconds of it I had to start the track over because I couldn't believe what I was hearing. After hearing it all the way through I've come to the conclusion that maybe I've heard 49 seconds too many of this version of this song.

"Disc Two - Schizoid Men

"Quite a lot to swallow here. Although the playing is exceptional, I would have preferred a second disc of more songs than an hours worth of 11 different versions of "Schizoid Man" sax and guitar solos, many having "Earthbound"-like sound quality (Actually 12 versions. By the way, the obligatory "hidden track" on KC CD's has become an overused cliche)."

Date Submitted: 21-Jan-03
By: (olias83 at hotmail dot com)

"Just picked up a copy of the new "Ladies of the Road" live album, and was very pleased with it for many reasons. I am a huge Crimson fan and own every studio album in thier catalog. However, "Islands" was probably the only one that had a nice dusting on it. I've never really sat down and listened to it well enought to appreciate it, and just as I was really getting into it, "Ladies of the Road" came out.

"Pros: I always had believed that this lineup never was really good live. But I guess it was because of the sound quality of what I had heard before. The only other live stuff I had heard from this lineup was from "Earthbound" or Earthbound-quality stuff, but the sound quality on this release is beyond excellent. So it was only until I picked up this CD that I realized that this lineup kicked some ass live. Highlights for me are "Pictures of A City", "The Sailors Tale", "Cirkus", "Groon" (great drum solo by Wallace), and of course "21st Century Schizoid Man". The little snippet of the bluesy "ITCOTCK" is a great treat as well.

"Cons: The title did decieve me a little bit. I was expecting a good live version of the title track on here, because the only live version I have is on the "Cirkus" cd, and that is an Earthbound- quality recording. They should've replaced "21st Century Schizoid Man" with "Ladies of the Road", beings that they do dedicate the whole second CD to "Schizoid Man". So omitting the version on the first CD couldn't have done much harm at all.

"Overall though, a very good purchase. I'd invite anyone who is skeptic about this era of Crimso (including some of my good friends) to give this a try.

"My copy is sitting in my car right now as I sit in work writing this, and I can't wait to blast "Pictures of A City" on my way home."

Date Submitted: 12-Apr-03
By: (ericodijk at zeelandnet dot nl)

"Now finally, a good and decent live album from this era. This KC is a jazz band, simple as that. Boz is not that bad as a bass player (just not as good as Wetton) but a great singer. Mel is a wonderful musician and it really shows here. No complaints about the drummer either. Sorry, as a real fan of the Wetton-version of KC, I must admit that I really like this double cd. It is not a bad band, like lots of critics say, it is good. This release is solid proof. Even if it is a compilation.

"Buy this and bury Earthbound."

Date Submitted: 2-May-03
By: Joerg Fischer (lichtafee at gmx dot de)

"Often discussed about this release was the similarity of the tracks on CD 1 to KCCC-releases and this CD’s relevance for collectors: except for one track, everything already was released in the KCCC-series, in this case edited differently (and weird at times) and I guess with even more cleaned up sound. But: a missing verse here, a strange cross-fade there, audible cuts and even a brutal ending in one case - this really disturbs the music’s & CD’S natural flow. And especially the single track not already released in the KCCC-series ("Get thy bearings") really suffers from the editing: some structures of this piece can’t stretch out naturally and so the musical dramaturgy isn’t working very well in this cut (and Boz’ voice really isn’t right for this tune – to me he sounds like a drunken broadway-singer with ineffective breathing-technique in this case). Nevertheless essential for fans who do not own the KCCC-versions.

"CD 2 is very different. It includes a bunch of solos taken from "Schizoid Man"-performances, one after the other (not unlike Zappa’s approach on his albums exclusively composed from guitar solos). When those improvised parts stand alone (without themes or vocal parts sandwiching them) they somehow get bigger weight in their own right. And a series of solos from the SAME song of course invites the listener to zoom in closer on the improvisational chemistry and "solutions" of the musicians. In ET somebody described this as one hour of "noise" - for hifi-ears this surely applies to the sound quality of these cuts (like "Earthbound"). But musically this CD shows the sheer brilliance of the musicians (soloists) involved! And if you manage to delve into the music with the concentration it deserves (or maybe requires): this hour of "again and again the same" absolutely WON’T get boring!!! No noise at all, but some very fine music!

"Mel Collins’ soloing-approach (not featured on every track) gets more and more transparent after repeated listening as he has some licks he uses in this tune – and he doesn’t vary their dramatic effect very much. Of course a very strong player, but hey: the often stated superlatives on his playing more or less evaporate when set into context to other saxophone-players. But maybe it’s actually the early 70’s rock-context that makes his playing so outstanding!? Nevertheless: very enjoyable!

"In my opinion the most outstanding parts of this whole release are Fripp’s "Schizoid"-solos. Their melodic ad hoc-construction often is so exciting – not so much soloing over scales it seems, but full of thinking in terms of interval-tensions/insisting on dissonant chord-options; when listening to some of this, I easily can imagine Fripp’s bright mind in full concentration, not allowing himself any flaw in the music’s tension when playing (an exception of course is track 9 where everything almost comes to a halt – which again produces another kind of tension). If every single pitch has it’s own "colour" in these intense "one-chord jams", Fripp is surely a very very virtuos "painter" who exactly knows how to handle all this stuff. To me some of Fripp’s soloing/the band’s playing here is among the most brilliant in rock music – lot’s of focussed energy! So especially CD 2 is highly recommended!"