17/2/15 – King Crimson – Cat Food – Top Of The Pops – 1970

King Crimson 1970From the album In The Wake Of Poseidon released on Island Records in 1970 and featuring a line up of ex-band members returning as session musicians – Michael Giles on drums, Peter Giles on bass and Greg Lake on vocals and acoustic, with Keith Tippett on piano and leading light Robert Fripp on guitar.

Even though Greg Lake appeared here, by now he was dreaming up Emerson, Lake & Palmer with Keith Emerson from The Nice. ELP became hugely successful and simultaneously despised – not by me, I went to see them on their Brain Salad Surgery tour at the Liverpool Empire in April 1974.

Michael Giles and Robert Fripp had formed King Crimson after the demise of their previous group Giles, Giles and Fripp with Michael’s brother Peter. Later, the line-up also included Judy Dyble from Fairport Convention and flautist and saxophonist Ian McDonald in a short lived version of the band.

The Giles brothers and McDonald went on to make the McDonald and Giles album released in 1971. After this Michael Giles became a session drummer and his brother Peter Giles dropped out of sight till the formation of 21st Century Schizoid Band in 2002 featuring ex-members of King Crimson. Ian McDonald went on to form Foreigner in 1976.

It’s very strange to see King Crimson on Top Of The Pops. This gem from the archives was thought to be lost as the BBC erased over 500 tapes of Top Of The Pops shows from the sixties and seventies, along with Doctor Who and other classics from the era. Just seeing them mime is weird, although Lake is singing over his own vocal. The song was written by Robert Fripp and intense lyricist Pete Sinfield:

Lady Supermarket with an apple in her basket
Knocks on the manager’s door,
Grooming to the muzak from a speaker in the shoe rack
Lays out her goods on the floor,
Everything she’s chosen is conveniently frozen.
“Eat it and come back for more!”

Lady Window Shopper with a new one in the hopper
Whips up a chemical brew,
Croaking to a neighbour while she polishes a sabre
Knows how to flavour a stew.
Never need to worry with a tin of “Hurri Curri”
“Poisoned especially for you!”

No use to complain
If you’re caught out in the rain,
Your mother’s quite insane.
Cat food cat food cat food again.

Lady yellow stamper with a fillet in the hamper
Dying to finish the course,
Goodies for the table with a fable on the label
Drowning in miracle sauce.
Don’t think I am that rude if I tell you that it’s cat food,
“Not even fit for a horse!”

The album version is three minutes longer than the Top Of The Pops version. Keith Tippett’s mad jazz piano playing is a highlight over Peter Giles’ “Come Together” bass line, Michael Giles unconventional drumming and Fripp’s calculated guitar. A true musical experimental revelation conquering Pop TV with Fripp as always sitting down to play the electric guitar. In The Wake Of Poseiden is a must for all exploratory ears.