The Difference Between Red and Crimson

Local gal Taylor Swift won four trophies at Sunday's American Music Awards ceremony, which presumably no one in New England watched because the Patriots were engineering one of the truly phenomenal comebacks in the expansive annals of football kookery.

For the record, Swift was named Artist of the Year and won in the Pop/Rock Female Artist and Country Female Artist categories. Her Red was also selected as Best Country Album.

Also for the record -- literally -- Swift's Red should not be confused with an album called Red released in 1974 by King Crimson. This is perhaps more difficult than you think because both records have many similarities such as the fact that each was recorded by human beings playing musical instruments.

Adding to the murky befuddlement?

Crimson earlier this year came out with a 21-CD/1-DVD/2-Blu-Ray boxed set called The Road to Red — which includes several in-concert recordings from the band's Starless and Bible Black tour wherein they wrote and road-tested much of the material that would become Red — a record that such acts as Primus, Tool and Dream Theater have cited as hugely influential.

The point is: don't buy The Road to Red thinking it's a Swift collection, although I wouldn't mind hearing her cover KC's "Starless" and I wouldn't mind hearing Crimson cover Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" even though it's true that, after several years, Crimson is getting back together! How did Taylor know this was going to happen before the rest of the world?

(It's probably important, since we're avoiding confusion, to point out that "Starless" is indeed on Red and not on Starless and Bible Black even though the song is, ah, "Starless.")

Anyway. Yes. Guitarist/Crimson leader Robert Fripp has announced a new configuration — the 8th lineup in their five-decades-plus history. Onboard this time is a mix of KC veterans and newcomers: bassist Tony Levis, sax/flute guy Mel Collins, vocalist/guitarist Jakko Jakszyk and — sigh — THREE drummers: Gavin Harrison, Pat Mastelotto and Bill Rieflin.

Perhaps the oddest choice for the new outfit is University of Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron, who revealed he will be joining the group in a cover story this week for Sports Illustrated.

What does it all mean? Well, clearly, if you know the music biz like I do, and you read between the lines, all signs point to Taylor Swift joining Crimson, too. It only makes sense. And look for a new 36-CD boxed set including Swift's Red as well as Crimson's Red.

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