Posted by Sid Smith on Jan 18, 2010 - This post is archived and may no longer be relevant

Today’s gig from 19th March 1974 is a strange one containing a real rarity - a track which Crimson appear to only ever played once. Discovered in 2006 after a fan bought it to our attention, (you can read the background to the recovery of the tape over on my blog here and here) the track was was called Guts On My Side and as far as we know, it was never performed again by KC.

In researching the piece elements of it were being played in improvisations as far back as June 1973. However, memories of ever having written the thing were scant. Robert wasn’t even sure it was KC when he first heard the original bootleg track, and Bill’s reaction was, well, typically Bill. “God! What a racket! Sorry to be hopeless, but I don’t remember anything at all about writing it or playing it. Just can’t help there.”

Prompted by the murky recording John Wetton remarked “It sounds more "Starless" period, and there are burgeoning ideas from that era, plus a vocal/bass idea which surfaced in UK (Caesar’s Palace Blues). The linear Fratt / Crisp solo passage is unmistakable, as are the bass/drums/vocal. The song structure is wedged firmly between Starless and Red.”

David Cross wrote about the track on his diary of 15th January 2006 “Sid Smith just sent me an awful bootleg recording from 19 March 1974 which John and Robert were not able to identify. The song sounded familiar as soon as I heard it. After a few listenings I picked out the lyric ‘mussel soufflee’ as a possible title. Very interesting to hear this piece because it demonstrates the success that we were having at this stage in integrating the violin with the guitar/bass/drums line-up.

The violin emphasizes particular phrases in the vocal and bass lines and at one stage there is a ‘long-line’ composed duet between violin and guitar – based on one of the successful techniques that Robert and I had developed through improvisation.

There is a bluesy violin solo in which I seem to be fairly comfortable; it also contains hints of the wide hand vibrato that I later used extensively.
There is a wonderful rhythmic chromatic run led by John (elements of which I recognize as part of my vocabulary today) and even the Dr D. riff makes a brief appearance. I have no idea who thought of what in this piece but it certainly integrates some of the ideas that we had been developing in that period.”

Finally it was Richard Palmer-James who came up trumps recalling “On the fifth listening, the barely-discernible word ’avocado’ rang a bell. An alarm bell. (I was foolishly thinking that Friday 13th had passed me over.) This song is called GUTS ON MY SIDE, and the lyric as I dictated it over the phone to an appalled secretary at EG in London goes:

Sweet meat boogie / Take me to an eating meeting
Breath comes heavy / Rolling back the plastic sheeting

Gotta get our guts on our side
Gonna take a table and ride
Crunching with the crabs de mornay
Shovel up the mussel sooflay

Keep things tidy / Scrape the sausage off the ceiling
Ten ton creepers / Hauling off potato peelings

Gonna bend the runcible spoon
Pulverise the Great Macaroon
Smuggle in the Kweechie Lorraine
Gurgitate the hash once againe

Mint tea mother / Keep me feeling bright and happy
Avacados / Inside must be soft and pappy

Drop and oyster straight from the can
Fumble with the passion fruit flan
Gotta find some room for a roll
Penetrate the toad in the hole

Sheeps head salad / Sending off the indigestion
Take no notice / Slimmers making foul suggestions

Camembare the cucumber cream
Crucify the galloping bean
Fingers getting hot in the stew
Dip ’em in the mushroom fondew
Improvise a lobster surpreeze
Bring the jellied eels to their knees
Sip a glass of seventy-oneClarrit Chatto Newts de Verdun”