EW discovers two neglected boxed sets -- ''The Essential King Crimson'' and ''Great Speeches of the 20th Century'' deserve mention

Great Speeches of the 20th Century

EW discovers two neglected boxed sets

Just as there were albums by new artists that fell between record-store cracks last year, so were there esoteric boxed sets that deserve a mention. King Crimson’s The Essential King Crimson/Frame By Frame traces the 15-year history (1969-1984) of these most eggheaded of art-rockers, who, led by guitarist and technophile Robert Fripp, continually pushed the boundaries of progressive rock with squealing guitar, murky lyrics, and shifting rhythms. Extra points for the sumptuous packaging, which includes a booklet with a month-by-month chronicle of the band. B+

Historians and librarians shouldn’t be the only ones who drool at the prospect of Great Speeches of the 20th Century. The 4-CD, 69-track box includes all the greatest hits of ”historically important oration”: inaugural addresses from JFK and FDR, farewells from Lou Gehrig and Douglas MacArthur, King Edward VIII’s abdication in favor of ”the woman I love,” even Ollie North’s Iran-contra testimony, with Tricky Dick’s labored 1962 ”You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore” concession speech becoming, in its mind-numbing 16-minute glory, the ”In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” of the set. Great Speeches is, in small doses, a reminder that in politics ideas were once more important than images. A-

Great Speeches of the 20th Century
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