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McDonald & Giles - McDonald & Giles CD (album) cover


McDonald & Giles


Crossover Prog

3.36 | 137 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

I grew up with this album as it always had a special place in my collection and heart. Not that i got it when i came out in 1970 (i was too young) but i remember owning the LP back then i 1972 when i discovered all this prog music with IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING.

Do i need to present these 2 gentlemen? Certainly not to the King Crimson alumnis. Ian Mcdonald was the main composer and architect of this famous IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING LP. He is the only one who is credited on all the tracks of this album, not counting the lyricist Peter Sinfield. He was also instrumental to the sound of the band back then with his mellotron,keys, flutes and other saxes .

Mike Giles was only the drummer, but what a drummer, full of finesse and a very inventive player. Our 2 guys don't paly alone on this LP. Brother Peter Giles came to help on bass..just adding a little more to the Crimson connection as he played with Fripp and bro before Crimson and again with the band for IN THE WAKE OF POSEIDON. Also guest-starring, no less than Traffic leader STEVE WINWOOD on organ and piano!

Why did they live KC? clash with Robert? looking for musical indepence? thinking of making it big alone? For sure, looking in the rearview mirror, it didn't look as a wise ''business'' decision as both will fall into obscurity, except for the occasional reemergence before disappearing again. (remember that Ian McDonald came back with....Foreigner!!!!)

So do we have a KING CRIMSON kind of album? yes and no!! This is lighter than KC, the instrumentations and arrangements are thinner as there is curiously no mellotron and of course no guitar craziness from Robert Fripp. The melodies of the songs on the other hand could have find a way on ITCOTCK, Greg Lake would have liked to sing.

This album is no masterpiece by no means because of a few shortcomings. As i said, the music could have sounded better with more lavish ''proggish'' orchestrations. There are magnificent parts, also a few childish ones. The best example is the 21:45 suite BIRDMAN with some fantastic symphonic parts with choirs, saxes, great,great drumming from Giles sadly interupted by some silly singing parts and 2 touch organ notes like in the beginning. But overall, this is very pleasant music, very early prog of course.

SUITE IN C is another 11mn extravaganza going from Caravan/K.Ayers folkish athmosphere with silly singing parts to chaotic Crimsonlike instrumental section with crazy piano and crazy horns, but very well done. The vocals at the end of this suite are very influenced by Paul McCartney. The Beatle wouldn't have mind, i am sure, coming up with the 2 sweet ballads of this album FLIGHT OF THE IBIS and IS SHE WAITING.Both gorgeous melodies and great McDonald vocals who proves he can sing and nicely at that.

Everything is composed by Ian Mcdonald except the energetic TOMORROW'S PEOPLE who was composed by M. Giles bringing some needed fire to this LP after the more contemplative McDonald tunes .Great trombone start, hurried drumming, good song!

To resume, i would say that MCDONALD AND GILES sounds like a naked KING CRIMSON. This is a good to great album but it could have used some more arrangements (mellotron, mellotron, please!) and the guitar of the seated man is sorely missing.

Nevertheless, the CD looks very nice on my rack sandwiched by ITCOTCK and THE WAKE OF POSEIDON. So i can say this is an excellent addition to any prog collection. Lovers of early KC, go for it!! Don't expect EPITATH, but you know there is only one EPITATH!

3.5 STARS!!!

febus | 4/5 |


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