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


McDonald & Giles


Crossover Prog

3.36 | 140 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars You obviously would know Ian McDonald and Michael Giles were in the formative period King Crimson who recorded what goes without saying one of the greatest progressive rock albums ever In The Court Of The Crimson King. For me, Crimson made two masterpieces- In The Court and Lizard. Sanwiched between those is the awful In The Wake Of Posiedon. With Ian McDonald going off with Giles to make this album that pretty much terminated Crimson until they regrouped on Lizard, but this is a very different album than King Crimson's work. There are 5 songs, one a side long suite called "Birdman," but this album is more of a melodic folky progressive album than full blown symphonic prog, and it works brilliantly. MacDonald and Giles with help from their musical friends came up with an album of beautiful soothing music that is at times closer to Caravan than Crimson, but often reminiscent of The Beatles around the Abbey Road period. This is particularly true of "Birdman" which is a melodic suite and also the most symphonic track. "Flight Of The Ibis" is one of two shorter tracks with a very pretty melody and a calm atmosphere. "Turnham Green" with phased vocals is a bit softrock, a bit progressive, and a bit psychedelic. "Tomorrow's People" is Michael Giles' contribution to the album and a great track. Even in the longest sections there are no self indulgences or showings off, making for a nice change from what Crimson turned into. My favourite track is probably "Birdman" with nice changes of mood and some stellar melodies. The string arrangement is perfect and for the whole album the formidable musicianship of Ian and Michael is in full bloom. If I was to look at this as a Crimson album, which it isn't, I would have to say its as good as Lizard and the 1st LP which are my two faves by that group, but this not being a Crimson LP all I can say is I'm glad MacDonald and Giles split off and did this! Their early influences come into play here, The Beatles, The Bee Gees, Traffic, influences that wouldn't have fit in on a King Crimson album. This album is one of my favourite records from the progressive era, and makes a nice change from the intensity of much prog music when I am in the mood for something more relaxing. The lyrics are playful, pleasant, and pastoral and that may describe the whole record. If you like Stackridge or Caravan there is no way you wouldn't like this, and if you like King Crimson it's an essential album as well. "Flight Of The Ibis" is one of the only prog songs I've heard where folky pop influences really come into play and turn it more pop than progressive in a way that works, much better than the mostly dreary work of some other early prog groups. While Crimson went into oblivion their two catalysts created a melodic progressive folkrock masterpiece, that about sums things up. One final note I would add, Giles plays some remarkable drums here and I actually prefer McDonald's sax breaks on this album to the noisier ones on "21st Century Schizoid Man," but if you like melodic and gentle music AND King Crimson this album should be in your collection.
| 5/5 |


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