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Giles Giles & Fripp The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles & Fripp album cover
3.14 | 118 ratings | 16 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1968

Songs / Tracks Listing

- The Saga of Rodney Toady :
1. North Meadow (2:29)
2. Newly-Weds (2:07)
3. One in a Million (2:25)
4. Call Tomorrow (2:31)
5. Digging My Lawn (1:50)
6. Little Children (2:48)
7. The Crukster (1:35)
8. Thursday Morning (2:50)
- Just George :
9. How Do They Know (2:14)
10. Elephant Song (3:15)
11. The Sun Is Shining (3:06)
12. Suite No. 1 (5:33)
13. Erudite Eyes (5:05)

Total time 37:48

Bonus Tracks on 1992 & 2008 remasters:
14. She Is Loaded (3:11)
15. Under the Sky (4:01)
16. One in a Million (Mono single version) (2:25)
17. Newly-Weds (Mono single version) (2:44)
18. Thursday Morning (Mono single version) (2:57)
19. Thursday Morning (Stereo single version) (2:57)

Total Time: 59:28

Line-up / Musicians

- Robert Fripp / guitars, Mellotron, spoken word
- Pete Giles / bass, lead & backing vocals
- Michael Giles / drums, percussion, lead & backing vocals, spoken word

- Nicky Hopkins / keyboards
- Mike Hill / keyboards
- R. Cohen / violin
- W. Reid / violin
- K. Isaacs / violin
- G. Salisbury / violin
- B. Pecker / violin
- G. Fields / violin
- John Coulling / viola
- Rebecca Patten / viola
- Charles Tunnell / cello
- Alan Ford / cello
- Cliff Hardie / trombone
- Ted Barker / trombone
- The Breakaways / backing vocals
- Mor Raymonde / string arrangements

Note : The actual instrumentation could not be fully confirmed at this mome

Releases information

Artwork: Gered Mankowitz (photo)

LP Deram ‎- SML 1022 (1968, UK)
LP Deram ‎- DML 1022 (1968, UK) Mono version

CD Deram ‎- P25L 25052 (1989, Japan)
CD Deram ‎- 820 965-2 (1992, Europe) Remastered by Anthony Hawkins with 6 bonus tracks (some in Mono audio) in rearranged track list
CD Esoteric Recordings ‎- ECLEC 2049 (2008, UK) 24-bit remaster by Paschal Byrne w/ 6 bonus tracks

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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GILES GILES & FRIPP The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles & Fripp ratings distribution

(118 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(19%)
Good, but non-essential (48%)
Collectors/fans only (16%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

GILES GILES & FRIPP The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles & Fripp reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3,5 stars really!!!

Many Crimson fans have a hard time appreciating the genesis of their favorite band , mostly because of the silly but yet so British humour present. Yes , some of those tracks are silly tid-bits , odd ditties but no more than Gong or even early Genesis (Harrold the Barrel or Willow Farm).

And if you do forget the rather silly story line of the conceptual first side of the album , you will find many elements already present in the future Crimson. The opening track has got that special Giles drumming we all love , Mellotrons are used on another track etc....

But the highlight for many will be Suite No.1 , which I find interesting but no more. I reserve most of my applause for the closing track, Erudite Eyes with again stupendous drumming and great guitar works. Erudite Eyes and North Meadows are book-ending this corrct album is a very superb fashion.

Review by soundsweird
3 stars Sometimes, historical interest outweighs "progressiveness" in terms of an album's value. I would not sell this album or "From Genesis to Revelation". And, since I enjoy guileless British pop music from the 60's, I would like this album even without the Crimson connection. Whimsical and low-key are the watchwords here. Incidentally, one of the bonus tracks, "Under The Sky", is completely different from the stellar version found on Pete Sinfield's "Still", and the songwriting credits there are obviously wrong. If you're a big fan of "Still", you'll want to hear this version. I agree with most reviews I've seen: the Fripp guitar pieces are the best things on the album, and are worth the price, unless you get "gouged".
Review by Matti
3 stars So what if this is very far from 'the court of the Crimson King' in musical style? Surely a Crimson fan can be quite disappointed with this album, but taken as it is, it's very charming, intellectual, tongue-in-cheek pop album of the sixties. Songs are about two minutes long and they can be compared to some BEATLES tunes like 'When I'm 64', 'Martha My Dear', etc, or to other sixties bands with an innovative playing like Beach Boys or Manfred Mann.

The simple songs of A-side are all part of 'The Saga of Rodney Toady' (by Fripp) that has narration between the songs. It's about a fat and ugly boy of fat and ugly parents who advice him to find a fat and ugly girl to marry. Monty Python -type of silly English humour... or actually more naive and less obviuosly trying to make one laugh; like a bit weird children's book!

There are, however, things beyond the simplicity and childishness. You don't HAVE to be a Crimsonist to enjoy Michael Giles' great drumming or Fripp's guitar, but it makes it more interesting to listen to it as the pre-stage of that legendary band.

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars At some point tracking down this album is going to prove practically irresistible to every King Crimson fan. A psych-era album featuring three future King Crimson members including the meister himself, Mr Fripp, has to be of interest, surely. And it is. The bulk of the album has very little to do with progressive rock, and you probably have to be a fan of "silly" psych albums like The Small Faces' Ogden's Nut Gone Flake and Pink Floyd's Piper At The Gates Of Dawn to appreciate this album on its own terms, but even allowing for that, there are two impressive tracks which while not exactly pointing the way forward, show that even at this early stage, Fripp and co could make beautiful music.

One main element that defines the album is the quirky narrative that links the songs. The first half of the album focuses on Rodney Toady a fat, ugly misfit, while the latter part deals with Just George, another dysfunctional character. However, understanding the narrative passages is scarcely key to enjoying the album, and in truth they are quite annoying.

As for the songs themselves, they are generally a tamer (but not necessarily poor) version of the sort of stuff that early Floyd was doing. North Meadow and Newly-Weds is pastoral psych with the former song containing some nice fluid jazz guitar lines from Fripp. One In A Million is very English music hall psych ... the sort of track done not just by Floyd, but by the Beatles and The Kinks as well. After a while the novelty wears off as the songs get weaker ... Digging My Lawn, Little Children (the female vocals are particularly twee), etc are pretty weak efforts ... but then there is a big twist towards the end ... because after picking up a little thanks to the absurd, subtly biting Elephant Song ... the album is saved by its two closing tracks, Suite No 1 and Erudite Eyes.

Suite No 1 is a delicate classical instrumental, with an opening that rides on some great high speed playing by Fripp and the accompanying pianist. It then segues into a melancholy segment (with quite possibly the first strains of mellotron making an appearance), before some more classical (this time tinged with flamenco/jazz) comes in. In some ways this is one of Fripp's most impressive guitar performances ever ... which is really saying something!

Erudite Eyes on the other hand is a wild folk/jazz exploration, with an intriguing melody giving way to some stunning psychedelic double-tracked guitar lead work, as the dust settles, both Fripp and Peter Giles on bass begin some really exciting atmospheric improvisations, which gives the piece a really daring quality.

The bulk of this album isn't remotely original, and as such can be put aside quite easily, but I'm sure that Suite No 1 and Erudite Eyes are essential songs for the committed KC fan to hear ... not because the roots of the great band can be heard here, but because we get to hear some quality progressive music that sounds very different from the varied stuff that King Crimson put out. The CD release has some bonus tracks that include an early and quite pleasing version of the Pete Sinfield composition Under The Sky, which simply adds to the curiousity value. ... 57% on the MPV scale

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars Do not go into this album with the idea that this is King Crimson. Despite Mr. Fripp and the Giles brothers, this bears very little resemblance to the music of the Crimson King. The first clue, in all of the photos on this album, Fripp is (gasp!) smiling.

A friend of mine once said that the one common aspect of all of the early music from the great proggers of the seventies is silliness. This is true of The Nice, early Pink Floyd, and even band's like Tomorrow (Steve Howe's pre-Yes group). But few were as silly as Giles, Giles & Fripp.

The songs are all short, mostly under three minutes, and are not bad, for sixties psychedelia. Fripp plays mostly jazzy sounding riffs, only breaking out on the classical sounding Suite No. 1. The songs are divided into two groups, each strung together by some Monty Python- esque spoken word sections (remember the Gumby sketches?).

All-in-all, this is not an amazing album, but certainly a welcome part of my collection.

Review by tarkus1980
4 stars Once upon a time, before the days of King Crimson, Robert Fripp and original KC drummer Michael Giles were part of a trio (with Giles' brother, Peter) called, appropriately, Giles, Giles and Fripp. Their one and only album, reviewed here, sold a very very small number of copies, and it is definitely quite true that the only reason I should know of its existence is that all of its members would eventually play for the mighty Crim. Despite that, though, it's amazingly enjoyable, and definitely not a chore to sit through or to review.

The greatest thing about this album is that, whereas Crimson albums wouldn't have anything resembling a "national identity," this album is so thoroughly British in so many places that I can't help but grin. First, I must point out that, thanks to this album, I can never ever hold any malice towards Robert Fripp again, if only because nobody who can deliver such a hilarious spoken piece as "The Saga of Rodney Toady" deserves anybody's hatred. This is BRILLIANT straight-faced British humor, and Fripp's delivery is simply perfect as perfect can be - I can't imagine anybody else saying "Rodney's mother was fat and ugly, and Rodney's father was even .... fat-and-uglier" or anything along those lines and doing it better than good ole Robert does here. God Bless Robert Fripp.

The rest of the album, with the exception of a LAME repeated spoken partner to "Rodney Toady," entitled "Just George," is basically a ton of Kinks-style Brit Pop crossed with some jazz ideas and the occasional bit of Moody-Bluesian balladry. Some bits of Crimsonian elements creep in here and there (some of the vocal harmonies in "North Meadow," the brass riff in "Elephant Song," the dissonant guitar lines of "The Crukster," the bits of classical influence in "Suite No. 1"), but for the most part this is just really solid, slightly tweaked pop with elements of music hall. For a Crimson fan, I guess that wouldn't necessarily be the best news, but for somebody like me, who likes the concurrent Kinks albums (not to mention that I consider Between the Buttons one of the best pop albums ever), it's cause to pump my arms up a couple of inches and utter a quiet "woo hoo." Some songs are better than others, to be sure, but after thinking about this album again, I'm quite sure that I won't be able to get the melodies to "One in a Million," "How Do They Know?," "North Meadow" and "Thursday Morning" out of my head for quite a while.

So yeah, even though it's kinda hard to give this an extensive review, this is one of the most worthwhile historical curiousities I've come across in a long time. There's tons of interesting, tweaked and hilarious bits to dig out while listening throughout, and if it weren't for all these ridiculous "Just George" bits, this would have a chance to take quite a significant place in my collection. As is, it's still freakin' amusing.

Review by Dobermensch
3 stars Admirers of Syd Barrett and the more pastoral side of early Floyd will like this. Unfortunately it's not as strange or acid drenched but retains a certain British quirkiness throughout. The songs are sursprisingly catchy and remind me of Bowie's first album from '67.

The Saga of Rodney Toad, which appears more or less at the end of each tune was a terrible artistic decision. You can forget anything you've heard about Monty Python humour. This is straight from the mouth of an eight year old child. It's infantile and uninspired spoken by an uncharismatic Pete Giles. Thankfully the tunes more than make up for this blunder, but still relegates 'The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles & Fripp' to a three star rating, rather than the four it truly deserved.

King Crimson fans are advised to steer well clear. Although even at the age of 22, Fripp had a superb set of guitar playing fingers on him.

There's also the unlikeliest of bonuses with a smiling Robert Fripp on the front cover, which is something I never thought I'd see! Do you think his face shattered into 1000 pieces immediately afterwards?

Review by Slartibartfast
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
4 stars An appropriately named album indeed.

Sort of Monty Python meets King Crimson, even though it predates both by a little.

Out of the two albums that serve as parts of an early Crimson sandwich, this one I like the best (the other one being McDonald And Giles), probably due to the presence of Mr. Fripp. His signature style is pretty well developed at this point. There is a heavy '60's flavor to some of the music that might be off-putting to some, particularly when compared to In The Court Of The Crimson King, which I find has a certain timeless quality to it. So, dated perhaps, but after getting big into KC, this was a nice discovery.

If you don't believe humor belongs in music, then you might want to avoid this one. You will want to check this out if you are interested in hearing something that is foundational to King Crimson.

"And then once again you can hear hell's heat."

Rounding up.

Review by Guillermo
2 stars I think that the main importance of this album is really of being an immediate antecedent to the formation of King Crimson, but the musical styles of both bands are really very different, because this band was really a strange mixture of Jazz and Rock sounds with bizarre lyrics talking about some strange characters with a good dose of British humour. So, sometimes it is difficult to understand the humour of some of the lyrics being very British in sense. But anyway this album has some funny moments and very good musical performances by a trio of very good musicians. It still has some very good Prog related arrangements and particularly Michael Giles shines in his drums playing, while Robert Fripp`s guitar playing is more oriented to Jazz than to Rock, and the same could be said about Peter Giles`s bass guitar playing. Anyway, with this strange mixture of musical styles and comedy lyrics it is not really hard to understand why this album and this band didn`t have success then. But even in the present, this album is not a very interesting listening, apart from the historical interest and curiosity. Maybe the Britsh fans of King Crimson could be now be more interested in this album and in this band, but for the other fans of King Crimson it could be more of a collector`s interest.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp" is the debut full-length studio album by UK pop/rock act Giles, Giles and Fripp. The album was released through Deram Records in September 1968. The history of the band began in August 1967 when brothers Michael Giles (drums) and Peter Giles (bass) recruited guitarist Robert Fripp. Although the trio were clearly skilled composers and gifted musicians, they only managed to release a couple of singles and "The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles & Fripp", before disbanding as a consequence of a lack of commercial success. Maybe disbanding isnīt the correct word to use though as Giles, Giles and Fripp more or less just sequed into being King Crimson with the departure of Peter Giles and the addition of Ian McDonald (keyboards, reeds and woodwinds), Greg Lake (vocals, bass) and Peter Sinfield (lyrics, illumination).

Today most listeners probably seek out "The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp", because of 2/3 of the lineup subsequently becoming founding members of King Crimson and playing on the iconic debut album "In the Court of the Crimson King (1969)", but of course "The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp" deserves to be reviewed on its own merits and without comparisons to what some of the members would do a year down the line.

Stylistically the core of the material is British 60s pop/psychadelic pop and of course contemporary The Beatles are an obvious reference. When that is said there is a quirky, silly, and at times even avant garde tinged edge to much of the material, which makes the title of the album very appropriate (and references to early naive Pink Floyd valid). Itīs an extremely eclectic album featuring elements of both pop, jazz, proggy ideas, spoken work sections, and psychadelia.

The tracks feature mellow and pleasant vocals and pop orchestral backing (strings), but as mentioned above the album is quite eclectic, and the elements from other genres and musical styles pop up frequently. The tracks are well written and relatively memorable, but for all its genre blending and eclecticism, "The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp" ultimately doesnīt come off particularly unique. Sure some of the guitar chords and melodies used by Fripp are not standard fare on late 60s pop/rock albums, but itīs not so different from the experiments of other contemparies that itīs a standout album from that time.

Itīs a well produced, very well performed, and cleverly composed light psychadelic pop/rock album though and it could well apppeal to a lot of listeners, who enjoy mellow and slightly psychadelic 60s pop/rock, with a few silly and quirky moments. Itīs no wonder the band didnīt experience major commercial success with the release of this album though, as it probably was too mellow and pop oriented for the rock audience and maybe a bit too odd for the pop audience. Personally I find it a nice relaxing listen, which can be used for both background listening, but also for more in-depth listening sessions (there are definitely enough lefturn ideas for that). A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

Latest members reviews

3 stars GILES, GILES and FRIPP were brothers Michael Giles and Peter Giles and Robert Fripp. Presumably, they were lacking inspiration in coming up with an original name for the group, so they used their own names for the bandname, which unfortunately ended up sounding like a city firm of legal eagles. ... (read more)

Report this review (#2305824) | Posted by Psychedelic Paul | Friday, January 10, 2020 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Compeetly into King Crimson since the mid 70's, and knowing about this album for 25 years, i was very exited about getting it when i finaly got it by postorder sometime in the late 90's. I was expecting something in the line of "In The Wake Of Poseidon" i guess. My disapointment was allmost ph ... (read more)

Report this review (#276679) | Posted by tamijo | Wednesday, April 7, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Loons in (Short) Loon Pants This is much better than anyone could reasonably expect given how hopelessly dated the production is and how irredeemably 'twee' some of the ideas are behind the flimsy Saga of Rodney Toady and Just George At its lowest ebb, it comes across as almost a hippy take ... (read more)

Report this review (#170161) | Posted by ExittheLemming | Wednesday, May 7, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This quirky, idiosyncratic, folky collection of whimsical little ditties represents the genesis of an embryonic King Crimson. For those used to the mellotron and woodwind-laden first two King Crimson recordings, this recording, which on initial release sold about 600 copies will present a signi ... (read more)

Report this review (#155300) | Posted by LARKSTONGUE | Thursday, December 13, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars AN AMAZING LOOK AT THE GENESIS OF ONE THE MOST PROLIFIC AND PERHAPS THE FIRST GREATEST PROG BAND EVER Well what could i say about this album other than it seems to be the root of all the moody blues and pink floyd not to mention crimson and even renaissance music that came later ... (read more)

Report this review (#92758) | Posted by APleasantSymmet | Saturday, September 30, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Having discovered the amazing development of Giles, Giles & Fripp leading to the formation of King Crimson, I do think that "The Cheerful Insanity" is an essential. Not only is the music very well played, and of excellent lusicianship, but the mode of the music is highly thoughtful, humorous ... (read more)

Report this review (#70489) | Posted by | Saturday, February 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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