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Giles Giles & Fripp - The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles & Fripp CD (album) cover


Giles Giles & Fripp



3.09 | 99 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
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. They formed in Bournemouth, Dorset in 1967, when King Crimson was just a twinkle in Robert Fripp's eye. The line-up featured Michael Giles on drums and vocals, Peter Giles on bass and vocals and Robert Fripp on guitar. Their peculiar brand of music can best be described as Psychedelic Pop. Their one and only studio album "The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp" (1968) sold poorly on its initial release, but it's now gaining some well-deserved recognition, thanks to the Internet. There were plans for a second album with Judy Dyble (of Fairport Convention) on vocals, but sadly, the album never came to fruition. A compilation album of 1968 demo sessions was released in 2001 as "The Brondesbury Tapes." Robert Fripp & Michael Giles wisely decided to change the name of their firm of solicitors after the release of their sole studio album, when King Crimson emerged to take the prog world by storm. Let's step into the cheerfully insane world of Giles, Giles & Fripp now and give the 13 songs on their 1968 studio album a listen.

It's an album of two halves, with "The Saga of Rodney Toady" occupying the whole of Side One and "Just George" taking up Side Two. The opening song "North Meadow" is nice and cheerful, but definitely not insane. It's just a bright and bubbly, fizzy Pop song that's as refreshing as a glass of lemonade. It also sounds very English in a quaint late-1960's way, with guitar maestro Robert Fripp providing some intricate Jazzy flourishes. There's some cheerful insanity in the opening to the second song "Newly-Weds" with a spoken word introduction to "The Saga of Rodney Toady", featuring some very silly Monty Python- type voices. As for the music, "Newly Weds" sounds as quirky and offbeat as some of Syd Barrett's weird and wonderful Psychedelic Pop excursions with early Pink Floyd, such as "See Emily Play" or "Arnold Layne", for instance. The cheerfully insane spoken word Python-esque intros are a recurring feature of most of the songs on the album and "One in a Million" starts the same way. The music is another cheap and cheerful Pop song to while away a warm and pleasant day spent in an English country garden. It's time to take a pew for the next song "Call Tomorrow", because the music has a rather dour and mournful air to it, with the organist conjuring up an image of a solemn occasion in church. You can really dig the next song though, "Digging My Lawn", because it's a groovy Jazz number, featuring some lovely laid-back drumming and playfully light keyboard and guitar accompaniment. It sounds like the kind of groovy 1960's song you might hear featured in an Austin Powers movie. Next up is "Little Children", a lovely honey-sweet Pop song, featuring some truly gorgeous vocal harmonising from the all-female vocal trio, The Breakaways. It's the highlight of the album so far. Coming along now is the discordant "The Crukster", which is not really a song at all as it's a spoken word poem which has a slightly unsettling and menacing edge to it. The closing song on Side One "Thursday Morning" sounds very Beatle-esque, which is always a good thing in a 1960's Pop album. It's very reminiscent of some of the Beatles' sadder songs, such as "Eleanor Rigby" or "Hey Jude".

Side Two opens cheerfully with "How Do They Know", an upbeat and Jazzy Pop song guaranteed to brighten up the dullest of days, and there's more cheerful insanity on the way with the spoken word "Elephant Song", which is more of a frivolous childrens' novelty song than a serious piece of music. It's time to rub some suntan lotion in now for our next song because "The Sun is Shining". It's a charming song with old-fashioned music hall appeal, featuring the lovely three-part girls choir The Breakaways adding some delightful harmonies to this playful little ditty. We're taking flight next with the classically- inspired "Suite No. 1", which sounds like a Jazzed-up version of Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumble Bee. The music has the same kind of manic intensity to it. Finally, we come to the last song on the album "Erudite Eyes", which sounds like a pastiche of the Olde Englishe song "Greensleeves" in the opening, but then quickly transposes into a Jazzy Psych-Pop jam session with all of the musicians going off on an improvisational free-for-all.

This late-1960's novelty album of cheerfully insane English Pop songs won't be to everyone's taste. The album is very much of its time and it's not likely to appeal to Prog-Rock fans generally, because it's not Progressive and it's not Rock. It's more of a curiosity item for inquisitive King Crimson fans who are interested to hear the early musical frivolity and Frippery that Robert Fripp got up to before he ventured forth into the Court of the Crimson King.

Psychedelic Paul | 3/5 |


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