Giles, Giles and Fripp may sound like a provincial firm of solicitors but back in 1968 this was the musical combo that was honing its chops in obscurity and dreaming of a slice of the Sixties pie in the sky. Brothers Michael (bass) and Peter Giles (drums) and Robert Fripp (axe) were Dorset boys in thrall to Sgt Pepper, who moved to swinging London in search of hitting the big time. Success proved elusive as the music buying public failed to be charmed by their jazzy stylings and sub-Goons/Python humour, so they recruited sax/flute player Ian McDonald to expand their sound, and even recorded a few tracks with Judy Dyble (Fairport/Trader Horne) on vocals.
|GGF raid the Decca dressing-up box (again)|
Decca eventually took a chance and pressed a couple of GGF singles and an album, but save for an appearance on the BBC's 'Colour Me Pop' they had no idea about promotion and these releases duly sank without trace. The album contains songs interspersed with the Saga of Rodney Toady, a drearily unfunny piece of leaden whimsy narrated in Fripp's Dorset burr.
Far better, in my humble opinion, are the Brondesbury Tapes, a set of well produced demos recorded while the band awaited discovery in a glum (I used to live there) corner of north London. These were released by Voiceprint in 2001, and show the fascinating evolution of songs, sounds and psychedelia on a Revox 2-track.
The relentless spurning by the public eventually took its toll. Pete Giles quit, pretty-boy Greg Lake was recruited and the band was reborn as King Crimson. You know the rest (well, you should do).
As a big KC fan I must admit some bias as the demos contain the germ of their debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King, but there's more that suggests a jazzier alternative path (with a pinch of Ronnie Hazlehurst) that the group might have taken in a "what if..." scenario.