And in the second (and last) part, we look at the conclusion of the murder of Julia Thomas
After listening to the ‘Complete 1969 Recordings’ box set, especially the live recordings, it was clear that a good number of of the songs that would end up on either the second King Crimson album ‘In the Wake of Poseidon’ or the ‘McDonald & Giles’ LP were already being performed by the band. This lead me to think what a second King Crimson album would sound like if the original line up and not imploded at the end of 1969. Reasons for the split are many. Drummer Michael Giles was finding the touring life a strain, as well as not coping very well with the bands increasing popularity. Too much speed plus not enough sleep and missing home, McDonald was also missing his girlfriend. Multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald was also not coping very well with life on the road. Both Giles and Mcdonald were also not fans of where the music was going, with guitar player Robert Fripp taking the band into new and darker places. They felt that their more pastoral infused sound would be lost. Vocalist and bass player Greg Lake, was also talking to keyboard player Keith Emerson who was in The Nice about forming a band. The Nice were supporting Crimson at the Filmore East shows. A friendship ensued and by April 1970, Lake had also left Crimson to form Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Only Fripp and Lyricist Peter Sinfield were left.
Fripp was keen to continue with King Crimson and there was enough material from the previous twelve months for a new album. This would be ‘In the Wake of Poseidon’. This second album can be seen as a stop gap before Crimson really become the progressive behemoth they are famous for today. The album sounds similar to ‘In The Court of the Crimson King’, but there is some progression there as well. This similarity in sound could well be down to the fact that apart from Ian McDonald, the other three members from the first album are present, if only as sessions players or in Greg Lakes case, on the promise that he would receive King Crimson’s PA’s on payment. He would take this PA with him when he formed ELP. McDonald & Giles would join forces and release a self titled LP in 1971 that would also follow the template laid down by ‘In The Court of the Crimson King’.
However, what I was interested in was what if the original line up of King Crimson had stayed together for another year and recorded a second album. All the elements are there, even though nothing can quite replace the bombast of ‘21st Schiziod Man’ as an opening song. I decided to go with something a little calmer to start off this album which is the folk inspired ‘Is She Waiting’. This really highlights the pastoral side that Ian McDonald was afraid would not get a look in with King Crimson once Robert Fripp started to assert some dominance over the band’s sound. We then follow this up with the Michael Giles penned ‘Tomorrow’s People’ which predates King Crimson, but as far as I can see, this song was not recorded before.
‘Cadence and Cascade’ was originally recorded with Fripp’s school friend Gordon Haskell singing. However, there is a version of this song with a Greg Lake guide vocal which I decided to use as it fits in with the theme of this being a continuation from the first album. The song ‘Peace’ featured in three different configurations on the original ‘In The Wake of Poseidon’ and I did plan on using it as the opening song on this record but it just didn’t flow in a way that sounded good to me, but it fit nicely after the end of the title track.
The second side is taken up with the ‘Birdman’ suite which also took up the second side of the ‘McDonald & Giles’ album. The song took some cues form the track ‘Trees’ that had been played live by Crimson in 1969. Some of the song was written by Robert Fripp and his section would become ‘Pictures of a City’. This Fripp penned tune did not make the cut here but ‘Birdman’ does, along with another section of ‘Peace’. To finish off, I have included the single edit of ‘Cat Food’ which the band would perform on Top of the Pops. Who thought that this song would be a commercial success really must have been on something. I ditched the original B-Side which was called ‘Groon’. I replaced it with ‘Flight of the Ibis’, which does share some similarities with ‘Cadence & Crimson’. That is because originally the ‘Ibis’ song had the ‘Cadance’ lyric. When he left Crimson, Ian McDonald took the tune with him and Robert Fripp composed a similar tune to the lyrics. It would have been interesting to have had a combination of the ‘Ibis’ tune with the ‘Cadence’ lyric, but unfortunately this was not to be.
- Is She Waiting?*
- Tomorrow’s People – The Children Of Today*
- Cadence & Cascade (Greg Lake Guide Vocal)
- In The Wake Of Poseidon
- Peace – A Beginning
- The Inventor’s Dream (O.U.A.T)
- The Workshop
- Wishbone Ascension
- Birdman Flies!
- Wings In The Sunset
- Birdman – The Reflection
- Peace – An End
- Cat Food (Single Mix)
- Flight of The Ibis*
The cover art is the image that was on the back of the original ‘In The Wake of Poseidon’ gatefold sleeve.
This record could not be reproduced on Spotify.
*McDonald & Giles – McDonald & Giles LP
**King Crimson – In The Wake Of Poseidon LP
Here is a new video looking at one of the most gruesome murders of the late 1800’s.
Well, today is the second Record Store Day of the year so here, as promised earlier in the month is my fantasy RSD release by Giles, Giles & Fripp with Judy Dyble.
- I Talk To The Wind (Judy Dyble Vocal)
- Make It Today (Judy Dyble Vocal)
- Under The Sky (Judy Dyble Vocal)
The version of ‘Under The Sky’ sung by Judy Dyble is taken from her Gathering The Threads collection, as this corrects a slight drop out in the tape that was evident on The Blondersbury Tapes version.
This EP collects the remaining vocal performances from Judy Dyble that were not included on the ‘Metaphormosis’ album from earlier in the month. https://www.thesquirepresents.co.uk/giles-giles-fripp-metaphormosis/
The EP cover was taken from an image produced by YouTuber Les Chants de Maldoror with some text added and Record Store Day sticker.
It is not quite true to say that King Crimson exploded fully formed out of nowhere, which the ‘Complete 1969 Records’ tries to put forward. Granted, the sound of Gile, Giles & Fripp is very different from what was to come, but with the song ‘I Talk to the Wind’, the progression was already in place. What King Crimson did that GG&F did not do was to take their sound out on the road. The band honed their craft in the basement of the Fulham Palace Cafe (on Fulham Palace Road), the first live shows were in February 1969 at the Change Is venue in Newcastle. Over the eleven months, the band would play the standard venues of the day including the Marquee in London, festivals and universities. This was before they set off for a a series of gigs in the USA which would bring tensions that had been bubbling under the surface to a head. By 14th December 1969 and their gig at the Filmore West, the original line up of King Crimson had disbanded.
What we present here is a collection of live tracks that were recorded, mostly by fans in the audience of the first King Crimson line up. The fidelity of these recording sis not great, but it is fantastic that we have any at all and that they have survived. As King Crimson were keen to branch out with their playing, having a single disc set would not showcase the bands talents fully so I decided that a double would have to be complied. I also wanted this to be a mix of songs that had or would be recorded in the studio, as well as tunes that did not. There also needed to be a bit of editing here and there to make it sound as though all of these tunes came for the one gig, Enjoy.
- A Man, A City – Live At The Filmore East*
- Epitaph – Live At the Filmore East
- Get Thy Bearings – Live At Victoria Ballroom, Chesterfield
- Drop In – Live At Victoria Ballroom, Chesterfield
- Mantra – Live At Victoria Ballroom, Chesterfield
- Travel Weary Capricorn** – Live At Victoria Ballroom, Chesterfield
- Mars – Live At Plumpton Racecourse (9th Annual Jazz & Blues Festival)
- I Talk To The Wind – Live At Victoria Ballroom, Chesterfield
- 21st Century Schizoid Man – Live At the Filmore East
*The gig announcement was taken from their set as one of the opening acts for the Rolling Stones at their Hyde Park gig, 5th July 1969.
** On the original, the segues in a passage of improvisation. Due to the time constraints of the vinyl format, this improvisation was cut and some audience applause from another performance added.
The cover is adapted from the protective sleeve that came with 2020’s, ‘Complete 1969 Recordings’.
With the release of the King Crimson ‘Complete 1969 Recordings’ at the end of 2020, I thought it was about time that reassess the early years of the band along with the group, Giles, Giles & Fripp, the group that ultimately lead to that latter bands formation.
GG&F were formed when the Giles Brothers advertised for a singing keyboard payer. Robert Fripp responded to the advert even though he played guitar and didn’t sing. The trio ended up moving to a flat in London and whilst there, they made a series of rather good sounding demos that lead to them being given a contract with Decca’s newly formed Deram label. Even by the standards of the day (and by day I mean 1968), the resulting album, which was called the ‘Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles & Fripp’ is a bit weird. The records contains two spoken word pieces mixed with songs that range from jazz, pop, psychedelic and novelty. Even though the band appeared on the now lost to history BBC Show, Colour Me Pop, the singles and album failed to set the charts alight. The band might have ended up as another footnote in the history of popular music except for the fact that by 1969, the group had evolved into the vastly more successful King Crimson. This What-If compilation looks at the year between the release of the Cheerful Insanity album and the King Crimson debut record.
What Giles, Giles & Fripp (GG&F) had that very few, if anyone else had at the time was their own private studio, sort of. The had managed to acquire a second hand Revox tape recorder along with some microphones, some headphones and a metal box fitted with attenuators and coaxial socks that was essentially their mixer. It did help that they knew a chap called Russell Medcraft who had once worked at EMI’s Technical Research Department and was able to not only maintain the equipment, but helped calibrate the Revox so that the band was able to use the tape machine as a primitive two track machine, meaning that they could overdub tracks. They became so proficient at this that the recordings are missing the enormous amounts of hiss that would be expected from constantly recording from one part of the tape to the other. The fidelity of these recordings is exceptionally good considering the conditions in which they were recorded.
It was at this time that an advert from June of 1968 caught the eyes of Peter Giles. It was from Judy Dyble, who hd been in the original lineup of Fairport Convention. Dyble was looking to form her own band but ended up joining GG&F, and brought her boyfriend at the time, Ian McDonald along with her. He also brought with him his friend and lyricist Peter Sinfield into the fold. Dyble did not stick around long, but she did contribute to a number of the songs and even though I have included songs that were mostly sung by the men on the group, I felt that her performances were good enough that if this second album had been released, this would have been a good candidate for a GG&F and Judy Dyble Record Store Day release (which I will post later this month). However, I digress.
The band continued to record but Peter Giles was beginning to lose interest. He and his brother had been in bands for eight years and he had enough of living a hand to mouth existence, so quit to find a proper job. The split was amicable enough that he would come back to play bass on the second King Crimson album, appear with them on their 1970 Top Of The Pops appearance and on the McDonald & Giles album. However, with the exception of the Judy Dyble sung ‘I Talk To The Wind’, these recordings sat in a cupboard, tea chest, someone’s shed (delete as appropriate) until 2001 when they finally escaped. Even though it does show some hints at what wad to come with King Crimson, the majority of these recordings hark back more to the GG&F ‘Cheerful Insanity’ album than ‘In The Court of the Crimson King’. However, it is these recordings that I used for the basis of what a second GG&F album would have sounded like, and pretty good it sounds too. In fact, I would argue that this is a better record. Would they have re-recorded the songs that had Judy Dyble vocals? Well, the versions I have used were the only versions of these songs that were available so I decided to use them reasoning that the album sounded better with them than without them. Hypocrite was also recorded before the band had moved to London, but for a lack of other material, it had to go in. The only other songs I really had to think about using was ‘I Talk To The Wind’, because it was used later on the ‘Court of the Crimson King’. However, if this album was to have been released in 1969, then it would have had to have included it is one of the best song they recorded up to this point.
Even though this was recorded on such primitive equipment, it sounds great. To show how good the quality of these recordings were, the band mimed to them on their appearance on Colour Me Pop, a performance which has been mentioned before unfortunately been lost in time. I would recommend reading the sleeve notes to the original Brondesbury Tapes CD to find out how they managed to record these songs. GG&F did not get to release another album and King Crimson did not release their record on Deram/Decca. They were just another in a long line of artists who were on that label but went onto greater success somewhere else. Imagine what Decca would have been if they had actually signed The Beatles and kept King Crimson, Genesis, David Bowie and the like.
The album cover was a direct copy of LP Metaphormosis that was released by Tenth Planet in 2001. It contained highlights from the sessions that produced the demos that make up the songs on this album.
- Murder (Judy Dyble Vocals)
- Plastic Pennies (Judy Dyble Vocals)
- Passages Of Time (Judy Dyble Vocals)
- Why Don’t You Just Drop In (Peter Giles Vocals)
- Wonderland (Peter & Michael Giles/Ian McDonald Vocals)
- Tremelo Study In A-Major – Spanish Suite
- She Is Loaded
- Hypocrite (Peter Giles Vocals)
- Make It Today (Michael Giles/Ian McDonald Vocals)
- I Talk To the Wind (Michael Giles/Ian McDonald Vocals)
- Under The Sky
All the songs are taken from a mixture of ‘The Brondesbury Tapes’ CD and as the GGFF recording from the ‘Complete 1969 Recordings’ box set. The only exceptions were ‘She Is Loaded’ and ‘Under The Sky’ which came from the expanded edition of The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles & Fripp from 1992
A playlist for this complication could not be produced due to one or more songs not being available on Spotify.
In celebration of Canada Day, I have put together a short video showing the links between London in the UK and the land of the Great White North