Ian McDonald and Michael Giles were founding members and the first of many refugees(deserters?) from King Crimson. McDonald was a multi-instrument(reeds, flute, keyboards, guitar, misc.) player while Giles handled percussion. This album was their only effort and the tendency is to label it as King Crimson “lite”. Listening to the album,(yes, I still have the vinyl version dammit!) I find myself playing a game of “connect the musical dots” when I hear various passages reminding me of Pink Floyd, ELO, Thijs Van Leer/Focus, Sun Ra, Traffic and Yes. Totally absent is the bombast used effectively and held in check on “In The Court Of The Crimson King” but which later got out of control in the hands of ‘Emerson, Lake and Palmer’. Also missing is the ‘mellotron’ but you don’t notice it. Steve Winwood does contribute keyboards to one song. ‘McDonald and Giles’ has turned into an under-appreciated footnote in the King Crimson story but I think this album can stand on its own. Ian McDonald was later a founding member of Foreigner(huh?). I saw McDonald onstage at the Orlando Hard Rock Cafe playing in an “all-star” group with former members of Wings, Steppenwolf and others. Made me treasure this album that much more.
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