The Under-Appreciated Rock Band for this month, THE GILES BROTHERS is not properly a band I suppose; they are basically a rhythm section who both sing, consisting of drummer Michael Giles and bass guitarist Peter Giles. However, they also have a recent (2009) compilation CD called The Giles Brothers 1962-1967; and they performed with numerous other bands prior to Giles, Giles and Fripp.
There is a long booklet included with the CD and extensive annotations, including personnel, dates active, the number of “gigs played”, and even several photographs. However, the CD itself is maddening, since the lists of songs that are so carefully laid out on the back cover and in the booklet don’t match up with the songs as they are actually being played. Still, the CD clearly shows the evolution of their music over time, along with the experimentation that would ultimately reach a crescendo with King Crimson. (The Discogs listing for The Giles Brothers 1962-1967 shows the actual sequencing of the 24 tracks on the CD).
Most of the songs are apparently originals – or at least I’ve never heard them before – with the exception of a fine cover by the Brain of Bob Dylan’s “Most Likely You Go Your Way (and I’ll Go Mine)”, featuring Mike Blakesley on trombone (!). Blakesley also performed on the 1971 McDonald and Giles album.
The two brothers first played with Johnny King & the Raiders and with Dave Anthony & the Rebels in 1960 and 1961. Though neither band ever made any recordings, Al Kirtley of the Rebels played piano on “Hypocrite”, the first track on the Giles, Giles and Fripp CD,The Brondesbury Tapes (1968).
The Giles Brothers later connected with the Dowland brothers in a band called the Dowland Brothers & the Soundtracks. I suppose there have been other rock bands that featured two pairs of brothers in the line-up, but one doesn’t come to mind right away. (Well, there is Sparks, originally known as Halfnelson, founded by the Mael brothers, Ron Mael and Russell Mael, and including the Mankey brothers, Earle Mankey and Jim Mankey, on their first two albums). The sound of these earliest recordings (from 1962) sound a lot like another set of brothers, the Everly Brothers. Several of these songs were produced by the legendary Joe Meek, one of the most innovative figures in early British rock music; his best known recording is the instrumental “Telstar” by the Tornados (released in December 1962), the first rock song (and only the second record, period) by a British artist to reach the top of the American charts.
After a few gigs with the Sands Combo and the Interns in 1963 (not the same as the Welsh band called the Interns that was active from 1964 to 1967), the Giles Brothers played the longest (“758 gigs played”) with a band called Trendsetters, Ltd., from 1964 to 1967. They released four singles on Parlophone Records (the Beatles’ label in the UK). After guitarist/vocalist Bruce Turner left the band in 1967 to join the Loot, the band continued to record under the names the Trend and the Brain.
Subsequently, the Giles Brothers reunited when Michael Giles released his 2002 solo album Progress with his brother Peter Giles on bass. Along with fellow King Crimson alumnus, Ian McDonald plus Jakko Jakszyk (who had previously played with Level 42, Tom Robinson, Robert Fripp and Dave Stewart, among others), the Giles Brothers formed a band in 2002 called 21st Century Schizoid Band, which was named after the King Crimson song, “21st Century Schizoid Man” (the opening track on In the Court of the Crimson King). Though not exactly a tribute band – since they were the original musicians on much of the music – 21st Century Schizoid Band mainly played music from the first four King Crimson albums. They disbanded within a few years.
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FLASHBACK: The Under-Appreciated Rock Band for March 2013 – THE GILES BROTHERS
When writing about the Giles Brothers – which was never actually a band, though Peter Giles and Michael Giles were in numerous rock bands, often at the same time – I was mostly exploring the origins of King Crimson. I worked extra hard to get an associated album, contacting Bomp! Records specifically about making sure that the Giles, Giles and Fripp album, The Brondesbury Tapes (1968) was included in the order. (The other man in the group is Robert Fripp, the only continuous member of King Crimson over the decades).
The only song on YouTube from the Giles Brothers CD that I own is “Nobody Knows the Game”; it is a 1967 song recorded by the Brain: www.youtube.com/watch?v=zy508iQuqLI . However, there are several songs by Giles, Giles and Fripp and others taken from the McDonald and Giles album – that’s Ian McDonald and Michael Giles, who are both ex-members of King Crimson.
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