McDonald and Giles

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McDonald and Giles
McDonald and Giles.jpg
Studio album by
Released3 January 1971
RecordedMay–July 1970 at Island Studios
GenreProgressive rock
Length45:23 (2002 edition)
Cotillion Records,
Virgin Records,
(2002 CD re-issue)
ProducerIan McDonald, Michael Giles

McDonald and Giles is an album of music released by British musicians Ian McDonald and Michael Giles in 1971. The album was first issued on Island Records (ILPS 9126) in the UK and in the US as Cotillion Records (SD 9042), a division of Atlantic Records. The album was recorded at Island Studios between May and July 1970. Although McDonald and Giles remains popular among King Crimson fans,[citation needed] its commercial success was limited. The duo did not record a second album.

Ian McDonald and Michael Giles were members of the original King Crimson line-up, and were featured performers on the band's debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King (1969). Both left the group at the end of its first United States tour in 1969, although Giles appeared on the second King Crimson album, In the Wake of Poseidon (1970), as a session musician. Two other King Crimson members also worked on McDonald and Giles: Peter Giles and Peter Sinfield.

The music on McDonald and Giles contains many of the pastoral and musically complex elements of King Crimson, while generally avoiding that band's darker tendencies. The song "Flight of the Ibis" has a similar melody and rhythm to King Crimson's "Cadence and Cascade", with different lyrics. The album contains a guest appearance by Steve Winwood, playing organ and piano on "Turnham Green". Winwood's group Traffic were working on John Barleycorn Must Die at Island Studios at the same time.

Michael Giles' drum solo in "Tomorrow's People – The Children of Today" has been sampled by a number of rap and hip-hop artists, most notably the Beastie Boys, on the track "Body Movin'" from the album Hello Nasty.[citation needed]

The first CD edition was released in Japan in the early 1990s. It came in both jewel box and paper sleeve versions. This version was the same as the original vinyl but was mastered from a tape copy several generations removed from the original master. In 2002 the group members authorised a revised version of the CD with improved sound. The revised version can be recognised by the use of green lettering on the cover instead of pink. A phrase near the beginning of "Suite in C" has slightly different lyrics. Some of the tracks of the 2002 edition have very minor editing. There are a few slightly different segues in the song "Birdman" and the sections of this song are marked as separate tracks on the CD.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Suite in C" (Ian McDonald) 11:14
    • including
    1. "Turnham Green"
    2. "Here I Am"
    • And many more
  2. "Flight of the Ibis" (music: Ian McDonald, lyrics: BP Fallon) 3:11
  3. "Is She Waiting?" (Ian McDonald) 2:36
  4. "Tomorrow's People – The Children of Today" (Michael Giles) 7:00
  5. "Birdman" (music: Ian McDonald, lyrics: Peter Sinfield) 21:22
    • involving;
    1. "The Inventor's Dream (O.U.A.T.)"
    2. "The Workshop"
    3. "Wishbone Ascension"
    4. "Birdman Flies!"
    5. "Wings in the Sunset"
    6. "Birdman – The Reflection"

From the liner notes:

  • "Suite in C" was written by Ian McDonald in Detroit, Los Angeles and Earls Court between December 1969 and February 1970.
  • "Is She Waiting?" was written in Earls Court in the summer of 1969, between King Crimson gigs.
  • "Birdman" was mostly written in the spring of 1968, apart from the Flying bit which was done in 1970. Original idea by Peter Sinfield. "Wishbone Ascension" was performed live by King Crimson in 1969 as a part of the once performed live prog epic "Trees", which also included Fripp's penned "Pictures Of A City". The transition to the bridge part appear in both "Wishbone Ascension" and "Pictures Of A City"
  • "Tomorrow's People" was written by Michael Giles in 1967, and expanded and arranged in 1970. The song was dedicated to Tina and Mandy, his children.

The lyrics for "Birdman" begin "Long ago / In Walthamstow". Walthamstow Marshes was the location of Alliot Verdon Roe's attempts to build and fly his early aeroplanes. (A.V. Roe was the first British aviator and founder of Avro Aircraft Company).

The parenthetical acronym in the title of "The Inventor's Dream (O.U.A.T.)" stands for "Once Upon a Time."


  • Ian McDonald – guitar, piano, organ, saxes, flute, clarinet, zither, vocals and sundries
  • Michael Giles – drums, percussion (including milk bottle, handsaw, lip whistle and nutbox), vocals
  • Peter Giles – bass guitar
  • Steve Winwood – organ, and piano solo on "Turnham Green"
  • Michael Blakesley – trombone on "Tomorrow's People"
  • Arranged and produced by Ian McDonald and Michael Giles
  • Engineered by Brian Humphries
  • Assistant engineer: Richard Digby Smith
  • Strings and brass on "Birdman" and "Suite in C" arranged and conducted by Mike Gray.


  • McDonald and Giles at AllMusic
  • "McDonald and Giles – An Analysis by Andrew Keeling". Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  • "Individual Album Reviews :: M". Retrieved 21 March 2010. Review by Greg Northrup