Robert Fripp & the League of Gentlemen

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This early- to mid-'60s British Invasion/soul band had the distinction of being the first group to which Robert Fripp belonged. Future King Crimson alumnus Gordon Haskell was also a member of this largely…
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This early- to mid-'60s British Invasion/soul band had the distinction of being the first group to which Robert Fripp belonged. Future King Crimson alumnus Gordon Haskell was also a member of this largely forgotten ensemble, which backed various American soul singers who toured England in 1964 and cut one single, "Each Little Falling Tear" b/w "And I Do Now," for EMI-Columbia in 1965, and had one subsequent release on the Planet label.

In 1980, Fripp revived the name the League of Gentlemen in association with a totally different ensemble. Following his return to full-time music-making after the collapse of King Crimson in 1974, he'd left the music business for three years. The League of Gentlemen was one of the main manifestations of his return. In contrast to the mid-'60s R&B-based band, the newer League of Gentlemen -- also formed in Dorset, curiously enough -- was much more an offshoot of the 1973-1974 version of King Crimson, with its cutting-edge timbres and rhythms, and his Frippertronics experiments of the late '70s.

This group consisted of Barry Andrews on organ, Sara Lee on bass, Johnny Toobad playing drums, and Fripp on guitar. The quartet played 77 shows in Europe and the United States that year, and Kevin Wilkinson later succeeded Johnny Toobad on drums. The group held together through 1981 and generated just one LP, The League of Gentlemen (1981), which was later combined with God Save the Queen/Under Heavy Manners onto the compilation CD God Save the King. A follow up of sorts appeared in 1996, with the release of Thrang Thrang Gozinbulx, a live album recorded in 1980. The group's work is usually categorized under Fripp's name, in keeping with the music of the League of Crafty Guitarists, his collaborations with Brian Eno, etc.