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Gentle Giant - Giant Steps... The First Five Years 1970-1975 CD (album) cover


Gentle Giant


Eclectic Prog

3.37 | 22 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars I was in my late teens, maybe 18, when I borrowed this 2-LP from my local library. I had been diving into the vintage British prog for some time, and the household names of the genre were my biggest favourites. I was anxious to find more and more classic prog bands, with a help of the great Finnish library services. I had even borrowed the Renaissance debut (1969) and liked it despite the confusion of the Annie Haslam-less line-up. But my first acquaintance with GENTLE GIANT was very ambivalent: I disliked the lead singer and there was something very hard-to-digest on many tracks on this compilation, while I certainly sensed the innovative and highly original cleverness too. I decided I wasn't ready for them yet.

When in 1997 (ie. circa 9 years later) I borrowed the 2-CD compilation Edge of Twilight, all changed radically and I begun to adore GG. Well, that's one way to see it, that my own maturing as a prog listener was the key factor. Another way is simply to say that this particular selection was not succesful to meet my taste - probably still wouldn't be as an introduction to GG - , and that The Edge of Twilight was, in its near-completeness. Now, seen from the perspective, as the source albums (from the eponymous debut of 1970 to The Power and the Glory, 1974) have long ago become familiar to me, I actually prefer the latter explanation.

This compliation emphasizes on the rougher and rockier side of GG and almost totally excludes the softer and the more Art Music oriented side of their extraordinary eclectism. Kerry Minnear's ethereal vocals appear only in very minor roles while Derek Schulman - was it Derek? - shouts with his rough voice that I associate with ugly, hairy moustaches. Sure, there are some quite interesting tracks such as 'Alucard', 'Nothing At All', 'Why Not?', 'Peel the Paint' and 'The Runaway'. But I could name over a dozen of much better GG tracks from this period that aren't here. And several that are here are some of my LEAST enjoyed GG songs.

I don't remember if there were any band history or even album information. Cover design with bodiless legs off the ground, wearing red & white striped socks and tennis shoes, is in my opinion plain silly and more or less unsuitable to the musical contents. Hence only two very subjective stars, even though I know many others would rate it much higher.

Matti | 2/5 |


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