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Gentle Giant - King Alfred's College Winchester CD (album) cover

KING ALFRED'S COLLEGE WINCHESTER

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

3.37 | 17 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

JethroZappa
3 stars To tape collectors this concert had always been a sort of a holy grail: the earliest known Gentle Giant recording. Unfortunately the only copies were in the band's hands, so it was not circulating, much to their frustration. In 2009 then it was announced by Alucard Music that the recording was finally being released.

Of course, the band having released just one album was not very rich and could not afford a proper equipment, so this concert was taped roughly on cassette by one technician. This means the sound quality is not very good (it is actually decent, but not great standard compared to official recordings), so that's the reason I've rated it 3. I should have rated it 2 as a completionist only item, but the performance is great, the setlist contains rare songs (and also a never heard before one!) and it's one of the few recordings available with the late Martin Smith on drums. All in all I'm very glad this was released!

The rare tracks I'm talking about are "Hometown Special", "City Hermit", "Isn't it Quiet and Cold?" (which sadly cuts out due to a tape filp, but a version recorded at a BBC session is available on "Totally out of Woods") and of course the lost track "Peel off The Paint", whose lirycs were used on "Peel the Paint" from "Three Friends", but the music remained unreleased. Other than having an extended guitar solo in the middle (Gary Green goes even as far as quoting "Whole Lotta Love" at one point) the two songs bear no similarities, even if both songs are kick ass hard rockers!

Other highlights include great versions of "Plain Truth" (which will be released on the second album "Acquiring the Taste), "Giant" and "Alucard".

Unfortunately the recording has it flaws: "Isn't It Quiet and Cold?" and "Why Not?" are cut due to tape flip, "Nothing At All" was probably played between those two and was not recorded and there's a small section of "Peel off The Paint" who was accidentally taped over (20 seconds or so).

So, this is definitely a completionists only item. But as I said, being a great performance, a long seeked tape and a rare recording with Smith drumming (I love John Weathers, but Martin Smith is my favourite GG drummer) it surely deserves more than just two stars. If you are a Gentle Giant fan, you'll love this!

JethroZappa | 3/5 |

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