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Gentle Giant - The Missing Piece  CD (album) cover

THE MISSING PIECE

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

2.94 | 361 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Monsterbass74
4 stars Perfect Frosted Mini Wheat album! (You need to look that reference up to get it.) Kansas' "Audio-Visions" is too, but in a bad way.

Solid 4 stars. Perfect for any Prog Head who like it a bit harder.

This is my favorite GG album. I cranked this up more than Free Hand and TP&TG. It's progressive (side 2) and it's rock (side 1). It's Progressive Rock! DUH! None of these songs are dead tracks. There is no filler, like Yes would have.

Unlike the following album, "Giant For A Day", where GG sounds a bit like Supertramp, this one has the elements of the past, but more balanced in a smaller package (kind of like late Genesis or Kansas' "Point Of Know Return") with good production. As always, GG's song writing is in the forefront, sometimes ignoring solos (2WIS, MT, Winning) in favor of getting the song across. What I think they were trying to do? Reaching for that hit or some AOR airplay. This album isn't deplete of those qualities. I just think the one thing that *always* held GG back was that no one liked Derek's voice, who sounds like Kiss' Paul Stanley, enough. Maybe people I share GG albums with tell me, "He can't sing". I disagree. Phil and Kerry don't count.

Prime examples of Progressive Rock come in the songs on side 2.

"For Nobody" is the killer. This has to be the most aggressive GG has ever been. Hammond blaring, powerful drums, Les Paul solos, Ray taking command with is P-bass, GG's signature vocals... complex and perfect.

"Winning", too, has lots of aggression complete with trashy percussion intro and break. I love the ending where the bass holds the chords and the melody comes from the keys and guitar... compliments Derek screaming about someone he knows.

"Old As You're Young" is another complex keyboard/organ/bass driven arrangement (and my first GG song I leaned on bass), led by Kerry, which could have been on any of the previous 3 albums. It's twisty with folk elements. Maybe a bit like "Taleybont", and more of GG's signature vocal runs.

"Memories Of Old Days" is the optional or obligatory (depending on how you see things) Progressive Rock "psychedelic" trip. I have grown to appreciate it and like it for it's chiming guitars, Moog bass, keyboard flourishes, and lyrics. Many other reviews of this album site this as the high point. I flat out think it's the worst song on the album next to "Turning Around". The plethora of songs (like Yes' "Topographical Nightmare") like this ruined Progressive Rock. Bands think we went to hear this? Plus... news flash: there is nothing rock about it. I used to skip this one.

Side one? Yes! I love it just as much.

"Mountain Time" is solid! What a romp! Better than that blaring "Roundabout" with it's damned bonky beat. Rocks as good as any AOR cut. Minnear's Piano/Wurlitzer 200-A combo pounds the way with playful vocals (w/ female backup) and nimble guitar and bass. I think it could be a little too sophisticated for AOR.

"I Betcha Though We..." has been made fun of by my friends countless times (replace "Couldn't Do It with "Weren't Jewish"...). I see it as a kind of mock punk "salute" to the prog snobs. I see the humor in it.

"Two Weeks In Spain" is a cool rock number leaving me with this: who hasn't mentioned "which lyric is on the downbeat?" On SPAIN, damnit! Spain! Jeez!

"Who Do You Think You Are" is a slower tune with some funk elements. If could be easily forgotten but it has some ambiguous time changes and tight playing.

"Turning Around" is the ballad and single they wanted but didn't happen. Far cry from "Think Of Me With Kindness".

I'll return tomorrow to finish this... I have a few thoughts more on the movement of Prog rock during this time (late 70's).

Monsterbass74 | 4/5 |

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