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Gnidrolog - In Spite Of Harry's Toe-Nail / Lady Lake CD (album) cover



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4 stars Actually this is the first one I began with. It contains awesome "LADY LAKE" release (5 stars) and less enjoyable to my ears "In Spite..." (3 stars in my book...matter of taste) and it is worthy of 4 solid stars as a whole. Such highlights as "I could never be a Soldier" ,"Ship", "Goodbye" etc are Musts for every Prog-fan! It's very hard to describe GNIDROLOG's manner - imagine a mix of GENTLE GIANT, JETHRO TULL, VDGG and LUCIFER'S FRIEND with some Hard-Rock elements and dark melodical gift of their own. Terribly overlooked but highly recommended band. It's good when recent releases like this one help to bring lesser-known bands to a new level - usually POST-MORTEM , but anyway...Highly recommended!!!
Report this review (#106544)
Posted Monday, January 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars The upside to buying these two albums together: convenience. It is much less expensive, and it is easier to acquire both with one purchase. Also, the extensive biography and liner notes here may not be accessible on the individual releases. However, the downsides are the fact that your collection will be one CD smaller (if that really bothers you) and having both albums on a single disc, as opposed to two separate discs, may be a bit annoying.

Musically, In Spite of Harry's Toenail is a lot more out-there, in a very experimental King Crimson sort of way, with Tullian folk allusions, and excellent playing. Lady Lake is a much more jazzy output, similar in many respects to King Crimson's jazz outputs. All the writing and playing is excellent. (If you'd like to read more about the individual albums, read my reviews of them.)

However, for someone who owns both albums, or one of them, for that matter, this is utterly superfluous, and the liner notes/bio isn't nearly interesting enough to be worth price alone. This is purely for people who cannot find either Harry's Toenail or Lady Lake on CD format. However, the music is so excellent that these two albums are a must, and if a faithful prog-lover cannot find these album, then he/she should immediately purchase this. (The three stars are not necessarily in respect merely to the quality of the music.)

Report this review (#134833)
Posted Saturday, August 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars With the advantage of almost 40 years that have elapsed since the release of the two lost classics featured on this two-for-one jewel, certain comparisons will inevitably be made to just about every contemporary prog rock band that mattered in the early 70s when prog ruled. Comparisons notwithstanding, Gnidrolog with their opaque lyrics and discordant sound were certainly one of the most incitingly mysterious bands to emanate from that scene. Sounding like a fantastical character out of an Enid Blyton novel, their enchanting name was actually a re-arrangement or anagram of the surname of the twin brothers Colin Goldring (vocals & assorted instruments) and Stewart Goldring (guitars,vocals) who formed the nucleus of the band along with Peter Cowling (bass, cello) and Nigel Pelgram (drums, flute, oboe) and later with John Earle (woodwinds) who was added on the second work featured here, Lady Lake.

Having played for several years opening for heavy hitters such as King Crimson, Greenslade and Gentle Giant as well as headlining their own gigs on the UK college circut Gnidrolog finally released their debut In Spite Of Harry`s Toe-Nail in early `72 with the second effort, Lady Lake, following later that same year. Musically, with foreboding doom & gloom that contrasted dramatically with quaint passages, both works were decidedly English. Exploiting their multi-instrumental talents and drawing from a multitude of musical forms from medievalisms to bluesy rock Gnidrolog achieved an often dissonant sound that was closer to Gentle Giant than anyone else but without so much light-heartedness which is evident on the opening neo-medieval two part epic Long Live Man Dead replete with recorders and mad flutes. In fact, there is nothing lyrically uplifting on either work which each contain a smattering of brooding figures who ponder death and can`t wait to lose. So, despite a slightly brighter and more mature orchestral sound with less twidling heard on the second work with more emphasis on woodwinds it is easy to view both albums as a single work. The notorious absence of keyboards such as the Hammond organ, mellotron and various synths on both albums which were synonymous with prog acts in the early seventies set Gnidrolog apart from the norm, preferering woodwinds and strings as their musical canvas. Tracks such as the ethereal Same Dreams about a lost love which features a guest musician Charlotte Fendrich on grand piano and the sombre lament, Dog With No Collar, which features a classical guitar and a forlorn sax along with Colin Goldrings impassioned vocals that pre-date thoseof Pavlov`s Dog`s David Surkamp illustrate these preferences to great effect. Suprisingly, the band manage to compliment the dreary messages by using a number of dynamic creative musical devices such as emotional madrigal-like vocal deliveries, harmonizations, orchestral arrangements, counterpoint, and abrupt tempo/key changes.

In addition to the afore-mentioned Long Live Dead Man there are also a few unsung epics to be discovered by the uninitiated here over the two works. The anti-war I Could Never Be A Soldier with its ostensible Ian Anderson flute passages as well as the title track of the second work, the metaphorical Lady Lake with it`s building atonal woodwind and horn layerings are nothing short of brilliant.

Devoid of any semblance of commercialism Gnidrolog`s esoteric music with it`s morose timbres that was way off the beaten track was overshadowed by other more mrketable artists on the RCA label at the time such as Lou Reed, David Bowie and Elvis. This and personality clashes ultimately led to the untimely demise of the band in early `73. Although briefly reforming in 2000 and releasing an album which nodded back to the glory years of the early 70`s, these two masterful works of progressive music remain Gnidrolog`s epitaph of this bygone era. Essential.

Report this review (#212737)
Posted Tuesday, April 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars There are some two-for-one offers out there on CD now. This is probably one of the best of these two-for-one CDs.

Gnidrolog does a blend of Gentle Giant, Cathedral, VDGG, Jethro Tull, Yes and King Crimson. The music is at times difficult to penetrate and is truly eclectic in the most conservative use of this phrase. I think it is superb that this band finally has got the recognition and respect they deserve. This is much due to PA.

Lady Lake is the best album of the two and alone worth the money. The opening song I Could Never Be A Soldier is one of the better eclectic prog songs out there. The rest of the album is also very good. The opening six songs is their debut album In Spite Of Harry's Toe-Nail. This is also a very good album, although not in the same class as Lady Lake. For more information, I refer to the individual reviews of these two albums.

Based on the value for money and the music; this is a four star CD.

4 stars

Report this review (#248412)
Posted Friday, November 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars It is a bit harsh to bundle these two albums together in one review, but since this compilation is how I've acquainted myself with the fantastic art of Gnidrolog, then let it be that way.

As a few others have said, the first half - meaning In Spite of Harry's Toenail (what a silly title, although forgivable because of its background) - is a very good collection of works, if a little weaker than the latter half. The band really were into their thing, and clearly inspired by i.e. Gentle Giant and perhaps King Crimson.

The opening Long Live Man Dead is perhaps the best of the first six tracks, which make a good but somewhat incoherent whole. What I like most about Gnidrolog is their uninhibited way to build the songs. Where there's a need for a sudden change of climate, let there be one!

The other half of the compilation consists of the album Lady Lake, which is Gnidrolog's undisputed masterpiece. There are no weak tracks on it, and I Could Never Be a Soldier, and Social Embarrassment are absolute classics. The line-up changed a little between the albums, and this shows. The team behind Lady Lake is definitely tighter unit and in the meantime more imaginative. The Goldring twins are obviously still the bosses in the band, but John Earle's singing on Social Embarrassment is simply fantastic.

All in all, these two Gnidrolog albums-packed-into-one are one of my all time favourites among the genre that is called eclectic prog. Strongly recommended!

Report this review (#420286)
Posted Wednesday, March 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars I bought this album in a specials bin from WHSmith in 1976. I must admit that I didn't much like it when I first played it - apart from the track, Goodbye, Farewell, Adieu. I think that song could have got to Number One in the hit parade if it had been released as a single and re- jigged a little.

Listening to the album 35 years later I find myself enjoying it much more. However, one of my original observations still applies: I don't know the correct musical terms for what I am about to say, but to my amateurish ear the production seems a little loose - as if it is being performed by musicians who haven't played much together and not sorted out their timing precisely. Don't get me wrong...this is no run of the mill band, they are an accomplished bunch of musoes, although I am not enamoured with their vocals.

I think Gnidrolog was a band of their time - very much in vogue for the years they performed. Their music is not for the masses - no easily whistled tunes here! But if you consider yourself a cut above the masses musically, then you should consider giving them a go.

Report this review (#451674)
Posted Tuesday, May 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Collecting the two classic Gnidrolog album on one CD makes this package an excellent starting point for people exploring the band - and to be honest, unless you fall in love with them so much that you absolutely have to own Live 1972 and Gnosis as well, it's a decent enough finishing point too.Including both albums on one CD may be slightly annoying for those who only listen to one album or the other - though any CD player can be easily programmed to only play selected tracks these days, and if you're listening to the albums on your MP3 player separating them out is trivially easy. Well worth a shot if you're interested in Gnidrolog's music - if you like them, congratulations, you own their two best albums, and if you're not keen then you've hardly lost much.
Report this review (#491049)
Posted Wednesday, July 27, 2011 | Review Permalink

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