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GENTLE SOUL

The Gentle Soul

Prog Folk


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The Gentle Soul Gentle Soul album cover
3.56 | 10 ratings | 2 reviews | 10% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1968

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Overture (4:35)
2. Marcus (2:55)
3. Song for Eolia (2:16)
4. Young Man Blue (2:33)
5. Renaissance (3:13)
6. See My Love (3:58)
7. Love Is Always Real (2:57)
8. Empty Wine (2:38)
9. Through a Dream (3:57)
10. Reelin' (3:21)
11. Dance (3:29)

Total Time: 36:02
CD [Expanded] Sundazed SC 11123 (2003) of the original album which includes bonus tracks.
12. Tell Me Love (2:27)
13. Song for Three (3:00)
14. 2: 10 Train (2:55)
15. Flying Thing (3:18)
16. God Is Love (2:22)
17. You Move Me (2:16)
18. Our National Anthem (2:31)
19. Tell Me Love (2:26)
20. Love Is Always Real (3:03)

Total Time: 60:20

Line-up / Musicians

- Tony Cohan / tabla
- Ry Cooder / guitar, mandolin
- Mike Deasy / guitar
- Van Dyke Parks / harpsichord
- Paul Horn / flute
- Larry Knechtel / organ
- Gayle Levant / harp
- Ted Michel / cello
- Bill Plummer / bass
- Pamela Polland / vocals
- Rick Stanley / vocals

Releases information

LP Epic BN 26374 / CD [Expanded] Sundazed SC 11123 (2003)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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Buy THE GENTLE SOUL Gentle Soul Music


Gentle SoulGentle Soul
Sundazed Music Inc. 2003
$89.90
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THE GENTLE SOUL Gentle Soul ratings distribution


3.56
(10 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
10%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(60%)
60%
Good, but non-essential (30%)
30%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

THE GENTLE SOUL Gentle Soul reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars It’s kind of amazing that this record wasn’t reissued much sooner than just a few years ago. While the Gentle Soul themselves faded into obscurity within a couple years of the release of this album, the name-dropping of musicians involved with the band pretty much demands that these tracks be made more widely available to all manner of music fans. Rick Stanley and Pamela Polland formed the nucleus of the band and aren’t exactly household names, but they ran with an impressive crowd. A very young Ry Cooder appears here on guitar and more importantly mandolin. Van Dyke Parks appears on the heels of his fated collaboration with Brian Wilson on the Beach Boys’ ‘SMILE’ recordings. Larry Knechtel was already a well-known keyboardist of Simon & Garfunkel fame and plays organ here. Flautist Paul Horn had just left a lucrative gig with Tony Bennett and is also on the record. And a teenage Jackson Browne had caught the ear of Polland, who recorded one of his first compositions, “Flying Thing”. This track didn’t appear on the original vinyl, but is included on the CD reissue. Browne also briefly replaced Stanley in the touring version of Gentle Soul before it disbanded and he went on to a solo career.

Unfortunately this CD version was produced from a digital copy of the vinyl release and suffers a bit as a result. The sound isn’t bad, but there are a few slightly fuzzed-over spots that seem to have been too manipulated. But if you are looking for this record you’ll have to settle for the CD for the time being at least, unless you have a very fat wallet and feel like hunting down one of the few and rare original vinyl copies.

In the 21st century this comes off as a very mild, West Coast soft-rock and country-tinged body of work. But for its time this was really fairly innovative stuff. The Eagles hadn’t yet made Hollywood country rock a radio staple yet, and the blending of folk, country, and some orchestral instrumentation with well-harmonized vocals was still a novel thing. The sounds here are in stark contrast with what Simon & Garfunkel were doing in New York, much less ethnic and more rural-sounding and a bit closer to the less-jaded West Coast hippie crowd, but not quite Haight-Asbury hippie. Very refined really. While Simon & Garfunkel were more likely to appear on an Ivy League college’s student green for a wine and cheese recital, Gentle Soul come off as just as likely to show up in a smoke-filled coffee house or even on the beach. The songs are almost all about relationships or introspection, and seem to consciously avoid more controversial social topics, and certainly not anything political.

Almost all the songs on the original release were composed by Polland, with the exception of “Young Man Blue” and the last two tracks. An interesting trivia note: the lyrics for “Dance” were actually written by actor the late Ned Wynn, best known for his role of the dastardly Colonel Bat Guano in the Stanley Kubrick film ‘Dr. Strangelove’. Enough name-dropping already? Like I said, this album itself isn’t as impressive as are the number of accomplished artists who were involved with the band at some level or another.

Ry Cooder is the musical star though, turning out consistently excellent if rather simple guitar and mandolin performances on every track. Polland and Stanley are a great matched set on vocals, harmonizing well with each other and giving this a truly folk tinge. The more interesting tracks include the opening “Overture”, a sort of medley of the rest of the album’s tracks; the harpsichord-dominant “Marcus” written as a lullaby for band manager Billy James’ young son; and the Stanley autobiography “Young Man Blue”, which succeeds almost entirely due to Cooder’s bluesy and trance-like slide guitar. “Empty Wine” offers the most exquisite vocals from Polland, as well as some fine cello from sometime Bob Dylan sideman Ted Michel.

The ‘bonus’ tracks are mostly b-sides or earlier tracks that didn’t make it onto the original album. “2:10 Train” features Taj Mahal himself on harmonica. The sound quality of these tracks varies widely, but all of them are at least cleaned up enough to merit being put into this collection. Most are fairly forgettable, although the flower-powered “Our National Anthem” (not the one you’re probably thinking of) is mildly interesting in a hippie/love/peace kind of way. Pretty dated sentiments today though.

This is a very decent folk album, probably qualifying as progressive just because it would have been a bit of a novelty in 1968, especially the stringed instruments and harpsichord. Extra points for providing an early and obscure glimpse into the genius of Ry Cooder. I’ll give it a very high three stars with recommendation for most folk fans.

peace

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars As a folk album, very great. I like it. A lot. But this page twists. Or teaches (if you like this choice of words more), you soon learn to rate prog elements. Prog + like = result. Interesting thing. First I though that full star ratings are limitation, that I can't give exactly what I want. For this is 3(+) and 4(-) difference, which I quickly learned to use.

This is folk. 1968 is still in depths of non-prog waters, where prog was just a dream, which many bands were later attributed to. But efforts like this made the way to better prog folk. Right before this album, I was listening one, more to country-rock leaned record But here, I just can't give better, when I don't enjoy it, nor I see many good things here. Yes, nice to listen, with variety of instruments. This was first thing I like here. Second is undefined feeling of both good and bad impress on me. But when I consider old age of this record and not so big choice in these times, I'll choose

4(-), almost 3 stars, but just almost.

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