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GENTLE GIANT

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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Gentle Giant biography
Formed on the late 60's by the Shulmman brothers, GENTLE GIANT is known as the paradigmatic progressive rock band. With an uncomparable musicianship, they went as far as no one ever did into unexplored grounds in the progressive music, navigating over dissonant 20th-century classical chamber music, medieval vocal music, jazz and rock. The multi-instrumentation capabilities of the musicians gave such dynamic to their music, which set parameters to a whole coming generation up to these very days. They explored Moogs, Mellotrons and Fender Rhodes usage with such majesty! Not to mention other instruments like oboes, violins, cellos and horns among others.

The band was able to come across the 70's maintaining an outstanding level on their music, altering their style over the years and keeping the quality as only a few bands were able to do. Among their magnificent discography, all the albums from "Acquiring the Taste" through "Playing the Fool" are essential progressive rock releases (with the possible exception of "Interview"). This portion of the band's career would see a fittingly grand conclusion on the live "Playing the Fool" album. What more is there to say about these masters of progressive music?

Compilations Albums: Numerous collections and greatest hits albums have appeared over the years.

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Live at the BicentennialLive at the Bicentennial
Alucard Records 2014
Audio CD$10.91
$16.72 (used)
The Power And The Glory (5.1 Blu-ray/CD Mixed by Steven Wilson)The Power And The Glory (5.1 Blu-ray/CD Mixed by Steven Wilson)
Alucard 2014
Audio CD$13.77
$16.58 (used)
Free HandFree Hand
Remastered
Alucard Records 2010
Audio CD$6.24
$11.25 (used)
Gentle GiantGentle Giant
Import
Island Def Jam 1990
Audio CD$4.99
$3.48 (used)
In A Glass HouseIn A Glass House
Remastered
Alucard Records 2010
Audio CD$6.43
$8.54 (used)
Playing the Fool: The Official LivePlaying the Fool: The Official Live
Remastered
Alucard Records 2010
Audio CD$5.49
$7.89 (used)
Acquiring the TasteAcquiring the Taste
Fontana Island 1990
Audio CD$3.04
$0.67 (used)
Three FriendsThree Friends
Remastered
Alucard 2011
Audio CD$10.14
$9.95 (used)
OctopusOctopus
Remastered
Alucard 2011
Audio CD$11.41
$10.95 (used)
I Lost My Head: Chrysalis Years 1975 - 1980I Lost My Head: Chrysalis Years 1975 - 1980
Box set · Import
EMI Import 2012
Audio CD$15.52
$15.75 (used)
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Gentle Giant - Free Hand LP Vinyl Record USD $30.89 Buy It Now 2h 10m
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Gentle Giant Two weeks in Spain 7" 2703584 CHS2181 /EX UK USD $11.13 Buy It Now 9h 16m
Gentle Giant-I'm Turning Around 7" UK Chrysalis 45 1977 USD $6.00 Buy It Now 9h 32m
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10h 16m
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Giant Steps - 2 DISC SET - Gentle Giant (2012, CD New) USD $17.54 Buy It Now 10h 57m
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Gentle Giant Acquiring The Taste LP Vinyl Vertigo VEL 1005 Record Album LIKE NEW USD $35.00 [0 bids]
15h 37m
GENTLE GIANT: Superstar Italian vinyl LP +12 page colour booklet/gatefold sleeve USD $15.01 [0 bids]
16h
GENTLE GIANT - GIANT STEPS NEW CD USD $24.22 Buy It Now 17h 4m
Interview [35th Anniversary Edition] [Remaster] by Gentle Giant (CD, Feb-2006, D USD $2.75 [0 bids]
17h 33m
The Missing Piece: 35th Anniversary Edition [Remaster] by Gentle Giant (CD, Feb- USD $2.75 [0 bids]
17h 36m
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GENTLE GIANT - WORDS FROM THE WISE - CHRYSALIS 7" - 1P SINGLE USD $0.02 [0 bids]
17h 46m
Octopus - Gentle Giant CD, Vertigo 842 694-2 *MINT/RARE* USD $5.00 [0 bids]
18h 10m
CATAPILLA - Changes - LP - KING CRIMSON, GENTLE GIANT, VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR USD $37.55 Buy It Now 18h 58m
GRAVY TRAIN - Same s/t - LP 1970 - GENTLE GIANT, CRESSIDA, CATAPILLA, WARM DUST USD $37.55 Buy It Now 19h 7m
GRAVY TRAIN - (A Ballad of) A Peaceful Man - LP 1970 - GENTLE GIANT, CATAPILLA ! USD $37.55 Buy It Now 19h 7m
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USD $23.99 Buy It Now
1 day
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1 day
Giant For A Day: 35th Anniversary Edition [Remaster] by Gentle Giant (CD NEW USD $29.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Interview [35th Anniversary Edition] [Remaster] by Gentle Giant (CD NEW USD $29.99 Buy It Now 1 day
GENTLE GIANT Three Friends CD USA 6 tracks Columbia CK31649 USD $7.99 [0 bids]
1 day
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GENTLE GIANT Playing The Fool Live - UK Double LP - Prog Psych Simon Dupree Ma USD $16.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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FADED GLORY ~UK PRIVATE WELSH WALES ROCK LP 1978 ~ MAN GENTLE GIANT EYES OF BLUE USD $293.00 [0 bids]
1 day
The Missing Piece by Gentle Giant (CD, Dec-1995, One Way Records) USD $6.00 Buy It Now 1 day
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SEALED GENTLE GIANT: Giant For A Day LP CAPITOL RECORDS SW-11813 US 1978  USD $22.49 Buy It Now 1 day
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2 days
Kindred Willis - Gentle Giant Of The Tenor CD USD $20.09 Buy It Now 2 days
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GENTLE GIANT.THE POWER AND THE GLORY.SEALED VINYL ALBUM STEVEN WILSON USD $19.52 Buy It Now 2 days
Playing The Fool - Gentle Giant (2010, CD New) USD $10.85 Buy It Now 2 days
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GENTLE GIANT - THREE FRIENDS CD MINI LP Japan USD $15.99 [0 bids]
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GENTLE GIANT "Playing The Fool" Essential Records (UK), 1989 VG++ vinyl NM jac USD $19.95 Buy It Now 2 days
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GENTLE GIANT The Missing Piece LP 1977 PROG PSYCH ROCK Moog Synth Mast x Capitol USD $12.22 Buy It Now 2 days
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GENTLE GIANT "Civilian" Progressive, Hard Rock 1980 VG++ USD $5.99 Buy It Now 2 days
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Three Friends - spaceship label - EX Gentle Giant UK vinyl LP album record USD $81.06 Buy It Now 3 days
Acquiring The Taste - Spaceship Label Gentle Giant UK vinyl LP album record USD $118.63 Buy It Now 3 days
Gentle Giant Interview - EX UK vinyl LP album record CHR1115 CHRYSALIS 1976 USD $28.47 Buy It Now 3 days
Gentle Giant vinyl LP album record Free Hand UK CHR1093 CHRYSALIS 1975 USD $43.50 Buy It Now 3 days
GENTLE GIANT - Live In Stockholm '75 (Deluxe Digi-Pack-NEW) USD $10.50 Buy It Now 3 days
The Missing Piece - Blue Label Gentle Giant UK vinyl LP album record CHR1152 USD $28.47 Buy It Now 3 days
Gentle Giant Gentle Giant - Spaceship label vinyl LP album record UK 6360020 USD $118.63 Buy It Now 3 days
Gentle Giant Pretentious For The Sake ... 2-LP (Double ) UK USD $51.46 Buy It Now 3 days
Gentle Giant The Power And The Glory + Insert - EX UK vinyl LP album record USD $81.06 Buy It Now 3 days
Gentle Giant vinyl LP album record Three Friends Australian 6360070 VERTIGO USD $81.06 Buy It Now 3 days
Gentle Giant Octopus - Spaceship label - EX UK vinyl LP album record 6360080 USD $81.06 Buy It Now 3 days
US press INFINITY same title CD Gentle Giant CARAVAN Yes PFM 1996 NEW Sealed USD $24.88 Buy It Now 3 days
VINYL 7" SINGLE - Gentle Giant - i'm turning around - chs 2160 USD $10.50 Buy It Now 3 days
Poster Size Advert 15x12 Gentle Giant : Free Hand USD $18.03 Buy It Now 3 days
CD acquiring the taste ~ USD $13.56
LP acquiring the taste ~ USD $19.60
CD acquiring the taste ~ USD $6.84
LP gentle giant ~ USD $21.92
CD gentle giant ~ USD $6.84
LP live in essen, germany 1971 ~ USD $20.30
LP octopus ~ USD $21.92
LP three friends ~ USD $21.92


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GENTLE GIANT shows & tickets


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GENTLE GIANT discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

GENTLE GIANT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.87 | 850 ratings
Gentle Giant
1970
4.24 | 1032 ratings
Acquiring the Taste
1971
4.10 | 881 ratings
Three Friends
1972
4.27 | 1323 ratings
Octopus
1972
4.35 | 1161 ratings
In A Glass House
1973
4.27 | 1052 ratings
The Power And The Glory
1974
4.27 | 1044 ratings
Free Hand
1975
3.76 | 527 ratings
Interview
1976
2.95 | 376 ratings
The Missing Piece
1977
2.32 | 325 ratings
Giant For A Day
1978
2.82 | 293 ratings
Civilian
1980

GENTLE GIANT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.52 | 323 ratings
Playing The Fool - The Official Live
1977
3.53 | 20 ratings
In Concert (BBC Radio 1)
1994
4.12 | 47 ratings
Out Of The Woods
1996
2.38 | 29 ratings
The Last Steps
1996
4.09 | 43 ratings
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents
1998
4.00 | 18 ratings
Out Of The Fire
1998
1.88 | 14 ratings
In A Palesport House
1999
4.11 | 34 ratings
Totally Out Of The Woods
2000
1.92 | 15 ratings
Live Rome 1974
2000
2.23 | 12 ratings
Interview In Concert
2000
1.74 | 7 ratings
Artistically Cryme
2002
3.72 | 23 ratings
Experience
2002
1.31 | 4 ratings
Endless Life
2003
3.88 | 7 ratings
Missing Face
2003
1.92 | 11 ratings
Way of life
2003
2.20 | 7 ratings
Prologue
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
Playing the Cleveland
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In New York 1975
2005
2.75 | 4 ratings
Santa Monica Freeway
2005
3.34 | 17 ratings
King Alfred's College Winchester
2009
3.79 | 30 ratings
Live In Stockholm '75
2009
3.84 | 12 ratings
Live at the Bicentennial
2014

GENTLE GIANT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.63 | 166 ratings
Giant On The Box
2004
4.24 | 82 ratings
GG At The GG
2006

GENTLE GIANT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.25 | 17 ratings
Giant Steps...The First Five Years 1970-1975
1975
3.13 | 4 ratings
Pretentious For The Sake Of It
1977
4.38 | 51 ratings
Edge of Twilight
1996
3.13 | 55 ratings
Under Construction
1997
4.28 | 32 ratings
Free Hand/Interview
1998
3.18 | 30 ratings
Scraping The Barrel
2004
4.17 | 16 ratings
I Lost My Head - The Chrysalis years (1975-1980)
2012
1.84 | 10 ratings
Memories Of Old Days
2013

GENTLE GIANT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Rock Power
1971
4.17 | 12 ratings
Prologue
1972
4.29 | 17 ratings
In A Glass House
1973
4.26 | 23 ratings
The Advent Of Panurge
1973
4.08 | 12 ratings
The Power and the Glory
1974
3.33 | 6 ratings
Give It Back
1976
3.00 | 6 ratings
I'm Turning Around
1977
3.75 | 8 ratings
Two Weeks in Spain
1977
4.00 | 8 ratings
Just the Same (live)
1977
2.40 | 5 ratings
Mountain Time
1978
3.20 | 5 ratings
Thank You (edit)
1978
3.25 | 4 ratings
Dando Vueltas
1978
3.00 | 5 ratings
Words from the Wise
1978
2.33 | 3 ratings
Underground
1980
2.20 | 5 ratings
All Through The Night
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
In A Power Free In'terview
2009

GENTLE GIANT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Gentle Giant  by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.87 | 850 ratings

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Gentle Giant
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Gentle Giant' - Gentle Giant (83/100)

It is baffling that I've gone so long as a fan of progressive rock without giving Gentle Giant the time and attention their work rightly deserved. The Shulman bros and co. have become virtually synonymous with prog and all it's entailed for good and bad. Fortunately I recently took steps to rectify this gap in my progressive education, starting with their self-titled debut. By all accounts, I'm glad I did.

As early on as 1970, Gentle Giant were making music that bridged the gap between the 'warm prog' of pastoral contemporaries like Genesis, and the coolly calculated machinations of technique-oriented collectives, namely King Crimson. The result was a sound that confirms a great many of the expectations modern-day fans would have for the genre's heyday. The quaint British-isms that fuelled the first golden years of progressive rock are here in tandem with the byzantine instrumentation that would give it lasting appeal. The style of Gentle Giant is hinted at on the album's iconic cover; the face-centric art recalls In the Court of the Crimson King (from the year before) but while the King Crimson debut's visage was contorted and expressionistic, the 'gentle giant' seen here is heart-warming and friendly. It's not unimaginable that he'd probably want to invite you in for mead and venison if your paths crossed.

Although the more experienced Gentle Giant listeners tend to indicate 1971's Acquiring the Taste as the point where things really started to get going for Gentle Giant, it's clear that these guys already had a firm grasp of what they wanted to do and how to do it from the very start. While Yes and Genesis' respective debuts both struggled to find their style (Yes wouldn't find it until their third, Genesis with their second), Gentle Giant is confident and precise from the first song to last.

I've referred to 1970 in several reviews as the year prog and blues rock were most popularly conjoined, and it's certainly true with Gentle Giant. Given that progressive rock was a fairly novel advent (and American blues was all the rage in Britain at the time) it's little wonder Gentle Giant has its bluesy undertone. Gary Green (coming from a predominantly blues background) delivers crunchy blues riffs that would rival anything Cream or Taste were doing. While the sound of fuzzy blues guitar was far from alien in 1970 (even in so-called progressive music) Gentle Giant managed to integrate the blues undertones without losing the air of sophistication and challenging arrangements with which they would become synonymous. Take a gander at "Why Not?", a great track that doubles seamlessly between straightforward blues riffage and angular prog passages. The fusion's even more successful in the album's would-be epic "Nothing At All", which brilliantly manages to maintain the impression of ambitiously intellectual composition simultaneously with that of the straightforward blues rock energy. It seems as if every band in '70 was trying to accomplish this sort of stylistic cross-cut, and Gentle Giant are among the very few to have ever convincingly pulled it off.

Possibly even moreso than some of the better-regarded masterpieces in Gentle Giant's career, the self-titled offers excellent vocal work. Derek Shulman's voice isn't entirely unlike Peter Gabriel's; there is a consistent warmth to Gentle Giant's vocal delivery, which plays nicely with the occasionally daunting instrumentation they were pulling on this debut. Although Gentle Giant already had their hearts set on making use of atypical ingredients on the debut (the set of instruments is nothing compared to what they'd try later on) Gary Green's blues guitar possibly stands out to me as the most impressive instrumentation on the album! However, the full extent of their arrangements feels apparent in the parts where Gentle Giant is taking it easy and mellow. "Funny Ways" favours beauty over fireworks (this album's "I Talk to the Wind", anyone?) and does so with a layered arrangement of vocal harmonies and recorder. As much as Gentle Giant excelled with the straightforward rock, they fare just as well with the album's pastoral moments. "Isn't it Quiet and Cold" replicates the warmth of "Funny Ways" with an added sense of Medieval nostalgia. The contrast between the hot and simply warm moments on Gentle Giant keep the album engaging and dynamic.

Of course, no talk of Gentle Giant could go without noting "Nothing at All", which binds together the lively prog, the blus and pastoral acoustics together under one satisfying banner. It doesn't quite strike me as an epic so much as another would-be softer piece with some welcome extended passages to boot, but the fact that Gentle Giant were able to wield their horn of styles simultaneously here without appearing contrived is a testament to their skill. In fact, the only song here that doesn't give me that impression is "The Queen"- while it's obviously intended as a sort of one-size-fits-all finale for the record, it's a pretty undercooked footnote. I'd have imagined Gentle Giant could have mustered more to cap off their debut than that. All's well in any case- "The Queen" serves its purpose well enough, and doesn't really serve to diminish the album's effect.

Gentle Giant's debut seems to get overshadowed by the grandeur of its (admittedly more adventurous) successors, but I don't think it's a fair legacy to what is easily one of the strongest debuts in progressive rock history. Smite me for saying so, but I think it's an even better debut than In the Court of the Crimson King. Even though the following years would prove Gentle Giant had bigger, bolder places to go, it doesn't reduce the impression of the self-titled as a work of effortless character and confidence.

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 Gentle Giant  by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.87 | 850 ratings

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Gentle Giant
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by aglasshouse

4 stars Before I move on to reviewing more of the huge hits the band developed in the coming years, I thought it appropriate to take a closer look at Gentle Giant's stellar self titled debut.

One large thing that caught my ear was the general cohesion that the album retained that was different to a lot of other prog debuts from 1967-1970. For instance, I found it more interesting than In the Court of the Crimson King, more complex than Piper at the Gates of Dawn, and much more prog than From Genesis to Revelation (although it usually isn't called their debut because of how much it's disliked). The quality on this little gem is unmatched by the big six of the 70's progressive rock bands that paved the way for the genre. And the funny thing is, all of those other bands were far more well known than this obscure group of brothers, and yet their still able to top them all in my book.

Although the band doesn't acknowledge this release as much as the more mainstream hits of Interview and Free Hand, they still like to catch people off guard by playing tracks like 'Funny Ways' and 'Alucard' at live performances. Another big thing this album has that the others in the discography don't have as much (or in some cases at all) is the entirety of the Shulman brothers playing to their best. It's true that when Phil Shulman left after Octopus, the band continued with their best effort yet. So with this we can't assume that all of them together is better than when they aren't as a whole, because that's clearly not the case. Anyway, onto the songs.

One of my top picks is 'Funny Ways', which takes the brothers at an a Capella standpoint with some genius avant-garde rocking interrupting it at the right times. 'Alucard' is a jazzy, keyboard ridden piece. Even though it has a slightly droning beginning, it does pick up with some strange backwards sounding vocals. From there it morphs into a soft melody where the band quietly jams until it's broken by more guitar slamming and keyboard synthesizer. 'Isn't it Quiet and Cold' is a little stranger, using less traditional instruments as well as coming off with a folk-y beat led by a cello. 'Nothing at All' is a spacey jam song with large acoustic segments taking up most of the first three quarters. 'Why Not?' and 'The Queen' are jazzy, funky bits that sound almost like something that you'd find on Dark Side except without the extreme spaciness.

So, as a whole, Gentle Giant's s/t debut is quite something to behold. Compared with other bands on the market that sounded like it (except for some things King Crimson put out), Gentle Giant was unique in every single way. Great album for your collection.

Go give it a listen.

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 Live at the Bicentennial by GENTLE GIANT album cover Live, 2014
3.84 | 12 ratings

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Live at the Bicentennial
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Alucard
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Gentle Giant is maybe the major prog band with only a few good quality live recordings, the official Playing The Fool, the BBC recordings, King Biscuit and a few isolated tracks on Under Construction. The Gentle Giant bootlegs, a bigger part now accesible as official releases are mostly medium to bad quality in terms of sound. Unfortunately The Bicentinnial is no exception. A part of the tracks were already releasd as Interview In Concert. Thanx to a new more complete and better sounding master the concert was re-released. The concert comes from the 1976 US tour prior to the European Fall tour where Playing The Fool was recorded. The tracks that differ from PTF are Interview, Give It Back and Timing (including the Quadra sound violin solo by Ray) Now, the source must be a soundboard recording and is better then Interview in concert but has still lots of distortion especially on bass and drums and an overall thin sound. A good choice for Giant fans, otherwise Playing The Fool is the record to get from the same period

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 Three Friends  by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.10 | 881 ratings

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Three Friends
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by aglasshouse

3 stars Gentle Giant had already struck musical gold with Acquiring the Taste, and were whole- heartedly ready to output another effort. This time it wasn't a jab at the music industry of the seventies that the last album was based on. Around the time after 'AtT' was released, concept albums were becoming more and more hungered especially by the prog fans of the time. In fact, Thick as a Brick by Jethro Tull came out a month prior to this albums come- about. But, of course, Thick as a Brick wasn't nearly as popular until a few years later when it came back around in the prog-revival of the eighties to be more appreciated. With this album, maybe not so much. It must be taken into account that this album, or rather, this band is remarkably under-appreciated. Probably my favorite band next to The Pink Floyd. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't go unnoticed. There will always be the lovers of the unknown such as myself, and I know there's many more out there who feel the same way.

Gentle Giant always had a grip on the music industry, whether or not people noticed them or not. They had done, in a way, what the Beatles had done back in '63. They were innovators of the pop genre from their time, but where Starr, McCartney, Lennon, and Harrison had re- invented the 60's, the Shulman brothers' goal was to push the boundaries of 70's rock to a whole new and sophisticated level. This however is where we hit a barrier. Gentle Giant wasn't well-known enough to be a true spiritual successor the Beatles, even when their accomplishments were so great. At least, I think that most of their releases are wonderful, but there's always some sort of intra-band problem or dissatisfaction release that causes some sort of problem that I have. Three Friends, sadly falls into the category of lackluster releases.

I have already mentioned the sudden fluctuation in the music industry related to the increase in popularity for concept albums. Relating to this, Gentle Giant tried a shot at their own concept album about three childhood friends that part ways earlier in life, only to to gather again to contribute great music as a group. Sure, maybe not a very spectacular concept but remember that Gentle Giant was still early on in the running in the race to be the most revolutionary band of the decade, but they were undeniably in first place. This album wasn't as appreciated by fans as their other releases during the first half of their existence. And it is true that I dislike it as well, but not enough to say it's only for collectors and fans. Let me explain:

Three Friends contains a lot of uneven tracks that don't go anywhere. With the large exception of the fantastic rocking 'Prolouge', the pieces on here range from classical and orchestral to more clearly classic rock songs. Although I can tell that they're trying to experiment enough for this album to be artful, it never appealed to me when listening. In fact, it sounded oddly disjointed and it flows strangely. And even with the fact that it is trying to be fancy, it still falls on the musical front with lackluster, simple pieces that seem more like filler than concepts. Overall, it's pretty bland and it isn't anything I've never seen before. It registered sort of the same reaction I got from Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes by Eloy. It's nothing new for me, and if I wanted to see some great conceptual art albums, I would turn to bands that have a better proficiency for doing so. Gentle Giant never really did this again, but when they did, Interview was much better than this. A definite skip-able release.

I do not recommend this album.

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 In A Glass House by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.35 | 1161 ratings

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In A Glass House
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by aglasshouse

5 stars Gentle Giant was still early in the running, but they had already struck musical gold with four consecutive releases. In fact, the band was in such a flow that they cracked off two masterpieces in the same year. There was a sudden break in the beautiful funk they had developed over the last three years; the eldest Shulman brother, Phil, left the band. Without a saxophonist, they were perhaps stuck in a rut. Could it be possible for them to keep playing even after their fellow brother had quit the band?

Of course they could. The band seemed to be able to perform remarkably well without Phil, maybe even better than they had or would after it's release. It must be noted that, even though this album is excellent, it was lost in the wake of the 70's prog uprising by more well known bands (i.e: Genesis, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Jethro Tull), and this album in particular was sort of forgotten mostly due to it's inaccessibility in the US and Canada. So there was the problem of only being able to get an import from the UK, and the fact that more people were interested in Dark Side of the Moon, Selling England by the Pound, Larks Tounge's and Aspic, and maybe even A Passion Play. But I believe, and I know many others do, that this album is definitely up there with the greats.

As for this album's sound, it is quite unique. The band did try as hard as they could to be experimental, after all it was their objective to change the pop-medium of the 70's. It's a slightly strange piece of work, almost like a new drink that's hard to swallow but in the end you get used to it and love it. The 'hard to swallow' part mostly extends from the wonky time signatures and rhythm changes. But trust me, Gentle Giant is not for everyone. That's mostly why they haven't been recognized as well as they should have.

One thing I love about this album is the surprising heavy segments of the four prog epics. One that really caught my ear was the superb jazz-rocking sections from 'Experience', surrounded by graceful eclectic beating that almost seems to breathe as you listen to it. This song is one of my favorite songs EVER, mostly due to these factors. 'Way of Life' is less impressive, and seems more a mistake than a complex track that had time spent on it. 'The Runaway' is an excellent opening, taking the heavy section of 'Experience' to a whole new level. The title track finale (the most popular song from the album) is awe-inspiring. It's catchy, has some stellar a Capella, and maintains a quick thundering beat without losing a step.

The two shorter, calmer songs are 'An Inmates Lullaby', which contains some beautiful xylophone as well as some rather dark lyrics taking place in an asylum, and 'A Reunion', a medieval-style bard ditty, which is a rather surprising thing that you don't find most progressive rock bands of the 70's attempting to cross over their music.

I doubt I'm the only one to say that this album is great. Their undeniable magnum opus of the 70's rocks, and I feel it's way up there with the greats. Modern bands should take heed from the Shulmans, because they've done a mighty bang up job.

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 Live at the Bicentennial by GENTLE GIANT album cover Live, 2014
3.84 | 12 ratings

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Live at the Bicentennial
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by aglasshouse

5 stars In the past, I've been more than disappointed at the quality of GENTLE GIANT live albums. It's hard to find some that have good enough production value that you can actually enjoy them thoroughly.

Live albums, especially from the Interview - Civilian era are sort of disappointing. A key disappointment is the bootleg (and misspelled) Prolouge', which had one of the worst productions I'd ever seen. Other live albums have fluctuations from 'meh' recording to awful recording. The only live album that I've seen as incredibly good is Playing the Fool, one of their first live albums to hit the stage. This live album is good enough to join Playing the Fool with my favorite live albums. The production is good, you can clearly hear the crowd's excitement, and you can tell that the band members are having fun.

Aside from that, the setlist is also pretty good. It as usual opens with some material from The Power and the Glory', which goes to Free Hand, to Interview, and bridges with the usual coupling of 'The Runaway' and 'Experience' (my favorite GENTLE GIANT track), which are both from In A Glass House. Just to say, the way they play 'Experience' is just dazzling.

As usual, they play not individual tracks from Octopus, instead playing 'excerpts' from it instead in an epic-style. They wrap it up with the fan favorite, the seven and half minute long 'Free Hand'.

Overall, this is a Gentle Giant live album to add to your collection, a great one at that.

Go give it a listen.

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 Live at the Bicentennial by GENTLE GIANT album cover Live, 2014
3.84 | 12 ratings

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Live at the Bicentennial
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Glimpse

4 stars When I had first heard that there was going to be a new GG live album, I was rather curious. My first thought was that it might just end up being another "Official Bootleg", But when I saw that it was to be officially released by Alucard. According to GG's official website, the concert found in this album, actually had been released as part of the Glasshouse "Official Bootleg" series under the name "In'terview In Concert". "Live At The Bicentennial" uses master tapes generously donated to the band and remasterd by Rich Hilton. Compared to it's Glasshouse counterpart, "Live At The Bicentennial" features higher quality audio and is completely uncut. After I had read all of this, I was assured of the releases quality and quickly pre-ordered. Then, on the day of it's arrival, I excitedly popped the CD into my computer, and upon finishing the CD rips, sat back and entered the show...

The first track starts off with a rather rowdy crowd crying out for giant, which someone listening to a GG live album for the first would never have expected from the fanbase of Gentle Giant! Something of note here, is that the introductory fanfare heard at the start of this album is the same as the one heard on "Playing The Fool". However there is one major difference, the fanfare in this release is in it's complete form, unlike the faded-in version heard on "Playing The Fool". Once the intro completes we quickly move onto "Just The Same", GG's go-to song to start of a show during this era. Gary and Ray's guitars have a greater presence throughout this track than heard on "Playing The Fool", but other than that, it's pretty much the same as preformed on "Playing The Fool".

Next up on the set list is "Proclamation / Valedictory", which also appeared as the 2nd track on "Playing The Fool". Like "Just The Same", this track is pretty much the same as on "Playing The Fool", along with the greater guitar presence that will continue throughout the rest of the track.

Continuing on in the Playing The Fool set list is "On Reflection". But, before they start with the track, Derek takes some time to address the audience, mentioning the American Bicentennial and the Boston Tea Party. Now you may notice a bit of an electric hum in the background as he's speaking, however there is no need to worry, once they begin playing it is hardly noticeable unless you listen closely.

Now, here is normally where "Funny Ways" would appear in the album, but shockingly "Funny Ways" is absent from this release! (Heretical, I know.) Instead we have the song "Interview" appearing fourth in the set list instead. The song starts out with a replication of the dialogue from "Interview", just who exactly is saying them I'm not sure (If you know who it is, please send me a message!) Aside from it's bootleg counterpart, this release is probably the only release that I know of with "Interview" in it. "Interview" as performed in this album has a much more lively feel to it as compared to the studio version, making it quite a refreshing substitute for "Funny Ways".

Moving on is we have another concert staple, "The Runaway / Experience". Over all, there's not too much different here that what you've already heard from this track in other live releases. One little quirk of note, is that if you listen closely during the "Glass Beats" at the start of the track, you can hear the audience counting them.

For the sixth track on the set list, we have "So Sincere". Now, for those who aren't familiar with live Giant, when this song is played live it eventually morphs into a chaotic drum / percussion solo known as the "Drum and Percussion Bash" featuring all of the band members playing along on the drums. On the Glasshouse version, the drum bash was, (sadly), cut out, But here the drum bash and all of it's quirkiness has been restored.

Now we reach the 2nd CD, and are immediately greeted by another of the older concert staples, "Excerpts From Octopus". Which, as the title says, consists of excerpts from the album "Octopus". The song is the usual excerpts from octopus, so aside from the occasional variant, there really isn't too much to say about it. Though. Derek's Sax playing does sound rather pushed to the background at the very start of the track.

Another track rather unique to this release is the track "Give It Back", Which as Derek stated at the start of the track "Sounds like a cross between Gentle Giant and Bob Marley". In fact, the band seems to take that comment to heart when playing the track live. A lot of the keyboard part has been trimmed from the song, and the instrumentation has a much more reggae feel than the studio version. Even Derek seems to take a more reggae style approach to his vocals during this track.

If it wasn't clear what album was being promoted during this show, it should be now once "Timing" follows right after. Now, what's interesting here, is that "Timing", a nearly five minute song normally, has been extended to 13 minutes. (easily the most extended version of a single song on the album.) What exactly did they do to make a nearly five minute song into a 13 minute one? Four words, Eight Minute Violin Solo. The majority of it is seemingly improvised, with the violin sound echoing as if Pink Floyd had decided to form a string ensemble. Though honestly, it starts to become a bit tiring after a while, and a point of slight annoyance are the audience members who seem to intentionally shout so that their voices will also echo into the mic.

Now take a moment to guess which track would possibly be the finale for the show. If you guessed "Free Hand", then you're right! During this period "Free Hand" was their closer of choice, a good companion to their opener, "Just The Same". Like "Just The Same" It isn't preformed all that differently live than how you're used to it being performed, though one interesting thing is Ray playing the keyboard melody just once at the start of the track.

Over all, "Live At The Bicentennial" is a very refreshing live album, (especially those GG fans used to wading through "Official Bootlegs" of abysmal quality.) The inclusion of tracks from "Interview" played live alone makes this release a must-have for any GG fans, as "Interview" tracks were a rather rare occurance in GG's Live repertoire, and with them being offered at this good of an audio quality is a miracle. So for those of you who own "In'terview In Concert", I say you throw that album in the trash and order the album you deserve. Don't just sit hear reading, go give it a listen, and then you'll be able to see for yourself just how good it is!

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 Three Friends  by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.10 | 881 ratings

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Three Friends
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Shortly after the release of ''Acquiring the taste'' and upon returning from another short European tour, Martin Smith decided to part ways with Gentle Giant, partly due to personal conflicts with Phil and Ray Shulman, partly due to musical differences and reputedly because he wanted to become an antique dealer.An 18-years old drummer surfaced after exhausting auditions, it was Malcolm Mortimore, who had a week to learn the band's live setlist.Surprisingly around the time Gentle Giant's live shows were still heavily relying on tracks from their debut with only sone sporadic references to their second, masterful album.At the fall of 1971 the band recorded the third album ''Three friends'' at the Advision Studios and the Command Studios in London, released in April 72' on Vertigo and through Columbia for the Canadian and US markey.

This marked the first attempt of the band on a concept album, talking about three close friends, each takes his own lifepath after growing.However, unstatisfied with their lives, they decided to rejoin forces and focus on their goals in a more collaborative way.Musically this is some sort of a backfall compared to the previous release, of course this is still a fantastic GG experience, which however lacks deep inspiration at specific moments.''Prologue'' is an exception, led by some great and doomy guitar riffing and featuring the odd combination of Moog synth and Hammond organ in complex alternations.''Schooldays'' is very mellow unfortunately, even if the excellent talent of this band is still revealed.A collection of orchestral, rural and jazzy spices with complicated breaks and intense singing harmonies, sounding maybe a bit Avant-Garde during the piano and Mellotron parts and rather soft for the rest of its length.Still there is so much going on in here.''Working all day'' features the band's classic clavinet and the odd lead vocals of Derek Shulman in a song, that combines Brass, Psychedelic and Progressive Rock in equal doses.''Peel the paint'' is a real winner and, despite a very slow start, this will become an instant classic in the process, with impressive string arrangements supported by organ, hard guitar lines -reminding of the band's debut- some limited jazzy improvisations and the complex instrumentals with the fiery guitar and keyboards battles.''Mister class and quality?'' is the most rhythmic track of the album, albeit far from accesible, with soft interplays and careful tempo changes, surfacing as a fusion of Classic Rock, Hard Prog and Classical Music.The closing title-track is a masterpiece to say the least with the classic GG sound of muddy electric guitar work over orchestral strings, highlighted by the Gospel-influenced vocals of the members and the lovely rhythm from the start to the very end.

One of Gentle Giant's uneven efforts during their early career, containing both amazing and simply decent pieces.But even so, their sound was so professional, rich and inventive few groups could top it (only Italians Premiata Forneria Marconi come to mind).Strongly recommended for all fans of Prog Rock, intricated by the tempo, the atmosphere and the instrumental depth changes...3.5 stars.

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 The Power And The Glory  by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.27 | 1052 ratings

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The Power And The Glory
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

5 stars Many have written about this album and this band before me so I am not breaking new land, but for me Gentle Giant isn't directly new but still unexplored. Gentle Giant has been one of these bands I recognize as important even if I have been more into other bands. That is perhaps changing now. I decided to begin review records from the magical year of 1974, now celebrating their fortieth birthday.

In ten years this English band released eleven studio albums of which the most are worth hearing. "The Power and the Glory" was their sixth album and followed "In a glass house". GG's music is essential for prog listeners because their music explains without words exactly what prog is. They defined it(together with others) and they got successors. On "The Power and the Glory" the band had refined their sound and become a bit more straight. To be honest I think some earlier records are more interesting with a bigger variety of instruments. Though is it too much to say Gentle Giant had compromised with their sound. That began with "The missing piece". Still cello, saxes and violins were in use together with crazy guitars and keyboards.

An extraordinary cover hides extraordinary music, nine songs of huge interesting. "Proclamation" is a typical Gentle Giant fanfare which shows the beginners a fantastic world but my favourites here are "Aspirations", calm and harmonic and "No God's a Man" which is more crazy. Listen to the record carefully and enjoy every note, it is worth that. Let the music make you believe you are the king on the front page. As so many others have said this is a very good record!

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 Three Friends  by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.10 | 881 ratings

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Three Friends
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Gentle Giant was one of those classic bands with which I felt I had to become acquainted for my prog education. The problem was that every time I tried to listen to samples from their albums I was quickly put off. They just sounded too weird to me. Renaissance barbershop quartet with jazz and eclectica. Let's just be as obtuse and peculiar as we can, boys! Nope. I wasn't getting it.

As it so happened, I never gave up and eventually downloaded 'Alucard' from their debut from iTunes. That song captured me and soon I was looking at the reviews of their albums. 'Three Friends' was said to have some hard rock on it and that was the selling point. I ordered it and sunk my ears into this concoction of Gentle Giant's.

Surprisingly, I found the album to be quite listenable. It's actually not as weird as some of what I had heard (I now have 'Acquiring the Taste' as well and that's more bizarre at times). The prologue is a pretty decent rock song with a strong progressive vibe, featuring some of their unique vocal arrangements but in an easy to follow way. The three main story songs about the three friends are also very good, in my opinion. 'Working All Day' is lower in tone with some saxophone and vocals in the lower register. 'Mister Class and Quality?' is fairly typical of early seventies music with organ, a nice beat, some violin, and some good electric guitar playing.

'Peel the Paint' is where the album really hits it home though. The beginning is cautious and suspenseful as we see the artist painting. There are some lovely violins to add class. However, the second part of the song turns into a heavy rocker with Kerry Minear delivering a husky, gravel-voiced rock vocal as the lyrics turn to the darker side of the artist's life. There's a guitar and drum duet that is simply calls for wringing the air with an air guitar performance by the listener. It reminds me of the battle between the two wizards (guitar and drums) on Uriah Heep's 'The Magician's Birthday'. Wonderful stuff. Though the strained guitar notes get replaced by milder effects the song by no means lays low. It concludes with more of Kerry and a dramatic closure of guitar, sax, bass, drums, and organ.

The only real weird part on the album I feel is 'Schooldays' which includes some of GG's more adventurous vocal works and features a shaky performance by young Calvin Shulman, the son of one of the Shulman brothers. The boy was nervous claim the CD liner notes and it shows. But if I were recording an album and needed a boy's voice I am sure I would ask my son too.

The music here is bold and vigorous but not as experimental as on some of their other albums. As such, this is an easy album to enjoy and a safe stepping stone to access the band. It still has the band showing off their skill though. As I mentioned above, I also have 'Acquiring the Taste' which is a lot more off the beaten path. I'm tempted to buy 'Octopus' and maybe one or two albums more as there are a few here that are highly rated but I am not sure what to expect yet. Definitely a good album but compared to some of GG's other more progressive works, I am not sure that it is exactly essential. But I still feel it has enough highlights to make it better than just good.

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