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GENTLE GIANT

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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Gentle Giant biography
Formed in the late 60's by the Shulman 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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OctopusOctopus
Remastered
Alucard 2011
Audio CD$7.48
$7.47 (used)
The Power And The Glory (Mixed By Steven Wilson) [CD/Blu-ray Combo][Deluxe Edition]The Power And The Glory (Mixed By Steven Wilson) [CD/Blu-ray Combo][Deluxe Edition]
Alucard 2014
Audio CD$14.96
$11.02 (used)
Octopus (Remixed by Steven Wilson)Octopus (Remixed by Steven Wilson)
Alucard 2015
Audio CD$9.84
$7.05 (used)
Free HandFree Hand
Remastered
Alucard 2010
Audio CD$7.45
$4.46 (used)
Gentle GiantGentle Giant
Import
Island Def Jam 1990
Audio CD$5.98
$10.99 (used)
Three FriendsThree Friends
Remastered
Alucard 2011
Audio CD$10.07
$10.06 (used)
The Missing PieceThe Missing Piece
Remastered
Alucard 2010
Audio CD$7.31
$7.30 (used)
In a Glass House: 35th Anniversary EditionIn a Glass House: 35th Anniversary Edition
Extra tracks
Alucard Records 2005
Audio CD$24.99
$4.00 (used)
Playing The Fool - TPlaying The Fool - T
Remastered
Alucard 2010
Audio CD$7.90
$7.89 (used)
In A Glass HouseIn A Glass House
Remastered
Alucard 2010
Audio CD$7.32
$7.31 (used)
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GENTLE GIANT - FREE HAND (WITH INSERT UK 1ST PRESS 1975 CHRYSALIS LP) USD $38.94 Buy It Now 58m 2s
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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)

3.91 | 1045 ratings
Gentle Giant
1970
4.25 | 1302 ratings
Acquiring The Taste
1971
4.11 | 1067 ratings
Three Friends
1972
4.29 | 1667 ratings
Octopus
1972
4.35 | 1448 ratings
In A Glass House
1973
4.30 | 1349 ratings
The Power And The Glory
1974
4.28 | 1295 ratings
Free Hand
1975
3.75 | 646 ratings
Interview
1976
2.94 | 475 ratings
The Missing Piece
1977
2.30 | 409 ratings
Giant For A Day
1978
2.76 | 370 ratings
Civilian
1980

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

4.50 | 385 ratings
Playing The Fool - The Official Live
1977
3.57 | 23 ratings
In Concert (BBC Radio 1)
1994
4.12 | 55 ratings
Out Of The Woods
1996
2.41 | 33 ratings
The Last Steps
1996
4.12 | 54 ratings
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents
1998
4.05 | 26 ratings
Out Of The Fire
1998
1.89 | 16 ratings
In A Palesport House
1999
4.14 | 40 ratings
Totally Out Of The Woods
2000
1.98 | 18 ratings
Live Rome 1974
2000
2.28 | 14 ratings
Interview In Concert
2000
1.79 | 10 ratings
Artistically Cryme
2002
3.74 | 22 ratings
Experience
2002
1.47 | 6 ratings
Endless Life
2003
3.92 | 10 ratings
Missing Face
2003
1.95 | 13 ratings
Way of life
2003
2.25 | 8 ratings
Prologue
2003
3.00 | 1 ratings
Playing the Cleveland
2003
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live In New York 1975
2005
3.00 | 5 ratings
Santa Monica Freeway
2005
3.39 | 20 ratings
King Alfred's College Winchester
2009
3.89 | 25 ratings
Live In Stockholm '75
2009
3.93 | 22 ratings
Live at the Bicentennial
2014

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

4.63 | 184 ratings
Giant On The Box
2004
4.26 | 92 ratings
GG At The GG
2006

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Original Studio Gentle Giant - Vol. 1
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Original Studio Gentle Giant - Vol. 2
1974
3.46 | 18 ratings
Giant Steps...The First Five Years 1970-1975
1975
3.13 | 4 ratings
Pretentious For The Sake Of It
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
Circling Round The Gentle Giant
1981
0.00 | 0 ratings
Il Grande Rock
1991
4.38 | 52 ratings
Edge of Twilight
1996
3.12 | 60 ratings
Under Construction
1997
4.28 | 33 ratings
Free Hand/Interview
1998
3.21 | 31 ratings
Scraping The Barrel
2004
4.21 | 20 ratings
I Lost My Head - The Chrysalis years (1975-1980)
2012
2.14 | 12 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
4.62 | 13 ratings
Prologue
1972
4.50 | 16 ratings
In A Glass House
1973
4.34 | 22 ratings
The Advent Of Panurge
1973
4.42 | 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
4.10 | 10 ratings
Just the Same (live)
1977
2.40 | 5 ratings
Mountain Time
1978
1.50 | 7 ratings
Thank You (edit)
1978
3.25 | 4 ratings
Dando Vueltas
1978
3.17 | 6 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
1.00 | 1 ratings
The Power And The Glory
2010

GENTLE GIANT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Giant For A Day by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.30 | 409 ratings

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Giant For A Day
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Caleb9000

1 stars I wish that there was a 0/5 stars option so that I could express my contempt for the absolute trash that is this album. What truly baffles me is the fact that it came from Gentle Giant, a band who is known for its masterful compositional skills, which are able to manifest in their music while there is still plenty of emotion and soul. This album has soul, but it's the same kind that every other radio-rock album has. Cheesy vocal harmonies... check. Predictable vocal melodies and predictable music in general... check. Stupid, pretentious lyrics pretending to be meaningful... check. Guitar work that was stolen from other artists... check. A song called "Words From the Wise" that literally sounds like a carbon copy of "We Built This City"... check. A sellout band... quadruple check.

I actually struggle often to remember a whole lot of the music on here, despite the fact that I've listened to this album multiple times. What surprises me even more is that I can't remember things despite the fact that they stole from songs that have been ingrained into my head. Perhaps the vocals do this. They fail at being catchy so much that it is downright embarrassing. The simple tone of the vocals doesn't suit the music, as it did previous material from this band.

I'm aware that this is a very short review that hardly describes the music, but there is hardly anything to describe, as this album has little to no character of its own. Other pop-rock albums of the late 1970s could be described in a similar manner. This album is an absolute travesty against man and beast alike and because it failed to achieve the commercial success that Gentle Giant was looking for, the band split up. Possibly for the better, as I would hate to imagine them continuing and having this music as their main legacy.

 The Power And The Glory by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.30 | 1349 ratings

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The Power And The Glory
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Caleb9000

5 stars This is an album that uses a formula that many have used years later, for the worse more often than the better. Many bands in the progressive genre tend to try to blend as many different instruments as possible, but not really caring as to what is being played on said instrument, resulting in pretentious music. This is an album that uses the formula correctly, but doesn't get too chaotic for its own good. Rather, it takes a unique approach to each instrument while still blending them together to create a common enough atmosphere to create emotion. "Proclamation" has a rather nightmarish atmosphere while maintaining a groovy-enough rythym to keep a casual listener interested.

Speaking of casual listeners, there is even a dance-type song on here (The Face), though it is so oddly structured and disjointed that one cannot think of any movement to make. But it is still highly enjoyable, due to the melody that is played on a violin that resembles funk, but keeps the classical touches of old. In fact, there are often different genres that are reflected by each instrument on an independent bases, but they all keep the progressive rock overtones to keep things to their roots without going into an over-convoluted mess.

Gentle Giant has been known for their "medeval" approach to vocals, but that aspects comes much more into play here than it does on any other album. In fact, the accent of the vocals almost sounds Scottish, which makes sense, considering the vocal melodies quite strongly resemble medieval Scottish music (there are no bagpipes on the album), while still maintained a blues/soul-rooted twist. They are also rather intricate, making a fair amount of use of the vocalist's range is quite a short amount of time, without sounding like Opera or ancient Middle-Eastern music (not bashing those genres at all).

While their previous album, "In a Glass House" may have been more complex, the melodies on each album were a bit derivative at times and they didn't branch out into other genres like this album does. This is a difficult album to listen to at first, but as times goes by, the album can be appreciated for the masterpiece that is is. This is an absolute landmark in progressive rock history from an underrated band that deserved credit that some other bands simply did not. There are no flaws what so ever, and there is no moral flaw in buying it with your money (or streaming for free).

 The Power And The Glory by GENTLE GIANT album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2010
1.00 | 1 ratings

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The Power And The Glory
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

— First review of this album —
1 stars The first time commercial correctness struck prog: 1/10

By 1974, the year GENTLE GIANT wrote & released THE POWER AND THE GLORY, they had a respectable "cult-follow" but still were commercially unsuccessful. The band was partially disappointed to this, but WWA was simply devastated. They demanded the lads to write some singles which would be commercially approachable, and so they did - they wrote three, and as Derek Shulman (one of the multi-instrumentalists of the band) recalls it, "This song's the worst". Indeed, it is.

The Power And The Glory is a highly complex synthpop. That's it. It is a two-minutes long synthpop song twisted on GENTLE GIANT's viewpoint. In a certain way it is MUCH more appaling than the band's dreaded later albums because those were fruits of a thorough, complex process, whereas this aberration was given life on the apex of their paradigmatic creativity. It is an absolute offense to everything GENTLE GIANT represents, and to prog rock as well. It's by no means a bad song, it's just contextually dread. There's Proclamation played live in 1977, which is a really great gig by the way, but that isn't enough to recompose a GENTLE GIANT connoisseur after the atrocity heard.

This review is meaningless as I can suppose no one really gives a damn about this curious little eponymous track. But if you do... well, you can take a look by searching it on YouTube (yes, it's available there). But please, don't buy it. Every time someone buys The Power And The Glory single, a Shulman sibling dies. Stop exterminating the Shulman species. Stop buying bad singles.

 The Power And The Glory by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.30 | 1349 ratings

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The Power And The Glory
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

5 stars One of the most complex albums Gentle Giant released, which of course means one of the most complex albums released: 10/10

I'll begin this review with a note (which includes two recommendations): this review is mostly a meta-musical (or 'musicological' if you like fancy names) & contextual analysis than an album review properly said. If you're looking for some commentary about the history of the album or maybe what it represents in GENTLE GIANT's history, it's spot on; if instead you're looking for an album review properly said I highly recommend reading corbet's (who succinctly describes the record) and Peter's (where the concept is greatly explained as well as what each song sounds like) reviews. The review title is actually a paraphrase excerpted from corbet's review which in my opinion explains pretty briefly... everything a newbie needs to know about GENTLE GIANT.

The Shulman brothers' multi-instrumentalist upbringing was fruitful, as in 1970 they founded the legendarily innovational GENTLE GIANT. Throughout their career, they consistently progressed on their musical approach, every time exponentially increasing the complexity. Phil Shulman left the band prior to an Italian tour in 1973. As Gary Green recalls it, "There was too much stress being on the road and the family. Plus the brothers were having a bit of a difficult time". Coincidentally or not - in no way I'm undermining Phil's importance to the band - it was precisely after his departure that GENTLE GIANT released one hell of a complicated production: IN A GLASS HOUSE, followed by their most groundbreaking and challenging release, THE POWER AND THE GLORY, and paradoxically, the decline of the insanely ingenious era of the band.

GENTLE GIANT were the masters when it comes to conceptual albums: they are able to weave connections between the subjective idea the album proposes and the materialistic evidence. It's a no-brainer that the band members had ease in constructing the most unimaginable sounds, so it probably wasn't difficult technically to create the aforementioned link. The way each song develops, as well its position and significance to the album, is carefully constructed - for instance, you'll see a shift in the music when the conceptual mood swings, this example being particularly visible on Proclamation.

I mentioned the tranquility the band had with constructing technically complex songs. Well, if you think about it, the explanation is rather simple. All members were excellent musicians - the Shulman brothers were raised in an environment where they contacted countless instruments and developed musical ability since always; Kerry Minnear was graduated from the Royal College of Music with a Composition degree (sounds classy! Because it is); John Weathers (the drummer and only lad with a fixated role) was a seasoned and virtuoso player; and Gary Green was... just plainly badass, really - therefore there were fewer moorings that chained their music to mediocrity (or simplicity); if something insane was brought up, everyone could play it. In this way, the multi-instrumentalist ambitions could soar sky-high without fears of the personnel being unable to reach the equally skyrocketed demands. Spoiler: the ambitions DID soar sky-high.

Well, in this album GENTLE GIANT constantly sculpts their music on the most bizarre, unintuitive but still amazing shapes, with terrifying odd time signatures that are actually common time and chaotic polyrhythms that feel as fluid as common time. We observe constant experimentation without losing enjoyability, in a form that, although completely chaotic, is still easily identifiable as music, with normal instruments, normal sounds, made by normal people, to normal people. It feels natural, and not some sort of madman's highly pretentious crazy wankery. Since ACQUIRE THE TASTE it was widely known that GENTLE GIANT's objective was to "expand the frontiers of contemporary popular music at the risk of being very unpopular. We have recorded each composition with the one thought - that it should be unique, adventurous and fascinating". No release is truer to their motto than this one, and for that matter, I consider this their magnum opus l album and the highest point of their career. Indeed, the climax.

... but climaxes are followed by calmness; in the same way the tranquility of open, blue skies, soothes the oceans after a devastating storm. Their following release, FREE HAND, is much more commercially attractive and different from THE POWER AND THE GLORY. I'm not arguing the album is bad, but just that it's pretty much the post-climax conclusion, or, to make myself short, not as good. Their creativity peak was over, and the successful syncretization between radio-friendliness and relative experimentality connoted that they were looking for 'em pounds - something that Gary Green agrees on me. However, this is a tale for some other moment...

 Acquiring The Taste by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.25 | 1302 ratings

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Acquiring The Taste
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nº 119

'Acquiring The Taste' is the second studio album of Gentle Giant and was released in 1971. The dissonant counterpoint, the nearly eponymous debut peculiarity that made them renowned, has their first appearance in 'Acquiring The Taste'. On this album, each of the six musicians, alternatively, played different instruments, with a massive use of electronic keyboards that gave a nearly symphonic feature to the album. With this album Gentle Giant begins the incredible versatility of their music which explores many various genres, ranging from jazz, blues, hard rock, experimental, classical and medieval, but always in the root of the tasteful progressive rock music.

The line up on the album is Gary Green (vocals, 6 string guitar, 12 string guitar, 12 string wah-wah guitar, donkey's jawbone and cat calls), Kerry Minnear (vocals, electric piano, organ, mellotron, vibraphone, Moog piano, celeste, clavichord, harpsichord, tympani, xylophone and maracas), Derek Shulman (vocals, alto saxophone, clavichord and cowbell), Phil Shulman (vocals, alto and tenor saxophones, clarinet, trumpet, piano, claves and maracas), Ray Shulman (vocals, bass, violin, viola, electric violin, Spanish guitar, tambourine, 12 string guitar, organ bass pedals and skulls) and Martin Smith (drums, tambourine, gongs and side drum). Paul Cosh (trumpet and organ), Tony Visconti (recorder, bass drum and triangle) and Chris Thomas (moog programmer) are additional musicians that appear on the album.

'Acquiring The Taste' has eight tracks. All songs were written by Kerry Minnear and the three Shulman brothers. The first track 'Pantagruel's Nativity' is one of my favourite songs of the album and became a classic Gentle Giants' track. It's a song with continuous music and a nice melody. It has beautiful keyboards very well combined with a powerful and great guitar work. What is most impressive on this track is the use of so many musical instruments such as saxes, vibraphone, celesta, harpsichord, tympani, trumpet, clarinet and so on. The second track 'Edge Of Twilight' is one of the most avant-garde musics on the album. It's a very dark music with short vocal line, nice to hear and with a good explorative musical work. The third track 'The House, The Street, The Room' is another avant- garde music with nice melody and the exploration of strange sounds. This is one of the heaviest songs recorded by the band that at some times reminds me the typical apocalyptic sound of Van Der Graaf Generator. The fourth track is the title track 'Acquiring The Taste'. It's a very short instrumental track, another avant-garde and explorative track with some nice and catchy musical moments despite its length. The fifth track 'Wreck' is probably with 'Pantagruel's Nativity' one of the two best tracks on the album. It's a strong song with the fantastic and typical vocal harmony of the group with great and interesting musical passages especially the keyboards and guitar passages. This song reminds me 'Argus' of Wishbone Ash. The sixth track 'The Moon Is Down' is another interesting song that starts very slow but that develops into a more energetic sound. It's another song with nice and good exploratory musical passages and with a beautiful vocal work. The seventh track 'Black Cat' is the calmer song on the album but with more experimental musical passages. It has some good and interesting musical moments but it seems to me the less inspired song of the album and the weakest song on it. The eighth and last track 'Plain Truth' is a solid rock song with the typical Gentle Giant's guitar work and also with good vocal harmonies. It's probably the most accessible track on the album, the less complex and the more traditional, and less typical of them. Still, it's a solid closer for this interesting, great and surprising work.

Conclusion: This album represents a giant's step into their music, relatively to their previous eponymous debut studio album. 'Gentle Giant' represents probably their less complex musical work and it's for sure their most hard and heavy rock album. By the other hand, 'Acquiring The Taste' represents, for me, the most experimental, most discordant and most avant-garde album, in all their musical career. This album has everything that characterized Gentle Giant's music, the fusion of several and different musical styles such as rock, blues and jazz, the influence of the renaissance and medieval music and the prolific use of multi musical instruments. It's interesting to note, that in the sleeve text, the band made their declaration with the objective of defining what they wanted to do in the music: ''Acquiring The Taste' is the second phase of sensory pleasure. If you've gorged yourself on our first album, then relish the finer flavours (we hope) of this, our second offering. It is our goal to expand the frontiers of contemporary popular music at the risk of being very unpopular. We have recorded each composition with the one thought - that it should be unique, adventurous and fascinating. It has taken every shred of our combined musical and technical knowledge to achieve this. From the outset we have abandoned all preconceived thoughts of blatant commercialism. Instead we hope to give you something far more substantial and fulfilling. All you need to do is sit back, and acquire the taste''. And this is all really true.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Gentle Giant by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.91 | 1045 ratings

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Gentle Giant
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 118

'Gentle Giant' is the self titled debut studio album of Gentle Giant. Their music tried the most daring fusion of jazz, classical and rock. The band was formed by Schulman brothers who had before joined some blues band in Glasgow. The major point of strength of the sextet were Kerry Minnear's electronic keyboards, the guitar playing by Gary Green and Philip Schulman's winds. Besides their complex scores, their sound differed from other bands especially for Derek Schulman's singing, so aseptic that in some way resembles Conservatory's solfege and Gregorian chant.

So, the line up on the album is Gary Green (backing vocals, lead guitar, 12 string guitar and flute), Kerry Minnear (lead vocals, backing vocals, keyboards, some bass, cello, synthesizer and some tuned percussion), Derek Shulman (lead vocals, backing vocals and some bass), Phil Shulman (lead vocals, backing vocals, saxophone, trumpet and recorder), Ray Shulman (backing vocals, most bass, violin, some guitar and percussion) and Martin Smith (drums, percussion and xylophone). Paul Cosh (tenor horn on 'Giant') and Claire Deniz (cello on 'Isn't Quiet And Cold?'), are additional artists that appear on the album as guest musicians.

'Gentle Giant' has seven tracks. The first track 'Giant' written by Derek Shulman, Phil Shulman, Ray Shulman and Kerry Minnear is a fantastic begin to the album. This is a truly classic progressive Gentle Giant's song very dynamic and creative. I love the way how the guitar is played and the great keyboard work made by Kerry Minnear. This is one of the best moments on this album. The second track 'Funny Ways' written by Derek Shulman, Ray Shulman and Kerry Minnear is a song completely different from the previous one. It's a mellow song more classic and acoustic with an extraordinary exploration of several musical instruments, some classic and acoustic which are fantastically married with the others, electric and more modern. It's also in my humble opinion a song with a relatively complex musical composition. This is a perfect example how these guys were absolutely unique. The third track 'Alucard' written by Derek Shulman, Phil Shulman, Ray Shulman and Kerry Minnear is, if you have noticed, 'Dracula' spelled backwards. This is an atypical song of the group because is more a hard rock influenced song. It's relatively complex and has some interesting and good instrumental musical passages and with disturbing vocals. However, this never was one of my favourite songs on the album. The fourth track 'Isn't It Quiet And Cold?' written by Kerry Minnear is a very mellow song that reminds me The Beatles and some stuff of early King Crimson's albums. The song is performed in an unplugged style with strange and delicious parts performed especially by violin and cellos. This is a song very simple and despite being a song with a very soft and nice melody this isn't one of my favourite tracks on the album too. The fifth track 'Nothing At All' written by Derek Shulman, Ray Shulman and Kerry Minnear is the biggest song on the album and is really a truly surprising track. This is another atypical song of Gentle Giant and it has practically everything. The song begins as a soft and nice acoustic ballad with melancholic harmonies, in the middle it grows as a hard and heavy rock song, then comes the curious drum solo by Martin Smith, so typical on the albums of those times, curiously with the piano of Kerry Minnear adding some nice melodies on the background and finally the song ends with the initial soft and beautiful acoustic ballad. This is one of the strangest, original, curious and interesting songs ever composed by the group, a real must. The sixth track 'Why Not' written by Kerry Minnear is in my humble opinion another high point of the album. This is a heavy Rock'n'Roll song a little bit dark and frantic with some calm and nice passages. It's worth of noting the appearance for the first time in their music, of the clear influence of the medieval music, which isn't surprising because this is a song of Minnear and he is a musician strongly influenced by those music. The seventh track 'The Queen' is a rock version of their national anthem 'God Save The Queen'. It's a short version arranged by Derek Shulman, Phil Shulman, Ray Shulman and Kerry Minnear. I've nothing special to say, unless that it reminds me Queen who did it five years later on their fourth studio album 'A Night At The Opera', a version that I personally prefer.

Conclusion: Who usually read my reviews on Progarchives, especially those who are about Gentle Giant, know that I'm a big fan of the group. Gentle Giant was one of the pioneer bands of progressive music and was also one of their biggest and best representatives. And about the album, 'Gentle Giant' is an excellent debut album. It's probably their less complex musical work and it's for sure their most hard and heavy rock album. But, we mustn't forget that this is an album of 1970 and therefore one of the first progressive rock albums in prog rock history. However, this album already have some of the main characteristics of their music like the avant-garde and experimentalism, the fusion of rock, blues and jazz, the influence of the renaissance and medieval music and the prolific use of the multi musical instruments.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Interview by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.75 | 646 ratings

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Interview
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Kepler62

4 stars It may seem a superfluous endeavor to review an album that was released over 40 years ago but Gentle Giant's 1976 album Interview is worth a brief retrospective glance over. At the time progressive rock itself was in question as a viable commercial prospect and Gentle Giant were at the peak of their popularity. Stylistically they had pretty much exhausted the possibilities of their singular "everything but the kitchen sink" approach to composing and playing music on their previous "Free Hand" album. In recognition of this quagmire they came up with this clever psuedo-concept album that commented on how distant the music industry was from artists and their art in the form of snippets of a mock interview inserted between tracks with noted rock journalist Phil Sutcliffe playing along.

Although it includes all the idiosyncratic elements that made their music so wondrous Interview may elicit some "you've got to be kidding me" reactions for those not acquainted with some of the light-minded and whimsical musical attitudes that comprised Gentle Giant's otherwise less than straightforward technically challenging music. Interview occupies an interesting place in the epicenter of the career of this unique band. Progressive rock was in it's death throws and devotees of the Gentle Giant would notice the toned down instrumentation and more "modern" sound, retaining it's usual adventurous spirit on tracks such as the reggae infected "Give it Back" and the sometimes bluesy "Timing". The album also spawned one of the best loved Gentle Giant tracks, "I Lost My Head" as well as the discordant "Design", another fan favourite that is littered with all kinds of musical outlandishness. So Gentle Giant was still held in high regard by their fans and "Interview" even did well with the press in spite of the climate within the music industry towards outdated progressive rock "dinosaur" bands.

Gentle Giant was even an oddity within the progressive rock realm of the early seventies but attracted a curious dedicated following so it's difficult to find a yardstick with which to measure them. While Interview could have suffered under the shadow of the monumental "Free Hand".during a busy period for the band, keyboardist Kerry Minnear has insisted on more than one occasion that the band fared well under pressure and Interview is a testament to this observation. After the release of the album in the spring of 1976 further albums from Gentle Giant became somewhat more subdued and less audacious but Interview will always stand as a critical moment at the pinnacle of a remarkable career.

 Thank You (edit) by GENTLE GIANT album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1978
1.50 | 7 ratings

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Thank You (edit)
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

1 stars It amazes me how friendly ratings (without reviews, of course) this single has received here. I recently listened to all the post- Interview albums of GENTLE GIANT, and it's easy to pick Giant for a Day (1978) as their worst album ever. Its biggest problem is that the songs go nowhere, they're ripped bare of progressive characters. A good example is the opening track 'Words from the Wise' that starts sharply sounding more or less like the classic GG with its vocal harmonies, but as the song goes on and on unimaginatively till the end, the listener realizes that the band, once so innovative, original and skillful, had truly lost their touch, as the preceding uneven album The Missing Piece had indicated. I even prefer the last, equally forgettable album Civilian (1980) in which the former prog group and now an average pop group at least managed to update their sound fairly convincingly.

'Thank You' is an extraordinarily boring, forgettable, country-flavoured middle-of-the-road song from Giant for a Day, actually among the poorest tracks of the poor album. Like it's said in the 4-CD set "I Lost My Head - The Chrysalis Years 1975-1980", it could be a harmless little song by an American midwest band called Montana or something like that, without anyone giving a second thought on its strengths or weaknesses. But being a Gentle Giant song, it's like an acclaimed Nobelist writing a technical manual.

Instrumental 'Spooky Boogie', another outtake from the album, is mildly humorous and witty, definitely better and more original (Gentle Giant -ish) than 'Thank You', but still missing the progressive final touch. At least I don't care to listen to it more than a couple of times. Featuring only weak album material and even having a poor cover design, I see no valid reason to give more than one star to this miserable single.

 The Power And The Glory by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.30 | 1349 ratings

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The Power And The Glory
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Tapfret
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

5 stars "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely"

Even prior to the statement attributed to Lord Acton in his 1887 letter to Archbishop Mandell Creighton, the premise behind this statement was, and continued to be used to tell many a tale. And of course it is no secret how many times it plays out in real life. The point being, this is the premise behind Gentle Giant's outstanding 1974 concept album, The Power and the Glory. As a concept it is clear that they can lay no claims to originality. However, the manner in which it is presented musically and lyrically is unrivaled and unique.

Not being in any regard a language specialist or connoisseur, it is difficult to properly relate the manner in which the story is so poignantly delivered with precision and brevity. The band had previously demonstrated a love for the alliterative ruminations of RD Laing; using a lot of the same words in rounds to say what could likely be said with a couple short sentences. In The Power and the Glory, the lyrical patterns use some of the Laing influenced metrics, but with more being said with far fewer words. In particular, So Sincere, with its in-line antinymn contradictions. It is one of the few albums that I have been truly able to feel the lyrical content as an essential. That point has been solidly driven home by the recent re-master that include a Bluray disc with video lyric presentations. The word are often in a jumble and seemingly pulled at random or displayed in reverse. A brilliant underscore of the concept as it pertains to double talk in political speaking or drawing example to fit a narrative. Again, its an outstanding bit of lyrical brevity to convey a grand process.

Musically The Power and the Glory is deeply complex. It is an essential complexity that drives the album's theme home. The opener Proclamation uses oddly metered instrumentation in a talkback style that seems to mimic a public discourse that escalates in speed and intensity to eruption of the ultra-dissonant "Hail..." chant. So Sincere uses a freely dysjunctional rhythmic pattern with the previously mentioned use of in-line antonyms to further keep the listener off balance in analogy of political subterfuge. Every little subtlety is a mechanism for storytelling. It is no doubt challenging to the listener to be present in the story. And it is a level of challenge that is well documented in making some uncomfortable. Surely it is not too much to expect that the given subject does come with a little discomfort.

The presentation has been further augmented in recent years by a 5.1 remaster by the 5.1 master of re-master, Steve Wilson. It is for that reason that I have chosen to engage in a review of this already thoroughly reviewed masterpiece. For many years it occurred to me that The Power and the Glory was absolutely made for a surround mix. And, indeed, Mr. Wilson has once again hit the mark. That aforementioned talkback sequences with each instrument coming in one-by-one leading into the final verse of Proclamation was everything I had imagined. The mix adds another amazing element to one of my favorite works of all time.

The Power and the Glory was one of the most routinely bashed albums among mainstream critics in the mid- 70's. And with good reason, its an album that is not a passive listening concept. For my part I find every aspect of this album a delight. From the talent of the players and their individual multi-instrumental capabilities to the completeness of concept, it is a 100% essential piece to any prog collection. 5 stars.

 Acquiring The Taste by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.25 | 1302 ratings

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Acquiring The Taste
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Shade Of Time

5 stars Sometimes after listening to the contemporary and dynamic prog rock I feel an urge to listen to something more deep and sophisticated, and that is why I've just listened to this album once again. And once again I got convinced that it is one of the three best albums of Gentle Giant. Due to many styles and involvement of astonishing number of live string instruments and woodwinds It is probably the most serious and strongest albums of my favorite group. What's also impressive ? extraordinary vocal parties of all 5 singers, well-arranged canons and choral parties. I cannot stop admiring at how organically and at the same time unusually the compositions are developing. The way how the guys played their instruments is impressive even now. It would be really great if new groups could not only copy the Gentle Giant style, but could develop it further. I am looking forward to such projects.
Thanks to Ivan Melgar M for the artist addition. and to The Bearded Bard for the last updates

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