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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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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
$13.33 (used)
I Lost My Head: Chrysalis Years 1975 - 1980I Lost My Head: Chrysalis Years 1975 - 1980
Box set · Import
EMI Import 2012
Audio CD$13.80
$14.39 (used)
OctopusOctopus
Remastered
Alucard 2011
Audio CD$12.36
$19.31 (used)
InterviewInterview
Remastered
Alucard Records 2010
Audio CD$3.99
$4.43 (used)
Free HandFree Hand
Remastered
Alucard Records 2010
Audio CD$6.32
$9.84 (used)
Live at the BicentennialLive at the Bicentennial
Alucard Records 2014
Audio CD$15.98
Three FriendsThree Friends
Remastered
Alucard 2011
Audio CD$10.95
$8.99 (used)
Missing PieceMissing Piece
Remastered
Alucard Records 2010
Audio CD$4.98
$4.04 (used)
Giant for a DayGiant for a Day
Remastered
Alucard Records 2010
Audio CD$2.99
$5.99 (used)
In A Glass HouseIn A Glass House
Remastered
Alucard Records 2010
Audio CD$6.66
$4.99 (used)
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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 | 822 ratings
Gentle Giant
1970
4.24 | 992 ratings
Acquiring the Taste
1971
4.11 | 848 ratings
Three Friends
1972
4.26 | 1271 ratings
Octopus
1972
4.35 | 1116 ratings
In A Glass House
1973
4.26 | 1009 ratings
The Power And The Glory
1974
4.26 | 1005 ratings
Free Hand
1975
3.77 | 512 ratings
Interview
1976
2.95 | 365 ratings
The Missing Piece
1977
2.32 | 311 ratings
Giant For A Day
1978
2.83 | 284 ratings
Civilian
1980

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

4.53 | 315 ratings
Playing The Fool - The Official Live
1977
3.49 | 22 ratings
In Concert (BBC Radio 1)
1994
4.12 | 45 ratings
Out Of The Woods
1996
2.38 | 28 ratings
The Last Steps
1996
4.05 | 47 ratings
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents
1998
4.00 | 17 ratings
Out Of The Fire
1998
1.88 | 14 ratings
In A Palesport House
1999
4.11 | 33 ratings
Totally Out Of The Woods
2000
1.92 | 15 ratings
Live Rome 1974
2000
2.23 | 12 ratings
Interview In Concert
2000
2.75 | 4 ratings
Santa Monica Freeway
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
3.35 | 16 ratings
King Alfred's College Winchester
2009
3.79 | 30 ratings
Live In Stockholm '75
2009

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

4.62 | 163 ratings
Giant On The Box
2004
4.24 | 80 ratings
GG At The GG
2006

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

4.05 | 22 ratings
Giant Steps...The First Five Years 1970-1975
1975
3.13 | 4 ratings
Pretentious For The Sake Of It
1977
4.37 | 55 ratings
Edge of Twilight
1996
3.13 | 53 ratings
Under Construction
1997
4.28 | 32 ratings
Free Hand/Interview
1998
3.19 | 28 ratings
Scraping The Barrel
2004
4.18 | 15 ratings
I Lost My Head - The Chrysalis years (1975-1980)
2012
1.95 | 11 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

GENTLE GIANT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Three Friends  by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.11 | 848 ratings

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Three Friends
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by FragileKings

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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 Free Hand  by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.26 | 1005 ratings

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Free Hand
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by aglasshouse

4 stars It's ironic that this album is my favorite GENTLE GIANT album, seeing as it was the most popular in the US due to it's accessibility upon release (and I'm from the US.) That is not why I like this album so much, however.

After listening to all of GENTLE GIANT's albums, I had to pick this and IN A GLASS HOUSE as my two favorites. Seeing as this is GENTLE GIANT and not some other bands I like, I don't care about the heaviness in the music. Instead, I care about composition and it's value. This album has perfect of both.

Instead of having an even mix of softer and harder rock tracks, this album has songs that mix those two sounds. So instead of this sound being split between songs, it is now combined in the composition of the tracks.

'Free Hand' and 'Time To Kill' are jazzy and just awesome to listen to while doing anything. Other songs such as 'Just The Same', 'His Last Voyage', and 'Mobile' all deserve this spot too, but I honestly like the first two the best. 'Talybont' and 'On Reflection' are great, happier tunes.

My only problem that has been recurring throughout my listenings of GENTLE GIANT is that it is hard for them to change from their bouncy, happy feel. This gets degrading after awhile while waiting for some darker change for a little bit of variety. Not lackluster, just slightly annoying sometimes.

I recommend for anyone starting out with GENTLE GIANT to pick this one up right away.

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 The Advent Of Panurge by GENTLE GIANT album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1973
4.26 | 23 ratings

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The Advent Of Panurge
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars I couldn't resist to write the first review for this single. It's really surprising to see that Gentle Giant released several singles. Just imagine the suspicious situation of complex Eclectic Prog being played from a jukebox in a pub! I wonder how many times such thing happened in the haydays of prog... Also it would be interesting to know how expensive this was if one happened to find it somewhere.

(I confess I can't tell if these songs differ from album versions, which makes my little just-for- fun review a fake in that sense, pardon me. But what to think of 18 ratings without reviews? There's no way of telling if any of them is based on better knowledge either.)

'The Advent of Panurge' is probably on my top ten (five...? maybe not quite...) of GG songs. This opening track of Octopus was a return to the Medieval fantasy world of Rabelais (the first one being 'Pantagruel's Nativity' on Acquiring the Taste). A great example of the highly unique composing style and extraordinary technical skill of the band, and all the more pleasing in the way the main vocals are for the softer voice of Kerry Minnear, making thus a sharp contrast to the edgier parts.

'Prologue' is a strange choice for the flip side, as it is from the preceding CONCEPTUAL album Three Friends. On the other hand it's just as (in)credible as a content of a 7" single as 'The Advent'. Hats off to GG for offering so complex music on a single! Roger Dean's impressive painting of an octopus graces the single too (I have never liked the alternative album cover with the octopus in a jar).

Fifth star for a single would call non-album material (that's one of those basic principles that I have as a PA reviewer), but God, what a single! 4 stars!!

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 Playing The Fool - The Official Live by GENTLE GIANT album cover Live, 1977
4.53 | 315 ratings

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Playing The Fool - The Official Live
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Prog 74

4 stars Certainly I have been accused of playing the fool on more than one occasion. Just ask my wife! But, I'll save that for another day. In regards to this album let me say that it's one of the best live albums I have ever heard and this coming from a guy who doesn't typically enjoy live albums. In fact I really kind of loathe them. A live album is a lot like an opera album. Sure it can sound nice, but one of the main aspects of the album is always missing - the visual aspect. A live album is generally a document of a concert or series of concerts. What makes a concert truly enjoyable is seeing your favorite band in person. I can't tell you the number of times I have gone to a concert thinking, "wow, this band is pretty good!" only to go home and listen to a bootleg of the concert wondering what the hell I saw in them. Opera needs to be seen more than heard as well. It's about the costumes and the acting as much as it's about the music and the singing. Now, there are always exceptions to the rule and that brings us to this incredible album. It's rare that you can actually enjoy a concert you never went to just by listening to it. Gentle Giant is phenomenal on this album. Their energy is infectious. They are having a wonderful time on the stage and seem to be taking a jazz band approach to their music by doing quite a bit of improvising which also helps the songs come alive. You don't need to see it to enjoy it, although the concerts used on this album must've been quite extraordinary to have seen live. I would even go as far as to say that some of their songs sound better live here then they did on the studio albums. Certainly "Just the Same" , "Free Hand" and "Funny Ways" outdo their studio counterparts. "On Reflection" is beautifully done, the opening of which gives one the feeling of being at a Renaissance Faire. Actually this song is a perfect distillation of Gentle Giant. It's part rock, part folk, part jazz, part medieval polyphony and of course part renaissance dance music. Amazing. "So Sincere" is another standout featuring some nice violin & acoustic guitar interplay to open up the song before some fiery electric guitar joins in and takes the song in an entirely different direction. A very complex song with some terrific keyboard playing too. One of the best things about this album is how great it sounds! It was recorded beautifully and the presence is amazing. You really feel like you are at the concert! A truly outstanding album and an essential addition for every proghead.

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 Acquiring the Taste by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.24 | 992 ratings

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Acquiring the Taste
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Prog 74

4 stars Gentle Giant is, of course, an acquired taste. They are among my favorite bands, though I admit they aren't for everybody. Part-jazz, part-rock, part-folk, part-medieval polyphony, part- renaissance era dance music. An interesting hybrid of music that should not work on any level. Initially it turned me off. But, I stuck with them simply because they were so delightfully weird. They can be a challenging listen, no doubt about it and this album is a testament to that. Pantagruel's Nativity starts the album on a somewhat tranquil note. It's a rather low-key way to begin an album actually. However, this is the best song on the album and it hits on just about each part of the aforementioned hybrid throughout it's nearly seven minute length. Edge of Twilight maintains the tranquil mood, but develops more mysteriously even coming across as rather haunted. Like being in some run down castle in the middle of the night. A little bit spooky. The House, The Street, The Room follows and finally the tranquility has begun to lift. It's an extraordinary track and really shows the band's talents for being able to rock hard when they want to. Acquiring the Taste is weird instrumental interlude before we set sail with the band trying their hand at a sea shanty on Wreck. Gentle Giant is not one to follow convention and thank God for that. With the Moon is Down the tranquil mood returns, not as hauntingly as Edge of Twilight, but spellbinding nonetheless. Definitely one of the best songs on the album. Black Cat & Plain Truth close out the album. The latter is a bit over long and my least favorite song on the album, the former is not bad, tranquil yes, but that is in keeping with the overall theme of an otherwise excellent disk. Essential for Gentle Giant fans and Progheads alike!

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 Octopus by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.26 | 1271 ratings

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Octopus
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

5 stars The 2nd album from GENTLE GIANT in 1972 turned out to be one of their most popular and possibly the one that is the heaviest and just like the ink-shooting self-propelling intelligent mollusk that the album is named after, it too has the ability to suck you in with its eight tentacles except instead of the fleshy tender variety we get the sonic equivalents that cast their length and reel you into their universe to give you a musical performance that will most likely leave you hungry for more.

The eight tracks on this masterpiece are varied and even more complex in their composition and approach than anything they had tackled before and the gateway to their run of brilliant albums to follow. Malcolm Moore who had signed up for drum duties only recently on the previous album is already out of the band and replaced by John Weathers who not only aces the drumming parts but also fits in perfectly with the eclectic crew of multi-instrumentalists by contributing cymbal, bongo and xylophone duties as well. A newly integrated sound that adds new layers of tasty tension to the sound.

Every song on here is perfect and instantly sucks you in with a catchy hook and then throws curve ball after curve ball incorporating more polymeters, vocal counterpoints and mixing of classical and modern sounds. Beginning with "The Advent Of Panurge" we get a strange new sound in the musical world that wraps your soul with their sucker cups and only releasing after the very last nanosecond of "Rivers" is complete. The result is an accessibility that you can relate to instantly and a complexity that keeps this music fascinating on repeated listens.

The madrigal "Knots" is one of the most varied vocal weavings I have ever heard which sets itself apart from everything else GG (or anyone else for that matter) has done and is lyrically inspired by the works of the Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Lang. It is brilliant how it plays with other instrumental parts and maintains a catchiness despite being alienating at the same time.

In this dog's life the boys in the band deliver a river of raconteuring troubadours that make me think of kindness for this band that is the best of the best but ultimately they were too far ahead of their time for the masses to relate to this type of eclectic stew and suffered from lack of financial stability but to their credit they continued their adventurous journey into the world of the GENTLE GIANT where bold experimentation married with sensual soul stirring songwriting consistently delivered satisfying sonic ecstasy of the highest degree suggesting that there is a God and at this moment in time that deity delivered this gift of "Octo Opus." I just hope they maintained the rights to their songs as this music will surely become more popular as time goes on.

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 Three Friends  by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.11 | 848 ratings

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Three Friends
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars THREE FRIENDS is the first concept album by GENTLE GIANT and also marked the time in their history where they would begin to replace old members with new. On the drums we now have Malcolm Mortimore taking the spot of Martin Smith. This album also has the honor of becoming the first one to barely squeak into the Billboard top 200 albums in the US and the first where the band self-produced. The North American release originally had the same cover as the debut but the remastered versions and the European releases had the cool blue kids and gull cover.

The concept is based around the theme of three childhood friends and how their lives inevitably separate, lead unsatisfying lives and then finally reunite to collaborate their efforts. One goes into manual labor, one into clerical work and the other becomes an artist. I have to admit that it took me a while to even realize this was a concept album as I am usually more interested in the musical composition than the lyrics.

The vocal harmonies are top notch as always, the melodies are strong but this album starts off a little slow and it seems like it takes half the album to get warmed up before it develops into something truly interesting and then it ends too soon making this my least favorite album of the first seven essentials. That being said, a 2nd tier Gentle Giant is still a phenomenal album that warrants a deserving place on any fan's shelf space. With a theme of this sort it may have actually proven more convincing to make a double album since the events that would encompass the lives of three individuals seem like they would need a lot more time dedicated even if brushed over superficially.

The longer tracks seem to spend a little too much time "breathing" and could either have used some embellishment or some trimming down. An overall great attempt with a very strong side two and if this band didn't have so many masterpieces surrounding this one I would probably be more impressed. However don't let the perfect be the enemy of the very good in this case.

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 Acquiring the Taste by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.24 | 992 ratings

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Acquiring the Taste
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

5 stars After making an absolutely brilliant debut album that was more based on blues and soul GENTLE GIANT didn't waste any time going to town on the experimental road with their 2nd album ACQUIRING THE TASTE with new realms of dissonance, new instruments added to the mix and just an overall mood that must have been a real musical trip in the day considering how unique and eccentric this is even now. Starting with this album the band took the plunge into their own unique musical world and took us to new sonic frontiers of which I am a grateful fan. This direction was taken mainly due to Kerry Minnear's extensive training and interest in classical music which steered the band into the seas of possibilities. This inspiration matched with an ambition that is beyond belief is the reason GENTLE GIANT remains one of the most progressive of progressive even by today's standards.

What really makes their music amazing is that despite their experimental approach they never strayed far with the immediate connections that one associates with pop, soul, R&B or any other immediately instantly gratifying music. Their experimental phase excludes bizaare practice sessions that can occur in bands who choose to delve into unknown territory. They somehow managed to marry the unknown and the accessible with virtuosic performances. Not that I mind totally experimental approaches but something is magical with this band. They just knew how to deliver all the goods at once and because of that they are one of my all time favorite musical groups.

I have both the original release on CD and one of the newer remastered ones and I have to admit the remastered is much better. Wow!!!! This is light years away from Simon Dupree & the Big Sound and so far ahead of their time. If there is a God, then s/he is surely a Gentle Giant.

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 Acquiring the Taste by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.24 | 992 ratings

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Acquiring the Taste
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by poeghost

4 stars This is another wonderful album from Gentle Giant. I like the variety of interesting sounds and songs on it. I may not be able to identify exact instruments used, but will describe what it sounds like to me. The music is very complex, so it is hard to go into detail. Here is a description of each song.

Pantagruels' Nativity - Spooky synth at the beginning that reminds me of the older Dr. Who T.V. series. Beautiful distant medieval singing from Kerry Minnear with sharp guitar and then added flute. There's a heavier guitar riff that comes in later which reminds me of Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull or Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come. The singing that accompanies this guitar segment sounds spooky. Dreamy bell keyboard sounds then a guitar solo. Heavy guitar riff and singing returns. Music settles down. Kerry's beautiful soft singing returns and it ends on a piercing guitar note.

Edge of Twilight - Soft, dreamy singing from Kerry and music with cello, keyboard and spooky horn. There's some low whisper singing in parts, drums tumbling, rolling guitar arpeggios, a drum and percussion solo with an echo or reverb sound. The soft singing returns and ends with twinkling arpeggios.

The House The Street The Room - Leads in with strong bass line and singing from Derek Shulman. It settles down with light singing and some instrument arpeggios. There's various instrumental dynamics and then settles down to light piano for a while. Guitar comes back in with a loud squeal and powerful wah solo with drums and bass. Strong singing returns then settles down with percussion and arpeggios. Song closes with light piano tinkering.

Acquiring The Taste - Note bending, weird synth instrumental solo from Kerry Minnear. It sounds like a spooky horn in there too. Again, reminds me of something out of Dr. Who.

Wreck - Leads in with bass line and then gets fuzzy with heavy guitar. Derek sings strong lead with group backing vocals. Kerry comes in the middle with some gentler singing and then flutes come in. There's some dramatic instrument parts. The main singing comes back in for a while, then fades into medieval flutes playing. The dramatic instruments and power singing returns to fade.

The Moon Is Down - Slowly fades in softly with violin and horn. The group singing reminds me of the songs 'Because' and 'Sun King' from The Beatles Abbey Road album. Bass in background with bell sounds. Powerful echo sounds, then the piano plays. Tempo picks up with an instrumental and then there's a plucky organ solo. The organ slows up and the singing returns. The song fades out with dreamy piano.

Black Cat - Soft plucky percussive instruments with a sneaky sound. Bells and flute. A soft wah along with soft mysterious singing from Phil Shulman. More sneaky sounds and singing again. Wah and violin. Plucky instruments, violin and cello. Percussion with rattle sound. Violin, then note bending. Pluckiness again and then dreamy sound. Singing returns and the music has some added cat meowing sounds before it fades out.

Plain Truth - Starts off with wah violin, which sounds like Jimi Hendrix. Drums, full music and powerful singing bursts in. Bass line, guitar enters, violin enters, sharp sound rising up, then singing returns. Bass and instruments tumble. More singing then settles down into a low violin. Soft bass comes in. Violin gets faster with a little wah, music builds and gets powerful again with vocals returning. Percussion and solo violin returns. Powerful sound comes back to close it out.

My favorite tracks are Pantagruel's Nativity and Black Cat. I give this album 4 stars because in a few songs there are segments that get a little lost. Overall album is very enjoyable and I highly recommend it. I'm looking forward to listening to more Gentle Giant albums.

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 Free Hand  by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.26 | 1005 ratings

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Free Hand
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by poeghost

5 stars I recently discovered Gentle Giant from creating a station for them on Pandora. I had heard of them and was curious. At first I wasn't crazy about the singing but I did like the music. After listening to them more, I've grown to enjoy the singing very much. Now it's one of the things that makes them so distinct to me and is part of what I like about them, along with their quirky interesting music. I decided to get "Free Hand" as my first Gentle Giant recording. I like all of the songs on it. Here's a brief description of each.

Just the Same - A great start for the album. The music and Derek Shulman's vocals are bouncy and fun. The middle part of the song turns into an airy atmospheric spacey sound, then picks up into fast spacey notes. Hand claps brings it back to the bouncy beginning again.

On Reflection - Layered acrobatic vocals by the group lead the song. The singing sort of reminds me of Queen at times. It melts into a slower, tender vocal by Kerry Minnear for a while with flute and light keyboard. The vocals go back to the earlier style and then suddenly shifts into a cool keyboard instrumental to close out the song.

Free Hand - The beginning has a busy keyboard riff with a little sound that flits along, then a heavier keyboard sound enters with powerful vocals from Derek. Interesting, perky riffs punctuate. Galloping drums and instruments move the song along. Then repeats the beginning parts with added layers of sounds and different parts to change it up.

Time To Kill - Some strange electronic sounds lead into a heavier rock guitar and drums. Then the singing and keyboard comes in. More vocal layering goes on throughout the song.

His Last Voyage - Slow tumbling bass and light keyboard at the start. Then a dreamy, sad but soothing vocal by Kerry for most of the piece. A screaming guitar note comes in and breaks into a wah solo. Then pounding descending bass or piano comes in later and moves into the sad vocals again. I think this is probably my favorite track on the album because it's so beautiful.

Talybont - An upbeat, medieval piece. It sort of reminds me of music from the old Doctor Who series. "Nyssa's Theme" and "Kassia's Wedding Music" come to mind.

Mobile - This perky song reminds me a bit of Kansas in vocals, violin playing and overall rock sound.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this excellent album. I'm looking forward to getting and exploring more of Gentle Giant's music.

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