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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$10.78
$11.61 (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
$13.33 (used)
Free HandFree Hand
Remastered
Alucard Records 2010
Audio CD$6.24
$11.25 (used)
In A Glass HouseIn A Glass House
Remastered
Alucard Records 2010
Audio CD$6.66
$5.00 (used)
OctopusOctopus
Remastered
Alucard 2011
Audio CD$12.02
$10.95 (used)
Playing the Fool: The Official LivePlaying the Fool: The Official Live
Remastered
Alucard Records 2010
Audio CD$8.20
$7.89 (used)
Three Friends/OctopusThree Friends/Octopus
1-2-3-4-GO! 2013
Audio CD$10.80
$15.76 (used)
I Lost My Head: Chrysalis Years 1975 - 1980I Lost My Head: Chrysalis Years 1975 - 1980
Box set · Import
EMI Import 2012
Audio CD$15.59
$23.87 (used)
Three FriendsThree Friends
Remastered
Alucard 2011
Audio CD$10.42
$10.63 (used)
Gentle GiantGentle Giant
Import
Island Def Jam 1990
Audio CD$4.52
$4.46 (used)
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2h 24m
GENTLE GIANT Acquiring The Taste CD 1971 Vertigo CANADA Press USD $5.00 [0 bids]
2h 24m
GENTLE GIANT Free Hand / Interview CD 1998 BGO UK Press - 2 Albums In 1 USD $7.00 [0 bids]
2h 25m
GENTLE GIANT Gentle Giant CD 1970 Vertigo CANADA Press USD $5.00 [0 bids]
2h 25m
Interview [35th Anniversary Edition] [Remaster] by Gentle Giant (MONO / RECALL) USD $17.99 [0 bids]
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2h 55m
GENTLE GIANT, 2LPs, "Live Playing The Fool" orig 1977 Prog Rock, Three Frien USD $7.95 [0 bids]
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18h 44m
12" Gentle Giant "Free Hand" Vinyl Record ST-11428 Capitol EMI USD $4.99 [0 bids]
18h 47m
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18h 51m
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CD acquiring the taste ~ USD $14.50
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LP live in essen, germany 1971 ~ USD $21.71
LP octopus ~ USD $23.45
LP three friends ~ USD $23.45


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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)

3.86 | 836 ratings
Gentle Giant
1970
4.24 | 1009 ratings
Acquiring the Taste
1971
4.10 | 861 ratings
Three Friends
1972
4.26 | 1296 ratings
Octopus
1972
4.35 | 1133 ratings
In A Glass House
1973
4.27 | 1030 ratings
The Power And The Glory
1974
4.27 | 1021 ratings
Free Hand
1975
3.76 | 517 ratings
Interview
1976
2.95 | 370 ratings
The Missing Piece
1977
2.33 | 316 ratings
Giant For A Day
1978
2.83 | 288 ratings
Civilian
1980

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

4.52 | 320 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
3.37 | 17 ratings
King Alfred's College Winchester
2009
3.79 | 30 ratings
Live In Stockholm '75
2009
4.04 | 6 ratings
Live at the Bicentennial
2014

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

4.63 | 164 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 | 54 ratings
Under Construction
1997
4.28 | 32 ratings
Free Hand/Interview
1998
3.18 | 29 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
0.00 | 0 ratings
In A Power Free In'terview
2009

GENTLE GIANT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 In A Glass House by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.35 | 1133 ratings

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In A Glass House
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by aglasshouse

5 stars I'm not sure what the average prog fan's definition of 'masterpiece' is. But what I am sure of is my own definition: GENTLE GIANT.

Listening through all of the GENTLE GIANT releases, I have to say that there are very few I bring myself to dislike. Of course, there are albums like "Giant for a Day" and "The Missing Piece" which are less impressive than their early 70's material, but I have found that I do not hate anything they have made. They are, after all, the pure essence of what 'progressive rock' really means. Their mission was to change the popular music norm of the 70's, which in a way they did, but very few people know them today (excluding the prog fans).

Every year during 1970 - 1976 they pumped out masterpiece after masterpiece, except for the case of Octopus and Three Friends, which were released in the same year of '72. However, producing masterpieces every year or so is hard to do (as you may think). But these multi-instrumental brothers seem to do be able to do it with ease.

A highlight of their 1970-6 heyday was their 5th studio album, In A Glass House, which was released in 1973. Out of all the GENTLE GIANT albums, this one has to be my favorite. Besides the fact that it was the first one I gave a listen to, it is overall just a fantastic piece of art. There are other prog bands like ELP, JETHRO TULL, and KING CRIMSON that can all produce experimental pieces of rock that changed the genre in some way, but GENTLE GIANT paved that road with their work, and this album symbolizes that very well. It cannot be ignored that Phil Shulman left the band prior to this albums release. It is nice to know that they could steam through without the help of the eldest Shulman, and it sure doesn't affect the quality that much.

The album starts with the seven minute long epic of 'The Runaway', which in live versions is usually coupled with 'Experience' to make for a ten minute or so long performance. Both of these jazzy epics are great in themselves, with hard rocking edges along with more floaty, experimental parts making them up. A problem that I usually have with bands making epics is the songs either being to boring or the band members trying to fit a song that would have done better as a three minute track as opposed to a nine minute one. However, GG has the ability to do this because of the short number of overall tracks on the release (6). The title track also shares this trait. But without giving too much away about them, they are simply exquisite.

It is true that songs on this album have stranger sections, which could perhaps be due to the, could it be, over progressiveness of the release. I know that progressive is in no way bad (if it's done right), but sometimes bands go overboard to be experimental. As I know and I suppose you do to, experimental is suppose to do that. That's why I can forgive the more odd things they do on this album.

That is why, ultimately, this album gets a healthy five star rating from me. I highly suggest you go pick this up if you are a fan of the progressive or the experimental sides of rock.

Go give it a listen.

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 Live at the Bicentennial by GENTLE GIANT album cover Live, 2014
4.04 | 6 ratings

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Live at the Bicentennial
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by aglasshouse

4 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
4.04 | 6 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 | 861 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 | 1030 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 | 861 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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 Free Hand  by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.27 | 1021 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! 4½ stars!!

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 Playing The Fool - The Official Live by GENTLE GIANT album cover Live, 1977
4.52 | 320 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 | 1009 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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