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GORDON GILTRAP

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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Gordon Giltrap biography
Gordon GILTRAP is a well-known English, self-taught acoustic guitarist who has played since the 60's, where he was part of the folk scene in London alongside with Mike OLDFIELD, Bert JANSCH and John RENBOURN.

GILTRAP would get more recognition in the 70's as a purely instrumental figure, with his album "Visionary" released in 1976. While the following year, he would achieve even a bigger success with his own band, THE GORDON GILTRAP BAND, with "Perilous Journey", which already started using progressive elements. GILTRAP in the end of the 70's worked as a classical composer writing famous pieces like "The Brotherhood" and "The Eyes of the Wind Rhapsody".
Nowadays, GILTRAP has been working with famous musicians from the Prog world, like John ETHERIDGE of SOFT MACHINE, and in his latest release with Rick WAKEMAN of Yes.

GILTRAP is a worthy inclusion to the Archives thanks to his wide range of styles, which one of them was introducing Prog elements with his unique acoustic guitar style, which is still remembered today by folk bands.




thanks to Pablo (cacho) for the biography

Gordon Giltrap official website

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Perilous JourneyPerilous Journey
Import · Remastered
Esoteric 2013
Audio CD$9.05
$9.10 (used)
VisionaryVisionary
Import
La Cooka Ratcha UK 2000
Audio CD$31.86
$22.95 (used)
Peacock Party: Remastered & Expanded EditionPeacock Party: Remastered & Expanded Edition
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$9.54
$9.50 (used)
From Brush & StoneFrom Brush & Stone
Import
United States Dist 2010
Audio CD$8.45
$6.58 (used)
Fear of the DarkFear of the Dark
Import · Remastered
Esoteric 2013
Audio CD$9.29
$9.32 (used)
Time To Reflect: A Personal AnthologyTime To Reflect: A Personal Anthology
Trapeze 2015
Audio CD$13.93
$13.97 (used)
Live at OxfordLive at Oxford
Import · Remastered
Esoteric 2013
Audio CD$7.99
$22.68 (used)
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GORDON GILTRAP discography


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

GORDON GILTRAP top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Gordon Giltrap
1968
0.00 | 0 ratings
Portrait
1969
2.05 | 3 ratings
A Testament Of Time
1971
0.00 | 0 ratings
Giltrap
1973
3.53 | 23 ratings
Visionary
1976
4.23 | 25 ratings
Perilous Journey
1977
3.60 | 16 ratings
Fear Of The Dark
1978
3.51 | 12 ratings
The Peacock Party
1979
3.02 | 4 ratings
Airwaves
1982
2.51 | 3 ratings
Elegy
1986
3.00 | 1 ratings
A midnight clear
1988
1.10 | 2 ratings
The Solo Album
1992
3.00 | 2 ratings
Music For The Small Screen
1995
3.02 | 3 ratings
Troubadour
1998
2.10 | 2 ratings
Drifter
2004
2.17 | 4 ratings
From Brush & Stone (Gordon Giltrap & Rick Wakeman)
2009
3.68 | 18 ratings
Ravens & Lullabies (Gordon Giltrap & Oliver Wakeman)
2013

GORDON GILTRAP Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 4 ratings
Live At Oxford
1981
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Gordon Giltrap Band Live 1981
2003

GORDON GILTRAP Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Performance
1980

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

GORDON GILTRAP Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Perilous Journey by GILTRAP, GORDON album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.23 | 25 ratings

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Perilous Journey
Gordon Giltrap Prog Related

Review by Kingsnake

5 stars Always on the look out for new music, I found out this artist.

This is exactly what I am always on the lookout for: instrumental, progressives, symphonic, folky rock. I never heard of Gordon Giltrap before, except the occasional namedropping.

But this one really caught me by suprise. It reminds me of Mike Oldfield, Camel, Caravan, Sky, and even John Miles, but that's not a surprise, because the musicians have all connections to said artists.

The bassguitarist John G Perry, is known of Caravan and Simon Philips of course plays with Mike Oldfield a lot. The drumming is really heavy on this album, and maybe this is Simon's best drumming, I have heard.

Gordon is guitarist but doesn't overdo it, wich is a great thing. Hey plays mostly acoustic, folky stuff over the heavy music. Wich gives it a folky, pastoral atmosphere. When Gordon has a chance to play solos (acoustic) he really shines.

The guestmusicians add strings and horns to the music, wich is put to good use. As said, the music is fully instrumental, but because the melodies and compositions are never dull or too repetitive the album is constantly interesting. In the world of progressive music, I can honestly say, that this album is rather unique, because of it's focus on acoustic guitar, accompanied by a rock-backing band.

The songlengths displayed on the website are wrong, the album is not 32 minutes long but more like 48 minutes: https://www.discogs.com/Gordon-Giltrap-Perilous-Journey/release/5687561

 Visionary by GILTRAP, GORDON album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.53 | 23 ratings

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Visionary
Gordon Giltrap Prog Related

Review by Replayer

4 stars I got interested in Gordon Giltrap's work after reading an interview with Seven Reizh (a French band I found using the terrific PA Top Prog Albums search feature) guitarist Claude Mignon here on PA. And thanks to Giltrap, I have Bert Jansch on my future music acquisitions list. I decided to start with Giltrap's classic prog trilogy: Visionary, Perilous Journey, and Afraid of the Dark.

As others have mentioned, the songs are inspired by paintings, drawings and poems of English painter, poet and mystic William Blake (1757-1827). The tracks are short (11 tracks in 31 minutes), but each has a memorable theme and they don't overstay their welcome. The first five tracks are all based on Blake's illustration The Day of Judgment and the poem The Last Judgment. Most compositions feature the technique of gradually adding more instruments, which probably brought comparisons to Mike Oldfield (in addition to the fact that both Gordon and Mike are primarily guitarists known for their multi-instrumental compositions). Interestingly, Giltrap considers himself more influenced by Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Pete Townshend, Vangelis and Isao Tomita.

Giltrap himself plays six and twelve string guitars, both acoustic and electric. Rod Edwards, one of the album's producers, plays keyboards and helped with the arrangements. John G. Perry, who recorded one album with both of Caravan and Curved Air, handles the bass. The core lineup is completed by prolific session drummer Simon Phillips, then only seventeen years old. These four musicians comprise the core band that recorded the next two albums in Giltrap's prog trilogy, as well. The orchestral accompaniment is provided by several brass and string players.

The album's genre is somewhat difficult to classify. Giltrap started out as a folk guitarist, and he is backed by a standard rock band, but almost all songs feature orchestration. Yet this is not in the vein of other rock compositions of the 70s that feature orchestra, such Deep Purple's Concerto for Group and Orchestra, Electric Light Orchestra, Uriah Heep's Salisbury, Yes' Time and a Word or Rainbow's Stargazer. The songs started out as acoustic guitar compositions and were subsequently arranged for rock band and orchestra. Some pieces have a Renaissance feel.

The album starts with what sounds like a click track (or metronomic drum beat)... that plays unaccompanied for fifteen seconds! As I had read some reviews here, you can imagine my anticipation, thinking of all the instruments to be added on this blank slate. As soon as the intricate guitar fades in, I knew I was listening to something special. Instruments are soon layered on: synths, strings, bass, swirling Minimoog and drums.

Awakening segues into Robes and Crowns. A vibraphone (or maybe glockenspiel) plays the main melody, later taken over by lead electric guitar.

From the Four Winds is mostly played on unaccompanied acoustic guitar, with short sections of strings. Its mood reminds me of the acoustic introduction to Stairway to Heaven.

Lucifer's Cage became one of Giltrap's most well-known compositions and was often featured in his live concerts. Although it's the album's longest track, it's still barely four minutes long. Nevertheless, it's the album's centerpiece and the track that probably best showcases Giltrap's guitar technique. There is a song with the same name on his second album, Portrait, which I don't yet own.

Revelation starts off with an accompanied flute, which gives it an ethereal feel, before Gordon takes over. Rod Edwards adds some effective piano chords. The strings join in the second half. Brass and wordless vocals by Shirlie Roden join during the last minute, giving it an epic finish.

The Price of Experience is one of the more orchestral pieces, with the lead melody played on brass, strings, and Minimoog.

Featuring only acoustic guitar and a flute synth, the Dance of Albion sounds like something off a Blackmore's Night album. Interesting fact: Gordon Giltrap is one of Ritchie Blackmore's favorite acoustic guitarists and Gordon actually helped him out with his acoustic guitar playing. The track also reminds me of Steve Howe's Mood for a Day.

The Tyger, named after Blake's most famous poem, is a dynamic composition, with a driving acoustic riff, alternating with gentler acoustic passages. The track features accompaniment by brass chords and excellent drumming.

The Echoing Green is a dreamy acoustic guitar piece, with a lullaby feel. I feel that the strings in the second half are a tad saccharine and that this would have worked better as an solo guitar number.

London is a melancholy acoustic guitar piece, which is briefly accompanied by trumpet and synth effects. It almost sounds like the poem's lyrics were set to music.

The final track, Night, is one of my favorites and a fantastic album closer. It starts with unaccompanied acoustic guitar, then a second guitar, flute, string, brass and Minimoog join in. This composition also seems to follow the words of the eponymous Blake poem.

I bought the remastered version of the album, which includes five bonus tracks. Overall, the bonus tracks are pleasant to listen to, but they also show how much the orchestration adds to the material.

The first three are devoted to a Guitar Concerto in three Movements that Giltrap composed before deciding on the William Blake concept. Many parts ended being used on Visionary, so it was never released. In particular, the second movement features most of From the Four Winds. A recurring theme seems to have been altered and used for Night.

On Wings of Hope starts with guitar strumming that reminds me of Yes' And You and I. It morphs into an upbeat a symphonic piece with lots of brass, similar to The Price of Experience. I'm not sure why it was left off the original album pressing, since it fits very well and the album was relatively short anyway.

The last track is called Visionary and is a fifteen minute demo track featuring many themes from the final track list: Dance of Albion, The Tyger, The Echoing Green, London, Awakening, Robes and Crowns, and Lucifer's Cage. It has a more medieval sound than the rest of the album. There are no strings or synths, just acoustic guitar with some flute, organ, and drums. It's interesting to listen and see how the themes were developed.

The record company chose the album cover. Giltrap would have preferred a Blake illustration as the cover, which would have been more appropriate to the album's concept.

I recommend Visionary to fans of acoustic guitar and of melodic instrumental music, such as Genesis ex-guitarist Anthony Phillip's The Geese and The Ghost.

 Fear Of The Dark by GILTRAP, GORDON album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.60 | 16 ratings

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Fear Of The Dark
Gordon Giltrap Prog Related

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars The Sunday Times refered to ''Perilous journey'' as ''one of the best albums of the year''.It climbed to No.29 in the UK Albums Chart, while the track ''Heartsong'' received some serious airplay and reached No.21 in the UK Singles Chart.Same track was used as a signature tune on the ''Holidays'' TV programme of BBC.In 1978 Giltrap returns with ''Fear of the dark'' with his regular group supported now by multi-instrumentalist Graham Preskett on violin, female singer Shirlie Roden handles the vocal parts and Roger Hand provided the string arrangements.

This work shows a return to Giltrap's Folk roots, containing plenty of bucolic, acoustic parts, sitting comfortably next to the electric ones.The music comes like a cross between STEVE HACKETT's solo albums, SKY, maybe a little bit of STRAWBS and, of course, MIKE OLDFIELD.It refuses to abandon a strongly elaborate, sophisticated and mainly instrumental profile for the sake of the trends of the time, but simultaneously it sounds pretty accesible to a wide variety of music fans.With Giltrap setting up a true seminar on classic guitar, Hand providing a grandiose string-based background and Edwards offering the gentle tones of Classical Music through his keyboard and piano work, ''Fear of the dark'' comes as a nice proposal on soft, instrumental Prog Rock music, as certain tracks are entirely based on acoustic textures with mellow keyboard surroundings, while the electric pieces are mostly pretty melodic with calm solos, sporadic choirs, piano and keyboard waves and a confident rhythm section.This ones ends up to be closer to Orchestral Folk Rock than Prog Rock at moments, still Giltrap's composing talent and guitar excellence shines through, after all providing well-crafted, memorable tunes over a bunch of demanding arrangements is a hard thing and the man did a pretty great job.

Closer to the lines of ''Visionary'' than the more electric/Steve Hackett-like ''Perilous journey''.Soft instrumental Prog/Art Rock with folky and Classical underlines and some pastoral aesthetics.Recommended.

 Perilous Journey by GILTRAP, GORDON album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.23 | 25 ratings

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Perilous Journey
Gordon Giltrap Prog Related

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars The elegant, instrumental sound of ''Visionary'' was good enough to become pretty succesful, forcing Giltrap to form the Gordon Giltrap Band, opening a new chapter in his career.Bassist John G. Perry, drummer Simon Phillips and keyboardist Rob Edwards were of course the stable members, accompanied by a strong wind section.''Perilous journey'' was the next album in the row for Giltrap, recorded at Redan Recorders and released in 1977 on The Electric Record Company. Stan Sultzman joins on sax and Martin Drover on trumpet among the usual participants, Jeff Daly on baritone sax, Tony Carr on percussion, Pat Halling on strings, Chris Pyne on trombone and Henry Lowther on second trumpet.

The early, rural vibes become less and less apparent with each Giltrap release and the sound on ''Perilous journey'' obtains a smooth electric atmosphere with orchestral and symphonic overtones, akin to SKY or even STEVE HACKETT.The music is pretty gentle and elaborate with nice use of electric guitars, injections of classical guitar and plenty of piano and keyboard lines in the process, resulting to dreamy and well-crafted arrangements.The presence of trumpet, trombone, sax and strings do offer this lush, orchestral feeling, similar to MIKE OLDFIELD's works, but Giltrap had now his own, genuine way to blend symphonic moves, light acoustic soundscapes and rhythmic twists into a charming, progressive amalgam with an obvious touch of 70's Prog Rock.Despite the overall delicate style, certain tracks become quite grandiose with full-blown keyboards, emphatic orchestral backgrounds and Giltrap's quirky guitar plays, both in electric and acoustic form.Rob Edwards provides some fantastic keyboard themes and solos on organ and Moog synthesizer and the album ends up to be pretty rich in sounds and sights with the everchanging tempos and climates.

Second attempt of Giltrap along the lines of progressive music.Intense, ethereal instrumental, quasi-Symphonic Rock with some advanced arrangements.Great stuff, strongly recommended.

 Perilous Journey by GILTRAP, GORDON album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.23 | 25 ratings

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Perilous Journey
Gordon Giltrap Prog Related

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars The prog universe is an eternal infinity, as I often wonder when will I ever hit the bottom of the barrel! Well, thankfully that won't ever happen, there is simply so much music and so little time (yeah, and money!). Obviously, I had heard of Gordon Giltrap without ever having had the op to discover his music. Now, what is particularly sordid about this abject failure on my part, is the well-known chronicled fact that I am a devout bass fetishist who has a particular affinity for John G. Perry, former Curved Air, Caravan, Quantum Jump and Ant Phillips man, who also has published two hard to find solo albums that deserve progressive attention. It is only now that I have purchased both 'Visionary' and 'Perilous Journey', non-arguably Giltrap's two most symphonic releases. I guess one has to mellow with age but truth is acoustic guitar maestros have never really banged my gong, as the sadly departed Marc Bolan would say. No Bert Jansch, one John Renbourn (I have a vinyl somewhere), one John Martyn (same situation), no Paco de Lucia, no Steve Tibbets etc'' Boy, do I feel stupid, missing out on this! One of the top rhythm sections in the cosmos with Perry and the legendary Simon Phillips on the kit, and I just now get the thrill?!? Shame on me!

Truth is Giltrap is a master guitarist, a fluid and technical player who has a storied legacy in folk circles til today. This comment from Ritchie Blackmore (who needs little introduction to anyone in this galaxy= 'Anyone who asks me knows, that I think that Gordon Giltrap is one of the best acoustic guitar players in the world. He gave me lots of hints on how to approach the acoustic guitar as opposed to the electric guitar. He was always way ahead of his time. His concerts and playing are breathtaking. He's also very witty, and I love the fact that he has not cut his hair!" Funny Ritchie, and they say you are humourless, pfff! Sadly, I had no prior knowledge of Gordon Giltrap as well as keyboardist Rod Edwards, who adds so much 'symphonicity' to the proceedings. The mid-70s British hit 'Heartsong' did not quite reach the shores of North America, for whatever reason, so I had never heard it before until my recent 2014 purchase! Pity! A tremendous display of acoustic technique and bravado. Well, I am proud to admit that this is a splendid recording, lush with sterling orchestrations, magnificent arrangements, sublime drumming and masterful acoustic guitar playing as well as Perry's resonating tour de force. This will fit in nicely beside Gryphon, Oldfield, Colin Masson and the Morrigan, for example.

Every track is utterly tasty, in terms of technical prowess and artistic merit, earning very high marks for originality, poise, composure and resonance. In fact, some tracks have an immediate appeal, being densely orchestrated and thus staying away from foolhardy schoolmaster tendencies that can choke the juice out of any album. The colossal symphonics on 'Quest' harken back to 'Red Queen to Gryphon Three' days, an album justly considered by a wide variety of prog fans as a top 20 classic! Edwards in particular shines brightly on piano and assorted keys, surprising in both its mellow and exuberant modes , but on the follow-up 'The Deserter', the sensual sax really blows hard and fine, while Perry rumbles, Phillips thumping as only he can while Giltrap does a little electric ditty. Fabulous and world class tracks, a fine One-Two punch! Though 'Pastoral' may evoke some sweet musical panacea, but it actually swoops down with dense orchestrations of churning violins that introduce the gentle acoustic guitar, the spotlight firmly on Gordon's deft fingers, deeply emotive and crushingly masterful. The word 'beautiful' applies succinctly! While 'Mobio Gorge' has Edwards showing off his Moog skills within frantic ensemble and orchestra interface, Phillips steals the show with his Cobham like thunder. It serves as a fine curtsy to 'Heartsong', a fluttering masterpiece that has verve and style, though I am not a big fan of clapping hands in my music, unless it's a flamenco night in Buenos Aires! But that is just a very minor quibble as the piece has exquisite pace. Gordon has technique down big time, wow! Rapid, precise, intense and dexterous. Want proof that Phillips knows his kit intimately? Check out his technique on 'Reflections & Despair', a platform for booming drum rolls that stagger close to John Bonham territory, aided by orchestral violins that scratch mightily up front and center. Not exactly shabby on the follow-up, 'Cascade', a twirling tornado of symphonic splendor, where Perry carves like a slalom skier. Contrast that with the moody and regal 'To the High Throne', another whimsical union of acoustic guitar and orchestra, rhythm section backing nicely. 'Vision' ends the official 1973 release with a piano driven reworking of Quest, or at least a variation on the same lush theme.

Esoteric Records has in 2013 reissued with a further 4 bonus songs, totaling another 38 minutes plus extended booklet, even though Gordon hates the cover art intensely , probably because it was forced on him by the record company at the time. Great album that has ample merits and really quite original to the discerning prog archivist. Just please do not wait as long as I did!

4 Dangerous treks

 Fear Of The Dark by GILTRAP, GORDON album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.60 | 16 ratings

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Fear Of The Dark
Gordon Giltrap Prog Related

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Gordon's third album in three years brings to a close the set that is often viewed as a trilogy, with the same key musicians and producers as on the previous two. The major difference here was with the songwriting, as although there are plenty of solo writes on this album, there are also some which are credited to Gordon and keyboard player Rod Edwards. Due to issues at home, Gordon decided that they needed to have somewhere to write so they rented a house in the country to do just that. Apparently this is a practice that he stills continues to this day, as he found it so relaxing to have a totally different atmosphere.

The original 8 songs have now been extended to 15, including some TV themes that were released as a single (The Waltons works really well), so there is now well over an hour of music with Gordon showing again that he is at home on electric as he is on acoustic. "Weary Eyes" is a delight with wonderful orchestration, great piano, a warm fretless bass, sympathetic drums and a choir. Who could ask for more? These three albums cemented Gordon's reputation as a performer of the highest order, yet he has still never really gained the acclaim that he should have. I don't believe that he has ever released a poor album (even his Christmas album is listenable) and these reissues by Esoteric with bonus songs makes this a great time to investigate his music.

 Perilous Journey by GILTRAP, GORDON album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.23 | 25 ratings

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Perilous Journey
Gordon Giltrap Prog Related

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Like many others, the first time I came across Gordon Giltrap was when he appeared on Top of the Pops playing "Heartsong" back in 1977. I was 14 at the time, and spending much of my spare time listening to progressive rock music and trying to learn as much about the scene as possible, and I just hadn't come across anything quite like this. I was blown away with the incredible acoustic guitar which just seemed to lift and take off )I always thought it was 12- string, but according to the booklet this is a common misconception and was in fact multi- tracked six string), and to this day it is still one of my favourite Giltrap numbers. The album on which it appeared, 'Perilous Journey', was a continuation of 'Visionary' with the same production team, and the same rhythm section of Simon Phillips and John G. Perry with keyboard player Rod Edwards. Everyone was accustomed now to how each other worked and they took the ideas even further than they had previously.

The orchestration is lush, there is much more use of brass (including the appearance of some guys from the Average White Band), and it is as if the whole band has stepped up. Gordon is very much centre stage, and the additional musical elements (if there are any) add to the guitar while never detracting from it. Rod has a more important part to play on this album, and his use of mini-moog is a key part to the overall success. Even in 1977 this was quite a short album, at only 32 minutes long, but that is no longer an issue as this re-mastered reissue now clocks in at 75 minutes. A special mention should really be made of the final song, the new 'bonus' that even now causes Gordon to cringe. "Heartsong" was such a success that the label of course wanted another hit, and for some reason Gordon was convinced to cover "Oh Well". Given that the original is a classic, this was always going to be a hard ask, especially as Gordon is not a strong singer. It's probably best to just note that this is here, and instead go back to the album 'proper'.

If you want to investigate Gordon, then this is probably the album to start with.

 Visionary by GILTRAP, GORDON album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.53 | 23 ratings

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Visionary
Gordon Giltrap Prog Related

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars After the release of 'Giltrap' in 1973, Gordon decided that he needed to pursue a different musical path, and inspired by the William Blake he decided to go instrumental and create something that was quite different to the rest of the popular music scene. People often believe that he may have been influenced by Mike Oldfield, but although he was area of him his main influences were Vangelis and Tomita, as well as the guitarists John Williams, Julian Bream, Bert Jansch, John Renbourn and Pete Townshend. The main focus of the album would be Gordon's acoustic guitar, and he was aided and abetted by a young Simon Phillips on drums, John G. Perry on bass and Rod Edwards on piano (plus additional guests). The result was something that was quite different for the time, and to be honest more than stands the passing of time some 37 years later!

I have long been a fan of Gordon's, and have long held the belief that everyone should have 'Elegy' in their collection, and this is the beginning of the journey, the first of his albums that put him on the path of moving forward with acoustic classical guitar as the main instrument, bringing in progressive and folk elements as required. Hackett has of course also followed the path with some of his solo material, but he is he follower while Gordon was very much at the vanguard. He seems equally at home just playing solo, or double tracking against himself, with a full orchestra or with a band, and the additional bonus songs (all recorded around the period of release) definitely add to the view of the musician as a whole.

When this CD arrived in the post it was immediately put onto my iPod and I often played it late at night before going to sleep, as it is restful and exciting, vibrant and dynamic, and everything that good music should be.

 Live At Oxford by GILTRAP, GORDON album cover Live, 1981
4.00 | 4 ratings

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Live At Oxford
Gordon Giltrap Prog Related

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars A live performance for essentially a solo guitarist always raises the question of faithful sound reproduction. For instance, GORDON GILTRAP plays both electric and acoustic guitar very well. Does he go with an additional guitarist to complement or at least not cramp his style? What of other instrumentation like sax which he occasionally hires? Should vocals be introduced for variety? On "Live at Oxford" GILTRAP makes several brilliant choices - hiring a competent backing rock band, continuing to play all guitars himself, engaging a female vocalist, and utilizing keyboards and vocals to fill some of the additional guitar and brass sounds. How he implements these decisions results in a show and a resulting album that plays to his strengths while rendering his shortcomings moot.

In some sense this virtuoso's work is best suited to the live setting, since his primary talent is in playing and, to some extent, arranging, as opposed to composition. Luckily his skill is exposed in a measured fashion throughout. The main source of material is "Fear of the Dark", the most recent album at the time of the concert, and it would be hard to imagine that those tracks represented here are not more fully realized than the studio versions. This is especially the case for the epic "Visitation" and the suspenseful "Fear of the Dark", both of which benefit from the sultry expressive vocals of SHIRLEY RODEN. Still, the best example of this adaptive spirit and of Roden's power is in "The Deserter"; originally an instrumental on "Perilous Journey", it is re-invented as a spacey lyrical piece with Roden's vocals replacing sax and some pointed guitar leads. I had never heard of Roden so has to look her up, and found that her limited credits include several prog artists including MICHAEL MOORCOCK, MIKE OLDFIELD and DAVID GILMOUR.

As is standard for Giltrap, none of the material or the performances are weak but here the energy of the live setting and the commitment to the team concept contribute equally to what could be the most suitable introduction to Gitrap for prog fans. I have not heard the prior three albums in their entirety but "Live at Oxford" seems to be cut from a different cloth.

 Ravens & Lullabies (Gordon Giltrap & Oliver Wakeman) by GILTRAP, GORDON album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.68 | 18 ratings

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Ravens & Lullabies (Gordon Giltrap & Oliver Wakeman)
Gordon Giltrap Prog Related

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars It has been quite a while since I have heard new music from either Gordon Giltrap or Oliver Wakeman, so I was very intrigued indeed when I saw that this album had been released. Gordon is arguably Britain's finest acoustic guitarist, and his album 'Elegy' is so beautiful that it should be in every music lover's collection. Oliver on the other hand is probably more well known for being his father's son than for his own music, which is not right at all. The two albums he recorded with Clive Nolan are wonderful, with 'Hound of the Baskervilles' being indispensible, and the last album of his that I heard, 'Mother's Ruin', is also worth investigation. So, given what I knew of the background of these guys I expected to have an album full of acoustic guitar and piano/keyboard interplay and while there is some of that, there certainly isn't as much as I expected.

Although there are times, especially on the second disc, when it is just Gordon and Oliver there are others where it is a full band. Karl Groom has produced the album, and it is his Threshold colleague Johanne James who provides drums, while Paul Manzi (Arena, Oliver Wakeman Band) and Benoit David (Mystery, and of course he was with Yes when Oliver was with them) provide vocals, while Steve Amadeo provides bass. I have only really thought of Gordon as playing acoustic guitar but he does also venture onto an electric while Oliver of course provides all manner of keyboards.

The album is fairly fractured in the sense that some numbers are beautiful instrumental duets while others are more band based and prog/AOR but instead of coming across as a jumble of ideas the result instead is one where each style stands up very much in it' own right but also provides a stronger emphasis on the others than it might otherwise have had. It is an album of delicacy and beauty, something that showcases the instrumental prowess of all involved without saying "look at me, aren't I clever?". Over the last few years I have listened a great deal to Wakeman senior's work, an d was lucky enough last year to catch him at a piano concert here in NZ, and his style has obviously rubbed off on his son as there are times when Oliver's pianowork is just like his dad's, but it all adds to the joy of what is a wonderful album.

The version I am listening to has an additional disc that contains some additional in concert and studio work and the in concert material which feature sonly Gordon and Oliver is actually what I expected the whole album to sound like before playing it, acoustic music that combines and interplays as two great musicians create something of beauty. Overall this is a wonderful album, and I can only hope that they decide to take this journey further and record together again. For more details visit www.esotericrecordings.com

Thanks to dean for the artist addition.

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