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GTR King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents GTR album cover
2.94 | 28 ratings | 5 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Live, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Jekyll and Hyde (5:46)
2. Here I Wait (5:55)
3. Prizefighters (5:17)
4. Imagining (7:12)
5. Hackett to Bits (2:21)
6. Spectral Mornings (3:57)
7. I Know What I Like (6:24)
8. Sketches in the Sun (2:44)
9. Pennants (4:31)
10. Roundabout (8:38)
11. The Hunter (6:44)
12. You Can Still Get Through (6:55)
13. Reach Out (Never Say No) (5:54)
14. When the Heart Rules the Mind (6:03)

Total Time: 71:37

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Hackett / guitar
- Steve Howe / guitar
- Max Bacon / vocals
- Matt Clifford / keyboards
- Jonathan Mover / drums
- Phil Spalding / bass

Releases information

CD King Biscuit Flower Hour Records 70710-88021-2 (1997 US)
CD King Biscuit Flower Hour Records KBFHCD010 (1998 UK)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to The Bearded Bard for the last updates
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GTR King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents GTR ratings distribution

(28 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(25%)
Good, but non-essential (39%)
Collectors/fans only (25%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

GTR King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents GTR reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars Fantastic live album! Great versions of the songs from this bands one and only (but very good) studio album. There is also a brand new song Prizefighters that is a real arena anthem with a keyboard solo. Pennants, originally from one of Steve Howe's solo albums, is a nice jam with guitars and keyboards. The band also performs a great version on the Yes classic Roundabout (hence the title of some versions of this album) as well as the Genesis song I Know What I Like (which is the only song that doesn't really seem to fit in here). There are also solo numbers by the two Steves: Hackett's Spectral Mornings and Howe's Sketches in The Sun - beautiful!

Probably one of the best live arena-prog-rock albums of all time!

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
2 stars Most of the 80s flavour of the GTR debut has been cleanud up. It's a live and Max Bacon had probably decided to take few risks by singing on a pitch not so high as in the studio versions.

"Jekyll and Hyde" is a bit slower and the sound of Hackett's guitar is cleaner. Howe play the synth guitar and the bass is more in evidence. Also the drums have lost the 80s electronic plastic sound. The result is a totally different song respect to the studio version. Of course the song itself is not a masterpiece, but at least it's not disturbing.

"Here I Wait" was probably the best track (if "best" is a word that can be used) of the debut album. Without the 80s flavour it's quite a Yes song. Also here the tempo is a bit slower and all the song is improved by this slowing down.

"Prizefighters" is a previously unreleased song. Opened by "violins and pizzicato" reminds me to Procol Harum. Not a masterpiece, probably too mellow, but always better than everything that can be found on the studio album. The interlude is a typical Hackett instrumental for the tempo, enhanceded by Howe's synth guitar. Let me say that "Improved" and "enhanced" are words easy to use respect to the absolutely awful debut.

"Imagining" was the studio album's closer. The classical guitar intro is a bit longer and some passages have been added. It's a pity that it doesn't continue in this way until the end. Even if the bass introduces the "real song" in crescendo, as it was Squire playing, the song is poor. The first sung part is accompanied by drums. This contributes to clean it up, but this is still a song good for Big Generator or for the Duran's sountrack of James Bond. The Spanish guitar coda is not that bad.

"Hackett to Bits" has the advantage of being instrumental and not featuring a Max Bacon, but it's not very different from the original version and the original was nothing special.

"Spectral Mornings" is another new track. Probably one of the few really co-written by the two Steves. It's a melodic instrumental on which the lead guitar sounds like Mike Oldfield's, and the drums are a bit too invasive.

Finally a Genesis cover heavily re-arranged with a bass line that's kept directly from Camel's Liggin' ar Louis and a guitar that would have been better played by Latimer for the first two minutes. It takes over 3 minutes to be recognizable enough. "I know what I like"...I like the Camelesque intro, but it's not functional to the song. It's just a scenic interlude. not that is badly played, of course. I'd never thought that I have preferred Phil Collins to anybody else, but it's the case. Also Fish's version on Suites is better than this in terms of singing.

"Sketches In The Sun" was the other highlight of the studio album. Open chords for Hackett and mandolin like playing by Howe. One of the few good things in both the albums.

Another song not present on the first GTR: "Pennant" is not very different from what listened up to now...quite boring, too. It's followed by "Roundabout". probably the only good reason to purchase this album/DVD. Unfortunately Max Bacon is NOT Jon Anderson and his pitch on this song is one octave lower than Jon's. Stll a great track, anyway.

After this good interlude we are back to the poor songwriting of GTR studio: musically speaking "The Hunter" could have been used as soundtrack for the Teletubbies, and the only time when Max Bacon tries to get the high pitch as in the studio album, he fails.

"You Can Still Get Through" sounds very Yes as in the original version, but less 80s. On this pitch Bacon is not bad and the variation on the chorus makes it less trivial. This is a track that can be saved.

"Reach Out" is on the same line. Very few to say about it, apart of the central instrumental part that has been improved and hosts a couple of guitar solos, so it's really better than the original.

Unfortunately the live session is closed by the worst poppy song: "When the Heart Rules The Mind". It reached the top40 in the 80s. And it should have been left there, at Top of the Pops.

This album is an anhancement respect to the very poor studio, but of course a live played by skilled musicians like the two Steves can't be totally bad. Unfortunately the songs are almost the same of the debut. It can have two stars instead of one, but it's just pop.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars I had to give GTR another shot, I guess. I saw this album on the record shelf for months and took me all this time to finally listen to it. Well, I knew this live recording could never be worse then their only studio album recorded in the 80´s. But I must admit that I was not expecting it to be that good. Well, not brilliant, but very good. Incredibly, on stage GTR really sounds like a ´real´ group, not just like a project built around the two guitar heroes nor an Asia´s formula exploitation. And without the restrainings of studio time and a bad producer Steve Hackett and Steve Howe have room to show their amazing skills.

I think that if it was not for the not so good stuff from the original album, this could have been a great moment and a fine group after all. And even if the songwriting was originally one of their many issues, all the tunes sound better here than on their debut. Much better! The inclusion of such cover versions fo classics like I Know What I Like and Roundabout was quite risky. However, the results - taking in consideration it was the 80´s, the uncoolest time to do such thing - are very good and respectful to the originals. They play a complete, note perfect version of Roundabout! I loved the version of Hackett´s Spectral Mornings (actually only part of that song linked with Genesis instrumental After The Ordeal. Great!).

The CD also brings up a new song (Prizefighters intended for their second album) and Howe´s Pennants (form his sophmore solo release The Steve Howe Album). The production is simply excellent, with all instruments ande voices very well balanced. All the songs are performed with enthisiasm and conviction. This record is everythign their debut was not.

Ok, I would love to give this CD a higher rating, but since most of their stuff is really AOR/80´s pop with a little prog thrown in, I can´t say it is an excellent addtion to any prog rock music collection. However, if you like melodic rock done by brilliant musicians, you should check this out. So I´ll be giving it a 3.5 stars rating.

A very nice surprise from a band that seemed doomed from the very start.

Review by Guillermo
3 stars This live album, released in 1997, presents GTR sounding better playing in concert than in their self- titled studio album from 1986. Recorded in Los Angeles in July of 1986, and with the addition of a keyboard player (Matt Clifford) to the line-up because apparently the guitar synths technology from those years was still not very reliable. The main "stars " in the band obviously were Steve Hackett and Steve Howe, but the other musicians of the band played very well, particularly drummer Jonathan Mover, whose drum kit sounds more at the front of the mixing than in the studio album. The playing of all the musicians is more "raw" and clear than in the studio album. But having only one studio album from the band forced them to play all the songs from the album (but "Toe the Line" was the only song from their album which was not included in this live album or was not played at that concert, but it appears in other live recordings from the band), so Hackett and Howe played some songs as soloists, with or without the band, even playing "I Know What I Like" and some excerpts from other songs by Genesis ("After the Ordeal" and "In that quiet earth"), and "Roundabout" from Yes, plus a song called "Prizefighters" which was not included in their studio album. The style of the band still is very Pop Rock in most songs, like in their studio album, but maybe the most Prog Rock moments are from the songs "Imagining", "Hackett to Bits", "Pennants", and "Spectral Mornings". GTR, like Asia, was a so-called super-group from the eighties, put together with some very good Prog Rock musicians but with the main aim to play Pop Rock music to satisfy the new audiences from that decade plus the money making ambitions of managers and record labels. Apparently, GTR lasted for about two years, but like in the case of a super-group from the late sixties called Blind Faith (not Prog Rock), it really showed that despite some musical success it could not last for very long, leaving their members not very happy. So, Hackett left the band after the tour was finished, unhappy with the way the band was managed and the Pop style of most of their music. So, GTR remains as a memory from that decade on which Prog Rock music lost some popularity and some of the Prog Rock musicians had to adjust their music and looks to the "new tastes" of the record labels, managers, producers and the "new" audiences. Anyway, this is a good live album from GTR. Still very Pop Rock in style, but good anyway.

Latest members reviews

2 stars This is in truth a review of GTR - Roundabout, a bootlegesque version of the King Biscuit. album where they have changed the track order for some reason. For example, the three tracks comprising the Hackett/Genesis med-ley are now on different parts of the CD. Also they have cut out all the talk ... (read more)

Report this review (#181541) | Posted by Frasse | Tuesday, September 2, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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