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Top Customer Reviews
Gentle Giant was that band. A challenging quintet that put out 11 studio albums and one double live between 1969 and 1980, the Giant developed a considerable following on the European continent, and fanatical but small fan bases in the U.S. and their native Britain.
This was their auspicious debut. A bit rough around the edges, it features many of the distinctive styles that would coalesce and blossom so impressively on their fourth through eighth albums in the mid 1970s: cello and multi-tracked violin under a bittersweet ballad with a jazzy vibes solo ("Funny Ways"), heavy blues rock with delicate Baroque-style bridges on keyboard and recorders ("Why Not?" which resembles the later "Peel the Paint" or "The Runaway"), offbeat rhythms punctuated by long, humming instrumental breaks ("Giant," similar to the later classics "Just the Same" and "Interview").
"Alucard" calls to mind the Edgar Winter Group's "Frankenstein" (not surprising, since the title is "Dracula" backwards), with pounding keyboards echoed by an unobtrusive sax, but it adds chilly vocals, then blasting blues lead guitar. In contrast, "Isn't It Quiet and Cold?" is jaunty and sweet: acoustic guitar and cello support a sly lead vocal, with interjections by toy piano and "bones-y" xylophone.Read more ›
This initial lineup included Derek Shulman (lead and backing vocals); Ray Shulman (electric bass; violin; guitars; lead and backing vocals); Phil Shulman (saxophone; trumpet; recorder; lead and backing vocals); Kerry Minnear (Hammond organ; mellotron; mini-moog; acoustic piano; cello; tuned percussion; lead and backing vocals); Gary Green (electric and acoustic guitars); and Martin Smith (drums and percussion). Supporting the group is Claire Denis (cellist on Isn't it Quiet and Cold?) and Paul Cosh (tenor horn) on Giant. Even off of the starting block, this was a group of superb skills and there is some great ensemble work on this album. The individual playing is great too and there are some ripping solos on the Hammond organ and electric guitar. The vocal harmonies are also very sophisticated and would become a hallmark of the classic Gentle Giant sound.
The seven tunes on the album range in length from 1:40 to the comparatively lengthy track Nothing at All (9:08) and present a nice mixture of English progressive rock, classical, Magical Mystery Tour period Beatles; English proto-progressive rock (Procul Harum/Moody Blues), and even a tiny smidge of the European avant-garde.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really like the music but I wish the recording was mixed differently (vocals are difficult to hear.) I can see why Gentle Giant has a cult following. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kim Lester
I love Gentle Giant. I needed this disc to complete my collection. Very good debut recording. Although it is not quite is good as their later releases, it is still worth getting. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Bill Eckert
I remember a friend playing this record at a party I was at in the early 70's. I loved it.... forgot all about it till now.... I love Gentle Giant. Read morePublished 9 months ago by jthovenpro
What did Dracula, the Queen, an ant and the Giant in common? They all appear on the grand, hardly put into words-making debut of the friendly giant. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Christian Schauer
Good first effort. Band would mature as time marched on, and the next two albums were major steps.Published 18 months ago by Stephen Harper