Acquiring The Taste - GENTLE GIANT tribute



Acquiring The Taste - GENTLE GIANT tribute

Postby Coffee_&_Cigarettes » Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:53 pm

Image

I had just started to work my way into Prog-rock when i heard this fellas for the first time.
I already knew YES and Canterbury rockers like Caravan, Camel, Soft Machine(later on i will do a Thread on this marvelous lunatics) and Gong.
So far so good, I got used to the undercurrent jazz-rock mood felt in the Canterbury scene albums so listening to GG wasn´t all that hard, i loved their music right away.
My first album was Three Friends and has been since then one of my favorites.
If Caravan´s 1971 brilliant in the land of grey and pink(to this day my personal favorite of all times) was my "nightcap" GG´s Three Friends was my morning breakfast.
I listened to it everyday before i went to school or catching the bus to school on my Walk-Man(I´m so old!).I had managed to record from the cd to a K-7 tape, at that time Disc-man was highly expensive item...
This is probably one of the craziest bands i have ever heard, if you know them you will now what i mean by saying that GG is truly a Avant-guarde band.If you don´t know them yet or never took time to listen to anything by them i strongly recommend for you to run to a record store and pick up Octopus , Acquiring the Taste or Three friends;

Here´s their bio:
Formed at the dawn of the progressive rock era in 1969, Gentle Giant seemed poised for a time in the mid-'70s to break out of its cult-band status, but somehow never made the jump. Somewhat closer in spirit to Yes and King Crimson than to Emerson, Lake & Palmer or the Nice, their unique sound melded hard rock and classical music, with an almost medieval approach to singing.

Gentle Giant was born out of the ruins of Simon Dupree & the Big Sound, an R&B-based outfit led by brothers Derek, Ray, and Phil Shulman. After switching to psychedelia in 1967 and scoring their only major hit that year with "Kites," as Gentle Giant the group abandoned both the R&B and psychedelic orientations of the previous band; Derek sang and played guitar and bass, Ray sang and played bass and violin, and Phil handled the saxophone, augmented by Kerry Minnear on keyboards, and Gary Green on guitar. Their original lineup also featured Martin Smith on drums, but they went through several percussionists in the first three years of their existence.

In 1970, Gentle Giant signed to the Vertigo label, and their self-titled first album -- a shockingly daring work mixing hard rock and full electric playing with classical elements -- came out later that year. Their second effort, 1971's Acquiring the Taste, was slightly more accessible and their third, Three Friends, featuring Malcolm Mortimore on drums, was their first record to get released in the U.S. (on Columbia). Their fourth album, 1973's Octopus, looked poised for a breakthrough; it seemed as though they had found the mix of hard rock and classical sounds that the critics and the public could accept, and they finally had a permanent drummer in the person of John Weathers, an ex-member of the Graham Bond Organisation.

In 1974, however, Gentle Giant began coming apart. Phil Shulman decided to give up music after the Octopus tour, and became a teacher. Then the group recorded the album In a Glass House, their hardest-rocking record yet, which Columbia's U.S. arm rejected as too uncommercial. The two-year gap in their American release schedule hurt their momentum, and they weren't heard from again until the Capitol release of The Power and the Glory in 1975.

Gentle Giant released Free Hand, their most commercial album, in 1976, but then followed it up with the jarringly experimental Interview. After the 1978 double-album Playing the Fool, the group went through a seeming change of heart and issued a series of albums aimed at mainstream audiences, even approaching disco, but by the end of the 1970s their popularity was in free-fall. Minnear, who had been playing an ever-more central role since the mid-'70s, had already left the group when Gentle Giant called it quits in 1980. Ray Shulman later became a producer and had considerable success in England working with bands like the Sundays and the Sugarcubes, while Derek Shulman became a New York-based record company executive.
~ by Bruce Eder, All Music Guide




And a here´s a insight on their music by a fan:

One of the most original British progressives, with an unlikely mix of dissonant 20th-century classical chamber music, mediaeval vocal music, jazz and rock. The first album is one of the most progressive efforts of 1970, but still not totally developed. Still, they are one of the first British bands to experiment with the Moog synthesizer, and they use cellos, violins, reeds and horns to round out the sound, as well as the usual guitar/organ/bass/drums. Experimentation with dissonant vocal harmonies ("Alucard") and improvisation ("Nothing At All") is already present, but for the most part it's pretty straightforward rock, but with odd instrumentation. Interesting as a band in progress. Acquiring The Taste shows significant advancement as far as complexity goes, adding (acoustic) clavichord and [color=darkorange]Mellotron to the keyboard banks, and also beginning to use tuned percussion such as vibes, xylophones, tympani and the like. The addition of askew time-signatures, or at least syncopated rhythms, to many tracks shows them delving ever deeper into experimental territory. The complexity of much of the music here is astounding, listen to "The House, The Street, The Room" for a fine example. By incorporating rock and neo-classical sections side-by-side, they reach a new level of musical intricacy. An excellent album. Three Friends is a rather mundane concept album, the music to which takes a LONG time to grow on you, but eventually it DOES grow on you and in a big way. More accessible than Acquiring, still incorporating odd dissonances though. Octopus finds them becoming quite conceptually bizarre, with a far more overt mediaeval bent, yet also using 20th century icons such as Albert Camus and R.D. Laing as a springboard for song ideas. Listen to the madrigal-like "Knots" for a truly odd exercise in musical counterpoint. Intriguing and essential. In A Glass House contains some of their most daring, provocative music. Note the dark "An Inmates Lullaby," using percussion as its only instrumentation. "Way Of Life," "The Runaway" and the title track are among the best music the band produced--ever! Highly recommended. Power and The Glory continues this artistic plateau, with shorter, but still strong, songs. "Aspirations" is a lovely softer piece. "Proclamation," "The Face" and "No God's A Man" are among the other fine songs, but it's so hard to decide as they're ALL great. Fans of complex prog--don't miss this one! Free Hand is probably their most accessible to date, yet without compromise to complexity. "On Reflection" is another madrigal-based piece that works well, though not as weird sounding as "Knots." Probably the best album for starters, as it's at once listenable and uncompromising. Interview is quite the opposite of its predecessor, very dissonant and unsettling, especially on the mostly all-vocal "Design." "Give It Back" resembles askew reggae, the title track and "I Lost My Head" are other standouts. Playing The Fool is "the official 'live' Gentle Giant album." An interesting overview of the band's entire career up to and including Interview. Many of the songs are spliced together in medley form, yet they still pull it off: note the 16-minute "Excerpts from Octopus." Later albums became more commercial, generally unenthused reports on them has caused me not to even bother. I'd suggest you do the same.[/color]
-- Mike Ohman
Coffee_&_Cigarettes

User avatar
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 185
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 10:51 pm

Re: Acquiring The Taste - GENTLE GIANT tribute

Postby the greenman » Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:25 pm

They were just before I got into prog really.. One day I must investigate!!
the greenman

Veteran Member
 
Posts: 377
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:08 pm
Location: On Sacred Ground

Re: Acquiring The Taste - GENTLE GIANT tribute

Postby happytheman » Sat Mar 14, 2009 10:43 pm

I know we have bounced these guys around before on at least one thread. But thanks for bringing them back up to the surface. Another one of those "almost but not quite" made it groups. Just didn't have the support (?) from the label to promote them....or music wasn't accessible to the "masses". Either way they had their following, just not enough of them to keep the band's head above the water.
I have a strong liking of most everything they put out (of course taking the last two releases out of the mix). As Ian Anderson said in an interview, "The record company likes to recoup at least some of their investment", thus the about face turn with Giant for a Day and Civilian. I have two of their live releases "Out of the fire" and "King Biscuit Flower Hour" releases from the end of their real progressive period and you can hear it in the banter between songs how they had all but given up on the reality of them ever making it big. Very sad indeed because as far as musicians go, I would hold any of them individually up against the very best of what was out there at the time, Keith Emerson, Steve Howe, Carl Palmer, etc. All of these guys could play multiple (I mean 4-5 different) instruments and they did it very well.
My personal favorite would have to be In a Glass House, but any of the first 4 releases stand up with the first 4 releases from Genesis, Yes, ELP.
If you have the chance to see the DVD Giant on the Box, do so. It shows the guys at their peak.
happytheman

Charter Member
 
Posts: 870
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2002 6:00 pm
Location: .

Re: Acquiring The Taste - GENTLE GIANT tribute

Postby the greenman » Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:14 pm

hmm, it seems Gary Green, Malcolm Mortimore and Kerry Minnear will be doing a show as 'Three Friends' playing Gentle Giant songs in the UK in a place near Brighton.. Sounds really interesting. Might have to check it out!

http://www.ropetacklecentre.co.uk/pr...16th_April/118...
the greenman

Veteran Member
 
Posts: 377
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:08 pm
Location: On Sacred Ground

Re: Acquiring The Taste - GENTLE GIANT tribute

Postby tardistraveler » Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:31 pm

I confess I've never heard a Gentle Giant album. My only exposure to them was when they opened for Jethro Tull back in 1972? 3? Forget which.

My impression at that time is that they were trying to mimic the maniacal antics of Tull on stage, which turned me off, so I never investigated their music further. I've heard SO many folks singing their praises out here though - I really need to give them a serious listen sometime.
tardistraveler

User avatar
 
Posts: 6904
Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2003 8:17 am
Location: Nashville, TN, USA.

Re: Acquiring The Taste - GENTLE GIANT tribute

Postby happytheman » Sat Jun 27, 2009 7:14 pm

As long as we are on the subject. I just ran across this...
http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=7966665
apparently this features their drummer before John Weathers.
Should be an interesting listen.
happytheman

Charter Member
 
Posts: 870
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2002 6:00 pm
Location: .

Re: Acquiring The Taste - GENTLE GIANT tribute

Postby thehallway » Sun Jun 28, 2009 9:09 pm

I'm yet to listen to GG. They definately on the long list of bands I keep telling myself to listen to at some point.

Hopefully I'l get round to it one day!
[8]
thehallway

User avatar
Charter Member
 
Posts: 873
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 10:06 pm
Location: Poole, Dorset, UK


Return to When Rock Was Young

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron