Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 45

Thread: Gentle Giant's Self Titled Debut Turns 50!

  1. #1

    Gentle Giant's Self Titled Debut Turns 50!

    Gentle Giant's first LP was released on this date (Nov. 27, 1970) Fifty Years ago. Here's a look back on the set-

    https://ultimateclassicrock.com/gent...nt-ease-debut/

    Trivia: GG's First wouldn't be released in USA until 1988.

  2. #2
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    The Planet Lovetron
    Posts
    8,155
    Only a hint of what was to come.
    He did not know that the sword he'd hold, would turn his priceless empire into fool's gold...

    http://www.discogs.com/user/moecurlythanu/collection

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by moecurlythanu View Post
    Only a hint of what was to come.
    I agree! Still a good LP with some of my favorites from the band (like "Funny Ways", "Alucard", "Giant" & "Isn't It Quiet And Cold?"). The best from GG was yet to come.

  4. #4
    Member Dok's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Land of the Blue Smoke
    Posts
    286

  5. #5
    Member Vic2012's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    La Florida
    Posts
    5,082
    I have it. Need to revisit it.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Dok View Post
    Wow; Great Video Clip! Thanks so much for sharing, Dok.

  7. #7
    The first GG-album I heard was the 1982 Italian compilation Gentle Giant on a label called Armando Curcio Editore, who apparently specialized in collections and/or anthologies by foreign acts with some standing in Italy. I remember the opening track being "Funny Ways", which caught me instantly. There was just something altogether far more successfully "highbrow" in artistic aspirations here than what I'd come to expect from other 70s progressive bands, some of which I partly changed opinions on as a direct result. I'd already had a similar experience on discovering VdGG and Soft Machine, and I would go on to have more of these pseudo-epiphanies on making further discoveries later, of course.

    I think the debut is a heap of interesting but ultimately merely charming babysteps. I really enjoy "Quiet and Cold" and even the soft vocal harmonies of the highly uncharacteristically straight-forward "Nothing At All", but this is an unfinished work allround. And I even find a lot to yawn about on Aquiring the Taste as well, probably because the contrast is severe between the markedly avant-garde triumphs of something like "Edge of Twilight" or "Pantagruel" against the pedestrian nature of other songs. Consequently, Three Friends was, to me, where their amazing run of fabulous records started.

    One of the greatest runs ever.
    Last edited by Scrotum Scissor; 11-28-2020 at 06:59 AM.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  8. #8
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Fluffy Cloud
    Posts
    3,815
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post

    I think the debut is .....ultimately merely charming babysteps.
    The above - with my excision - is exactly how I feel about it.
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Any time any one speaks to me about any musical project, the one absolute given is "it will not make big money". [tip of the hat to HK]

    "You run a great label, but sometimes you go out of your way to be a jerk." - Jed Levin

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  9. #9
    ^ Just out of interest, Steve - what's your fave GG-record?
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  10. #10
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Fluffy Cloud
    Posts
    3,815
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    ^ Just out of interest, Steve - what's your fave GG-record?
    Probably Glass House with Octopus very close behind.

    an aside:
    When I was quite young (15-16), I was utterly taken with Acquiring The Taste. Talk about 'charming'; when else other than the late 60s or very early 70s was it actually a selling point to say:

    "It is our goal to expand the frontiers of popular music at the risk of being very unpopular."

    and suddenly I knew my goals as a label owner!



    I subsequently realized that the actual material involved wasn't as good as what they did later, but ATT was a big deal album for me at the time. And maybe I liked it specifically BECAUSE of those liner notes! Take THAT tastemakers!!

    Funny that you mention Three Friends; of all the 'classic' period albums [Acquiring - Interview], that's probably my least favorite although I certainly do like it a lot. And "Prologue" is one of my very favorite themes by GG.
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Any time any one speaks to me about any musical project, the one absolute given is "it will not make big money". [tip of the hat to HK]

    "You run a great label, but sometimes you go out of your way to be a jerk." - Jed Levin

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  11. #11
    Density Cluster
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    15
    It's amazing how much they "progressed" from here to the next album! And even as expansive and adventurous as Acquiring the Taste is, they *still* had lots of room to grow

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    Probably Glass House with Octopus very close behind.

    an aside:
    When I was quite young (15-16), I was utterly taken with Acquiring The Taste. Talk about 'charming'; when else other than the late 60s or very early 70s was it actually a selling point to say:

    "It is our goal to expand the frontiers of popular music at the risk of being very unpopular."

    and suddenly I knew my goals as a label owner!



    I subsequently realized that the actual material involved wasn't as good as what they did later, but ATT was a big deal album for me at the time. And maybe I liked it specifically BECAUSE of those liner notes! Take THAT tastemakers!!

    Funny that you mention Three Friends; of all the 'classic' period albums [Acquiring - Interview], that's probably my least favorite although I certainly do like it a lot. And "Prologue" is one of my very favorite themes by GG.
    Interesting anecdote, Steve. Thanks for sharing!

    I think I agree that Acquiring The Taste probably wasn't as good as what came later, but it is my favorite GG release for reasons I probably couldn't define if I tried. Octopus is a close 2nd though. I love Glass House too -- "The Runaway" is a killer opening track.

  13. #13
    Zaragon profiled two tracks on it months ago as part of his #50YearsSince1970 series:
    "Everyone is complacent. The only time they ever speak up is to shame you for not being as complacent as them." - Adam Robillard, YouTube

  14. #14
    Their debut indeed has an alluring charm, and ultimately I enjoy it much more than the follow-up. But Three Friends I love, especially Side 2.

  15. #15
    ^ I personally think "Prologue" and "Schooldays" were the finest things they ever did, and the "Mister Class & Quality/Three Friends" finish isn't far behind either. However, I'm less convinced by the solo guitar freakout of "Peel the Paint" etc.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  16. #16
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Posts
    5,113
    My favorit GG-songs are scattered all over the albums.

    Experience is in the top 10.


  17. #17
    I love all of the first 5 LPs equally, despite of them not being equal to value. And which parent would chose between their 5 because they aren't that good? The only thing that mars somehow the debut is the silly percussion section in Nothing at All. Apart from that, it's complete uniqueness and originality, music which cannot be compared to anything that precedes it. And that's the deal with Gentle Giant: they were unique and original in the utmost sense of the words.

    My favorites are Octopus and In A Glass House, but it really doesn't matter with them.

  18. #18
    I was listening to my Funny Ways so often when I was 19, that one day that my mom was watering the plants just outside my room I heard her humming the bloody thing at her own volition. Scary but reassuring.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    I was listening to my Funny Ways so often when I was 19, that one day that my mom was watering the plants just outside my room I heard her humming the bloody thing at her own volition. Scary but reassuring.
    Great anecdote.

  20. #20
    While Gentle Giant's debut isn't my favorite album by them, I'd still like to see the 5.1 remix by SW of it (that came out as part of last year's Box Set) released as a stand-alone Blu-Ray.

  21. #21
    I always think of Three Friends as the first true and truly great Gentle Giant album. Fully fledged and perfect.

    That said, my first was Acquiring The Taste which is also magnificent, if also baby steps by comparison. They stated a mission and inspired me from that point on, GG being *huge* in my world. I knew right then that they were something special.

    The first one, having heard the others, was very enlightening and cool with obvious genius. But by the time they got to Three Friends, things had reached a whole new level, imo. They had accomplished exactly that goal expressed in Acquiring The Taste. They achieved a whole new level both in terms of the maturity and brilliance of the writing and ensemble playing and in terms of record production - innovative use of the studio - and album conception. The sequencing on that record always blows me away. What a beautiful album, from the opening through the amazing title track to the reprise at the end. My first of many subsequent heart stopping favourites in a stream.

    My favourite hands down is In A Glass House. Man i love that record.

    But as Steve says earlier, Octopus, Free Hand, the highly underrated Interview and pretty much everything from that point on are pure excellence. Having seen In A Glass House material performed at a show right before its actual release makes that one truly special. I also highly recommend that live show in Stockholm in 1975 - kick ass versions, raw and on fire. It was much like that in the show i saw. Cogs and Cogs and the rest just smoking hot and very much rock music. Everything they did from Acquiring on, imho, was inventive and sparkling. I remember waiting with insane glee for the next things.

    Thanks for the reminder. Now i must put on some GGG
    And the code is a play, a play is a song, a song is a film, a film is a dance...

  22. #22
    I would add that The Missing Piece is also highly underrated. The best song when i saw them live, in terms of the spirit and playing, was I Betcha Thought (which served as a humourous but really fiery interlude between the fabulous Two Weeks and Rock Climber, which came out later on GFAD). The whole show was just amazing, as expected. I remember getting Civiliian and not caring much for it but then i also knew they were done touring. Live was always especially fun and i rarely missed a chance to see them. Gary Green was just astounding on I Betcha Thought. It was always just a *hard* rock out live. They all got way into it especially Weathers, Ray and Mr. Green (the very best rock soloist?) - so good
    And the code is a play, a play is a song, a song is a film, a film is a dance...

  23. #23
    Member Dok's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Land of the Blue Smoke
    Posts
    286
    Quote Originally Posted by Polypet View Post
    I would add that The Missing Piece is also highly underrated.
    A mastering engineer out of Toulouse, France that helps Steven Wilson with his remixes had this to say on the Hoffman forum.

    "The Missing Piece has been transformed. It's taking its rightful place in the GG canon for me after years of being undervalued."

    As far as Three Friends, to me it was a bit of a step down from Acquiring. Funny how folks see things differently. I think AtT was one of the finest things GG ever produced. The atmosphere and mood was one of a kind and never quite equaled with their later productions. Those were beasts of a different nature. Even Ray himself when pressed said that it was probably his favorite. Some of you may remember Michael Piper (RIP) and his Wild Places catalog. I remember talking to him at length about GG and his very favorite Giant recordings were the first two. I think it has to do with that era of time, the very early 70's and how things were developing. Sorry, that's probably not a definitive take but I'm at a loss of how to explain the feeling of those years and how the music was evolving. It didn't last and as implied upstream it really 'matured' from there.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Polypet View Post
    I would add that The Missing Piece is also highly underrated. The best song when i saw them live, in terms of the spirit and playing, was I Betcha Thought (which served as a humourous but really fiery interlude between the fabulous Two Weeks and Rock Climber, which came out later on GFAD). The whole show was just amazing, as expected. I remember getting Civiliian and not caring much for it but then i also knew they were done touring. Live was always especially fun and i rarely missed a chance to see them. Gary Green was just astounding on I Betcha Thought. It was always just a *hard* rock out live. They all got way into it especially Weathers, Ray and Mr. Green (the very best rock soloist?) - so good
    I'm really glad to see some affection here for The Missing Piece, as I think it's underrated too. Tracks like "I Betcha Thought", "Two Weeks in Spain", and "As Old As You're Young" are among my favorites by them. Even a tune like "Mountain Time" is a lot of fun, even if not as technically impressive as others in their catalog.

    Lots of good memories associated with that album for me. And Gary Green is the man!

  25. #25
    Sometimes I tend to think that the unknown and fictional yet potentially fully competent remixes of Stumpy McDick or Donald Doodoe would perhaps have had as much to contribute as SW.

    Stickin' to my ol' vinyls - yup, even Giant For a Day with the damn balloon.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •