Out of the Woods

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About the Album

This album of previously unreleased tracks is on the Band Of Joy label (disc number BOJCD018) and the Strange Fruit label (disc number SFRSCD023). The music comes from the archives of the BBC. The quality is excellent. The BBC also has more unreleased tracks that someday may reach CD.

This album is out of print, but an expanded version is available as Totally Out of the Woods.


City Hermit and Isn't It Quiet And Cold?: Gary Green, Kerry Minnear, Derek Shulman, Ray Shulman, Phil Shulman, Martin Smith.

All other tracks: Gary Green, Kerry Minnear, Derek Shulman, Ray Shulman, John Weathers.

All titles by Derek Shulman, Ray Shulman and Kerry Minnear except "City Hermit", "Isn't it Quiet and Cold?" and "Excerpts from Octopus" by Derek Shulman, Phil Shulman, Ray Shulman, and Kerry Minnear.

Track List

  1. City Hermit first time on record!) (4:58) [21 July 1970]
  2. Isn't It Quiet And Cold? (4:36) [21 July 1970]
  3. Excerpts from Octopus (12:50) [4 December 1973]
  4. Way Of Life (5:58) [4 December 1973]
  5. Proclamation (6:03) [12 December 1974]
  6. Experience (5:40) [12 December 1974]
  7. Aspirations (5:01) [12 December 1974]
  8. Cogs in Cogs (2:58) [12 December 1974]
  9. Just The Same (6:09) [16 September 1975]
  10. Free Hand (6:20) [16 September 1975]
  11. On Reflection (5:56) [16 September 1975]


City Hermit

My pastures and my fields
are made of stone
Steel trees and nameless beasts
please leave me alone
Don't question the way I see
my eyes are my own

City hermit me
The way I want to be
Solitary face among the crowd
City hermit me
The way I want to be

My hopes are man-made cans
Ten feet from the ground
Flowers beneath my feet
they're travellin' sound
Abundance of flesh and steel
but no-one around

/// City hermit me
The way I want to be
Solitary face among the crowd ///

Isn't It Quiet And Cold?

Note: These lyrics are slightly different from those found on the first album, Gentle Giant. (Thanks to Douglas E. Johnson for submitting these!)

Isn't it quiet and cold walking down the street alone?
Happened I missed my bus and found I had to walk, alone.
What was that?
Only me.
Hear the echo of my feet.
Are they mine?
Hear the echo of the street.
Wished I lived hear at hand although I live alone, alone
At least I'll find company, so why should I moan, alone?
Night dog
Money man
Ready for his morning fee.
Day calls
Colour comes
Live with early light.
Used to walk with someone else
I didn't seem to notice sights and sounds of the lonely street.
Used to talk with someone else
Now the only answers are the calls of the night.
By my feet
Paper wind across the street
Curtains closed
Sleepy heads
Wrapped together in their beds
Look at that alley cat, it's winding home to rest, alone
Daylight comes and rests its weary head, alone.
Walking all alone
Walking all alone
Walking all alone
Walking all alone

Other lyrics can be found by selecting the song links above.

Liner Notes

In the 60s and 70s, the BBC regularly broadcast rock acts in program series such as Sounds of the Seventies, which were hosted by various well-known DJs. The acts often had to record their pieces in the BBC's own studios. This was due to an agreement with the Musicians' Union, which demanded that a certain amount of the music aired by the BBC should be live music. The BBC sessions were thus regarded as 'live in the studio' recordings; there was, however, no audience in the studio. The act contributed about twenty minutes of material, which was recorded and mixed during one evening, usually over a period of 10-12 hours. The result would be fairly good, although it would be unfair to compare it with the work recorded for an album.

According to Phil Shulman, Simon Dupree and the Big Sound did lots of BBC sessions in the latter half of the 60s. When Gentle Giant was formed by the core of that group, the three Shulman brothers, their management felt it was very important that the new group was presented on the air. As Simon Dupree was well known to the BBC, session contracts were easy to obtain for the newly-formed group. Gentle Giant had started gigging in the Spring of 1970, and by July they had already recorded their first session for the BBC, which was to be broadcast one month later.

The group recorded ten more sessions, up until 1975, all of about 20 minutes duration. However, no further sessions were to follow. This was because the Chrysalis management at this time didn't regard the work at the BBC as being especially important for Gentle Giant, combined with the fact that after 1976 the group had more or less given up on England, to concentrate on markets in the rest of Europe and North America instead.

This CD presents the first two (of three) tracks from the first session Gentle Giant recorded for the BBC. Additionally, the eight, tenth and eleventh (and last) session are included in their entirety.

Unfortunately, the contents of this CD is all that the BBC has been able to retrieve of Gentle Giant's work. The BBC habitually re-used old session tapes up to 1980, and, anyway, the agreement with the Musicians' Union only allowed them to be kept for six months. That we have been able to rescue a full CD's worth of material more than twenty years after the fact, is rather incredible. There may be people out there who have kept tapes from other sessions, whether from the production or from the broadcast itself; if so, Windsong would like to release these sessions also, if the quality is not too far below standard.

As it is, there are still two tracks recorded at the BBC that haven't made it to an album; Freedom's Child, recorded on the first session with the first two tracks on this album, and Hometown Special from the second session. Freedom's Child was also recorded as an unreleased single for Philips in the middle of 1970 and this tape may still exist, whilst Hometown Special survives on a tape recorded from one of the group's first gigs.

All of the 22 other tracks not rescued have been released on albums, and it would seem that they did not differ as much from the album versions as some of the versions included on this CD do. Some tracks were even recorded for more than one session, and the version of The Advent Of Panurge on this CD is, surprisingly, the fourth one recorded for the BBC.

The real gem on this CD is the track City Hermit, which has previously only been known to a few most ardent collectors in nth-generation tapes from early live shows. According to Kerry Minnear, the track wasn't included on the first album because it didn't fit in very well with what the group wanted to do. It was probably deemed a leftover from the late 60s, its structure is loose, and it doesn't contain the fine polyphonic vocals which were to be one of the group's trademarks. However, it portrays the group making a very early and energetic attempt to fuse organ fireworks with multipart harmony and bass riffs. And most importantly, it still rocks today.

The Excerpts From Octopus medley is rather interesting, as it differs in many ways from the same medley on the Playing The Fool live album. The guitar duet was jointly arranged by Ray Shulman and Gary Green, and the early version here was later expanded. The Organ Bridge is certainly different, and the recorder quartet within The Advent Of Panurge contains here their very popular arrangement of Yankee Doodle, which was not included on Playing The Fool.

The other songs also contain bits and pieces which make them slightly different from the album versions, the most notable difference being On Reflection, where the whole tune is rearranged with a different instrumentation and new sections.

All in all, the CD conveys the good fun and enjoyment which the group brought into their music, and shows that even though they had good reason to be content with their compositions, they continued to improve them for the purpose of live performance.

Together with Playing The Fool and the recently released BBC In Concert, this CD gives an excellent view of the live side of the band that delivered outstanding music whether on album or on stage.

- Geir Hasnes

Music files

MIDI files

MIDI File Title Album Contributor
Boysoct.mid Excerpts From Octopus Out of the Woods Bean

Sheet music

No sheet music files found for "Out of the Woods"