Gentle Giant (album)
For other uses of "Gentle Giant", see Gentle Giant (disambiguation).
About the Album
Gentle Giant's self-titled first album was an impressive and unique debut that combined rock, blues, classical, and 1960's British soul. Although the recording quality is sub-par, the music transcends the medium and presents the listener with a variety of musical styles.
A Tall Tale, from the original liner notes, is a story about the band and the giant.
Beautiful high-resolution scan of the full fold-out cover with the crease removed, thanks to Michael Geiger.
In his namesake, Gentle Giant are individually:
Gary Green - lead guitar, 12 string guitar
Kerry Minnear - keyboard, some bass, cello, lead vocals, backing vocals, some tuned percussion
Derek Shulman - lead vocals, backing vocals, some bass
Phil Shulman - sax, trumpet, recorder, lead vocals, backing vocals
Ray Shulman - most bass, violin, some guitar, percussion, backing vocals
Martin Smith - drums, percussion
Other musicians include:
- Paul Cosh (tenor horn) on Giant
- Claire Deniz (cello) on Isn't It Quiet And Cold?
- Roy Baker - Recording Engineerist on all titles
- George Underwood - Cover Artiste Extraordinaire
- Tony Visconti - Producer
- Giant (6:22)
- Funny Ways (4:21)
- Alucard (6:00)
- Isn't It Quiet And Cold? (3:51)
- Nothing At All (9:08)
- Why Not (5:31)
- The Queen (1:40)
- submitted by David Ewing
Lead vocals: Derek
The birth of a realisation; The rise of a high expectation; Emerging successful, defiant; note: Derek may be singing "Together" instead of "Emerging" Together the parts make a Giant. See the world in the palm of his hand, Striding steps that will cover the land. He is coming; Hear him coming; Are you ready For his being? See the Giant Feel the Giant Touch the Giant Hear the Giant. The birth of a realisation; The rise of a high expectation; Emerging successful, defiant; Together the parts make a Giant.
I'm sorry to have been so much of a bore But in my own funny way I find I learn much more. I realise what you think from your eyes, But in your own funny way I find I learn much more. My ways are strange They'll never change They stay, strange ways I'm sorry to have been so close from the start, But for all that I cared we could be miles apart. I understood that you never would Understand a way of life that I never could. My ways are strange They'll never change They stay, strange ways Go your own way or wait for me Go your own way or wait for me Go your own way or wait for me Go your own way or wait for me And so you see what happened to me Since the time when I judged my life in nights and days I realised that my life was lies So you see what I mean with all my funny ways. I'm sorry to have been so much of a bore But in my own funny way I find I learn much more Funny ways, Funny ways, Funny ways, Funny ways.
For other uses of "Alucard", see Alucard (disambiguation).
Lead vocals: ensemble
Lying still; Am I dreaming Feel the chill Breath of fear Evil fingers Hover, linger Someone help me Terror fills my soul. Living dead; Am I breathing Sightless, blind Heart stopped beating Hear the crying Of the dying Someone help me Ogres of the night.
Isn't It Quiet And Cold?
Note that the version on Out of the Woods has slightly different lyrics. Thanks to Douglas E. Johnson for correcting these lyrics.
Lead vocals: Phil
Isn't it quiet and cold walking all alone, alone? Happened I missed the bus and found I had to walk, alone. What was that? Only me. Hear the echo of my feet Footsteps Are they mine? Hear the echo of the street. Wished I lived near at hand although I live alone, alone At least I'll find company, so why should I moan, alone. Movement By my feet Paper wind across the street Curtains closed Sleepy heads Wrapped together in their beds I used to walk with someone else I didn't seem to notice sights and sounds of the lonely street I used to talk with someone else Now the only answers are the calls of the night Look at that alley cat, it's winding home to rest, alone Half-past four and daylight shows itself once more Walking all alone Walking all alone
Nothing At All
Now she sits by the riverside Watching the waters glide by, With a sigh And the things she put faith in Are ripples just waving her by With a sigh She sees lovers pass by with much more than a kiss Ah this - little girl who had everything finds she's nothing at all Now the wind seems so cold Seems all old as it laughs at her fears And her tears And as ducks swim away from her Visions of past love appear In her tears She sees love in his face as she tells him to go, And so - here's a girl who had everything now she's Nothing at all What could she do if she saw him now; Now that he's gone she's losing If she could see what she's seeing now For sure she's more than just choosing Now she sits by the riverside Watching the waters glide by, With a sigh And the things she put faith in Are ripples just waving her by, With a sigh She sees lovers pass by with much more than a kiss Ah this - little girl who had everything finds She's nothing at all
Don't sing a tune to yourself You might believe this one. Try not to sew it yourself The threading won't stretch none. Don't give me none of that line. Why not? Got to sing something. Love's song there's nothing to find Why not? Dead before playing. Don't sing a tune to yourself You might believe this one Try not to sew it yourself The threading won't stretch none Who says the things that go in The song is only saying. Dead thought can kill a good thing The band is only playing. Why not climb a hill With someone that hates you Why not hate someone Who climbs a hill with you And as time passes by Your feet start slipping You are wondering why There is no forgetting Don't sing a tune to yourself, You might believe this one Try not to sew it yourself The threading don't stretch none Who says the things that go in The song is only saying Dead thought can kill a good thing The band is only playing Don't give me none of that line Why not? Got to sing something Love's song there's nothing to find Why not? Dead before playing Dead before playing.
"A Tall Tale" by Tony Visconti
Giant took notice of the long shadows and decided to quit for the day in the apple orchard. He stretched, took forty steps and covered the quarter mile to the mouth of his cave. He sat down and pulled a sweet smelling cork out of a two hundred gallon jug. Scrumpy is what he poured into a mug having the same capacity as a bath tub.
As he quaffed he perceived that something strange was in the air, stirring the serenity of the Somerset countryside. He slowly rose to his full height and whispered, "Ar, there be a good sound floatin' in the east wind. I think I'll investigate."
You must understand that the giant doesn't go out much, except when he sees his girlfriend in France now and then (she's the daughter of Gargantua) --- and twice a century at that! Now he had another good excuse to break the routine of his work at the orchard.
He travelled swiftly through the night, carefully avoiding populated areas. When he came to the Salisbury Plain he decided to see if his stone ring was still standing. He made it as a boy, just for fun. As he approached, two long-haired youths sitting against a slab looked up. One said, "Man, this stuff is pretty good gear. I've just hallucinated a great big far-out lookin' giant over there."
The other said, "Farout man, I see him too."
They sat motionless for a few moments, then the giant turned and continued his quest towards the south. When he was out of their sight the first one whispered wide-eyed, "Too much man, us having the same hallucination." The other youth had fainted.
Sure enough, the sound was coming from Portsmouth way. To the giant's delight it came from a cottage out in the countryside, far from the centre of town. Inside, six dedicated musicians were tearing off a rendition of 'Why Not?' at a thousand watts; that's enough to rip the top of anybody's head. All except the giant's. He just laid on his stomach, rested his head on his folded arms and listened with an ear to each open window for good stereo.
The band stopped after three hours and Ray said to Kerry, "Let's go out and dig the stars." They opened the front door and nearly walked up the giant's nostrils. They jumped back inside shakin' all over and both said at once, "There's abigfaceoutthereit'sbigit'sbig --- oh!"
The others noticed immediately that something was wrong so they all went out to have a look. They saw the head of a great big giant, sleeping peacefully. Phil was at the head of the group. He turned and said, "Gary, did you spike our tea again?"
Just then the giant opened his eyes. "Be ee the boys as were makin' that good sound?"
Martin, at once put at ease by the friendly accent answered, "Yes, it was us. I'm sorry if we made too much noise. You see, we moved out here so we wouldn't bother anybody and ---"
"Bother anybody? But that's the gentlest music I've ever 'eard apart from thunderstorms."
Needless to say they all got on very well after the giant had said that. Frank the roadie moved the instruments outside and they played the rest of the night for him. Somewhere in Portsmouth a seismograph reported a mild earthquake when the giant was dancing.
In the morning I drove down from London with the group's manager Gerry and my friend George the artist. We drove around to the back of the cottage and gaped at the group laying in the grass listening to stories of the giant's distant past. Derek ran to us as the car lurched into reverse and bade us to halt. He explained everything and soon we were listening to the amazing things the giant had to say.
Before the giant left, it was suggested that he pose for a picture with the group. No matter how I angled my polaroid I just couldn't get everyone in the picture. I have some photos of six guys and a big boot, six guys, a big eye and part of a big nose: but I couldn't get a decent picture of the giant and the band together. George was more successful. The giant placed him at the top of a tall tree and in fifteen minutes George had done the rough sketch.
Well, there you have it. The story of the Gentle Giant. You may think it's fantastic, but then, so is the music.
Cool stuff in the music
- Listen to the little synthesizer riffs that occur between songs. They are note-for-note quotes from the guitar part on track 1, Giant, just after the line "The birth of a realization...." The rhythm has been modified, however. (Thanks to Johan Bryntesson.)
- In the song Giant, around 2:11, there's a quiet melody played on low brass. That same melody, or one very much like it, appears in Intro 74 beginning around 1:42 on brass synthesizer. (Thanks to Tyler Darnell.)
- The title Alucard is "Dracula" spelled backwards. (Thanks to Chad Bacho.) To match this, the vocals are processed through a reverse reverb. To accomplish this, Gentle Giant most likely sung the vocals onto tape, reversed them, played them through a reverb onto another tape, and reversed the tape again. The effect is that the reverb comes before the words and backwards.
- At the very end of Isn't It Quiet And Cold?, after the instruments fade, a spacy whisper says the word "alone," recapping the lyrical theme of the song. It's very quiet and sounds like wind. (Thanks to Dave Didur.)
- During the drum solo in Nothing At All, Kerry plays a quote from "Liebestraum No. 3" by Liszt on the piano. It begins around 5:48 and veers off into "jazzy cascades" at around 6:25. (Thanks to Greg Hajic and Adrian Doveral for identifying the piece.)
- A guitar part in Why Not? sounds distinctly like the Jewish song "Hava Nagila," but according to Derek Shulman, "I think this was purely a coincidence."
- The blues shuffle that closes Why Not? is very similar to the earlier one in Hometown Special. (Thanks to Eddie Scott.)
- A listener reports a similarity between Why Not? and Leonard Bernstein's Divertimento for Orchestra, "Sennets and Tuckets." (Thanks to Graham Shrives.)
|Nothing.mid||Nothing At All||Gentle Giant (album)||Christof Munoz|
|Quietcold.mid||Isn't It Quiet And Cold?||Gentle Giant (album)||Christof Munoz|
|Sheet Music File||Title||Album||Contributor|
|Alucard WheatWilliams.zip||Alucard||Gentle Giant (album)||Wheat Williams, Phil Smith|
|Funny Ways WheatWilliams.zip||Funny Ways||Gentle Giant (album)||Wheat Williams, Phil Smith|
This list is not necessarily complete, and various releases are out of print.
|Germany||LINE Records, LICD 9.00722|
|Germany||Vertigo/Polygram, 842 624-2|
|USA||Vertigo/Polygram, 842 624-2|
|UK||Vertigo/Repertoire Records, IMS 7031|
|Japan||Nippon Phonogram Co., Ltd., PHCR-4201|
|Japan||Nippon Phonogram Co., Ltd., PPD-3093|
|Japan||Universal Japan (British Rock Legend series)|
On the LINE disc, the first note of "Why Not?" is located at the end of track 5 ("Nothing At All") and followed by a 3-second gap of silence. Track 6 begins with the second note of "Why Not?"
The LINE disc and the Vertigo Repertoire disc are missing the little synthesizer riffs that occur before "Alucard" and "Isn't It Quiet And Cold?" and after "The Queen."
The Vertigo CD has all the synthesizer riffs but incorrectly places the second one at the beginning of track 4 ("Isn't It Quiet and Cold?"), whereas the original LP had the riff at the end of track 3 ("Alucard"). This is a very minor track misplacement that isn't noticeable unless you start playing the disc at track 4.
The Nippon disc has all the synthesizer riffs, correctly placed. Their sound quality, however, lead some to believe that these riffs were transferred from from vinyl, not from a master tape.