In a Glass House
For other uses of "In a Glass House", see In a Glass House (disambiguation).
About the Album
A concept album, supposedly about how people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. But this short explanation does not do justice to the album, which is a complex tour-de-force.
The album cover is overlaid for a three-dimensional effect. On the original vinyl, the overlay was cellophane, and on the Terrapin CD, the overlay is printed directly on the jewel case. The Alucard CD recreates the vinyl's artwork even more accurately in a custom digipak.
Speaking of the cover, the UK vinyl release (WWA label) and the German release (Vertigo label) are mirror images of one another.
The original album was never released in the USA, but was in great demand as an import.
The sounds of breaking glass that open the album came from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. The sounds are still used on BBC radio programs. (Thanks to Jeff Hall for this information.)
See the LP release from Chile. (Thanks to Pedro S. Leal.)
Gary Green - 6 & 12 string guitars, mandolin, percussion, alto recorder
Kerry Minnear - keyboards, tuned percussion, recorder, vocals
Derek Shulman - vocals, alto sax, soprano sax, recorder
Ray Shulman - bass guitar, violin, acoustic guitar, percussion, backing vocals
John Weathers - drums, percussion
Other liner notes:
All tracks licensed from Polygram Special Products Produced by: Gentle Giant for Alucard Productions Engineer: Gary Martin Tape Operator: Paul Hardingham Recorded at: Advision Studios, London, July '73 Photography: Martyn Dean CD Package: Phil Smee at Waldo's Design
- The Runaway (7:16)
- An Inmates Lullaby (4:40)
- Way Of Life (8:04)
- Experience (7:50)
- A Reunion (2:12)
- In A Glass House (8:09)
- Ending of the album (musical collage)
- The Runaway/Experience (live bonus track, Alucard CD only: Dusseldorf, September 23 1976)
- In a Glass House (live bonus track, Alucard CD only, from the Munster show, April 5 1974)
All lyrics reproduced with the permission of DRT Entertainment (USA) and Alucard Publishing, Ltd. (UK).
- submitted by Bill Laidig
Lead vocals: Derek
He is the runaway, Lie low the wanted man Mask his elusive face, Soon he will getaway and free is his future no more aimless time to spend And evading, he's escaping Four dirty walls and a bed in a cage his home no more. Run in the underwood, Cover and hide the trail Senses like sharpened sword, Guards for the shadow on his tail. And yet his joy is empty and sad. All thoughts are scarred with the prison cell and freedom seems like freedom's hell Hopes stained with strange regret, His dreams are dreams for that he cannot get. And yet his joy is empty and sad. Lose all identity, Vanish in own denial Seeks only lies and hide, Truth never brought to trial. And caught in his own net, he looks to find endless life and evading, he's escaping Four dirty walls and a bed in a cage his home no more. Run in the underwood, Cover and hide the trail Senses like sharpened sword, Guards for the shadow on his tail.
An Inmates Lullaby
Lead vocals: Derek! (In a child-like falsetto)
Lying down here in the afternoon In my pretty cosy little cushioned room I can talk to all my funny friends in here I was told to rest why ... I am not quite clear Eating flowers growing in the garden where there are tasty tulips and I don't care If I wet my trousers there was no time I had nowhere else to go nowhere else I could find. Staring up at the great big white light. That shines everyday and shines all through the night Hearing voices of the silly friends of mine Always lock the door nurses waiting outside all the time. Hurt myself this morning, Doctor gave me warning sent me to my room and told me that I'm bad. I heard someone saying I think he'll be staying maybe for a long time, Why does everybody else think that I'm mad I heard someone saying I think he'll be staying maybe for a long time and that I'm mad. Lying down here in the afternoon In my pretty cosy little cushioned room I can talk to all my funny friends in here I was told to rest why ... I am not quite clear.
Way Of Life
For other uses of "Way of Life", see Way of Life (disambiguation).
Lead vocals: Derek
You'll find an answer, You've got to believe in your own way of life. So you'll have to find an answer, You'll have to find a way, Try to find, Try to find. You'll try to question her, Does she believe in the choice of your life. So you have to try to ask her, when you are away, left behind, out of mind; away. And in the end you discover, examine, you have to decide if there is an answer, if there is a way, Let her find piece of mind. And another day, all alone, think there is away at home. Every other may, have their own, way of life that is their own. And your wandering only a game to realise no joy your own. And another day, all alone, choice of life is not your own. You'll try to question her, Does she believe in the way of your life. So you have to try to ask her, You'll have to find a way, left behind, out of mind; away.
Lead vocals: Kerry (main), Derek ("Master inner voices...")
Once I was a boy, an innocent to life and my role in it, This world played my game, and anyone a clown or foil for myself. The harmless affairs, and no-one seemed to care for any meaning My life was my own, The debt I paid, I paid it only to myself. The unseeing youth, how can it be so shallow and short- sighted These years passed me by, to realise the folly of these unripe years. Now I am a man, I realise My unworldly sins pained many lives Yet I heard, heard with ears that wouldn't listen And still I watched and I saw with blinkered eyes. But with age the conscience slowly dawns and bonds of duty gently tied All my sins, seen through now there is experience and recollecting act in virgin guise. Master inner voices, making the choices. Once I could rebel and consequences then had no reflection And I am a man, And I am bound by adult age discretion now.
Lead vocals: Kerry
Meeting in this way who could have known How our destinies and ways apart have grown. Looking still the same after all these years changing only in my memories not clear And believing all futures we would share Fate design playing natures mime and today by chance we meet again after all this time Meeting in this way no-one could have known. Sharing thoughts and deeds simple harmony plans and hopes erased in our maturity Now tomorrow's dreams are now yesterday. Fate design playing natures mime and today by chance we meet again after all this time Meeting in this way no-one could have known.
In a Glass House
For other uses of "In a Glass House", see In a Glass House (disambiguation).
Lead vocals: Derek
Looking through the window can you tell me what you see. You're sure you're really seeing what is meant to be a Glass a mirror to reflect what I conspire a vision, image I desire. Standing on the ice believing all I'm searching for Close your cloudy eyes and chase all that you did before Standing on the ice believing all I'm for Close your cloudy eyes and chase all that you did before Living in a glass house shielding all that's meant for me Can you clear the shade and can you tell me what you see. Shadow fills the light until the glass house becomes the night Dark is gleaming or am I dreaming Running everywhere Seeing clearly when I dare Is it today or is it your way And the moon must fall Inspiration waits for your call for you to get a silhouette Narrow the field aim in any direction Do what I feel just to see my reflection Any turn I know Disappearing everywhere I go I look to you for what I do And only then I see That the glass house is just for me And any time is never mine Narrow the field aim in any direction Do what I feel just to see my reflection Shadow fills the light until the glass house becomes night Dark is gleaming or am I dreaming Running everywhere Seeing clearly when I dare Is it today or is it your way And the moon must fall Inspiration waits for your call for you to get a silhouette.
Ending of the album
The final music on the album is a collage made from songs on the album: The Runaway, Way of Life, Experience, In A Glass House, An Inmates Lullaby, A Reunion, and a final shattering of glass, echoing into the distance....
These liner notes are reproduced with the kind permission of Terrapin Trucking (UK) Ltd.
'In Britain, it's not been low profile, it's been no profile.' That is how vocalist Derek Shulman once memorably summarised the career of Gentle Giant, one of progressive rock's best-kept secrets.
That they remained so for much of their 11-year career from 1969 to 1980 was due to the antipathy of the music press which, with the exception of Sounds' Phil Sutcliff, steadfastly refused to grant them column inches despite their burgeoning reputation at the fan level. Not that Giant were for everyone: their complex, uncompromising music consistently polarised the Seventies rock audience. You either loved them or hated them, and despite a flood of retrospective praise since their demise that's how it remains today.
The Shulman brothers - Derek (vocals, sax), Ray (bass) and Phil (horns) - had reinvented themselves as Giant's nucleus after an unsatisfying two-hit career as Simon Dupree and The Big Sound, their biggest success coming with 1967's UK Top Ten hit "Kites". Vowing to go their own way, they signed with the prestigious Vertigo label, home of many great progressive rock outfits of the era, adding guitarist Gary Green and classically trained keyboard player Kerry Minnear (drummers varied) for four albums of uneasy listening which basically invited the listener to 'take us or leave us' - something certain to get up the rock press's collective nose.
The addition of a permanent drummer in John 'Pugwash' Weathers after the third of this opening quartet of releases, 1972's Three Friends, completed the jigsaw. 'We were realising we could rock as well as do nice tinkly things,' was Derek's typically blunt assessment of the difference the ex-Eyes of Blue and Grease Band sticksman made to the band. "He hit a solid offbeat and it worked ... it was very interesting because we were rather, well, prim.'
The other, final personnel change that preceded In a Glass House was a departure - that of elder brother Phil Shulman, who resumed his job as a teacher. With vocalist Derek doubling on saxes and recorder, his loss was less significant than Weathers' recruitment.
Three Friends had been Giant's first release to elicit interest in the States and 1973's Octopus had built of that. But Columbia (CBS here) were undergoing a crisis and, by all accounts, couldn't cope with the opening salvo of Glass House - breaking glass metamorphosing into a heavy rhythm as the opening track, The Runaway, kicked in with a typical Weather's salvo. Whether or not the stylus got any further across side 1 was uncertain: what is known, however, is that Columbia didn't see it as the album to revive their fortunes ... whereupon it promptly became one of America's top import albums, selling a cool 150,000 copies!
The band decided to tour the States on the back on this unexpected underground success, selling out five nights at the Whiskey in Los Angeles and pushing their next album (on Capitol) into the US Top 50. That was The Power and the Glory, and is another story altogether: consult this compact disc's sister release TRUCK CD 001 for further details.
The general theme of Glass House was that those who live in them shouldn't throw stones. Lyrics were, as ever, on the oblique side, and rarely the stuff of mainstream rock; An Inmate's Lullaby, for instance, married menacing percussion to the sanity/insanity debate. Musically, the album had a bleak, edgy feel which was reflected in the stark packaging - faithfully reproduced here in miniture. The smashing glass sound effect that opened the album was echoed in later releases with the sound of a video game (Free Hand) and a 35mm motor-wind camera (Civilian), each time setting up a rhythm and warning the listener to take notice.
Musically, the tracks rang the changes, moving from the almost medieval feel of Experience to the deliberately dated ambience of A Reunion, its brief two-minute duration conjuring visions of a 1920's Palm Court tea-room. The title track, a Celtic-tinged rocker, was perhaps a pointer to the more direct approach of the following album, The Power and the Glory, with particularly chilling vocals from Derek Shulman. A final reprise of the breaking glass introduction ended the album in decisive style.
Glass House was special visually as well as musically, from the cover design onwards - and the stage show reflected this, as John Weather's recalls. 'We did a helluva lot of rehearsing. And it was an event ... we really went overboard. For the Glass House tour we had a wall with projectors behind it flashing different things which cost us a fortune, about 30,000 pounds. All sorts of neat little tricks, good lighting ... we really made a show of it. It was put together like a West End musical, there was that much and attention went into it.'
Glass House was the first of Giant's two LP's for the World Wide Artists label. After The Power and the Glory, Gentle Giant went on to record six albums for Chrysalis before their 1980 split, when Derek Shulman and Kerry Minnear decided to come off the road. Having been there from the outset, of course, they were well-nigh irreplaceable. Derek is now a US record company executive, brother Ray an acclaimed producer with the Sugarcubes and Ian MuCulloch, among others, to his credit. John Weathers is the only Giant still on the road with Welsh psychedelic survivors Man.
Under-rated on its release and only sporadically available since, In A Glass House offers a satisfying taste of one of Britain's most technically accomplished rock bands.
- Michael Heatley. Many thanks for their assistance to John Weathers and Alan Kinsman.
Cool stuff in the music
- The breaking glass sounds at the beginning of the record comes from a BBC sound effects EP. (Thanks to "SFJSmith," whose drama group owned a set of these EPs.) Reportedly, some of these same sounds were used in the classic movie Citizen Kane, in the scene where Kane trashes Susan's bedroom. (Thanks to "Tomas.")
- The 6/8 drumbeat in The Runaway was allegedly "borrowed" by John Weathers from a Buddy Rich song. (Thanks to Paul O'Neill, who heard this from John himself.)
- In Experience, the vocal line from the beginning of the song becomes the bass line during the instrumental break where the instruments come in one at a time. The time signature there is interesting too: it's 9/8 for the first half of the song, but during the vocal it's phrased as a 5 and a 4, whereas at the instrumental break it's three 3's: a slip jig. (Thanks to Michael Bloom.)
- Every instrument in An Inmates Lullaby is a percussion instrument. Every instrument in A Reunion, other than the electric piano, is a stringed instrument. (Thanks to Michael Bloom.)
- The long organ fade-out in Way Of Life was originally supposed to segue into another song. (Thanks to Bill O'Reilly, who learned this from Ray Shulman.)
- The person shouting "Go" in Way Of Life is Gary Green.
- The final music on the album is a collage of song excerpts from the album.
|Experience.mid||Experience||In a Glass House||Andrea Ghion|
|Iag.mid||In A Glass House (song)||In a Glass House||Bean|
|Inaglass.mid||In A Glass House (song)||In a Glass House||Fredrik Rasten|
|Runaway.mid||The Runaway||In a Glass House||Dave White|
This list is not necessarily complete, and various releases are out of print.
|UK||Terrapin Trucking/Road Goes On Forever, RGF CD 1001|
(Later relabeled as TRUCKCD 001)
The Terrapin CD has several pops and crackles. For example, listen to track 1, "The Runaway," at 6:32 (pop) and 6:35 (crackle). These do not appear on my vinyl copy. Greg Hajic reports that his CD doesn't have these defects.
On the original LP, the breaking glass introduction starts in the left channel and then moves to the center. On the Terrapin CD, it starts in the center. (Thanks to Rainer Boettchers.)
The Terrapin track marker for "Inmates Lullaby" is 9 seconds too early; the last 9 seconds of "The Runaway" are part of track 2 when they should be the end of track 1.
- In a Glass House review by Jason Rubin
- In a Glass House review by Gilbert Hetu
- George Starostin review