Giant for a Day
About the Album
Gentle Giant's second "pop-influenced" album. Many fans rank it as GG's worst album.
Gary Green - Guitars, vocals
Kerry Minnear - Vocals, keyboards
Derek Shulman - Vocals
Ray Shulman - Bass, vocals
John Weathers - Vocals, drums
Other liner notes:
All songs by Ray, Derek and Kerry except "Friends" written by John and "Take Me" lyrics co-written by John and Derek Published by Alucard Pub. Ltd./Chrysalis Music Ltd. A Gentle Giant Production Engineered by Paul Northfield at Ramport Studios, Battersea - assisted by Neil. Maison Rouge, Fulham. Scorpio Sound Studios, Euston - assisted by Steve. Remix at Scorpio Sound Studios. Recorded April/May, 1978. Copyright Alucard/Friday Music. Cover concept: Ray, Tanner, Eve and Pils Lager Front cover illustration: Peter Owen Back cover photography: Gered Mankowitz Equipment: Michael Ambrose Acoustic guitars courtesy of Norman Guitars, Quebec, Canada.
Note: "Ray, Tanner, Eve, and Pils Lager" means Ray Shulman, his wife Barbara (nicknamed Tanner), someone unknown named Eve, and beer. That's Ray Shulman, his wife Barbara (nickname Tanner), someone unknown named Eve, and beer.
- Words From The Wise (4:10)
- Thank You (4:45)
- Giant For A Day (song) (3:45)
- Spooky Boogie (3:31)
- Take Me (2:45)
- Little Brown Bag (3:32)
- Friends (1:58)
- No Stranger (2:27)
- It's Only Goodbye (4:16)
- Rock Climber (3:50)
- submitted by Arlo West
Words From The Wise
Lead vocals: Derek and ensemble
Words from the wise, encourage you, carries all your taking on, Words from the wise, discourage too many people when things go wrong. Chorus: Words from the wise, encourage you, carries all your taking on, Words from the wise, discourage too many people when things go wrong. I have my doubts, as everyone. Little isle in a stormy sea. Words from the wise, believe in you, All I do is believe in me. If the going looks to strong, And a little seems too long Only darkness in the night, Turn the darkness into Light the fire inside of yourself I'm the one it's nobody else Listen out. But remember always Your the wise, The wise. (Chorus) When it feels so hard to try, Just a weight, a chain, a lie, Even though you need to fight, make the changes into Light the fire inside of yourself I'm the one it's nobody else Listen out. But remember always Your the wise, The wise. (Chorus)...
Lead vocals: Derek
THANK YOU, for staying around so long, I know it's been hard. You spend half your life, just testing the ground. THANK YOU, I thought you would come to along, I don't know when, And all of those years, Just foolin' around. THANK YOU, for taking me as I am. No better than you. You give me your love, You take it from me. THANK YOU, for staying around so long, I know it's been hard. You spend half your life, just testing the ground. THANK YOU, You like all my funny ways, the things that I do. We both understand, To give and to be.
Chorus: THANK YOU, For waiting such a long time, And strange that it just had to be. It's true, You look, you keep on trying, Had to keep on trying, Search for half a life time, suddenly it's there. THANK YOU, for being here where I am, It's better by far Not living alone, The future to share. THANK YOU, for loving me like you do, for being my friend, And taking my hand, and sharing my cares. (Chorus)
Giant For A Day
Lead vocals: Derek
You can be President Carter, maybe Idi Amin, or say Muhammed Ali Make yourself Marlon Brando, Mickey Mouse, anyone you can see. Chorus: Listen to all these songs tell yourself that it's wrong to even go your own way Throw away your old cloak, put on your mask, be a Giant for a Day. Think to yourself you're in Paris, Tel Aviv, Istanbul, or maybe London or Rome. Close your eyes to be there, even though you may be sitting at home. (Chorus) Sitting in a Rolls Royce, if it's the car of your choice or just a black Cadillac. And if you don't think these suit you, just a Porsche or a plain Pontiac. (Chorus) GIANT FOR A DAY, GIANT FOR A DAY PUT ON YOUR MASK IMAGINE YOU'RE A GIANT FOR A GIANT FOR A DAY You can think your Jack the Ripper, Mama Belle the stripper, you can fight in the streets. You can be the French Connection, Harvey Oswald, or the boys on the beat. (Chorus) GIANT FOR A DAY, GIANT FOR A DAY PUT ON YOUR MASK IMAGINE YOU'RE A GIANT FOR A GIANT FOR A DAY
Lead vocals: Derek
Smooth-talkin', slow-walkin' tell no lie Cool is the fool with the eagle eye Spending my time Drunk and living fast Nobody knows what lies in my past. I'm lookin' back My life is cryin' out What did I do What was I all about? Chorus: OH, take me Save me from my misery OH, take me I want to be free OH, take me Take my hand and help me on OH, take me I will soon be gone Good-timin', all-nightin' in the shade No thinkin' nobody's had it made Stole no control on my evil hands. I tossed a coin blind to where it lands. My how the time flies It just passes by. I turned around It looked me in the eye. (Chorus) My how the time flies It just passes by. I turned around It looked me in the eye. (Chorus)
Little Brown Bag
Lead vocals: Derek
HOLD ON; To the little brown bag. If it's all (that) she has to show, Torn like a rag, Crazy lady she doesn't know, LOOK IN; Cos there's nothing inside, Was there anything anytime Little Brown Bag; She'll be there in the morning, sitting alone with her world in her hands, No goodnight in the evening, The city it understands, the circumstance. DREAM ON; In the, little brown bag. Maybe here she's better than you Torn like a rag, Look away it's good that you do. MAYBE; As you're, staring too hard, You could see that somehow it's real Little Brown Bag. What did she turn her back on, Was it the nightmare she couldnt face; Look around, It may tell you, She only puts a good case, So lady, HOLD ON...
Lead vocals: John
FRIENDS Where would I be without friends, to take good care of me, My friends, What would I do I would be alone On my own. Chorus: Enemies, some say add spice to your life But I've always hated to be so disliked I can't see why in this short span of time Anyone does without friends. FRIENDS Will always help when you're feeling down, On the ground, You're friends Will put a shoulder to the wheel I feel (Chorus) FRIENDS This is a song to thank you all For being good friends, You only number just a few, But you are my good friends.
Lead vocals: Derek
Chorus: No stranger, No danger in your home. It's walking, It's talking on it's own. No stranger, No danger in your home. It's walking, It's talking on it's own. One staring eye with no sight or feature It only winks, when there's time to think. It tells you nothing, but still your teacher. And still you take it, It makes you hate it, Takes care that you're always there. (Chorus) It makes you safe moving with protection. A mind for you trying very hard. And still you cant make the disconnection. Does all it's told to,tells what it wants to, Says all that you have to know. (Chorus)
It's Only Goodbye
Lead vocals: Derek
Strange though we made it, in those days that were bare What pulled us through them, something was there. I can remember, drifting apart, Thoughtless ways much stronger, As the time grew longer One for one not always, Then you said to me... Chorus: It's only goodbye, a smile and a cry, and suddenly over, when I think of you know, in kindness allow. My memory lingers, then It's only goodbye, my strength telling lies, Just facing what had to be. Mixed my reflections, did we think it was real Was it forever, fear not, just feel. You had your troubles, yes I had mine. Weren't we both for sharing, No not really caring, I would realize that, when you said to me...
(Chorus) IT'S ONLY GOODBYE..
Lead vocals: Derek
Chorus: Rock climber, Good-timer, Backstager, All-nighter Rock climber, Good-timer, follows the songs through the night In the night Backstager, All-nighter, Fills you with praise till it's light. She's waited for you (or me). She saw you there on T.V. And said you looked good, not like you could, You're better in life you see. Remember her friend last year, Knew John with the lighting gear, You've such a nice face, what time what place, Do you want to meet me tomorrow not there, she's a... (Chorus) And then when she's in your room, it's over she calls your tune. She crazes your head, takes you to bed, All over for her too soon. No tears when you say goodbye, You'll write, well you say you'll try She goes like a dream, to dream new schemes, Tonight there's more faces, in all the same places, she's a... (Chorus)
These liner notes are reproduced with the kind permission of Terrapin Trucking (UK) Ltd.
In Britain, the late Seventies proved a difficult time for many established bands, and Gentle Giant were in some respects in a less favorable position than most. With the arrival of Punk Rock and the New Wave, the standards by which bands were judged changed suddenly and dramatically. Those playing straight-ahead, guitar-based rock, especially those who tended to play it faster and louder, stood a reasonable chance of being accepted in the new scheme of things - Motorhead being a good example - but those whose music was rooted in progressive rock had no such escape route.
For Giant, a short-term answer was to look to America, where the AOR market remained largely undisturbed by the young rebels for rather longer, and where they had enjoyed considerable success during the middle of the decade. In doing so, they were forced to turn their backs on British audiences forever. for some years, the lavish productions Giant had mounted on European and American tours had proven economically unviable on home soil, and scaled-down versions had been used. Now, even these became too expensive, and from the British viewpoint Giant disappeared from sight.
The commercial pressures on the band to broaden its audience, and a desire from within to harness some of the energy of the New Wave, led to an increasingly direct musical style, the first effects of which can be heard on 'The Missing Piece', the album which preceded this one. By the time 'giant for a Day' was released in 1978, the transition was complete, bit it had been a difficult process. Bassist Ray Shulman remembers it as an uncertain period: 'There was pressure to make a commercial album, certainly some of it from outside the band, but it had a lot to do with us wanting to capture a bigger audience... It was probably a folly, in retrospect, but at the time it seemed the thing to do. there was a sense of searching for a new identity, doubts about where we should go next...'
Nevertheless, 'Giant for a Day' includes some very good material. 'Words from the Wise' is a powerful opener which combines elements of their earlier vocal style with a strong driving backbeat, while 'Thank You' is an understated Mid-Western style ballad featuring some deft touches from Gary Green's guitars. Both tracks were lifted as singles, but both sank without trace. Further nods to Giant's past include the instrumental 'Spooky Boogie', a distant cousin of 'Alucard' from the band's self-titled 1970 debut album, and the verses of 'Take Me' which are reminiscent of 'The Power and the Glory' era. The album also boasts two delicately melodic pieces in 'Friends', drummer John Weathers' first and only solo composition for the band, and 'It's Only Goodbye', which keyboardist Kerry Minnear recalls as 'my attempt to write a single'.
Overall, 'Giant for a Day' features significantly more guitar work than previous Gentle Giant albums, and noticeably less keyboards, both factors lending the set a more mainstream rock feel.
Whatever the aims of the album, it failed to excite much interest on either side of the Atlantic when first issued. The reasons for its commercial failure in Britain are not difficult to see - it was released with minimal record company promotion, and, of course, there were no live shows to accompany its appearance. The British music press, absorbed with the spit and sawdust of the New Wave, completely ignore it, and long-standing fans were presented with a marked change of style, even from the relative simplicity of 'The Missing Piece'. In the States, its poor showing is harder to understand - perhaps 'Giant for a Day' fell between two stools, being neither complex enough to please their old audience, nor straightforward enough to attract a new one.
The album's packaging probably didn't help. the sleeve, reproduced here, invited buyers to cut out their own Gentle Giant mask. It was rather gimmicky, and tended to cheapen the band's image at a time when a more serious approach might have paid greater dividends. According to Kerry Minnear, it wasn't a conscious effort to shake off their intellectual image, nor was it intended to be particularly flippant. 'There was never an deliberate attempt to insult the intelligence of those who were into what we had done before... It was just thought of as a bright idea, a fun idea, to see loads of people at a concert wearing these masks. there's no doubt that it doesn't have the intrigue of say 'In a Glass House' or the seriousness of 'The Power and the Glory', but I just look on it as the hallmark of the album...'
During the winter of 978/79, Giant toured North America to promote 'Giant for a Day', then everything went quiet. It seemed as though the band had decided to throw in the towel in the light of the poor reception the album had received, but two years later they reconvened to write and record what really would be their swansong, 'Civilian', before moving on to very different futures.
By the early Nineties, Derek Shulman was a record label boss, his brother Ray had established himself as an in-demand producer, and John Weathers was still playing and recording with Welsh legends Man. Kerry Minnear was making a living from teaching music, whilst Gary Green had moved to a remote part of Illinois, and played occasionally with local bands.
Unjustly shunned when originally released, 'Giant for a Day' is now making its first appearance on CD. True, in this format the mask will prove difficult to get into, but the music shouldn't - this album remains as accessible as it ever was, and once more confirms Giant's ability to master widely differing musical styles.
- Alan Kinsman. Many thanks for their assistance to Kerry Minnear and Ray Shulman.
Cool stuff in the music
- Words From The Wise opens with all five members singing. (Thanks to Diana Green.)
- In Thank You, the line "You like all my funny ways" is of course a reference to Funny Ways from the debut album. (Thanks to Danny Priel and John Jakob.)
- In Thank You was written by Ray about his wife-to-be, Barbara. (Thanks to John Weathers.)
- The scream in Spooky Boogie is Gary Green. (Thanks to Diana Green.)
- In Take Me, the line "I turned around" refers to I'm Turning Around from The Missing Piece, and "Good-timin', all-nightin'" appears later in Rock Climber. (Thanks to John Jakob.)
- In Friends, the lyric "Thank you" most likely refers to Thank You. (Thanks to John Jakob.)
- Friends was the only Gentle Giant piece crediting John Weathers as composer, and it's his only full-song, solo vocal performance with the band. (Thanks to Diana Green.) (Note: Under Construction contains an unreleased Weathers song, You Haven't a Chance.)
- In It's Only Goodbye, the lyric "I think of you now in kindness" refers to Think Of Me With Kindness from Octopus, and "My reflections" probably refers to On Reflection from Free Hand (Thanks to John Jakob.)
No MIDI files found for "Giant for a Day"
No sheet music files found for "Giant for a Day"
This list is not necessarily complete, and various releases are out of print.
|Terrapin Trucking/Road Goes On Forever, RGF CD 1007
(Remastered as TRUCKCD 007) (Out of print)
|One Way Records, S21-18470
|BGO (The Missing Piece & Giant for a Day)