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Live Playing the Foo [Import]

Gentle Giant Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £16.95
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The three Shulman brothers had previously formed Simon Dupree and the Big Sound with three others in 1966. They cut 9 singles 1966-69 (and one as The Moles in 1968) and one album in 1967, all for Parlophone. The act played R&B and soul and ventured into psychedelia and pop. After disbanding late 1969, the three brothers formed Gentle Giant Feb 1970, bringing drummer Martin Smith, who had ... Read more in Amazon's Gentle Giant Store

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Live Playing the Foo + In Glass House + Free Hand [2012 - Remaster]
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Product details

  • Audio CD (19 Mar 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: One Way Records Inc
  • ASIN: B000002R0O
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 517,348 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Just the Same
2. Proclamation
3. On Reflection
4. Excerpts from Octopus
5. Funny Ways
6. The Runaway
7. Experience
8. So Sincere
9. Free Hand
10. Sweet Georgia Brown (Breakdown in Brussells)
11. Peel the Paint / I Lost my Head (Medley)

Customer Reviews

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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous Live Album 19 Mar 2014
Format:Audio CD
I'm amazed this only has one review

It's a fantastic live album form the era when ldouble ive albums were standard issue items for most groups

This one surpasses most of them - never ones to settle for the easy option this set shows the Ginats at the peak of their powers - new arrangements of old classics set alongside what was then new material all played with astounding skill and aplomb.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good to hear Prog Rock Live 15 May 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I was not the biggest fan of Gentle Giant, mainly due to listening to ELP & Yes instead but really enjoyed this live album.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  47 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jaw-droppingly rich and intense 11 May 2000
By David J. Loftus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Buy this album. I don't care who you are, I cannot imagine anyone not being blown away by at least SOMETHING on this incredible album, if not every bit of it.
Gentle Giant was a British progressive rock band that handled a multiplicity of musical styles (from rock and blues to Renaissance madrigals and jazz) and instruments (roughly 30 of them in concert) with ease. The songs were rhythmically complex, the lyrics rich and intelligent, and vocal harmonies could break into four and five parts. That they toured with Yes, Jethro Tull, and Renaissance only begins to give a sense of what they did.
This album came near the end of their peak period, and provides a nearly flawless survey of everything Gentle Giant was at its best. Do you like classical? Cue "On Reflection" and listen to the recorder and cello duet that leads into the proliferant Renaissance-style vocal interplay. Prefer cool jazz improvisation? Put on the gorgeous ballad "Funny Ways" and let Kerry Minnear's steadily building vibes solo make your skin prickle.
Like blistering acoustic guitar duets? Listen for one in the middle of the astonishing musical stew of "Excerpts from Octopus" (which also has the bewildering vocal melange of "Knots" and a recorder quintet!). Or if you want just all-out rocking, put on "So Sincere," which starts with a violin and cello duet in a disconcerting, syncopated rhythm, and jerky, "unmusical" vocal melody (right there you'll have heard something you won't ever have heard before); builds to a breakneck roar on guitar and keyboards; and culminates in a percussion quintet with all five band members pounding drums, leaping to a gorgeous tinkling bells break from which they peel off one by one to return to their drums for a thundering finish. It will leave you stunned and breathless.
I could say so much more about these and other cuts -- the SLIGHTLY more conventional but no less complex rockers "Free Hand," "Proclamation," and "Just the Same"; the lovely ballad "I Lost My Head" sandwiched between the rocking "Peel the Paint" and its own hard climax; bassist Ray Shulman's playful fiddle rendition of "Sweet Georgia Brown" in Brussels; the fabulous INDIVIDUAL movements of "Excerpts From Octopus" -- but that's more than enough.
Just buy the darned album!
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seminal live album and the best live recording of the band in it's prime--remastered--and nicely done 27 Feb 2010
By Wayne Klein - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Live albums often act as a summation of a career to date and usually indicates a move in a different direction for a band (sometimes they are money grabs, too but that's not the case here). In the case of Gentle Giant it was time to capture the band in their musical prime as performers and "Playing the Fool" does just that. Touching on just about every album the band made "Playing the Fool" sounds extremely good here. Is it an audiophile remastering? No. If you're expecting tape hiss, it's virtually non-existant and, yep, selective band compression was used BUT the album isn't brickwalled, the EQ isn't harsh (unlike some previous reissues)and we get the entire original release all on one disc. Fred Kervorkian (remastering engineer) and Ray Shulman went back to the original mastertapes (although this isn't the first time)and the results are a rich, supple sounding remaster that may not meet the perfect criteria of an audiophile but still manages to sound quite good for a remaster.

There aren't any bonus tracks (there wasn't on the original album either but a Quicktime video of the band in performance. Fear not though when I interviewed Derek Shulman he indicated that MORE video and audio releases are forthcoming from the archive of the band). "Playing the Fool" remains one of guitarist Gary Green's favorite albums (deservedly since he and the band shine here) and, to the best of my knowledge, there isn't any overdubbing that was done or, if it was done, was probably limited only to vocals. Having heard many live releases (of varying quality and having seen the band in concert when they were still together...if in doubt listen to "Breakdown in Brussels" where their equipment broke down and the band played "Sweet Georgia Brown" while they tried to repair the equipment)Gentle Giant was one of the few bands that could recreate their albums in concert AND often improve on them.

Is this worth picking up? Yep. For a modern remaster it sounds quite good with a nice soundstage, dynamic range and EQ choices that improve on some of the previous releases of the album. This is a classic album that could only have been improved with additional unreleased bonus tracks and, of course, a video of the band in their prime.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The other "best" live progressive album 21 April 2002
By x_bruce - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
There has been a ton of praise towards Yessongs as the best album of the progressive rock heyday. It captured Yes' live show well and although it's sound quality was mediocre it made a statement about just how good the band could play.
At the time of that album I had heard some Gentle Giant but wasn't blown away by them. In part it was the complexity of their music, I could appreciate what was happening, in fact it was jaw droppingly amazing but it didn't do much for me.
I had a chance to see them 5th row center in a fairly small venue around the time of this tour and was completely blown away by their performance. After that concert I was a die hard fan.
When Playing The Fool came out I bought the record hoping it would be half as good as the concert. Well, it wasn't, it was better. The playing is inspired, the choice of material across the band's catalog was excellent and makes for a great introduction. It replaced Yessongs as my favorite live album.
Yes was able to take commercial, hook-laden elements and fuse them to ornate arrangements. Gentle Giant worked in different ways. Their song structures were more complex and syncopated to a degree that put off listeners used to commercial rock. Yes pulled in an audience while remaining true to themselves (at least for most of the 70's) while faux progressive like Uriah Heep pulled in platinum sales for a few albums. Few of my friends, most of them progressive rock fans, could get into Gentle Giant nor could they put a finger on why.
Sadly the late 70's also created a ton of garbage which lead to the punk backlash. I liked punk music, I played in a punk band after the progressive band I was in collapsed. For all the rhetoric passed about punk's straight forward philosophy about music and sometimes politics I can honestly say punk was more conformist than ANY other music/musicians I've worked with. I mention this because bands like Gentle Giant, who were at best a modest earning act by industry standards had to try to reconsile their music in order to keep a recording contract.
Playing The Fool is the ending statement of Gentle Giant and the first generation of progressive music. A few good albums came out of the progressive bands post punk but for King Crimson none adapted well to the 80's.
The 90's saw an influx of bands that were influenced by 70's progressive and lives on in bands like The Flower Kings, Spock's Beard and the neo progressive movement. Bands like Gentle Giant are clearly heard as influences in their music. Any fan of current prog rock needs to hear Playing The Fool.
Perhaps this is not the best play by play review here but there are some fine ones below to read. Hopefully this review gives you some perspective and reason to try this album if you haven't heard it yet.
First time listeners, this is a good place to start, there is a broad variety of Gentle Giant's catalog present on this CD performed at their prime. This is complex music and may take some people several listens to appreciate. Consider it a small price for the rewards you will get. It is also a vital and necessary CD for anyone that appreciates quality songwriting and creativity.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Album To Intice The Uninitiated 15 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is IT -- the single album with which to indoctrinate the unfortune multitude who have never heard the genius of Gentle Giant. The other reviews have said it all -- intricate arrangements on par with the best classical music; eclectic styles from medieval to damn near punk; cerebral lyrical themes brimming with accessible tongue-in-cheek humor; and superb musicianship far beyond the average rock musician. And, on this CD, it's all performed breathtakingly "live". I was privileged to see GG in concert on this tour and they were so "tight" on the older numbers like SO SINCERE and the stunning OCTOPUS medley that, for a brief moment, it seemed rock music might have a future. (Sadly, only the cogniscenti heard the new musical standard being set by the band. GG's finesse and imagination equaled weak sales and they were buried in the great new wave/punk earthquake of the early 80s.) Savor here, if you will, 80 myth-making minutes of rock music unrepentent of virtuosity, and bedazzling in its sonic sweep.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gentle Giant Live - OUTSTANDING RE-MASTER! 24 Feb 2006
By Christopher S. Kastner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Absolutely outstanding re-master. When you close your eyes you get the feeling that you are actually live at a Gentle Giant concert and I can attest to this since I have been to a few Gentle Giant concerts back in my hayday.
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