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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An undiscovered diamond.......
This band were never truly recognised for their amazing talent and originality. Although they epitomised 'progressive music' in the 70', they never managed to break through to the mass acceptance that they deserved.
Three Friends is one of their less acclaimed albums but, for me , in the title track, it has the best song that they ever produced. Coming at the end of...
Published on 26 Feb 2002 by Trevor Hopkins

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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Way too pretty
I feel that my duty in this life is to follow musical trails until I hit a dead end. I had left GG untouched until this year, and then bought a few of their albums - using Amazon reviews as a guide. Anyway, there are many groups where one can ponder why they never made the big time - in that parallel universe where all of Elvis Costello's first 6 albums went No. 1 with...
Published 22 months ago by L. D. Sheldon


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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An undiscovered diamond......., 26 Feb 2002
By 
Trevor Hopkins (BIRMINGHAM, WEST MIDLANDS United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Three Friends (Audio CD)
This band were never truly recognised for their amazing talent and originality. Although they epitomised 'progressive music' in the 70', they never managed to break through to the mass acceptance that they deserved.
Three Friends is one of their less acclaimed albums but, for me , in the title track, it has the best song that they ever produced. Coming at the end of a sequence of songs about the different paths followed by three schoolkids, it has a hymn like quality that can bring you to tears.
There are other, equally worthy records by this great band but it will always be 'Three Friends' that I will come back to...maybe because it reminds me to think about my own schooldays and the friends who disappeared into the past.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Progressive Rock Giant, 10 Aug 2001
By 
Per Gulliksrud "per-gull" (Oslo, Norway) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Three Friends (Audio CD)
This is amazing stuff! A wonderfully crafted album by the progressive rock giants Gentle Giant. Many of their albums are good, but they're not easy listening, their music is very complex, very challenging. It's a mixture of symphonic rock, hard rock, adding some medieval influences. This is a concept album, telling the story of three friends, starting out when they're playing together as children, "Prologue" and "School Days", and followed their very different paths through the life. One become an ordinary worker, the second an artist and the third become a very rich man. The songs illustrated this, "Working All Day", "Peel the Paint" and "Mister Class and Quality". The last song "Three Friends" is a very beautiful, like a psalm, one of their best.
A very recommended album!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent Gentle Giant re-issue by Repertoire, 19 Feb 2008
By 
Dr. D. B. Sillars - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This album is often overlooked, overshadowed by the following album "Octopus". But "Three Friends" is one of the bands best. Whereas "Octopus" featured shorter, highly structured and tightly arranged songs, "Three Friends" six tracks gives the musicians room to breath and actually feature some solo spots. There is some especially fine organ work by Kerry Minnear on "Working All Day" and Gary Green shows himself to be a highly versatile guitarist, just listen to the solo at the end of "Peel The Paint". Talking of which, "Peel The Paint" is for many the outstanding track and was a live favourite. Here in its studio form, the gentle, pastoral, introspective intro gives nothing away of the rock onslaught which follows. A beautifully realised track. I am also fond of the opening "Prologue" with its mix of sax and synth and the finale of "Three Friends" with its beautifully elegiac mellotron/organ ending.

Listening to this album again, I am reminded how original and inventive this band were. They should have been as big as Genesis, Yes and ELP, but maybe many found the complex time signatures and mix of so many musical styles too hard to grasp. A shame as they have been so influential on many new bands like Spocks Beard and their music sounds so fresh and vital.

This remaster is the last in Repertoires re-issue of Gentle Giants albums which were recorded for the Vertigo label. Like those this is expertly remastered by Eroc to make it sounding so crisp and lively. It's also beautifully packaged in a mini-LP style sleeve, reproducing the original LP artwork. The fold-out insert contains lyrics, credits and an essay by Chris Welch. This is a very good re-issue of one of this highly original bands best albums. I would get the lot in this series while you can.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of their finest, 19 Feb 2008
By 
Mr. J. L. Ward "John Ward" (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
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I was actually quite a fan of the Japanese digipak release on Universal - although some reviewers did ask questions about its sound quality. To my 56 year old low fidelity ears though, the sound was always fine - I was just so relieved that someone had had the courage to authorise the use of the original magnificent cover. Where this latest one from Repertoire wins is in the quality of the artwork. The text and illustrations appear much more clearly than they do on the Japanese release and in keeping with Repertoire's policy, there is the bonus of an informative little booklet. The theme of the album (that of three schoolfriends who become separated in adult life) seems to acquire ever greater poignancy as the years spin by. Kerry Minnear's 'Schooldays' recalls as though through a dream, the seemingly endless summer of childhood whilst the title (and closing) track would not be out of place performed in a cathedral. At their best, Gentle Giant combined Medieval, Renaissance and Jazz influences with hard rock in a way that made them masters of the progressive genre. What made them extra special was their talent for giving their music an icing of deeply thought provoking lyrics.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another giant classic, 4 April 2011
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Even by the standards of the LP era, this is quite a short album but maybe that helps it avoid some of the excesses of prog-rock. These are songs, linking together to make some kind of story, and there's the usual variety of styles that you expect from this hugely talented band. What would have been side 1 of the LP - the first 3 tracks - seems a bit lower key but it really comes alive with side 2. Peel The Paint shows that this prog band could really do the rock bit as well, with a great guitar solo. Three Friends is the climax and a typical Giant song with a very hummable tune finishing with the organ and choral paean. It all hangs together perfectly.

You might have read this before in some of my other reviews but here's another word of praise for an excellent CD reissue. The remastered sound is excellent and the novel little cardboard CD sleeve is great - a little miniature gatefold LP sleeve so you get all the same artwork, together with pullout notes and the CD artwork reproduces the original LP centre.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of their finest!, 5 May 2007
By 
Mr. J. L. Ward "John Ward" (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Three Friends (Audio CD)
During the CD age 'Three Friends' has been the most enigmatic of Gentle Giant's classic releases. Very early on it appeared briefly on the 'Line' label but since the demise of that company the only way of buying this has been to go for Columbia's US version which, as is well known, bears the cover of Giant's debut and self titled album. In a way, History has repeated itself as German re-release specialists, 'Repertoire', have released sonically superior versions of all the first four records - except this one. Their website has listed 'Three Friends'as an 'upcoming release' for several months now but when I saw the Japanese (and authentic) version advertised by an Amazon trader, I decided to pay the requested king's ransom - and I have seldom been happier with a purchase. Not only do we have the magnificent original cover, we are also blessed with far superior sound quality. The theme of the album (that of three schoolfriends who become separated in adult life) seems to acquire ever greater poignancy as the years spin by. Kerry Minnear's 'Schooldays' recalls as though through a dream, the seemingly endless summer of childhood whilst the title (and closing) track would not be out of place performed in a cathedral. At their best, Gentle Giant combined Medieval, Renaissance and Jazz influences with hard rock in a way that made them masters of the progressive genre. What made them extra special was their talent for giving their music an icing of deeply thought provoking lyrics.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of class and quality, 24 Aug 2008
By 
Mark Kibble "Underground man" (Coalville Leics England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Three Friends (Audio CD)
For their third album, Giant released 'Three friends', a concept charting their lives from childhood to adulthood. Although I rated this album very highly on it's initial release, due to it's subject matter, lyrically it has a greater meaning now. How many of us have lost touch with old schoolchums.
The song structures are similar to those on their debut album, but with more use of the multi layered vocals that would become their trademark.

'Prologue' opens the album with it's driving rhythm compounded by some very earthy guitar and keyboard, the lyrics set the scene for the following tracks.
'Schooldays' is a lighter offering, opening with Kerry playing vibraphone before the multi layered vocals remind us of those happier days of childhood, before ending in an uptempo mode.
'Working all day' is the story of the first friends adult life, a midtempo number which tells us of a life of labour digging up roads.
'Peel the paint' tells the tale of friend number two, an artist, starting off quite light with keyboard and violin to the fore, then exploding into a much gutsier finale where Gary has a good blow out with his guitar.
'Mr class and quality' is friend number three's life as a white collar worker, a bouncy uptempo number.
'Three friends' closes the album in style, this is so angelic it could almost be played in church, and that mellotron ooooooooh!!!!!!!!!!

If you like good solid music then this is as good as any.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars old friends, 27 Sep 2010
Gentle Giant has long been a favorite band of mine as I am a listener who you might say came of age in the era where Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, the Moody Blues, to name a few, were creating their magnificent stages.
I've thoroughly enjoyed G.G. works such as Acquiring the Taste, Octopus, Freehand, Power & the glory etc. but for some reason I never had the chance to hear Three Friends till this re-mastered release. I'll say it's definitely a treat worth waiting for. A foundation piece for much of what followed. Superb instrumentation & solid songwriting. The production & remastering are top notch as well. Do yourself a favour & have a listen!

Kevin.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gentle Giant of Art Rock., 14 Jun 2012
By 
Ross J. Warren "Ross" (Wonderful Swindon) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Three Friends (Audio CD)
There really are no bad Gentle Giant records just three distinct periods. Three friends is from the early progressive years when there were three Shulman's in the band...indeed on this recording there are four, as Phil's son adds some worthy vocals. I have bought the US import, and it is true that there are better mix's available...I just had to have the US cover art. Even so this is a perfectly listenable CD, and worth buying at the low low prices you can get it for.

The record is up to the very high standard set by Acquiring the Taste, and in my opinion as good as Octopus, all be it more laid back and psychedelically influenced.
My only moan is that it is rather short 35mins, which fly's by all to soon. The killer track is Schooldays,which is very atmospheric. The cover art is similar to the UK release of Gentle Giant, but there is a little booklet with some nice cartoon like drawings. Making this worth having for GG freaks who simply must have everything. The mix is not as clear as the latest release but offers an acceptable alternative with less top end...for a change, but also feels a little differant.

Certainly a great record, and at these prices an absolute steal...buy!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gentle Giant - Three Friends, 7 Feb 2008
By 
Gentlegiantprog "Kingcrimsonprog" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Gentle Giant are an excellent British Progressive Band and Three Friends was their third full-length studio album, which saw a few "firsts" for the band. Released in 1972, the album was the first to be self produced by the band, was their first concept album and was also both the first and last Gentle Giant album to feature drummer Malcolm Mortimore, who is sometimes regarded as being Gentle Giant's worst drummer.

Furthermore, the album is also notable for being released with an almost identical artwork job as their debut, although an original cover was available in certain editions.

Regardless on your opinions on the artwork and arguably even drumming, this album is fantastic. The production isn't just as good as on some of their better-produced records like Free Hand or Octopus, but isn't poor enough to warrant a real problem either. What keeps the album afloat in terms of quality is the songwriting; which, while not just as progressive as some of the band's more famous albums, is no less brilliant.

The sax-laden `Working All Day' covers ground that the band never covered before, `Peel The Paint' bursts out from quiet beginnings into a furious and energetic Hendrix-esque guitar solo and hard rocking yet soulful closer `Mister Class And Quality/Three Friends' is immensely catchy.

The story details three childhood friends grow apart over time and as adults become separated by the social class system. As concept albums go, it's not the most complex story out there but it is succinct, doesn't mess around and is therefore arguably more effective for its brevity.

Overall; Musically the whole album is fantastic, with an eclectic mix of prog complexity, hard rock attitude, and occasional contemplative simplicity, this album doesn't disappoint for a single second. It may not be the band's best produced album but it certainly deserves a place in your collection regardless. If you like Gentle Giant but don't yet own a copy of this album then I would whole-heartedly recommend that you check it out, you probably wont regret it.
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