Customer Reviews


23 Reviews
5 star:
 (11)
4 star:
 (9)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous curate's (Faberge) egg
OK, here's the conundrum: first off, this is a fantastic compilation - the final six Giant albums plus extras with extensive write ups - all for little more than the price of one CD - if this were Pink Floyd, you'd barely get a Wall souvenir coaster for that. And of the six albums (plus extras) contained therein, no less than three come from the Giant's toppermost of top...
Published 23 months ago by Ben Cohen

versus
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is this a band in decline?
This is an absolute bargain - all of Gentle Giant's Chrysalis albums, plus assorted single cuts and session tracks. The first album, Free Hand, is classic Gentle Giant, with all the madness you'd expect - key changes galore and eclectic instrumentation.

From there on, though, things change. Interview is a concept album, but lacks the memorable tunes of Free...
Published 23 months ago by The Soft Machine Operator


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous curate's (Faberge) egg, 13 Aug 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
OK, here's the conundrum: first off, this is a fantastic compilation - the final six Giant albums plus extras with extensive write ups - all for little more than the price of one CD - if this were Pink Floyd, you'd barely get a Wall souvenir coaster for that. And of the six albums (plus extras) contained therein, no less than three come from the Giant's toppermost of top drawers.

So why do I feel like the bellboy who delivered champagne to George Best's luxury hotel room (where a scantily-clad Miss World was lounging about on a bed covered in casino winnings) before asking the footballer `So George, where did it all go wrong?'

The thing is: those three top notch albums are the first three albums featured here - and after album six, the band split for ever. So, George...

Well, there's no sign of rot or pestilence on 1975's Free Hand. It is considered by many fans and critics to be their finest hour (I would argue for 1972's Octopus). The music couldn't be further from the clichés that prog gets tarred with: there's no noodly self indulgence here - this is concise, melodic and genuinely thrilling art rock at its finest.

Interview, a year later, is cut from very similar cloth to Free Hand; Slightly fewer acoustic flavours and even more intricate in its construction. The consensus is that this is the slightly weaker album (for what it's worth I prefer it).

With adjectives like `intricate' flying around, who would have thought that live double Playing The Fool (also 1976) would be such an exciting listen. The considered chamber-rock has been retooled to, er, rock - but intelligently.

Add a fine Peel Session and your entrance fee has by now been paid several times over.

Don't stop listening now, but things do turn a bit rum from hereon in. So, what happened? A bit of context might help: punk has arrived in the UK and Yes, ELP and Genesis are having hit singles with songs you could actually hum. Adult Oriented Rock (AOR) was still huge in the US - in short: there was big money to be made by becoming radio friendly. So Gentle Giant decided to iron most of the (small k) kinks out of their music for the sake of `market forces'.

The move was a commercial failure. Musically it was an interesting failure - three albums with plenty to enjoy..

1977s The Missing Piece mixed ballads, full-on rock and quirky pop - no style was entirely successful, though it's an enjoyable listen. Side two (as it was) has flashes of old school Giant - Memories of Old Days is, in particular, melancholic perfection.

Giant for a Day (1978) jettisons the `old school' for a whole album of soft rock/pop. The problem (ironically) was that Giant's stabs at pop were too simplistic. It has its moments, but this is arguably their creative low point.

Giant's swansong was Civilian in 1980. The band had reluctantly decamped to LA to make something `radio friendly' for the US market (The US radio - probably a computer - said `no'). The fact that the band was utterly miserable might just be Civilian's saving grace - Peter Frampton this aint. You can hear the despair in songs like Shadows on the Street and Inside Out; even the straightforward rock of Number One makes its mark by sounding genuinely P****d off. In short this isn't classic Giant but it's ripe for reappraisal.

Around the same time as Giant were recording Civilian, Peter Gabriel was working on his groundbreaking third album. A representative of his US label came to listen to the work in progress. His sole contribution was to ask if one song could sound `more like the Doobie Brothers'. Gabriel refused and was swiftly dropped by Atlantic. He quickly found another label and the hugely experimental (and not even slightly AOR) album went top 30.

`I Lost My Head'? I often wonder what would have happened if Gentle Giant hadn't lost their nerve when the man from Chrysalis came knocking. In the mean time, dive in and enjoy a delicious curate's egg. The champagne's on its way...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AQUIRING THE TASTE., 14 Aug 2012
By 
Mark Jones (sheffield) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
If you are a person with a varied musical palate this is a fabulous opportunity to aquire Gentle Giants 5 studio and one double live album that they recorded for Chrysalis between 1975 and 1980. The first album in this set, Free Hand is regarded in Giant circles as one of the best and is a perfect example of their originality and complexity, at times coming across like time traveling Prog Rockin' monks thanks to Royal Collage of music trained Kerry Minnears love of Medieaval music. This and follow up album Interview gives you an idea of what to expect on the previous six albums. You also get a feel for the earlier vibe on the excellent live Playing The Fool,which manages to shine new light through old windows.
The last three albums demonstrate a less complex approach in answer to the onslaught of Punks less is more mantra. Check out the faux punk vocal on Two Weeks In Spain and the self mocking I Bet You Thought We Couldn't Do It. To my ears its all good stuff but to a lot of hardcore Giant fans who wanted the mind blowing complexity it was a step too far. The people who hated all the clever stuff weren't listening anyway, so cue obscurity. You also get the feeling that the band themselves were not comfortable with the more streamlined approach, compromising their own original musical ideals, but i think it holds up really well.
If you can remain objective you will enjoy this collection from one of the most original and still under appreciated rock bands of all time and at 13.00 an absolute bargain.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is this a band in decline?, 15 Aug 2012
By 
The Soft Machine Operator (COVENTRY, WARWICKSHIRE United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is an absolute bargain - all of Gentle Giant's Chrysalis albums, plus assorted single cuts and session tracks. The first album, Free Hand, is classic Gentle Giant, with all the madness you'd expect - key changes galore and eclectic instrumentation.

From there on, though, things change. Interview is a concept album, but lacks the memorable tunes of Free Hand, in my opinion, but the Missing Piece is where the band toned down the 'prog' and moved towards a more radio friendly type of rock. That's not to say it isn't bad, as there are some fantastic tunes and songs, but it isn't what I like Gentle Giant for. Giant for a Day continues the trend, but I think there are stong songs here - the title track, for instance, is good, and words from the wise still retains some of the 'prog' elements.

Civilian, though, could have been out by a different band. There's very little left of the 'old' sound, and it's all very straightfoward and, unlike the other albums, mainly forgettable.

I suppose they had to evolve and try to keep up with the times. Every other band had a stab at this sort of rock music with varying degrees of success.

If you want to complete your GG collection, then this is a must.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE DOCILE ACROMEGALIC*, 14 Aug 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
ah,this brings back memoriesthe green Chrtsalis label,the gurning faces on the cover,Gentle Giant were more tan prog rock,they were more than j azz rock,they were a band which defied genre.
CD ONE......FREE HAND(63.17)
"Just the same"Finger popping start,leads to a much ;oved GG track,there are some great solos on this track.
"On reflection"Great harmonies are a feature of this track, this has always been a favourite.
"Free hand"a very intricate song with Gary Boyle style guitar runs,and you can dance to it!!.
"Time to kill" i am not that familiar with this track,but it contains all the familiar GG traits,perhaps this could be a fair representation of the bands progress at the time.
"His last voyage"A very medieval sounding song,not one of thier better known songs.
"Tallybunt"Is a very Elizabethan sounding track
"Mobile"Is a folk influenced jape,once again,defining GGs musical roots,great fun!!
"1976 intro tape"is just that.
"Just the same"is a John Peel session
"Free hand"Another Peel Session,this is a great version.
"On reflection"guess what? another Peel session
"Give it back"Is described as the internationa mix,in the booklet,it has a sub reggae feel to it.
"I lost my head"Is the 7" single mix.

CD TWO.....INTERVIEW/ THE MISSING PIECE(73.36)
"Interview" Starts with some strange chatter,then gets into a typical GG sound,this is a great stereo mix
"Give it back"This time we get the full version.
"Design"again another spoken intro,then harmonies appear as only GG can do,this is the band experimenting.
"Another show"a short three minute trip through their deranged minds,what were they on?.
"Empty city"an acoustic intro leads into a more reflective song,this is truly excellent.
"timing" I have just realised the significance of the spoken intros,they are mini interviews,clever stuff eh?
"I lost my head" a longer version of the previously heard song.
"Two weeks in Spain" A true Gentle Giant classic.
"I'm turning around"This is possibly the nearest they came to a commercil song,this is top notch stuff.
"Betcha thought we couldn't do it"A rocking little record that you want the dic jockey to play
"Who do you think you are" another up tempo less intricate piece.
"Mountain time "This sounds as though they were trying to go down a more rock orientated road,i must admit i prefer the longer tracks.
"As old as you're young"this is a return to the style of Olde world music,
"Memories of old days"this is more like it,seven minutes plus of pure Gentle Giant,it has elements of Yes, and is magnificent.
"Winning"another piece of percussion driven music.
"For nobody" This could easily be Yes on speed.

CD THREE.....PLAYING THE FOOL(LIVE)(77.56)
"Just the same/Proclomation"The third verssion of this song on the set but running at over eleven minutes this is by far the best version.
"On reflection" another good version of this song,an extremely complex song,given the live treatment.
"Excerpts from "Octopus""Fifteen minutes of one of Giants earlier albums once again given a complete overhaul.
"Funny ways"Another long track that benefits from the live interpretation ,they sound uncanally like "Caravan".
"The runaways/Expierience"Starts again with percussion effects,the original was on the "In a glass house"album,and this track is over nine minutes in duration.
"So sincere"Gentle Giant songs are like London Busses you ask for ten minute plus tracks,and then three come along at once.
"Free hand"another appearance for this classic track.
"Sweet Georgia Brown"just one minute and twenty seconds long, and the live album finishes with
"Peel the paint/Ilost my head" a great way to end the live album.

CD FOUR.....GIANT FOR A DAY/CIVILIAN(75.190
"Words from the wise"More great harmonies, again leaning towards a yes sound.
"Thank you"The first appearance of this track,that will appear again in a different mix,a slightly commercial song from the giant.
"Giant for a day"The title track.starts like an old rock'n'roll,before giving a nod towards "Wishbone Ash".
"Spooky boogie"at under three minutes long this is a slighly sinister throw away track.
"Take me"you can hear on this,how the giant were changing,this is obviously them,but more rock styled,sounds a bit like "Thats all" by Genesis.
"Little brown bag"more Rock music.
"Friends "another two minute acoustic song,it could be McCartney,but not as twee
"No stranger"This album is full of two minute songs,
"its only goodbye"another ballad,not up to standard and this borders on blandness.
"Rock climber"going downhill,fast,this commercial more produced sound does them harm,it makes them sound like 100 other rock bands.
"Thank you"another 7" mix
"Words from the wise"yet another 7" mix,
This brings us to the final part of this generally pretty good collection
CIVILIAN
""conveinience(Clean and easy)More faceless rock,where are the Giant of old?.
"All through the night"This is now getting predictable
"Shadows in the street"a quieter track at last,glimpses of the old band peak through.
"Number one"Thta title can have more than one meaning,too heavy by far.
"Underground" This sounds like the death knell for the band.
"I am a camera"ironically,Yes did a track of the same name,which was subtitled "Into the lens" and was better than this.
"Inside out"a much better song in all ways
" Its not immagination"back to the faceless rock,

If you are looking for an album that will pass as background music,then tbis is not for you,if,however you are looking for interesting music,that is well played,then this is definately for you

CD ONE......68.17
CD TWO.....73.36
CD THREE.....77.56
CD FOUR.....75.19

RECORDED BETWEEN 1975-1980
RELEASED 2012

VALUE FOR MONEY*****
PACKAGING IS A CHUNKY PLASTIC BOX WITH BOOKLET
FAVOURITE TRACS.....FREE HAND/IM TIRNING AROUND/TWO WEEKS IN SPAIN/MEMORIES OF OLD TIMES

DÉREK SULMAN.....VOCALS,SAXES,ALTO SAX,DESCANT RECORDER,BASS AND PERCUSSION

RAY SHULMAN.....BASS,VIOLIN,ACOUSTIC GUITAR,DESCANT RECORDER,TRUMPET,VOCALS AND PERCUSSION

KERRY MINEAR.....KEYBOARDS,CELLO,VIBES TENOR RECORDER,VOCALS AND PERCUSSION

GARY GREEN.....ELECTRIC,ACOUSTIC AND 12 STRING GUITARS.ALTO AND DESCANT RECORDERS,PERCUSSION AND VOCALS

JOHN WEATHERS.....DRUMS ,TUMBERS,VIBES PERCUSSION AND BACKING VOCALS

CHRYSALIS

* An acromegalic is someone who has Acromegally (giantism) i know because i suffer from it.its main symptoms are uncontrolled growth of the head,hands,jawbone,knuckles and face.

"
"
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT point of entry... but should be 4.9 stars, 28 Aug 2012
By 
Glen Burg "distantshore" (the Maritimes of Canada) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It would be EXCEPTIONALLY hard to _legally_ get this much value for money, especially when considering such a stellar and unique progressive rock band: six albums (or seven LP's worth, considering the live "Playing the Fool" is a double LP), plus a previously unreleased BBC session (John Peel!) and several 7" mixes making their CD debut. Add to this tons of NEW liner notes ("That's a big booklet you got there..."), and the top-of-their-game performances on "Free Hand" (my preferred point of entry for the band) and "Playing the Fool"... and 14 pounds feels like you're buying a new (re-)release off a discount rack! In fact, if you could track down a copy of their 2-CD, Vertigo-years compilation, "Edge of Twilight", you'd have over 90% of the music the band released during their existence.

There are several places which fully describe Gentle Giant's music, which at its peak melded Baroque, rock, acoustic folk nuances and even (very subtle) funk touches, with tons of counterpoint, even some hocketing, and a backbeat which hit HARD.

So with all this... WHY would I not give this compilation five stars? NIT PICKING, actually. The edition of "Civilian" I heard had a very brief audio collage at the end of the album, taken from four different sections of the album: "That's... All... There... Is..." Here, it's gone. Does this mean Chrysalis went back to the very original, pre-mastering mix reels to remaster all the songs? Well, sound quality here is as great as you'd get on most any aluminum CD (audiophile gold CDs aside)... so it's quite possibly the case. HOWEVER, word has it that certain vinyl versions back in its original release did not include this audio collage: could it be that the UK Chrysalis edition didn't? That would make sense here.

The other reason is a debatable one: "Heroes" (aka "Heroes No More"). A song recorded during the "Civilian" sessions, it was once reputed to have survived solely on a cassette dub of a studio mix (although a master tape was later found). It could be debatable as to whether this song was actually part of the "Chrysalis" years: while it was recorded during the "Civilian" years (and, according to the Official GG webpage, it is the source of the word "There" in the aforementioned audio collage), it only made its first official appearance on CD as re-released by Terrapin Trucking, and then One Way Records... neither of them Chrysalis.

But with all that said, in a momemt of true sobriety, one has to concede... Once again, Chrysalis Records went above any beyond in their treatment of this oft-overlooked band, in the packaging, in the remastering, and definitely in the price point of such a well-produced BOX SET (all that's missing is the excess cardboard). Snatch it up in case it goes out of print: it starts at what I consider to be the peak of GG's career, and despite what some may feel of the later albums, overall this set gives you more than your money's worth. So there!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Giant value for money, 5 Sep 2012
By 
Ross J. Warren "Ross" (Wonderful Swindon) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
What is there not to love about this box set ?

You get 4 utterly wonderful GG LP's Free Hand 5 stars, Interview 5 stars (and my favorite Chrysalis period LP), Playing The Fool, a 5 star live double LP, and 77's Missing Piece, a 4 star LP with a great 2nd side. Then you also get Giant for a Day, which is better than a lot of folk seem to think, and has a great production 3 Stars, and if that was not enough, Civilian an LP let down by a dated sounding production but otherwise worth 4 stars.

If that was not enough you also get 1976's introduction tape, otherwise only available as a recording of a recording on Under construction. A John Peel set that has appeared before but is still great stuff and Finally a number of Single mixes.

Did I mention that this Box set retails for a laughable low £13.00, of course this set is worth 5 Stars only a complete nit wit would think otherwise. Buy this box set, you owe it to yourself to have this in your collection.
GG completest's will need a copy of this for the version of the 1976 introduction tape, and in my opinion that's £13.oo well spent on it own.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff, 4 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
An excellent collection

Whilst not necessarily being the 'greatest' of Giant's albums this is still a very worthwhile compilation.

And Playing the Fool is a top drawer live album

But even at this later stage of their career each of these albums still contains something of merit

For the newcomer it may even prove to be a good entry point and then work backwards to the more 'difficult' but ulitmately more rewarding albums of their earlier years
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Good 'Giant' collection, 5 July 2014
Having already got a few vinyl albums and a cd of Gentle Giant, I was always waiting to add to my collection without it costing the earth. When I saw this boxset I couldn't resist it at the price; six albums for around a tenner. Gentle Giant are one of those bands you either love or hate with their mix of jazz-blues-baroque tinged rock they defy categorisation. To someone who hasn't heard them it's virtually impossible to explain their type of music on most of their albums although they do vear towards straightforward rock on 'Giant For A Day'. It doesn't help either to mention that they evolved from Simon Dupree and The Big Sound of 'Kites' fame from the sixties as this is too far removed from that. If you like Gentle Giant and like me you don't have much on cd, then this is a great way to get six of their consecutive albums at a great price. If you're the sort of person who likes their rock simple and uncomplicated then this probably isn't for you.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Still Giants, 18 May 2014
By 
Maurice (Stockholm Sweden) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Nothing really new but stands the test of time! Good replacement for your
scratchy vinyls of this period of GG. Only eight bonus tracks maybe nothing more in the vaults?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars The best progressive rock band, 7 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The best progressive rock band in a box set from 1975 to 1980. I prefer the earliest recording but having all of them in a budget box is just incredible.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

I Lost My Head
I Lost My Head by Gentle Giant
Buy MP3 Album£12.49
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews