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Free Hand [2012 - Remaster] CD+DVD

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (27 Feb. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: CD+DVD
  • Label: EMI Catalogue
  • ASIN: B006CNR0BG
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 137,148 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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5:42
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6:12
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6:26
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2:42
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Product Description

Review

Uncut 8/10 - “Mischievous, eccentric prog virtuosity."

Record Collector 4/5 - "Free Hand, the group’s seventh album and first for Chrysalis, is arguably their last true classic; it swings."

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am new to Gentle Giant but when EMI Chrysalis, decided to re-issue this with a Vintage Quad Mix I was in I am a sucker for that kind of thing.
The music is complex Prog style music hints of Genesis maybe a bit of King Crimson but pretty much not like anything I have heard before so great news, I may at sometime have to deep dive the catalogue.

Highlights for me the the last three songs 'His last Voyage', 'Talybont' and 'Mobile'
The issue comes with a standard CD and a DVD with Dolby Digital (why?) and DTS96/24 4.1 mix of the album which sound great and are very discrete, and a flat 96/24 LPCM (Playable on any DVD player) stereo copy of the original stereo LP master, an excellent reproduction and probably the best it will sound digitally.
There are mumblings on some specialist Surround message boards of the right Channels being swapped on on the Quad mix for this , I can not confirm this as I have no reference, and to me that does not spoil the enjoyment of the disc. Thought I should report this though.
There are no bonus tracks on this which is a bit disappointing but for the price this is a steel for any 'prog' fan and fan of Hi rez music.
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Format: Audio CD
In the 70s, Gentle Giant deserved the level of recognition that their contemporaries ; Yes, ELP, Jethro Tull, Genesis, King Crimson, Pink Floyd et al....had achieved. Their musicianship and compositional skills were certainly on a par with (or beyond...) these more widely known bands. Possibly their music was slightly too complex to easily achieve a wider fanbase, or maybe their early association with the Vertigo Label meant that insufficient publicity had accompanied their advent. History also suggests that their sixth studio album 'The Power And The Glory' would have reached a respectable position in the UK Album Chart had the album's release been handled competently (Vertigo were no longer to blame, the band were now with WWA). Unfortunately, confusion over the album's release date, with copies spilled onto the market too early in error, meant that effectively the bulk of sales were split between two separate and disparate dates. Had the initial sales impetus maximised around a single date, the resultant charting of the album would have fuelled publicity and given the band the helping hand to nudge them into the major league where they belonged.
It is interesting then that the band's seventh studio album, that I review here, 'Free Hand' was so named because it marked their debut with the Chrysalis label and suggested feelings amongst the band that this heralded a new era of freedom for them.
'Free Hand' is possibly the band's most accessible album, if you are new to Gentle Giant start here and follow with 'In A Glass House' and 'The Power And The Glory'. I am choosing to review this album now because as well as being a lifelong fan of the band, I am also very fond of surround sound and the latest re-mastered version of this album comes with a DVD which includes a 4.
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Format: Audio CD
This was always my favourite Gentle Giant album and this release is the third version I have bought.
Here we have the strongest collection of songs they produced, there genuinely isn't a weak moment. This disk does have by far the best sound quality and the track that stood out for me with regard to cleaning up was 'His Last Voyage'. It's a great song but probably not the first I told friends about when I first heard the album. However on this version I felt like I was almost hearing it for the first time.
I would have to agree with the previous reviewer who was disappointed with the packaging. There is very little inside and as my children will tell you, I do like a good booklet with my cd's and dvd's. Loved the band and any info and pictures from the time of recording are always very welcome. However, it still gets five stars for the sheer genius of the music. (also great cover, always reminded me of the Peter Lorre film, 'the beast with five fingers')
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By Kingcrimsonprog TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 21 Jun. 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is an absolutely superb, high quality record from British Progressive Rock band Gentle Giant. Originally released 1975; the band's seventh studio album Free Hand fits in nicely with the rest of the catalogue. The record is a favorite for most fans that expertly balances accessibility with complexity and variety.

With its soulful singing and rocking choruses, Free Hand has the perfect formula that allow Gentle Giant to deliver the whole package... what enthusiastic new prog fans would call "mind-bending craziness" juxtaposed with sublime hard rock power.

The album contains several highlights including the famous 'On Reflection,' which has some knotted vocals and tuned percussion and could easily be described as a masterpiece of melody and counterpoint, as well as the furiously catchy title-track 'Free Hand,' which is practically worth the price of the disc on its own.

Most songs here are 5 minutes long or over; and the album is definitely a "grower" that becomes better with each repeat listen. When judged against the rest of the band's work it holds up very well and is probably most similar to the band's 'In A Glass House,' and 'Interview' albums stylistically, but also notable for its superior production values.

Overall, Free Hand is a very interesting and enjoyable album that really gives off that 'must-have' air. If you like Progressive Rock in general then it is definitely worth picking up a copy, and if you like Gentle Giant themselves then it'd be a shame not to buy this wonderful album. If you like any of their other work then you'll love this as well.
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