Until putting together this Two for Tuesday, I hadn’t heard anything by Gentle Giant. Not many program directors were willing to chance playing their music on the radio during their time together (1970-1980), and while I saw ads for their albums, I was in high school and college for most of that time and didn’t have a whole lot of money to throw around on records, particularly by bands I hadn’t heard of. Their official website is more a wiki than anything, and seems about as complicated as their music. As Wikipedia says in their article, they were considered complex even by progressive rock standards. Their music was a combination of rock, folk, jazz, and classical and expanded the boundaries of each. Nearly all the members were multi-instrumentalists.
At first glance, it appears all their recorded music is available on YouTube, as well as numerous clips from TV shows and concerts. These two clips are from the mid-1970’s and feature the most stable lineup: Gary Green (guitar), Ray Shulman (bass), Derek Shulman (vocals), Kerry Minnear (keyboards), and John “Pugwash” Weathers (drums). Those are the instruments you’ll see them play here, anyway; Wikipedia has a chart showing what instruments each member is capable of playing.
Our first track today is “Free Hand,” the title track from their 1975 album.
The second track is “Proclamation,” from their 1974 album The Power and the Glory.
Gentle Giant was, and still is, an acquired taste. That said, their music is interesting, and I’m sure I’ll be going through many of the other recordings available and giving them a listen. I hope you do as well. Gentle Giant, your Two for Tuesday, March 1, 2016.