Let’s all prog our knee-high argyle socks right off to this mixtape I did a long time ago, featuring the only band ever to make François Rabelais into a rock star. Who else could have you singing along to the epic mythologies of Gargantua? Who else would dare announce these words on an album sleeve as a band manifesto, even in 1970?
“Acquiring the taste is the second phase of sensory pleasure. If you’ve gorged yourself on our first album, then relish the finer flavours (we hope) of this, our second offering. It is our goal to expand the frontiers of contemporary music at the risk of being very unpopular. We have recorded each composition with the one thought – that it should be unique, adventurous, and fascinating. It has taken every shred of our combined musical and technical knowledge to achieve this. From the outset we have abandoned all preconceived thoughts on blatant commercialism. Instead we hope to give you something far more substantial and fulfilling. All you need to do is sit back, and acquire the taste.”
You hear that? Don’t push us or we’ll start setting R.D. Laing books to contrapuntal four-part harmony and bringing several varieties of cello onstage with us. As for me, I always liked the GG period when Phil Shulman was there; I think the horns make for a warmer vibe when it comes to these guys. I admire their later albums, I just think they sound so cold and technical without the jazzier, freer element the reeds and such brought. Anyway, this CD contains two totally unique edits by me, one of which may be the most difficult and time-consuming one I’ve ever attempted. Where did that drum solo in the middle of “Nothing At All” go, anyways?
together, the parts make a Giant
the Vertigo Years, vol.1
01 Plain Truth
03 Funny Ways
04 The Advent of Panurge
05 Working All Day
06 Nothing At All (EN single edit)
07 Alucard (EN instrumental edit)
08 Pantagruel’s Nativity
11 Mister Class And Quality
12 Three Friends
13 The Moon Is Down
14 Isn’t It Quiet and Cold
15 Black Cat
Total time: 1:18:37
Gentle Giant, 1970-72:
Phil Shulman: vocals, clarinet, saxophones, trumpet
Derek Shulman: vocals, saxophone, recorder
Ray Shulman: bass, violin, trumpet, recorder, vocals
Kerry Minnear: keyboards, vibraphone, cello, recorder, vocals
Gary Green: guitars, recorder, vocals
Martin Smith: drums (1970-71)
Malcolm Mortimore: drums (1971-72)
John Weathers: drums, percussion, vibraphone, vocals (1972)
Little known fun fact: Derek Shulman became an A&R representative for various labels after Gentle Giant ended in 1980, and went on to sign bands such as Tears for Fears, Bon Jovi, Pantera and Dream Theater to their very first major deals.
enjoy and don’t hurt yourselves progging! –J.