Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
GG go medieval...amongst other things!
R. Recchia | blodgett mills, ny | 06/17/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As far as I'm concerned, nobody did that celtic/medieval/re-
naissance music thing better than GENTLE GIANT. JETHRO TULL did
the same thing on SONGS FROM THE WOOD, tho' I think GG did it
much better! Tis a shame this album didn't sell as well as SONGS!
FREEHAND was GENTLE GIANT's most popular album, at least in the
U.S. and there's no doubt that GG were at the height of their
powers around this time. FREEHAND is full of catchy, yet very
complex songs. JUST THE SAME has a slightly funky feel to it;well
as funky as GG could get and has a great vocal from DEREK.KERRY
MINNEAR gets in some of his best singing on ON REFLECTION; a
beautiful little song with some very typical GG vocal rounds and
a very sweet poignant vocal from MINNEAR. I never cared for their
live presentation of this song with all them recorders! The title
track is another solid hard rock/pop song, with more of MINNEAR's
electric piano and/or clavinet playing. The celtic/medieval in-
fluence shows up the strongest on the instrumental TALYBONT.
HIS LAST VOYAGE has another nice vocal from MINNEAR and also some
nice interplay between GARY GREEN's guitar and RAY SHULMAN's
bass; this little interplay was one of GG's trademarks.
The mix on the ONE WAY RECORDS cd is slightly different than the
mix on the original album; this is most apparent on TIME TO KILL,
especially in the vocal tracks.
FREEHAND is not my favorite GG album, tho it is an album I would
start people off with as an intro to GENTLE GIANT."
Classic album--wretched mix--avoid like the plague!
Michael Kydonieus | San Francisco, CA United States | 07/24/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"One of Gentle Giant's best, but do yourself a favor. Get the release which contains both Freehand and Interview instead of the One-Way label version (Interview is also very worthwhile.)"
Gentle Giant's "Free Hand": A Progressive Rock Classic!
James P. Zaworski | Shenzhen, China | 12/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Gentle Giant is one of the most interesting progressive rock bands that has ever been. From 1970 to 1980, they put out some of the most provacative, fascinating, and musically complex music in progressive rock. In the middle of their career, they put out a release calle "Free Hand".Free Hand: Arguably their most popular album (with the possible exception of "In a Glass House"), and certainly one of their best! It was released in 1972, and is their third recording. The first track, "Just the Same", starts with the snapping of fingers, making a nice tempo, and it is then accompanied by a keyboard rhythm, and electric guitar, and then explodes into a heavy bass, drums, and vocals: "See me, What I am, What I was, What I'll be....", as Derek Shulman belts out the lyrics in his inimitable style (and subtlety accompanied by strange saxophones, clarinets, and horns). Changes and more changes, musically, rhythmically, and in time and tempo, abound throughout this catchy, strangely mellow, and at times, heavy, and excellent song. The second track is called "On Reflection", and is one that continues to display the unexpected virtousity, and inventiveness, and talent of Gentle Giant. It is a song in which all five members of the group sing, in a juxtaposed harmony that is reminiscent of Medieval English minstrel music. Lovely! (Especially Kerry Minnear's soft vocals in the middle of this song).The third track, and title track, is "Free Hand", and is my favorite song on this recording. This one is really powerful! Back is the driving bass guitar work of Ray Shulman, and the excellent guitar work of Gary Green. Also on this song are all the unexpected changes in tempo, it is like 4 or 5 songs in one!The fourth track is "Time to Kill", and starts with the sounds from the original computer game, "Pong". A medium level Giant song, it does groove in it's own way.The fifth track is "His Last Voyage", and begins with a mellow bass line, compliment by vibes and guitar, and then melding perfectly into a lovely vocal harmony, with Minnear in the lead. This is a very dreamy song, and quite ethereal. The sixth track is entitled "Talybont", is an instrumental piece, and is another of my favorite songs on this album. Again, it displays that hard-to-put-your-finger-on-quality and medieval feel that much of Gentle Giant's music is famous for.
It comes complete with harpsichord, electric guitar and bass, recorder, moog synthesizers, flute, tambourine, and drums. The seventh, and final track on this recording is "Mobile", and this exhibits the kind of driving, 'rolling' heavy bass lines, raucous vocals of Derek Shulman, and soft keyboard/harpsichord work of Minnear, eclectic electric guitar work of Gary Greene, fantastic drumming of John Weathers. It is also complete and replete with the strangeness and altogether weirdness of Gentle Giant. At times, it is like they are 'punk classical', from Mozart's time, especially when the bass player, Ray Shulman, pulls out his electric violin, and has a go in the middle of the song!So, by all means, stretch the limits of your imagination, and expand your musical horizons with the boundless possibilities of Gentle Giant!"