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Playing the Fool: Official Live Gentle Giant
Gentle Giant
Playing the Fool: Official Live Gentle Giant
Genres: Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1

1996 One Way reissue of their 1977 live album for EMI, featuring the original cover art and all 11 tracks from the original two LP set on one CD! Includes 'Just The Same', 'Proclamation' and 'Free Hand'.


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CD Details

All Artists: Gentle Giant
Title: Playing the Fool: Official Live Gentle Giant
Members Wishing: 4
Total Copies: 0
Label: One Way Records Inc
Release Date: 3/19/1996
Album Type: Live
Genres: Pop, Rock
Styles: Progressive, Progressive Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 724381846629


Album Description
1996 One Way reissue of their 1977 live album for EMI, featuring the original cover art and all 11 tracks from the original two LP set on one CD! Includes 'Just The Same', 'Proclamation' and 'Free Hand'.

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CD Reviews

Jaw-droppingly rich and intense
David J. Loftus | Portland, OR USA | 05/11/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Buy this album. I don't care who you are, I cannot imagine anyone not being blown away by at least SOMETHING on this incredible album, if not every bit of it.Gentle Giant was a British progressive rock band that handled a multiplicity of musical styles (from rock and blues to Renaissance madrigals and jazz) and instruments (roughly 30 of them in concert) with ease. The songs were rhythmically complex, the lyrics rich and intelligent, and vocal harmonies could break into four and five parts. That they toured with Yes, Jethro Tull, and Renaissance only begins to give a sense of what they did.This album came near the end of their peak period, and provides a nearly flawless survey of everything Gentle Giant was at its best. Do you like classical? Cue "On Reflection" and listen to the recorder and cello duet that leads into the proliferant Renaissance-style vocal interplay. Prefer cool jazz improvisation? Put on the gorgeous ballad "Funny Ways" and let Kerry Minnear's steadily building vibes solo make your skin prickle.Like blistering acoustic guitar duets? Listen for one in the middle of the astonishing musical stew of "Excerpts from Octopus" (which also has the bewildering vocal melange of "Knots" and a recorder quintet!). Or if you want just all-out rocking, put on "So Sincere," which starts with a violin and cello duet in a disconcerting, syncopated rhythm, and jerky, "unmusical" vocal melody (right there you'll have heard something you won't ever have heard before); builds to a breakneck roar on guitar and keyboards; and culminates in a percussion quintet with all five band members pounding drums, leaping to a gorgeous tinkling bells break from which they peel off one by one to return to their drums for a thundering finish. It will leave you stunned and breathless.I could say so much more about these and other cuts -- the SLIGHTLY more conventional but no less complex rockers "Free Hand," "Proclamation," and "Just the Same"; the lovely ballad "I Lost My Head" sandwiched between the rocking "Peel the Paint" and its own hard climax; bassist Ray Shulman's playful fiddle rendition of "Sweet Georgia Brown" in Brussels; the fabulous INDIVIDUAL movements of "Excerpts From Octopus" -- but that's more than enough.Just buy the darned album!"
The Best Album To Intice The Uninitiated
David J. Loftus | 07/15/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is IT -- the single album with which to indoctrinate the unfortune multitude who have never heard the genius of Gentle Giant. The other reviews have said it all -- intricate arrangements on par with the best classical music; eclectic styles from medieval to damn near punk; cerebral lyrical themes brimming with accessible tongue-in-cheek humor; and superb musicianship far beyond the average rock musician. And, on this CD, it's all performed breathtakingly "live". I was privileged to see GG in concert on this tour and they were so "tight" on the older numbers like SO SINCERE and the stunning OCTOPUS medley that, for a brief moment, it seemed rock music might have a future. (Sadly, only the cogniscenti heard the new musical standard being set by the band. GG's finesse and imagination equaled weak sales and they were buried in the great new wave/punk earthquake of the early 80s.) Savor here, if you will, 80 myth-making minutes of rock music unrepentent of virtuosity, and bedazzling in its sonic sweep."
Profound Musicianship
Frank C. | Huntington, NY United States | 11/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"All of the reviewers have hit the nail on the head when they described how amazing this band WAS. I listen to a lot of complex music ( i.e. Zappa, Stravinsky, Ravel, Copland, Varese, R. Strauss, Wagner, National Health, King Crimson, Webern, and a whole lot more), and let me tell you, the complexity that lies within this music is astounding. I'll put these guys up against any musicians that ever toured with Zappa or play jazz or orchestral music in the greatest halls in the world. This band was simply from another time and space. I would literally give anything (besides valuable body parts) to have been able to witness this band live, but sadly I was four when they did this tour in 1976. The fugues these guys performed with voices and recorders are TOTALLY OUTRAGEOUS!! Warning: This music is not for consumers with a low intelligence or a love for really boring pop music that is 98% of the crap that is released these days."