Gentle Giant (album)

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For other uses of "Gentle Giant", see Gentle Giant (disambiguation).

About the Album

Italian album cover
Venezuelan album cover, Gigante Gentil

Gentle Giant's self-titled first album was an impressive and unique debut that combined rock, blues, classical, and 1960's British soul. Although the recording quality is sub-par, the music transcends the medium and presents the listener with a variety of musical styles.

A Tall Tale, from the original liner notes, is a story about the band and the giant.

Beautiful high-resolution scan of the full fold-out cover with the crease removed, thanks to Michael Geiger.

Musicians

In his namesake, Gentle Giant are individually:

Gary Green - lead guitar, 12 string guitar

Kerry Minnear - keyboard, some bass, cello, lead vocals, backing vocals, some tuned percussion

Derek Shulman - lead vocals, backing vocals, some bass

Phil Shulman - sax, trumpet, recorder, lead vocals, backing vocals

Ray Shulman - most bass, violin, some guitar, percussion, backing vocals

Martin Smith - drums, percussion

Other musicians include:

Track List

  1. Giant (6:22)
  2. Funny Ways (4:21)
  3. Alucard (6:00)
  4. Isn't It Quiet And Cold? (3:51)
  5. Nothing At All (9:08)
  6. Why Not (5:31)
  7. The Queen (1:40)

Lyrics

All lyrics reproduced with the permission of DRT Entertainment (USA) and Alucard Publishing, Ltd. (UK).

- submitted by David Ewing

Giant

Lead vocals: Derek

The birth of a realisation;
The rise of a high expectation;
Emerging successful, defiant;
note: Derek may be singing "Together" instead of "Emerging"
Together the parts make a Giant.
See the world in the palm of his hand,
Striding steps that will cover the land.
He is coming;
Hear him coming;
Are you ready
For his being?
See the Giant
Feel the Giant
Touch the Giant
Hear the Giant.
The birth of a realisation;
The rise of a high expectation;
Emerging successful, defiant;
Together the parts make a Giant.

Funny Ways

Lead vocals: Phil (verses), Derek ("My ways are strange")

I'm sorry to have been so much of a bore
But in my own funny way I find I learn much more.
I realise what you think from your eyes,
But in your own funny way I find I learn much more.
My ways are strange
They'll never change
They stay, strange ways
I'm sorry to have been so close from the start,
But for all that I cared we could be miles apart.
I understood that you never would
Understand a way of life that I never could.
My ways are strange
They'll never change
They stay, strange ways
Go your own way or wait for me
Go your own way or wait for me
Go your own way or wait for me
Go your own way or wait for me
And so you see what happened to me
Since the time when I judged my life in nights and days
I realised that my life was lies
So you see what I mean with all my funny ways.
I'm sorry to have been so much of a bore
But in my own funny way I find I learn much more
Funny ways, Funny ways, Funny ways, Funny ways.

Alucard

For other uses of "Alucard", see Alucard (disambiguation).


Lead vocals: ensemble

Lying still;
Am I dreaming
Feel the chill
Breath of fear
Evil fingers
Hover, linger
Someone help me
Terror fills my soul.
Living dead;
Am I breathing
Sightless, blind
Heart stopped beating
Hear the crying
Of the dying
Someone help me
Ogres of the night.

Isn't It Quiet And Cold?

Note that the version on Out of the Woods has slightly different lyrics. Thanks to Douglas E. Johnson for correcting these lyrics.

Lead vocals: Phil

Isn't it quiet and cold walking all alone, alone?
Happened I missed the bus and found I had to walk, alone.
What was that?
Only me.
Hear the echo of my feet
Footsteps
Are they mine?
Hear the echo of the street.
Wished I lived near at hand although I live alone, alone
At least I'll find company, so why should I moan, alone.
Movement
By my feet
Paper wind across the street
Curtains closed
Sleepy heads
Wrapped together in their beds
I used to walk with someone else
I didn't seem to notice sights and sounds of the lonely street
I used to talk with someone else
Now the only answers are the calls of the night
Look at that alley cat, it's winding home to rest, alone
Half-past four and daylight shows itself once more
Walking all alone
Walking all alone

Nothing At All

Lead vocals: Derek and Phil (verses); Derek ("What could she do...")

Now she sits by the riverside
Watching the waters glide by,
With a sigh
And the things she put faith in
Are ripples just waving her by
With a sigh
She sees lovers pass by with much more than a kiss
Ah this - little girl who had everything finds
she's nothing at all
Now the wind seems so cold
Seems all old as it laughs at her fears
And her tears
And as ducks swim away from her
Visions of past love appear
In her tears
She sees love in his face as she tells him to go,
And so - here's a girl who had everything now
she's Nothing at all
What could she do if she saw him now;
Now that he's gone she's losing
If she could see what she's seeing now
For sure she's more than just choosing
Now she sits by the riverside
Watching the waters glide by,
With a sigh
And the things she put faith in
Are ripples just waving her by,
With a sigh
She sees lovers pass by with much more than a kiss
Ah this - little girl who had everything finds
She's nothing at all

Why Not?

Lead vocals: Derek; Kerry ("Why not climb a hill...")

Don't sing a tune to yourself
You might believe this one.
Try not to sew it yourself
The threading won't stretch none.
Don't give me none of that line.
Why not?
Got to sing something.
Love's song there's nothing to find
Why not?
Dead before playing.
Don't sing a tune to yourself
You might believe this one
Try not to sew it yourself
The threading won't stretch none
Who says the things that go in
The song is only saying.
Dead thought can kill a good thing
The band is only playing.
Why not climb a hill
With someone that hates you
Why not hate someone
Who climbs a hill with you
And as time passes by
Your feet start slipping
You are wondering why
There is no forgetting
Don't sing a tune to yourself,
You might believe this one
Try not to sew it yourself
The threading don't stretch none
Who says the things that go in
The song is only saying
Dead thought can kill a good thing
The band is only playing
Don't give me none of that line
Why not?
Got to sing something
Love's song there's nothing to find
Why not?
Dead before playing
Dead before playing.

The Queen

Instrumental

Liner notes

"A Tall Tale" by Tony Visconti

Giant took notice of the long shadows and decided to quit for the day in the apple orchard. He stretched, took forty steps and covered the quarter mile to the mouth of his cave. He sat down and pulled a sweet smelling cork out of a two hundred gallon jug. Scrumpy is what he poured into a mug having the same capacity as a bath tub.

As he quaffed he perceived that something strange was in the air, stirring the serenity of the Somerset countryside. He slowly rose to his full height and whispered, "Ar, there be a good sound floatin' in the east wind. I think I'll investigate."

You must understand that the giant doesn't go out much, except when he sees his girlfriend in France now and then (she's the daughter of Gargantua) --- and twice a century at that! Now he had another good excuse to break the routine of his work at the orchard.

He travelled swiftly through the night, carefully avoiding populated areas. When he came to the Salisbury Plain he decided to see if his stone ring was still standing. He made it as a boy, just for fun. As he approached, two long-haired youths sitting against a slab looked up. One said, "Man, this stuff is pretty good gear. I've just hallucinated a great big far-out lookin' giant over there."

The other said, "Farout man, I see him too."

They sat motionless for a few moments, then the giant turned and continued his quest towards the south. When he was out of their sight the first one whispered wide-eyed, "Too much man, us having the same hallucination." The other youth had fainted.

Sure enough, the sound was coming from Portsmouth way. To the giant's delight it came from a cottage out in the countryside, far from the centre of town. Inside, six dedicated musicians were tearing off a rendition of 'Why Not?' at a thousand watts; that's enough to rip the top of anybody's head. All except the giant's. He just laid on his stomach, rested his head on his folded arms and listened with an ear to each open window for good stereo.

The band stopped after three hours and Ray said to Kerry, "Let's go out and dig the stars." They opened the front door and nearly walked up the giant's nostrils. They jumped back inside shakin' all over and both said at once, "There's abigfaceoutthereit'sbigit'sbig --- oh!"

The others noticed immediately that something was wrong so they all went out to have a look. They saw the head of a great big giant, sleeping peacefully. Phil was at the head of the group. He turned and said, "Gary, did you spike our tea again?"

Just then the giant opened his eyes. "Be ee the boys as were makin' that good sound?"

Martin, at once put at ease by the friendly accent answered, "Yes, it was us. I'm sorry if we made too much noise. You see, we moved out here so we wouldn't bother anybody and ---"

"Bother anybody? But that's the gentlest music I've ever 'eard apart from thunderstorms."

Needless to say they all got on very well after the giant had said that. Frank the roadie moved the instruments outside and they played the rest of the night for him. Somewhere in Portsmouth a seismograph reported a mild earthquake when the giant was dancing.

In the morning I drove down from London with the group's manager Gerry and my friend George the artist. We drove around to the back of the cottage and gaped at the group laying in the grass listening to stories of the giant's distant past. Derek ran to us as the car lurched into reverse and bade us to halt. He explained everything and soon we were listening to the amazing things the giant had to say.

Before the giant left, it was suggested that he pose for a picture with the group. No matter how I angled my polaroid I just couldn't get everyone in the picture. I have some photos of six guys and a big boot, six guys, a big eye and part of a big nose: but I couldn't get a decent picture of the giant and the band together. George was more successful. The giant placed him at the top of a tall tree and in fifteen minutes George had done the rough sketch.

Well, there you have it. The story of the Gentle Giant. You may think it's fantastic, but then, so is the music.

Music files

MIDI files

MIDI File Title Album Contributor
Nothing.mid Nothing At All Gentle Giant (album) Christof Munoz
Quietcold.mid Isn't It Quiet And Cold? Gentle Giant (album) Christof Munoz

Sheet music

Sheet Music File Title Album Contributor
Alucard-psmith.zip Alucard Gentle Giant (album) Phil Smith
Funnyways-psmith.zip Funny Ways Gentle Giant (album) Phil Smith

CD releases

This list is not necessarily complete, and various releases are out of print.

Country Label Information
Germany LINE Records, LICD 9.00722
Germany Vertigo/Polygram, 842 624-2
USA Vertigo/Polygram, 842 624-2
UK Vertigo/Repertoire Records, IMS 7031
Japan Nippon Phonogram Co., Ltd., PHCR-4201
Japan Nippon Phonogram Co., Ltd., PPD-3093
Japan Universal Japan (British Rock Legend series)

Defects

On the LINE disc, the first note of "Why Not?" is located at the end of track 5 ("Nothing At All") and followed by a 3-second gap of silence. Track 6 begins with the second note of "Why Not?"

The LINE disc and the Vertigo Repertoire disc are missing the little synthesizer riffs that occur before "Alucard" and "Isn't It Quiet And Cold?" and after "The Queen."

The Vertigo CD has all the synthesizer riffs but incorrectly places the second one at the beginning of track 4 ("Isn't It Quiet and Cold?"), whereas the original LP had the riff at the end of track 3 ("Alucard"). This is a very minor track misplacement that isn't noticeable unless you start playing the disc at track 4.

The Nippon disc has all the synthesizer riffs, correctly placed. Their sound quality, however, lead some to believe that these riffs were transferred from from vinyl, not from a master tape.

Reviews

See also