In a Glass House

From The Gentle Giant Home Page
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses of "In a Glass House", see In a Glass House (disambiguation).

About the Album

A concept album, supposedly about how people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. But this short explanation does not do justice to the album, which is a complex tour-de-force.

The album cover is overlaid for a three-dimensional effect. On the original vinyl, the overlay was cellophane, and on the Terrapin CD, the overlay is printed directly on the jewel case. The Alucard CD recreates the vinyl's artwork even more accurately in a custom digipak.

Speaking of the cover, the UK vinyl release (WWA label) and the German release (Vertigo label) are mirror images of one another.

The original album was never released in the USA, but was in great demand as an import.

The sounds of breaking glass that open the album came from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. The sounds are still used on BBC radio programs. (Thanks to Jeff Hall for this information.)

See the LP release from Chile. (Thanks to Pedro S. Leal.)

Musicians

Gary Green - 6 & 12 string guitars, mandolin, percussion, alto recorder

Kerry Minnear - keyboards, tuned percussion, recorder, vocals

Derek Shulman - vocals, alto sax, soprano sax, recorder

Ray Shulman - bass guitar, violin, acoustic guitar, percussion, backing vocals

John Weathers - drums, percussion

Other liner notes:

  All tracks licensed from Polygram Special Products
  Produced by: Gentle Giant for Alucard Productions
  Engineer: Gary Martin
  Tape Operator: Paul Hardingham
  Recorded at: Advision Studios, London, July '73
  Photography: Martyn Dean
  CD Package: Phil Smee at Waldo's Design

3-D cover

IaghB.jpg + IaghW.jpg = Iagh.jpg

Track List

  1. The Runaway (7:16)
  2. An Inmates Lullaby (4:40)
  3. Way Of Life (8:04)
  4. Experience (7:50)
  5. A Reunion (2:12)
  6. In A Glass House (8:09)
    Ending of the album (musical collage)
  7. The Runaway/Experience (live bonus track, Alucard CD only: Dusseldorf, September 23 1976)
  8. In a Glass House (live bonus track, Alucard CD only, from the Munster show, April 5 1974)

Lyrics

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

- submitted by Bill Laidig

The Runaway

Lead vocals: Derek

He is the runaway, Lie low the wanted man
Mask his elusive face, Soon he will getaway and free is his
future no more aimless time to spend
And evading, he's escaping
Four dirty walls and a bed in a cage his home no more.

Run in the underwood, Cover and hide the trail
Senses like sharpened sword, Guards for the shadow on his
tail.

And yet his joy is empty and sad.

All thoughts are scarred with the prison cell and freedom
seems like freedom's hell
Hopes stained with strange regret, His dreams are dreams
for that he cannot get.

And yet his joy is empty and sad.

Lose all identity, Vanish in own denial
Seeks only lies and hide, Truth never brought to trial.
And caught in his own net, he looks to find endless life and
evading, he's escaping
Four dirty walls and a bed in a cage his home no more.

Run in the underwood, Cover and hide the trail
Senses like sharpened sword, Guards for the shadow on his
tail.

An Inmates Lullaby

Lead vocals: Derek! (In a child-like falsetto)

Lying down here in the afternoon
In my pretty cosy little cushioned room
I can talk to all my funny friends in here
I was told to rest why ... I am not quite clear
Eating flowers growing in the garden where there are tasty
tulips and I don't care
If I wet my trousers there was no time
I had nowhere else to go nowhere else I could find.

Staring up at the great big white light.
That shines everyday and shines all through the night
Hearing voices of the silly friends of mine
Always lock the door nurses waiting outside all the time.

Hurt myself this morning, Doctor gave me warning sent me
to my room and told me that I'm bad.

I heard someone saying I think he'll be staying maybe for a
long time, Why does everybody else think that I'm mad
I heard someone saying I think he'll be staying maybe for a
long time and that I'm mad.

Lying down here in the afternoon
In my pretty cosy little cushioned room
I can talk to all my funny friends in here
I was told to rest why ... I am not quite clear.

Way Of Life

For other uses of "Way of Life", see Way of Life (disambiguation).


Lead vocals: Derek

You'll find an answer, You've got to believe in your own way
of life.
So you'll have to find an answer, You'll have to find a way,
Try to find, Try to find.

You'll try to question her, Does she believe in the choice of
your life.
So you have to try to ask her, when you are away, left
behind, out of mind; away.

And in the end you discover, examine, you have to decide if
there is an answer, if there is a way, Let her find piece of
mind.

And another day, all alone, think there is away at home.
Every other may, have their own, way of life that is their
own.
And your wandering only a game to realise no joy your
own.

And another day, all alone, choice of life is not your own.

You'll try to question her, Does she believe in the way of
your life.
So you have to try to ask her, You'll have to find a way, left
behind, out of mind; away.

Experience

Lead vocals: Kerry (main), Derek ("Master inner voices...")

Once I was a boy, an innocent to life and my role in it,
This world played my game, and anyone a clown or foil for
myself.

The harmless affairs, and no-one seemed to care for any
meaning
My life was my own, The debt I paid, I paid it only to
myself.

The unseeing youth, how can it be so shallow and short-
sighted
These years passed me by, to realise the folly of these unripe
years.

Now I am a man, I realise
My unworldly sins pained many lives
Yet I heard, heard with ears that wouldn't listen
And still I watched and I saw with blinkered eyes.

But with age the conscience slowly dawns and bonds of
duty gently tied
All my sins, seen through now there is experience and
recollecting act in virgin guise.

Master inner voices, making the choices.

Once I could rebel and consequences then had no reflection
And I am a man, And I am bound by adult age discretion
now.

A Reunion

Lead vocals: Kerry

Meeting in this way who could have known
How our destinies and ways apart have grown.

Looking still the same after all these years changing only in
my memories not clear

And believing all futures we would share

Fate design playing natures mime and today by chance we
meet again after all this time

Meeting in this way no-one could have known.

Sharing thoughts and deeds simple harmony plans and
hopes erased in our maturity

Now tomorrow's dreams are now yesterday.

Fate design playing natures mime and today by chance we
meet again after all this time

Meeting in this way no-one could have known.

In a Glass House

For other uses of "In a Glass House", see In a Glass House (disambiguation).

Lead vocals: Derek

Looking through the window can you tell me what you see.
You're sure you're really seeing what is meant to be a Glass
a mirror to reflect what I conspire a vision, image I desire.

Standing on the ice believing all I'm searching for
Close your cloudy eyes and chase all that you did before
Standing on the ice believing all I'm for
Close your cloudy eyes and chase all that you did before

Living in a glass house shielding all that's meant for me
Can you clear the shade and can you tell me what you see.

Shadow fills the light until the glass house becomes the
night
Dark is gleaming or am I dreaming

Running everywhere
Seeing clearly when I dare
Is it today or is it your way

And the moon must fall
Inspiration waits for your call for you to get a silhouette

Narrow the field aim in any direction
Do what I feel just to see my reflection

Any turn I know
Disappearing everywhere I go
I look to you for what I do

And only then I see
That the glass house is just for me
And any time is never mine

Narrow the field aim in any direction
Do what I feel just to see my reflection

Shadow fills the light until the glass house becomes night
Dark is gleaming or am I dreaming

Running everywhere
Seeing clearly when I dare
Is it today or is it your way

And the moon must fall
Inspiration waits for your call for you to get a silhouette.

Ending of the album

The final music on the album is a collage made from songs on the album: The Runaway, Way of Life, Experience, In A Glass House, An Inmates Lullaby, A Reunion, and a final shattering of glass, echoing into the distance....

Liner notes

These liner notes are reproduced with the kind permission of Terrapin Trucking (UK) Ltd.

'In Britain, it's not been low profile, it's been no profile.' That is how vocalist Derek Shulman once memorably summarised the career of Gentle Giant, one of progressive rock's best-kept secrets.

That they remained so for much of their 11-year career from 1969 to 1980 was due to the antipathy of the music press which, with the exception of Sounds' Phil Sutcliff, steadfastly refused to grant them column inches despite their burgeoning reputation at the fan level. Not that Giant were for everyone: their complex, uncompromising music consistently polarised the Seventies rock audience. You either loved them or hated them, and despite a flood of retrospective praise since their demise that's how it remains today.

The Shulman brothers - Derek (vocals, sax), Ray (bass) and Phil (horns) - had reinvented themselves as Giant's nucleus after an unsatisfying two-hit career as Simon Dupree and The Big Sound, their biggest success coming with 1967's UK Top Ten hit "Kites". Vowing to go their own way, they signed with the prestigious Vertigo label, home of many great progressive rock outfits of the era, adding guitarist Gary Green and classically trained keyboard player Kerry Minnear (drummers varied) for four albums of uneasy listening which basically invited the listener to 'take us or leave us' - something certain to get up the rock press's collective nose.

The addition of a permanent drummer in John 'Pugwash' Weathers after the third of this opening quartet of releases, 1972's Three Friends, completed the jigsaw. 'We were realising we could rock as well as do nice tinkly things,' was Derek's typically blunt assessment of the difference the ex-Eyes of Blue and Grease Band sticksman made to the band. "He hit a solid offbeat and it worked ... it was very interesting because we were rather, well, prim.'

The other, final personnel change that preceded In a Glass House was a departure - that of elder brother Phil Shulman, who resumed his job as a teacher. With vocalist Derek doubling on saxes and recorder, his loss was less significant than Weathers' recruitment.

Three Friends had been Giant's first release to elicit interest in the States and 1973's Octopus had built of that. But Columbia (CBS here) were undergoing a crisis and, by all accounts, couldn't cope with the opening salvo of Glass House - breaking glass metamorphosing into a heavy rhythm as the opening track, The Runaway, kicked in with a typical Weather's salvo. Whether or not the stylus got any further across side 1 was uncertain: what is known, however, is that Columbia didn't see it as the album to revive their fortunes ... whereupon it promptly became one of America's top import albums, selling a cool 150,000 copies!

The band decided to tour the States on the back on this unexpected underground success, selling out five nights at the Whiskey in Los Angeles and pushing their next album (on Capitol) into the US Top 50. That was The Power and the Glory, and is another story altogether: consult this compact disc's sister release TRUCK CD 001 for further details.

The general theme of Glass House was that those who live in them shouldn't throw stones. Lyrics were, as ever, on the oblique side, and rarely the stuff of mainstream rock; An Inmate's Lullaby, for instance, married menacing percussion to the sanity/insanity debate. Musically, the album had a bleak, edgy feel which was reflected in the stark packaging - faithfully reproduced here in miniture. The smashing glass sound effect that opened the album was echoed in later releases with the sound of a video game (Free Hand) and a 35mm motor-wind camera (Civilian), each time setting up a rhythm and warning the listener to take notice.

Musically, the tracks rang the changes, moving from the almost medieval feel of Experience to the deliberately dated ambience of A Reunion, its brief two-minute duration conjuring visions of a 1920's Palm Court tea-room. The title track, a Celtic-tinged rocker, was perhaps a pointer to the more direct approach of the following album, The Power and the Glory, with particularly chilling vocals from Derek Shulman. A final reprise of the breaking glass introduction ended the album in decisive style.

Glass House was special visually as well as musically, from the cover design onwards - and the stage show reflected this, as John Weather's recalls. 'We did a helluva lot of rehearsing. And it was an event ... we really went overboard. For the Glass House tour we had a wall with projectors behind it flashing different things which cost us a fortune, about 30,000 pounds. All sorts of neat little tricks, good lighting ... we really made a show of it. It was put together like a West End musical, there was that much and attention went into it.'

Glass House was the first of Giant's two LP's for the World Wide Artists label. After The Power and the Glory, Gentle Giant went on to record six albums for Chrysalis before their 1980 split, when Derek Shulman and Kerry Minnear decided to come off the road. Having been there from the outset, of course, they were well-nigh irreplaceable. Derek is now a US record company executive, brother Ray an acclaimed producer with the Sugarcubes and Ian MuCulloch, among others, to his credit. John Weathers is the only Giant still on the road with Welsh psychedelic survivors Man.

Under-rated on its release and only sporadically available since, In A Glass House offers a satisfying taste of one of Britain's most technically accomplished rock bands.


- Michael Heatley. Many thanks for their assistance to John Weathers and Alan Kinsman.

Music files

MIDI files

MIDI File Title Album Contributor
Experience.mid Experience In a Glass House Andrea Ghion
Iag.mid In A Glass House (song) In a Glass House Bean
Inaglass.mid In A Glass House (song) In a Glass House Fredrik Rasten
Runaway.mid The Runaway In a Glass House Dave White

Sheet music

Sheet Music File Title Album Contributor
Experience-rgoodhart.zip Experience In a Glass House Rich Goodhart
In-a-glass-house-bassonly-lgibaudan.pdf In A Glass House (song) In a Glass House Lionel Gibaudan
In-a-glass-house-psmith.zip In A Glass House (song) In a Glass House Phil Smith
In-a-glass-house-skac.pdf In A Glass House (song) In a Glass House Stefan Kac
Runaway-bassonly-lgibaudan.pdf The Runaway In a Glass House Lionel Gibaudan
Runaway PvdH.zip The Runaway In a Glass House Paul van de Hart
Way-of-life-psmith.zip Way Of Life In a Glass House Phil Smith

CD releases

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

Country Label Information
UK Terrapin Trucking/Road Goes On Forever, RGF CD 1001
(Later relabeled as TRUCKCD 001)
UK Alucard Music
USA DRT Entertainment

Defects

The Terrapin CD has several pops and crackles. For example, listen to track 1, "The Runaway," at 6:32 (pop) and 6:35 (crackle). These do not appear on my vinyl copy. Greg Hajic reports that his CD doesn't have these defects.

On the original LP, the breaking glass introduction starts in the left channel and then moves to the center. On the Terrapin CD, it starts in the center. (Thanks to Rainer Boettchers.)

The Terrapin track marker for "Inmates Lullaby" is 9 seconds too early; the last 9 seconds of "The Runaway" are part of track 2 when they should be the end of track 1.

Reviews

See also