Gentle Giant - Totally Out Of The Woods

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Hux
Catalog Number: HUX 018
Format: CD
Total Time: 79:31:00

After the three brothers Shulman formed the nucleus of Simon Dupree & Big Sound, they put their artistic hands together in order to found the more complex Gentle Giant. Strange as it might seem but the band never really broke through in Britain although the otherwise very conservative BBC gave them enough opportunities. No less than five sessions from the Sounds of the 70s radio programme (3 of which were for John Peel) have now been bundled on one double disc entitled Totally Out Of The Woods (the sessions being numbers 1, 7, 8, 10 and 11). A couple of years ago the album Out Of The Woods was released through the Strange Fruit label, yet due to contractual problems the album could not be repressed after the initial first-pressing sold out. It took no less than two years before that material could once again be released and this time additional material was found such as a demo for "Free Hand" and an authentic DJ introduction. However, fans of Gentle Giant will certainly be pleased with the opening track of this package as this composition was only available via poorly recorded live material. The first notes of the Hammond in "City Hermit" immediately typecast the band's music, which emphasizes the typical analogue instruments from the seventies, whilst on the other side the voices of no less than four individuals underscore these rich complex compositions.

Gary Green's guitar sometimes gets very close to that of a very young Richie Blackmore which once again proves that "borrowing" has been with us longer than the current generation. An extra dimension is added by introducing both cello and violin as in the playful "Isn't It Quiet And Cold?" A song like "Way Of Life" sounds very much like Gryphon due to the inclusion of recorder, and the way the synth is played makes me think of bands such as Happy the Man and National Health. A superb technical result can be heard in "The Runaway" where the rhythmic pattern is obtained by putting the recording of breaking glass in the right order. During each of these sessions, each lasting for around twelve hours, between four and five songs were recorded. The band had to play all of the material live without any overdubs, which for most bands was a real challenge compared to the possibilities that could be created in the studio. The fact that Gentle Giant had no problem whatsoever obtaining their true sound without any technical wizardry can now be heard on this brilliant double album. A wonderful bonus to the outstanding Gentle Giant collection.

Disc One: City Hermit (4:45) / Isn't It Quiet And Cold? (4:23) / DJ's Presentation (0:26) / The Advent Of Panurge (5:24) / Way Of Life (5:44) / The Runaway (6:36)

Disc Two: Excerpts From Octopus: Knots (2:09) - The Boys In The Band (3:54)- Organ Bridge (0:53) - The Advent Of Panurge (5:36) / Way Of Life (5:45) / Proclamation (6:00) / Experience (5:31) / Aspiration (4:56) / Cogs In Cogs (2:55) / Free Hand - Live Arangement Demo (0:51) / Just The Same (5:58) / Free Hand (6:03)/ On Reflection (5:42)

Line-up 1970:

Derek Shulman - vocals, bass
Kerry Minnear - keyboards, cello, vocals, vibraphone
Gary Green - guitars
Martin Smith - drums
Ray Shulman - bass, violin, vocals
Phil Shulman - vocals

Line-up 1973:

Derek Shulman - vocals, bass, saxophone, recorder
Kerry Minnear - keyboards, cello, vocals, vibraphone, wind organ, recorder
Gary Green - guitars, vocals, recorder
John Weathers - drums, vocals, percussion
Ray Shulman - bass, violin, vocals, acoustic guitars

Gentle Giant (1970)
Acquiring The Taste (1971)
Three Friends (1972)
Octopus (1973)
In A Glass House (1973)
The Power And The Glory (1974/1990)
Freehand (1975)
Interview (1976)
The Official Live Gentle Giant: Playing The Fool (1977)
Pretentious (1977)
Civilian (1980)
Missing Piece (1977)
Giant For A Day (1978)
In Concert (1994)
The Last Steps (1996)
Out Of The Woods (1996)
Under Construction (1997)
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents... (1998)
Out Of The Fire (1998)
Live (Playing The Fool)/Civilian (1999)
Totally Out Of The Woods (2000)
Live In Rome 1974 (2000)
In A Palesport House [live] (2001)
Experience [live] (2002)?
Endless Life [live] (2003)?
Artistically Cryme [live] (2003)
The Missing Face [live] (2003)?
Way Of Life (2004)?
Playing The Cleveland [live] (2004)?
Prologue (2004)?

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: April 1st 2000
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 1464
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]