Giltrap, Gordon - Visionary

Year of Release: 1999
Label: Lacooka Ratcha Records
Catalog Number: LCVP114CD
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

First released in 1976, Gordon Giltrap's Visionary album was a welcome surprise, as it was not strictly an album filled to the rim with guitar techniques, yet it was a pure symphonic rock album which placed Giltrap amongst the better prog bands of the seventies. By means of great interest from the university circuit and the TV programme "Old Grey Whistle Test" Giltrap soon set out to become a well established artist.

Accompanied by renowned musicians such as drummer Simon Philips (Jack Bruce, Toto and a trillion others) and bassplayer John G. Perry (known from his work with Caravan to name but one), Visionary contains some of the better symphonic rock ever to be composed. "Robes And Crowns" is a perfect example of Giltrap's skills by introducing his wonderful, unique guitar playing in the middle of a great sounding orchestral arrangement. Gordon's love for Bert Jansch can clearly be heard in his acoustic, medieval approach during "From The Four Winds" which even evolves into near-flamenco! Recorded way back in 1975 when samples still had to be invented, of course every orchestral sound you hear is real, which adds to the beauty of the songs making it even more fragile.

In "Lucifer's Cage" Giltrap's guitar offers the main rhythm accompanied by that superb orchestra, which stops in the middle of the song to enable Giltrap to perform a short acoustic solo. Throughout this album Giltrap plays acoustic 6-string and 12-string, and double neck 6 and 12-string electric guitars used according to the atmosphere of the piece. As with a classical composition Gordon Giltrap knows he has to create an album which sounds like the ebb and flow of the sea, incorporating quiet passages and violent outbursts in order to keep the attention of the listener throughout this all-instrumental album. Enjoy "Revelation" which has the orchestra at its very best.

Whereas in most cases a classical orchestra omits a brass section "The Price Of Experience" introduces trumpet, sax and trombone, which is then taken over by synths before the strings set in. With "The Dance Of Albion" Giltrap gets rid of the lush arrangement and goes back to its very roots resulting in a medieval sounding "dance." Pat Halling did a wonderful job arranging the strings as one can hear on "The Echoing Green." The orchestra has never been there to make a bombastic result of Giltrap's compositions but rather to enhance the feel he wanted to create. In "London" the strings do exactly that: creating a background for the acoustic guitar. To be honest, keyboard player Rod Edwards has little to do on this album, which of course would be completely different today as budgetwise there would be no real orchestra and Edwards would have to perform all of the "string" duties on his multiple keyboards. The actual album closes with "Night" another "baroque" highlight with once again those Bert Jansch turns in Gordon's playing. All of the album was inspired by the works of [English poet] William Blake.

This CD re-issue comes with three bonustracks the first being "On Wings Of Hope," probably recorded with the same orchestra but never used for the vinyl release. Kind of reminds me of his later Peacock Party album where his guitar playing is concerned. Being brought up listening to the hymn "Jerusalem" of course this had to be included on this album as well. As Giltrap says "the imagery depicted is so visual: unfolding clouds, bows of burning gold, etc?" Known throughout the progworld in the version made immortal by ELP, "Jerusalem" here also includes pan pipes probably played on Edwards' synths. The biggest surprise however is the inclusion of "Visionary (Original Version)" which lasts over fifteen minutes. Not sure whether at all it was Gordon's idea to release this as one complete side on the vinyl edition, but as he was writing, suddenly decide to skip the idea and to dedicate a complete album around his "Visionary" idea? Whatever the reason, it doesn't take away from the fact that this track here is superb. The intro sounds very medieval with the acoustic guitar being backed by great keyboard arrangements. Enough space is given to Giltrap's guitar to deliver solitary solo pieces, enabling the listener to wander through wide fields of green. Sometimes his guitar is accompanied by synthesized woodwind, which of course puts us right into the time capsule, heading towards the realm of King Arthur. "Awakening," which kicks off this album, now sits more than halfway through so it pretty much looks like Giltrap completely revamped this work from a fifteen minute epic to a complete album probably due to the enthusiastic response once he let people hear this version. A perfect ending to a great re-issue!

Released in conjunction with Voiceprint

Awakening / Robes And Crowns / From The Four Winds / Lucifer's Cage / Revelation / The Price Of Experience / The Dance Of Albion / The Tyger / The Ecchoing Green / London / Night / Bonus Tracks: On Wings Of Hope / Jerusalem / Visionary (Original Version)

Gordon Giltrap - guitars
Rod Edwards - keyboards
John G. Perry - bass
Simon Philips - drums

Gordon Giltrap (1968)
Portrait (1969)
Accolade (1970)
A Testament Of Time (1971/2005)
Giltrap (1973)
Visionary (1976/1999)
Perilous Journey (1977/1999)
Fear Of The Dark (1978/1999)
Performance (1980)
Peacock Party (1981/1990/2000)
The Platinum Collection (1981)
Gordon Giltrap Live (1981)
Airwaves (1982/2000)
Elegy (1982/2000)
A Midnight Clear (1987/2000)
One To One (1989)
Guitarist (1990)
The Eye Of The Wind (1991)
The Best Of Gordon Giltrap (1991)
Elegy/Perilous Journey (1991)
Visonary/Fear OF The Dark (1991)
The Solo Album (1992/2000)
On A Summer's Night - Gordon Giltrap Live (1992/2000)
Gordon Giltrap/Portrait (1993)
Gordon Giltrap Live At The BBC (1995)
Music For The Small Screen (1995/2000)
The Brotherhood Suite (1995)
Troubadour (1998)
Part Of The Picture (2000)
Janschology (2000)
Live At Oxford (2000)
Collection (2001)
Troubador (2001) (2CD version)
Under This Blue Sky (2002)
Giltrap And Taylor (2002)
Fingers Of Fire (2002)
The Band Live 1981 (2003)
Remember This (2003)
The Gathering (2003)
Live At Ambergate (2004)
The River Sessions (2004)
Double Vision (2004)
Drifter (2004)

Genre: Other

Origin UK

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

Artist website:
Hits: 1451
Language: english


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