Exposé Online banner

Gentle Giant — King Alfred's College
(Alucard alu-gg-07, 1971/2009, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2010-07-01

King Alfred's College Cover artGood quality Gentle Giants live CDs are a variable commodity for fans seeking a performance of that elusive tour or song which was only performed twice. Surprising to find then that the band itself located a live recording of their first performance, playing most of the material from their first album and a few surprises. Considering the date it’s great to hear founder member Phil Shulman playing brass accompaniment for nearly the entire set as well as adding backing vocals. Consistent points in any GG concert are always guitarist Gary Green and keyboardist Kerry Minnear. Rare tracks such as "Hometown Special" and "City Hermit" were front-loaded into the set list and proved viable vehicles for Green’s incendiary blues guitar playing. Minnear’s mini fugue opens up the latter track (very much in Jethro Tull style) before the group breaks into a kind of blues about a misfit overwhelmed by his metropolitan surroundings. The Giant has always been super well rehearsed and on this occasion it’s no different. Plus the song staple "Funny Ways" has a slower groove than most other versions I’ve heard during Minnear’s vibes solo. This tune was always bassist Ray Shulman’s opportunity to spotlight some gypsy violin plying, which he demonstrates with gusto! The altogether lost track "Peel off the Paint" closed out the set on an aggressive edge before transitioning into a cool Mellotron middle section and twisted blues break. Overall the performance and recording serve to show the band as powerful prog icons from the very beginning (as if there was any doubt).

Filed under: New releases, Issue 38, 2009 releases, 1971 recordings

Related artist(s): Gentle Giant

Latest news

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Henry Cow - Western Culture – By the time they got to 1978 and the recording of Western Culture, Henry Cow were in the process of breaking apart. Fortunately for us, they saw the project through to its completion, for it is full...  (2002) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues