Exposé Online banner

Gentle Giant — Scraping the Barrel
(Alucard ALU-GG-04, 1980/2004, 4CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2005-03-01

Scraping the Barrel Cover artThe title of this second volume of Gentle Giant audio and audiovisual archives is simply a long time fan’s obsessive labor of love. Dan Bornemark has been a charter member of the band’s on-line fan club for many years as well as a knowledgeable audio expert with access to extremely rare session outtakes, songwriting snippets, backing tracks, unreleased post band efforts and even 8MM B&W film. Discs one and two are continuations of the band’s Under Construction set that indirectly serves as a high quality proof of concept for this release. The Three Friends and The Power and the Glory recordings provide the most examples to scrutinize. Kerry Minnear’s home demos of piano parts provide enthusiastic insight as to how well developed little bits and pieces were to begin with. Gary Green’s mid-section solo on “Peel the Paint” in fact shows a bit more fluidity than the LP version in my opinion. My favorite takes are alternate version of “Mr. Class and Quality” as well as the angelic swelling vocal part and Mellotron which close out the Three Friends title track. The all instrumental version of “Think of Me with Kindness” is also quite precious. Disc three spotlights radical departure solo efforts by various members. Minnear’s eleven keyboard based songs are in a much traditional singer songwriter mode which fits quite well. Both “Home Again” and “Moog Fugue” would have been good inputs into any Giant recording effort. Plus the childlike introduction into Green and Ray Shulman’s “On Safari” is a bit of modern Duane Eddy that works. Their other two efforts are a bit of 80s modern rock much like The Fixx that is a bit dated but could have materialized into something bigger. Green’s solo guitar pieces are also pretty inspired as well. Disc four is the deep well of a fan’s odds-and-ends wish box: from rare photos of Simon Dupree with Elton John to black-and-white film of a giant walking through a miniature town. Plus some wild band rehearsals, warts and all, are presented in complete form with over eight hours of files to decipher and digest. Live performances from Plymouth and what sounds like a mixing board boot of Torino '73 sound pretty good too. The early instrumental versions of “Just the Same” and “Time to Kill” are powerful as well as the unused vibes arrangement for “On Reflection.” Overall this presents the best of the rest of the material the band has to present and I’m thankful that the archive retrieval process though arduous has been a blessing for devoted fans.

Filed under: Archives, Issue 31, 2004 releases, 1980 recordings

Related artist(s): Gentle Giant

Latest news

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more

2021-02-10
Chick Corea RIP – The sad news has reached us that Chick Corea has Returned to Forever, so to speak. The innovative keyboardist and composer died on February 9 at the age of 79. With a career that spanned from the 60s until shortly before his death, Corea touched many listeners with the incredible variety of music he produced in his lifetime. » Read more

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Porcupine Tree - Waiting – This is Porcupine Tree's latest three-song CD EP, appropriately titled I suppose, while we are waiting for the release of their next full length CD Signify this coming fall. The music here is a...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues