Sunday Big Note – Listening Session #18

Unlike many of their contemporaries, British group Gentle Giant‘s classical influences ranged beyond the Romantic to incorporate elements of mediaeval, baroque, and modernist chamber music. Undoubtedly, this was what drew Frank Zappa to their music – that, and their elaborate arrangements, complex instrumental parts, and odd meters, too. I know, that was certainly what drew me to the music of Gentle Giant, too: a band made up of multi-instrumentalists who combined diverse elements from rock, classical, jazz, soul, blues, and the avante-garde, playing more than thirty instruments.

Today’s Sunday Big Note is from Gentle Giant’s heavily bootlegged October 7th, 1975 performance in front of a studio audience at Ultrasonic Studios in Hempstead, New York which was broadcast live over New York’s WLIR Radio. While some bootlegs and circulating tapes only included a portion of the show – enjoy Gentle Giant’s 70 minute performance in its entirety:

Cogs in Cogs

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Proclamation

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Funny Way

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The Runaway / Experience

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Octopus Medley*

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

So Sincere

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Free Hand

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Just The Same

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Line-up:

Derek Shulman – vocals, saxes, bass guitar
Ray Shulman – vocals, bass guitar, violin
Kerry Minnear – vocals, keyboards, cello, vibes
Gary Green – vocals, lead guitar
John Weathers – drums, percussion

*”The Boys In The Band”, “Dog’s Life”, “Knots”, “The Advent Of Panurge”

20 Responses to “Sunday Big Note – Listening Session #18”

  1. Harry Barris says:

    This is a classic GG bootleg–but i think the pitch is slightly off: it runs a little bit too slow–probably the result of multiple gens from cassette dubbing back in the day!

  2. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Harry Barris:

    This is a classic GG bootleg–but i think the pitch is slightly off: it runs a little bit too slow–probably the result of multiple gens from cassette dubbing back in the day!

    That’s what I thought, too. It’s too bad the GG fanbase has nothing akin to Zappateers? The audio wizards over there have saved countless shows and concerts from unnecessary oblivion.

  3. Hugh says:

    Still sounds great to me! Of course, I’m slightly off as well. :)
    That video is excellent too. They make it look rather easy. Ha!
    I missed out on these great ’70s era gigs but at least I caught their last tour in 1980. At the long gone Calderone Music Hall, also in Hempstead LI. I’ll never forget that show. One of my Top Ten!

    This Listening Session is a real treat. Thanks UrbanG!

  4. Hugh says:

    Yes, I’ll never forget the show but the venue name I muffed on. :oops:
    It’s the Calderone “Concert” Hall.

  5. Thinman says:

    GG is one of my favourites. Though their stage presence has a slightly cheesy quality, complete with glam-rock outfits. Not only in retrospective.

    Th.

  6. Matt says:

    When did FZ say he was a GG fan??

    The clip of course is a lipsync from the GG DVD…still cool, and one of there best later period songs.

  7. Bálint says:

    A quote from Matt:

    When did FZ say he was a GG fan?

    STREET: Are there any major rock n’ roll bands aside from yourself that you do listen to?

    ZAPPA: I like Queen. I like Gentle Giant.

    from this interview (’78)

  8. Bálint says:

    and there’s another nice story from GG about Zappa:

    William Bennett reports:

    I’ve got a Frank Zappa connection to GG for you. I was also a big Zappa fan back then and used to attend the annual Halloween show he performed for several years running at the Felt Forum in NYC (located in the Madison Square Garden building). It was always a fantastic event, given the match between Zappa’s music and the spirit of the holiday. Anyway, I distinctly remember that at the 1975 concert he was using Free Hand in the pre-concert music. The album had just come out so it stuck in my memory–I thought it was quite an endorsement. Dunno if he was using it the rest of the tour, but it was definitely on the sound system on 10/31/75.

  9. urbangraffito says:

    Thanks for tracking down that FZ/GG relevant interview and story, Balint!

  10. ABOOK says:

    an interesting observation i made is the cube genereated in joes garage
    its like a imagination maker or a movie theater. i kinda got a hold of that
    in the zz top song get your self some cheap sun glasses. i be rather carefull with that …………………..seems like all joes garage is made and writen that way. maybe there is more to zappas music. looks like a review generator. it does all kinds a things if you open it up …………..its the googel in the pink and then watch the torture never stops. it gives you an ummpf in the dumpf …………………more shortly when i have fully decoded the thing …………………………

  11. Hugh says:

    ……………….and when you’ve decoded what this topic is about……………….get back to us on that too. :)

  12. urbangraffito says:

    ABOOK… there is search function on the top right corner of the page for searching out threads of interest to you. All you will really accomplish by consistently speaking out of topic is to be consistently ignored (there are countless numbers of relevant threads for you to comment on at KUR – check them out).

  13. Alex says:

    ABOOK…don’t be dismayed. Carry on. We can all use a good ummpf in the dumpf now and then!

  14. ABOOK says:

    make us a thread i got it almost decoded be a while to write about it since i work late night.

  15. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Alex:

    ABOOK…don’t be dismayed. Carry on. We can all use a good ummpf in the dumpf now and then!

    ummpf in the dumpf! gentle giant! i lost my head!

  16. Matt says:

    Thanks for the quote. Wonder if the GG guys knew that?? They’d be thrilled i’m sure.

  17. Cardiac Sterbus says:

    I really hope for a new entry based on Cardiacs, the’re really Zappa lovers… you should check out their garage concerts…

  18. Barry's Imaginary Publisher says:

    A quote from Cardiac Sterbus:

    I really hope for a new entry based on Cardiacs, the’re really Zappa lovers… you should check out their garage concerts…

    While I’m not a Cardiacs afficionado, I’d be more than happy to host a Cardiacs SBN listening session here at KUR, Sterb. If you’re reading this, send me a live concert which you think would fit the bill, and I’ll make sure it gets posted here (email addy at the bottom right of this page).

  19. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Barry’s Imaginary Publisher:

    A quote from Cardiac Sterbus:

    I really hope for a new entry based on Cardiacs, the’re really Zappa lovers… you should check out their garage concerts…

    While I’m not a Cardiacs afficionado, I’d be more than happy to host a Cardiacs SBN listening session here at KUR, Sterb. If you’re reading this, send me a live concert which you think would fit the bill, and I’ll make sure it gets posted here (email addy at the bottom right of this page).

    I’ve checked out The Cardiacs Garage Concerts, Barry, and unfortunately, they are officially released concerts:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Special_Garage_Concerts_Vol_I

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Special_Garage_Concerts_Vol_II

    If we can track down a Cardiacs field recording, or a FM radio broadcast, we could go with one of those for a Cardiacs SBN listening session here at KUR. So far, I’ve been unable to unearth either. If any Cardiacs afficionado does, I’m sure Barry will make certain it gets posted!

  20. John says:

    There’s also a Zappa interview in Wolfgang’s Vault from around 75 where the (female) interviewer asks Zappa who he is listening to and he says something akin to “I’ve heard some cuts from a band called Gentle Giant which are good”, which is as close as I’ve heard Zappa say he’s a fan of any contemporary rock music.

Comments for this entry have been closed.