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Gentle Giant: Giant For a Day-35th Anniversary Edition (remaster)

Long considered Gentle Giant's weakest album, Giant For a Day nevertheless deserves a little bit of recognition, especially now that it has been remastered by Derek Shulman and DRT Entertainment. Quite frankly, out of the entire Gentle Giant cannon, Giant For a Day has always sounded pretty "un-Giant-like", more a collection of quirky pop-rockers than the complex and daring progressive rock most fans had come to expect from the band. 1978 was a strange time for prog, as other music forms like punk and disco were sweeping the world, and band's like GG were forced to try other means of keeping their popularity and growing their audience base. In this instance, Giant For a Day was seen as a disaster, as not only did it not make hardcore fans happy (alienated many as a matter of fact), but it did not bring many new ones to the fold either.

While for the most part this is a pretty weak album (and the band have gone on the record saying that as well over the years), there are a few enjoyable songs. "Words From the Wise", which kicks off the album, is an upbeat pop/prog number, with a nice vocal from Derek and Gary Green's stinging guitar licks. On "Thank You", the band sounds like they are doing an impression of George Harrison with a little Southern Rock twang thrown in...not what you would expect from one of the leaders of the prog rock movement. The title track is actually an interesting rocker, with some punkish vocals from Shulman and more biting guitar work from Green. This album actually features more from Green than normal, as Kerry Minnear's keyboards seem to take a backseat to the guitar, a pattern that also followed on their next and last album Civilian. The instrumental "Spooky Boogie" is one of the stronger pieces on the album, not complex, but with some dense instrumentation that really works. "Take Me" is a pretty generic rocker that has some tasty electric piano and synths from Minnear but a fairly forced vocal from Derek, and "Little Brown Bag" is a snarling rock number that sees the band trying to up the ante a bit with some heavy guitar and honky tonk piano, but for some reason it again sounds forced. The acoustic "Friends" is one of the warmer songs in this set, but it's all too brief, and it leads into the bland "No Stranger", a song that has very little going for it save for some catchy melodies. The band showed they could do a power ballad with "It's Only Goodbye", a tune that is actually a good pop song, with Derek's emotional vocals and some yearning guitar work from Gary Green. The album ends with perhaps its strongest song, the fast paced rocker "Rock Climber", complete with busy drum work from John Weathers, deep bass grooves from Ray Shulman (who is practically invisible throughout much of this album), and plenty of piano and guitar.

There you have it, a mostly unmemorable album from one of progressive rock's most beloved bands. This remaster though sounds fantastic, and includes full lyrics, fold out booklet which includes the full giant face poster, and all photos reproduced from the original LP. I'm sure there are Gentle Giant fans out there who do cherish this album, and if you do there's no doubt you will love what DRT have done here. Included also is a bonus video for "Words For the Wise".

Track Listing
1. Words From The Wise
2. Thank You
3. Giant For A Day
4. Spooky Boogie
5. Take Me
6. Little Brown Bag
7. Friends
8. No Stranger
9. It's Only Goodbye ten
10. Rock Climber
Bonus-Music Video for Words From the Wise

Added: October 22nd 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Gentle Giant Website
Hits: 5178
Language: english

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