Sunday, 4 August 2013

Gentle Giant - Playing The Fool (70's Live Album Series)


Not only is Gentle Giants double live album from 1977 another favourite, I think its is one of the best live albums from the 70's. Gentle Giant were known for their complex, tricky, studied music and their albums were tightly and carefully arranged. Live they were a completely different band. This live album shows a band that is energised, playing the material with much gusto and excitement. They would mix songs up into medleys and open tracks up with some extended improvisation, usually in the percussion department with some exemplary xylophone playing. Add all this to the bands customary swapping of instrumentation leads to an unusually powerful and varied listen.

Again, I remember buying the vinyl of this. I think it was a mid price release, £3.99 for a double LP in a glossy gatefold sleeve. Not only that, but it came with a little 12 page booklet, with black and white photos of the band and an essay by Phil Sutcliffe who wrote for the weekly Sounds and was a big champion of the band. The CD issue I have is the one released by Terrapin Trucking back in the early 90's which was part of their reissue of the bands latter catalogue. I think there has been a 35th anniversary edition released on the bands own label. More recently, it has been remastered as part of EMI's 5 CD box set of their Chrysalis albums, "I Lost My Head" and sounds very good indeed.



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