Free Hand

Artist: Gentle Giant
Label: Capitol Records
Catalog#: ST-11428
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1975-07
A1 Just The Same 5:31
A2 On Reflection 5:40
A3 Free Hand 6:15
B1 Time To Kill 5:05
B2 His Last Voyage 6:26
B3 Taly Bont 2:41
B4 Moblie 5:01

Composed By – Derek Shulman, Kerry Minnear, Ray Shulman
Design [Cover Design] – Gentle Giant
Design [Graphics] – Richard Evans (7)
Engineer – Gary Martin (3)
Engineer [Assistant] – Paul Northfield
Performer – Derek Shulman, Gary Green, John Weathers, Kerry Minnear, Ray Shulman
Producer – Gentle Giant


Released on a red Capitol label with a lyrics inner sleeve.

Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
In 1975, Gentle Giant signed to Chrysalis Records in the UK—an agreement that purportedly stemmed from the relationship the band had made with the label after touring with mainstays Jethro Tull. On their first album for the label, Free Hand, the band replaces the uniformity of their previous efforts with a much more playful and varied atmosphere. The first side revolves around the themes of broken relationships, both personal and business. "Just the Same" kicks things off with a choppy rhythm, but its highlight is the break: one minute soaring, the next quirky. "On Reflection" is a throwback to "Knots;" its a cappella rounds are arranged with medieval flavor, and with a gentle vocal break from Kerry Minnear. "Free Hand" is the potent rocker, but unfortunately suffers from rather stiff execution and an abrupt ending. In fact, the more concise live versions of these songs would bump the electricity up a notch and become concert favorites. After all, Gentle Giant were at their best live. The second side is less straightforward. Opening with a classic Atari Pong sample, "Time to Kill" (get it?) has a sharper tempo that lends a certain swing to the arrangement. Multifaceted, and ornate, "His Last Voyage" is Giant doing what they do best. The atypical break features a haunting piano riff, followed by another great guitar solo from Gary Green. The instrumental "Talybont" is pure medieval music. "Mobile" skips along at a jig's pace, though it has an air of earlier works—particularly in the interplay between violin and acoustic guitar, and the wah-wah break. The album barely scraped the lower reaches of the UK charts, but it did become the band's first and only album to break the Top 50 in the US.
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