|By 1978, when the second BBC concert
was recorded (Hux 008), GENTLE GIANT had almost
succumbed to the forces of punk rock and were forced into pastiche with
"Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do It" and shorter, punchier tunes. As if to
emphasise changing times, the friendly Giant character (called Pantagruel)
was depicted with a safety pin through the nostrils
on the compilation "Pretentious (For The Sake Of It)" in 1977.
However, they are the archetypal seventies progressive rock band, melding
intricate time shifts with mediaeval voicings and - at times - echoing
Jethro Tull. For them, the lengthy drum solo was
The band formed in 1969 out of the ashes of late-sixties popsters Simon Dupree and the Big Sound who had a UK hit in 1967 with the mysterious "Kites". The Shulman brothers, Derek (vocals, guitar,bass), Ray (vocals, bass, violin) and Phil (saxophone) were joined by the classically-trained Kerry Minnear (keyboards, vocals), Gary Green (guitar, vocals) and Martin Smith (drums). This is the line-up that debuted on the Vertigo label in 1970, an eponymously-titled album produced by Tony Visconti. For the fourth album, "Octopus" (1972), Smith was replaced by John 'Pugwash' Weathers who had previously drummed for Graham Bond and Pete Brown's Piblokto!
Phil Shuman left the band after a tour in 1972 and subsequent albums suffered from a lack of audience and (in America) record label acceptance with the exception of 1975's "Free Hand". The departure of Minnear effectively marked their demise and they split in 1980. Ray Shulman has since become a successful producer with amongst others Ian McCulloch and the Sundays and writes music for computer games, whilst brother Derek followed a successful career as a major label executive. John Weathers has appeared with the reformed Man and Gary Green moved to the States.
took up the guitar at the age of 7
and within a few years had his own band The Friendship Sextet. His first
recording band was Johnny And His Cellar Rockers and he subsequently found
success with The Hunters and Brainbox. By the time he started jamming with
Thijs van Leer in late-1969, in what was to become Focus, he was already
a national guitar "hero" and respected session player.
For two years Focus, with a unique fusion of classical , rock and jazz music, was one of the world's most acclaimed rock groups and collectively and individually won many awards. Jan was voted "the world's greatest guitarist" in a Melody Maker poll.
Jan left Focus in 1976 shortly before a sell-out UK tour, and then pursued a prolific solo career under contract to WEA. In the eighties, his albums were only available in Holland and Germany and it wasn't until 1990 and "The Noise Of Art" that his work was available again world-wide. Since this time he has released two albums for EMI Holland, "Puccini's Cafe" and "Blues Hearts", and in 1996 "Focus In Time". The 2-CD live collection "10,000 Clowns On A Rainy Day" released in 1997 is a definitive collection of live recordings.
In the late-1990s he has returned to the country that first "broke" Focus and with whom he has particular affection and affinity. UK audiences have thrilled once again to a master guitar player.
|Championed by broadcasting veteran
John Peel, TERRY EDWARDS is a talented
multi-instrumentalist who has appeared on many albums, mainly playing sax.
This includes sessions for PJ Harvey, Gallon Drunk , Jesus And Mary Chain
and Jimi Tenor. He has also appeared with Moonshake (Eva Luna, 1997), Lush
(Lovelife, 1996) and Billy Bragg (William Bloke, 1996).
"Birth Of The Scapegoats" is Terry Edwards' sixth solo album. His debut solo EP "...Plays The Music Of Jim And William Reid" was "Single of the Week" in NME. His cover of Captain Beefheart's "Ice Cream For Crow" brought the accolade from its writer "That guy's got some nerve!"
Terry was commissioned by Charles Linehan, choreographer in residence at the Place Theatre, to write a major piece for his major work of summer 1998, "Rialto". This has been performed in London, Russia and Georgiaa.
Terry Edwards' version of "The Hardest Walk" (included on "Birth...") was used on the BBC's "Top Gear" programme to accompany a report on a slick new Jag. Essex man Terry drives an 18 year old Ford Escort.
NILS LOFGREN is perhaps best known for his work in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, whom he joined in 1984. However as well as fronting his own band, Grin, he played on the first Crazy Horse album and Neil Young's "After The Goldrush".
Nils' younger brother Tom, and a mainstay of his road band, encouraged him to switch from accordion to six-string guitar in the 1960s. After disbanding Grin in 1974 Lofgren signed a solo deal with A & M Records and released a self-titled debut that demonstrated his strengths as a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. At the same time Lofgren would amaze audiences with his acrobatic skills, often propelling himself in the air from a trampoline.
In 1976 the album "Cry Tough" made the UK Top Ten and in 1979 after a couple of live albums he released "Nils" which found him back on form in the songwriting stakes.
By the early '80s, his reputation as a solo artist had declined but he continued to play with some major names such as Neil Young (the Trans tour) and, again, with Bruce Springsteen in the E Street Band.
More recently, Lofgren has returned to a more direct, less flashy guitar style as evidenced in 1992's "Crooked Line" (also featuring original mentor Neil Young). He has also collaborated with others such as Foreigner's Lou Gramm. In 1995 the album "Damaged Goods" marked a return to form and harked back to his acclaimed work in the 1970s whilst 1998's "Acoustic Live" was followed by a well-received UK tour.