Peel The Paint - Gentle Giant (1972)
Ever noticed how outside of certain genre's uber fan base, many groups or artists go unnoticed by the general public? Not many people outside of the freak-folk movement give much thought to Espers. How many people who aren't fans of underground hip-hop have heard of MF Doom? Another genre that is full of non-household names is Prog Rock. One band that has always been a secret handshake for true fans was Gentle Giant. In the 1970's, they released some of the truest "Progressive" rock albums out there. They always bubbled just under the collective popular conscience. They even slid into the Billboard 200 with Three Friends, where today's track comes from. A concept album about three school friends who take three different paths in life, it is dense, beautiful and stunning in its complexity and craft. This standout piece features interwoven saxophone and guitar riffs that seem to be reaching for heaven while keeping their roots firmly locked into brimstone. It's also incredibly sweet, what with beautiful keyboard and string flourishes. Both parts tell the story of making your daily bread in something you love and something you don't. I can't recommend this album enough. If you have been on the fence about Prog Rock, this is a hell of a way to introduce yourself to one of the most important and misunderstood chapters in popular music. With Three Friends, you'll be one step ahead of the curve. You'll know the secret handshake!
Here are two great live performances of the song, from Giant themselves and nu-prog band 3RDegree.
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