Free Hand

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Free Hand
Studio album by Gentle Giant
Released July 1975 (1975-07)
Recorded April 1975
Studio Advision, London
Length 36:50
Label Chrysalis (UK)
Producer Gentle Giant
Gentle Giant chronology
The Power and the Glory
Free Hand
"On Reflection"
31-second sample with a cappella

Free Hand is the seventh album by British progressive rock band Gentle Giant. It was released in 1975.

It was the Gentle Giant's first album with their new label Chrysalis Records in the UK. It is noted for its high production values, and for a less dissonant, more accessible feel than their previous album The Power and the Glory. It was their highest-charting album in the US and the only one to reach the Top 50 on the Billboard Album Chart.[citation needed]

In addition to the usual stereo version the album was also mixed in 4-channel quadraphonic sound in 1976. The 4-channel mix was not used until 2012 when it finally appeared on DVD with encoding in multichannel LPCM, DTS and Dolby Digital surround sound formats.[1] A 1990 CD re-issue by the One Way label used an alternate stereo mix. This version revealed some different details in the musical and vocal parts. However, it later became apparent that it was actually a reduction or variation of the 4-channel mix.

Alucard/EMI re-released the CD in 2009, "from the original 1/4-inch tapes through 24bit 96k Hi-Resolution transfer."


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[2]
Sea of Tranquility4.5/5 stars[3]

The Great Rock Bible described the album:

Duly signing a new deal in Britain with Chrysalis Records, their seventh album Free Hand (1975), again only found a paying audience (and Top 50 status) across the water. However, it did contain impressive vocal gymnastics, much in evidence on jewels in the crown, "Just The Same" and the renaissance/retro, part a cappella/part folk-rocker "On Reflection"; the latter combining four pieces of group scribed fugue. Minnear's un-medieval meanderings on the ivories for the pure-prog title track was just the ticket for a group still going strong despite others such as ELP and the aforementioned Genesis and King Crimson were collapsing under rock's evolution. Although at times exquisitely off-kilter, tracks such as "Time To Kill", the beautiful "His Last Voyage", the folkie "Mobile" and Tudor-esque instrumental ditty "Talybont", gave the set an aura of accessibility – a classic![4]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Kerry Minnear, Derek Shulman, and Ray Shulman.

Side one
No.TitleLead vocalsLength
1."Just the Same"Derek Shulman5:33
2."On Reflection"Kerry Minnear, Derek Shulman, Ray Shulman, Gary Green5:43
3."Free Hand"Derek Shulman, Kerry Minnear6:14
Side two
No.TitleLead vocalsLength
4."Time to Kill"Derek Shulman, Kerry Minnear5:08
5."His Last Voyage"Kerry Minnear6:26
7."Mobile"Derek Shulman5:03
Bonus Track
8."Just the Same" (Live; on the 35th anniversary CD edition)4:50
6 extra tracks added on 'I Lost My Head – The Chrysalis Years 1975–1980' LP
8."1976 Intro Tape" (previously unreleased)1:39
9."Just the Same" (BBC session John Peel)6:05
10."Free Hand" (BBC session John Peel)6:08
11."On Reflection" (BBC session John Peel)5:42
12."Give It Back" (International 7" mix)3:48
13."I Lost My Head" (7" mix)3:29


Additional Personnel

There are no instrument credits listed on the album.[clarification needed]


Year Chart Position
1975 US Billboard 200 48

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label
United States July 21 or 28, 1975 Capitol Records
United Kingdom August 22, 1975 Chrysalis Records


  1. ^ Gentle Giant: Free Hand at
  2. ^ Taylor, Robert (2011). "Gentle Giant: Free Hand | AllMusic". Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  3. ^ Pardo, Pete (2011). "Review: 'Gentle Giant: Free Hand – 35th Anniversary Edition (remaster)' – Sea of Tranquility – The Web Destination for Progressive Music!". Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  4. ^ "Gentle Giant biography". The Great Rock Bible. 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  5. ^ Gentle Giant's website

External links[edit]