Exposé Online banner

David Thomas & Ronnie Gunn — The Giants Dance
(Blueprint BP223, 1979/1996, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1997-02-01

The Giants Dance Cover art

I guess at some point anyone even remotely connected with Genesis will come out of the woodwork to market their offerings. Case in point. David Thomas and Ronnie Gunn were two musicians who apparently worked closely with members of the original Genesis lineup back in their Charterhouse days, pre-first album. According to the liner notes, written by Tony Banks and Peter Gabriel incidentally, there was a pre-Genesis band called The Spoken Word, featuring Thomas as singer, Gabriel on drums, Ant Phillips on guitar, and Gunn on piano. Of course that band split up, Phillips and Gabriel moved on to different bands, and the rest is history. Their only contributions to a Genesis album were in the handclaps on "In Limbo" and the backing voices throughout the first album, Thomas and Gunn continued to write songs and work together throughout the 70s, their hope was that other people might record their songs. At times their paths crossed with the various Genesis members, in fact the earliest material on this collection was recorded at Ant Phillips' house in '73. Apparently Thomas also recorded the earliest demos for Gabriel's post-Genesis career. Enough of the history... what about the music?

The songs themselves are, for the most part pretty good, sounding very much in the vein of early (meaning really early) Genesis. Most of these tunes, if Gabriel had sung them and Jonathan King had added some cheesy orchestrations, would sound right at home on From Genesis to Revelation. This may be in part to the use of the strummy acoustic guitars and piano, as well as the delicate, slightly complex song structures and arrangements. Ant Phillips plays guitar on a number of the tracks as well, further fueling the FGTR comparisons. Other musicians add bass and drums on several of the songs. The sound quality, especially on the earliest stuff, is barely demo quality (after all these were not originally intended for release), and quite rough in the mix department; later recordings tend to be far more polished, culminating with the very impressive three-part title suite, recorded in '79. The 18 tracks are not presented chronologically, the oldest stuff being interspersed between the newer material, which probably ends up making the album more effective. At best, this is an archival curiosity for Genesis fans, but a good one nonetheless — if not so much for the execution, at least for the excellent compositions and arrangements.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 11, 1996 releases, 1979 recordings

Related artist(s): Anthony Phillips, David Thomas, Ronnie Gunn

Latest news

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Arti e Mestieri - Tilt & Giro di Valzer per Domani – Much ink has been spilled about the drumming of Furio Chirico and for good reason: the guy is phenomenal. He is all over the place using all available musical space yet is never bombastic or...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues