I have been thinking of posts like this before, and now I have the impetus: I want to commit, to a single page, a collection of reviews of single band's discographies--especially the peak years of each band. I'm going to start with England's GENESIS, but I am only going to serve their formative and most progressive years: 1969 to 1978, when the massive talents of Peter Gabriel and, later, Steve Hackett were key contributors.
GENESIS From Genesis to Revelation (1969)
First released in the UK on Decca Records on March 7, 1969.Line-up / Musicians:
- Peter Gabriel / lead vocals, flute, tambourine
- Anthony Phillips / acoustic & electric guitar, backing vocals
- Tony Banks / piano, organ, backing vocals
- Mike Rutherford / bass, acoustic guitar, backing vocals
- Jonathan Silver / drums & percussion (1-13 & 2.11,2.13)
- Arthur Greenslade / string & brass arrangements, musical director
- Lou Warburton / string & brass arrangements
- David Thomas / harmony vocals
- Chris Stewart / drums (2.5-2.8)
1. "Where the Sour Turns to Sweet" (3:13) another group of youths beginning their songwriting from within the familiar: the known frameworks of pop and blues musics. The highlights are the strings and brass arrangements. (8/10)
2. "In the Beginning" (3:46) the song with the most portentous peak into the future. (9/10)
3. "Fireside Song" (4:18) a style (Tony's piano foundation) that would become the framework for all Genesis and Peter Gabriel songs ... forever. (7.75/10)
4. "The Serpent" (4:38) with a title like this, one would expect to hear, feel, or see signs of future Genesis. Wrong. It's a Buckinghams-like pop song--though there is a certain eeriness to the instrumental sound choices--especially to Tony and Ant's chords and to the sound engineering choices to Peter's vocal. (8/10)
5. "Am I Very Wrong?" (3:31) another teen angst song done in a style not so very different to many of the successful Brit-pop artists of the time. (7.5/10)
6. "In the Wilderness" (3:29) Tony's piano with future-sounding Peter Gabriel. Too bad the chorus turns so Carpenters/Turtles-like. Peter's lyrics and performance sound as if he's trying to break out of acceptable pop constraints, but... (7.5/10)
7. "The Conqueror" (3:40) the oddest PG vocal ever--could've come from a Dylan or Spirogyra album. Annoying repetition from Tony's piano foundation and the tambourine. (7.5/10)
8. "In Hiding" (2:37) interesting instrumentation--almost vaudeville/barrel hall-like--while at the same time trying to be teen-tear-jerker. These are not the boys the girls are going to swoon over! (But, I guess they had to try.) (7.5/10)
9. "One Day" (3:21) Nice guitar, horn and background choir vocal arrangements. Still trying for the poetic Brit pop. (7.75/10)
10. "Window" (3:33) opens even more barrel-hall oriented than "In Hiding", but then turns again to some kind of bubble gum Brig pop--like it could've come from To Sir, With Love. It's Ant & Mike's guitars that save it. (7.5/10)
11. "In Limbo" (3:30) interesting for its pensive opening, then leading into an upbeat musical song to try to uplift the more somber lyrics. Very different and bold--for both the band and Peter. (8/10)
12. "Silent Sun" (2:13) the song the band chose to try to market as a radio hit--several times (including when Ant did years later). Just a California BEACH BOYS/ASSOCIATION-like teen pop song to my ears. (3.75/5)
13. "A Place to Call My Own" (1:58) here the band sounds as if they're treading different territory--going in a direction unlike that of contemporary music--begins sounding like the music that will come on their next album, Trespass (especially on Side 1), but strange editing make for some mysterious and inconclusive results. (3.75/5)
Total Time 43:47
GENESIS Trespass (1970)
- Peter Gabriel / lead vocals, flute, accordion, tambourine, bass drum
- Anthony Phillips / acoustic 12-string & lead electric guitars, dulcimer, backing vocals
- Anthony Banks / organ, piano, Mellotron, guitar, backing vocals
- Michael Rutherford / bass, nylon & acoustic 12-string guitars, cello, backing vocals
- John Mayhew / drums, percussion, backing vocals
1. Looking for Someone (7:06)
2. White Mountain (6:42)
3. Visions of Angels (6:50)
4. Stagnation (8:48)
5. Dusk (4:13)
6. The Knife (8:56)
Total Time 42:35
I'm not sure why Trespass holds such a fond place in my heart. I discovered it relatively late in my Genesis path-I think And Then There Were Three had come out. Perhaps because I love twelve string guitars so much-especially those few musicians who chose to explore the 12-string as a picking, not just strumming, instrument (Anthony Phillips, some Jan Akkerman, John McLaughlin, Steve Hackett) The paring down of the holy quintet to a trio was leaving me less satisfied, I had been in love with Voyage of the Acolyte and The Geese and the Ghost for a while, so I decided to visit the "old" Genesis. (I had been familiar with the music through the Genesis Live LP but had never realized that Hackett had not been a part of the composition of those pieces.) So, Trespass and From Genesis to Revelation came to my possession by way of the cut-out bins.
1. "Looking for Someone" (7:06) has some truly inventive sounds-especially vocally. The guts it takes to start an album with an emotional voice like that! Structurally, the song quilts together some very different and courageous musical sections, romping very quickly and often from soft to hard, pianissimo to forte. IMHO, Tony's organ work and Ant's lead work are weak and John Mayhew's one-style-fits-all drumming leave one less than engaged. Definitely progressive song composition, just not mature players yet. Or they're still struggling for their "sound." (P.S. Do my ears deceive me or is Ant's electric guitar out of tune?) A peak at the future but all potential, not enough realization. (12.5/15)
2. "White Mountain" (6:42) while somewhat weak in story, keyboards, and the less-than-up-to-the-task drumming, displays some masterful vocalizations and soul-blissing acoustic guitar work. The second movement with the ominous pounding of the bass drum and treated Gabriel vocals is a spine-tingling highlight! The brief Poe-like distant organ with human whistling is also very effective before the fadeout. (13/10)
3. "Visions of Angels" (6:50) I've heard Gabe say that this is one he would consider resurrecting were he ever to participate in a Genesis reunion concert. I guess he likes those uplifting mystical/spiritual songs he helped create (like "Supper's Ready"). Some of Mayhew's better drum work is here. Rutherford, the reluctant bass player, gets to shine a little with a little "lead" bass playing. "God gave up this world--it's people--long ago. Why She's never there I still don't understand" Perhaps this song continues to state an important piece of Gabe's credo. A fair, pretty straightforward song with nothing standing out much. (12/15)
4. "Stagnation" (8:48) Still one of my all-time favorite Genesis or any other music genre songs. That eerie synth solo over the 12- and 6-strings is phenomenal-I never tire of it; it never fails to produce goose bumps on my skin. Then to bridge into that awesome guitar-backed organ solo (with Mayhew's adequate drumming for once mixed properly!) Simply sublime! Then Gabe whisper-sings that frail, fragile invitation to us before waxing poetic with his treated description of the waterbank. "I-I-I-I-I, I-I-I-I-I, I said I want to sit down! I want a drink." More Christ references? Awesome. (19/20)
5. "Dusk" (4:13) Acoustic guitars! Monastic voices! Flutes! A singular chime! Mellotron. NO DRUMS!! I'm in absolute heaven! A beautiful and subtly intricate song. (10/10)
6. "The Knife" (8:56) Many a progster's favorite early Genesis song. I must admit: the song very powerfully conveys the horror and fear of the Kent State/fascist state experience. Mayhew's machine gun-like drumming, Rutherford's deep distorted bass thrums and the first classic searing Genesis lead guitar solo (later taken up and mastered by Monsieur Hackett) coupled with Gabe's forceful German accent make for a very powerful song. (And who's saying that prog songs shouldn't have social-political content or meaning?) Still, somewhat unpolished and raw for a prog classic. (The Live version is better, don't you agree?) (18.5/20)
88.89 on the Fishscales = B+/solid 4 stars. "Stagnation," "Dusk" and "The Knife" make this album, IMHO, "an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection." Though still honing their sound and compositional style(s), this is a great sophomore effort for a band envisioning some truly ground-breaking and complicated musics.
Welcome, Phil! Welcome, Steve! Won't you please stay for a while? I think we can do some interesting things. We may not make a lot of money or become very famous but we'll definitely show them something . . . different!
. . . I hope . . . I think.
- Peter Gabriel / lead vocals, flute, tambourine, bass drum
- Steve Hackett / electric and 12-string guitars
- Tony Banks / organ, Mellotron, piano & electric piano, 12-string guitar, backing vocals
- Mike Rutherford / bass, bass pedals, 12-string guitar, backing vocals
- Phil Collins / drums, percussion, lead (2) & backing vocals
1. "The Musical Box" (10:24) (19.5/20)
2. "For Absent Friends" (1:44) (4/5)
3. "The Return of the Giant Hogweed" (8:10) (13/15)
4. "Seven Stones" (5:10) (8.5/10)
5. "Harold the Barrel" (2:55) (8/10)
6. "Harlequin" (2:52) (10/10)
7. "The Fountain of Salmacis" (7:54) (13.5/15)
Total Time 39:09
Five star songs: The flawless and dramatic, "The Musical Box"; the gorgeous and poetic "Harlequin" (my second favorite Peter Gabriel vocal next to "The Lamia"); and the epic mythological tale, "Fountain of Salamacis."
Four star songs: "The Return of the Giant Hogweed" and "Seven Stones."
Three star song: "For Absent Friends" and "Harold the Barrel."
90.0 on the Fishscales = A-/4.5 stars; a milestone album in the development of early progressive rock music, Nursery Cryme contains some stunning high points alongside some mediocre "duds."
Line-up / Musicians:
- Peter Gabriel / lead vocals, flute, oboe, tambourine, bass drum
- Steve Hackett / guitars (electric, acoustic 6- & 12-string)
- Tony Banks / organ, Mellotron MKII, piano & electric piano, 12-string guitar, backing vocals
- Mike Rutherford / bass, bass pedals, 12-string guitar, cello, backing vocals
- Phil Collins / drums, percussion, backing vocals
1. "Watcher of the Skies" (7:19) sounds old, overfull, and poorly recorded. I never liked it--always skipped it to get to "Can-Utility." HACKETT's "Revisited" version is ten times better. (12.25/15)
2. "Time Table" (4:40) despite it's classical piano intro, the vocal of this pretty standard ballad is strained and the guitar sounds chosen are just wrong. Some nice melodic hooks in some of the instrumental riffs. (8/10)
- b. The Guaranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man
- c. Ikhnaton and Itsacon and Their Band of Merry Men
- d. How Dare I Be So Beautiful?
- e. Willow Farm
- f. Apocalypse in 9/8 (featuring the delicious talents of Gabble Ratchet)
- g. As Sure as Eggs Is Eggs (Aching Men's Feet)
Total Time 50:53
I avoided listening to "Supper's Ready" for years because I was afraid it would never be able to live up to the hype I had built up inside my own head. I've just listened to it. Twice. "Supper's Ready" is, without a doubt, the greatest achievement in progressive rock music ever. It is epic in the tradition of The Bible, WAGNER's Ring, The Iliad and Odyssey, and "Song of Roland". It contains the soul of humanity--of human struggle and human potential and aspiration. It contains virtuosic performances from some of prog rock's most adventurous, theatric and yet melodic participant/performers. Even so, "Foxtrot" has never been a masterpiece to me. As much as the band loved "Watcher" and "Get 'em Out by Friday," I never liked them (and I have given them both so many chances/re-listens). "Can-Utility and Coastliners" has always been one of my favorite prog and Genesis songs--and I am glad to see it getting so much love here on ProgArchives.
Line-up / Musicians:
- Tony Banks / organ, Mellotron, piano, acoustic 12-string guitar, backing vocals
- Phil Collins / drums, percussion, backing vocals
- Peter Gabriel / lead vocals, flute, bass drum, tambourine
- Steve Hackett / electric guitar, acoustic 12 string guitar
- Mike Rutherford / acoustic 12-string guitar, bass, bass pedals, backing vocals
1. "Watcher of the Skies" (8:34) a fan favorite that I've never been impressed with, musically, does probably present a vastly theatric concert hall stage opening. Even the sound here seems better, to me, than it does on the studio album Foxtrot--the dynamics are much more smoothly integrated--all of which helps me to appreciate the creative complexities the band put into its composition. (17.5/20)
2. "Get 'em Out by Friday" (9:14) never a favorite of mine, does stand out better in the concert version than the album. (17/20)
3. "The Return of the Giant Hogweed" (8:14) a vehicle for one of Peter's deliveries of his mythic stories. The music is okay--not as engaging though the performances of this complex music are impressively tight--especially from Phil on drums. (12.75/15)
5. "The Knife" (9:46) the oldest song from the band's repertoire and the only one to be recorded from the pre-Phil and Steve years. The "newcomers", I think, do quite an admirable job delivering the music--especially Steve--but it is Peter's performance that feels to suffer--not benefitting from the vocal and electronic effects given his voice(s) on the studio performance--effects that really did add so much to the power and creepy/eeriness of the original. (17.5/20)
Total Time 46:43
- Peter Gabriel / lead vocals, percussion, flute, oboe
- Steve Hackett / electric guitar, nylon acoustic guitar
- Tony Banks / keyboards (piano, Hammond, Mellotron, ARP Pro Soloist synth), 12-string guitar
- Mike Rutherford / bass, 12-string guitar, electric sitar
- Phil Collins / drums, percussion, lead (4) & backing vocals
2. "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" (4:06) I love this song--the music, the humor, the theatrics. A short classic that happened to get some "pop" attention. (10/10)
3. "Firth Of Fifth" (9:34) The poor recording/engineering of this album comes out some more in this song. Its live versions--even without Gabe's flute--are usually quite a bit superior. However, it is quite a masterful achievement of songwriting and melody-making. Far superior to "Dance" and "Battle." (BUT: The best guitar solo of all-time? I don't know . . . ) (19.5/20 )
4. "More Fool Me" (3:09) Phil's gentle voice. I think I like it better big and bold--even cocky. (8/10)
5. "The Battle Of Epping Forest" (11:43) Don't like it, never did. Maybe another example of one of those nice musical achievements that were ruined by lyrics or over-done theatrics. (16/20)
6. "After The Ordeal" (4:12) I love the idea of this song more than the actual presentation. Something sounds just too tinny about Tony's piano, while Steve's classical guitar is beautiful. Then the transition to electric blues guitar solo allows a different form of expression to come through. ("Free Bird!") (8.75/10)
7. "The Cinema Show" (11:06) Another supreme achievement of progressive music--one that stands up so well over time--and one that I like more than "Firth of Fifth"--including the work of Steve Hackett. (20/20)
8. "Aisle Of Plenty" (1:31) the beautiful, awesome finale of "Cinema Show." I can only rate it as I would "Cinema Show" for I do always consider them as one. (5/5)
92.04 on the Fishscales = A-/five stars; the greatest prog album of all-time? I don't think so. Three long masterpieces--27 minutes out of 53--is not enough to make an album masterpiece. "Epping Forest" always leaves a bad taste for me when I think of this album. In my opinion, The Lamb is still the band's best. As whole albums go, Yes's Close to the Edge, Relayer, and even Fragile are better than Selling England by the Pound.
Line-up / Musicians:
- Peter Gabriel / lead vocals, flute
- Steve Hackett / electric & acoustic guitars
- Tony Banks / keyboards
- Mike Rutherford / bass, 12-string guitar
- Phil Collins / drums, percussion, vibes, backing vocals
- Brian Eno / sound effects
- Graham Bell / backing vocals
Disc 1 (45:29)
1. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (4:50)
2. Fly on a Windshield (4:23)
3. Broadway Melody of 1974 (0:33)
4. Cuckoo Cocoon (2:11)
5. In the Cage (8:15)
6. The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging (2:45)
7. Back in N.Y.C. (5:42)
8. Hairless Heart (2:13)
9. Counting Out Time (3:42)
10. The Carpet Crawlers (5:15)
11. The Chamber of 32 Doors (5:40)
Disc 2 (48:43)
1. Lillywhite Lilith (2:42)
2. The Waiting Room (5:24)
3. Anyway (3:07)
4. The Supernatural Anaesthetist (2:59)
5. The Lamia (6:57)
6. Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats (3:07)
7. The Colony of Slippermen (8:13) :
- i. The Arrival
- ii. A Visit to the Doktor
- iii. Raven
8. Ravine (2:04)
9. The Light Dies Down on Broadway (3:32)
10. Riding the Scree (3:57)
11. In the Rapids (2:26)
12. it (4:15)
Total Time 94:12
Side 1, song 1: "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" (4:50) The distinctive signature of the album, Tony's piano, the bass pedals, Phil finessing the toms and snare, crashing the cymbals, such a great mix/balance of all band members. (Remember: the band recorded the music without Gabe's presence. Let's face it, with 90 mins. of music sans lyrics, they had to be pretty contented and excited with themselves.) Wonderful key, tempo and instrumentation shifts. (9/10)
1.2: "A Fly on a Windshield" (4:23) A sublime song with beautifully eerie keys, 12-strings, and truly masterful diction/pronunciation with Gabe's singing setting Hackett and Collins up for an unusually relaxed though emotional climax, (10/10) all blending into:
1.4: "Cuckoo Cocoon" (2:11) Great Trespass-like music with Gabe's oddly treated voice. Great to here the flute again. (9/10)
1.5: "In the Cage" (8:15) A later concert fave with odd lyrics you find yourself wanting to learn à la Jon Anderson's Yes lyrics. The confidence to start a song with voice and single bass note! Once it picks up, Phil and Tony must have had fun with this one! (17/20)
1.6: "The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging" (2:45) Takes you for a carnival rollercoaster ride! More fun for Phil and Tony, though the song uses the usual formula of slow soft start as it builds to a crescendo of cacophony (including Steve's "note"). Still, I imagine the last two songs were adrenaline highs for the musicians. (9/10)
2.2: "Hairless Heart." (2:13) A brief instrumental/interlude with an interesting title (5/5), which gives Hackett a small outlet before he has to pick up the banjo for:
2.3: "Counting Out Time" (3:42) One of Gabe's most amazing lyrics; such a change from the metaphors hidden under cloaks of mythical stories. Love the banjo and Tony's perfectly silly synth sound used for the sound after "Whoopee!" (10/10)
2.4: "The Carpet Crawlers" (5:15) What a mood shift! One of those songs whose vocal presentation of aural poetry serves as a balm to the ears and the soul. Brilliant song, brilliantly mixed! God that guy can write and deliver lyrics! Thank god for the musicians' restraint in setting this one up for Gabe. (9.5/10)
2.5: "The Chamber of 32 Doors" (5:40) Hackett! Seems like he's been in the background since "Fly on a Windshield." Another lyrical gem, this time in true prog showcase, with the musicians contributing equally, with quite complex time and mood changes. Another reminder that thus far this album is void of a lot of instrumental showcasing (solos). (10/10)
Now to the meat of the album. (Who cares what Rael's up to, it's the music ahead which blows me away.)
Side 3, song 1: "Lilywhite Lilith" (2:42) Boldly opening side 3, Gabe's confidence soaring, Mike's bass and Tony's keys pounding, (9/10) "A blaze of white light fills the air" prepares us as we fall into the eerie emotions conjured up by:
3.3: "Anyway" (3:07) Exactly! Beautiful key melody setting up another Gabe foray into the realm of Salvador Dali, and then, for a brief, hair-raising instant: HACKETT! (10/10)
3.6: "Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats" (3:07) I LOVE the "enossifications" on this album (as I love Brian Eno's work everywhere). Subtlety, mood; the silence of floating put to music (kind of like his "Julie with"). (10/10) A peaceful, meditative end to one of the most awesome album sides ever put together.
Side 4, song 1: "The Colony of Superman" (8:13)
4.2: "Ravine" (2:04) Another awesome little instrumental interlude. Wish it would go on forever. (5/5)
4.3: "The Light Lies Down on Broadway" (3:32) Very cool recapitulation of the opening score in a slowed down, instrumentally varied quilt. Love all the instrumental restraint and electrically treated instruments of this song. I actually like it better than the opener. (10/10)
4.4: "Riding the Scree" (3:57) Take a ride with Tony! He'll show you what makes a prog keys-man stand out à la RWakeman. Too bad Gabe had to come in so soon, tho' love his "Here I go!" (10/10)
4.6: "It." Lyrically, such an intriguing song, (love all the references to other classic songs). Musically, an amazing finale to an amazing album. Everybody riding on high energy, Steve, of course, loving the tempo and showcase. Brilliant. Like an anthem. (9/10) Every time I leave this album, with this song, I am energized, ready to jetté through my day.
- Steve Hackett / electric & acoustic guitar, Mellotron, harmonium, bells, autoharp, vocals (5), effects, arrangements & co-producer
- Sally Oldfield / vocals (8,10)
- John Acock / Elka Rhapsody synthesizer, Mellotron, harmonium, piano, co-producer
- Mike Rutherford / bass & bass pedals, fuzz 12-string guitar
- Percy Jones / bass (3)
- Johnny Gustafson / bass (6)
- Phil Collins / drums, vibes, percussion, vocals (6)
- John Hackett / flute, ARP synthesizer, bells
- Robin Miller / oboe (6), cor anglais (5)
- Nigel Warren-Green / cello (5)
1. "Ace of Wands" (5:23) forceful if repetitive in a Baroque way. Nice blend of classical songwriting and rock/prog instrumental expression (especially Phil's drums and Steve's acoustic v. electric guitars). And, alas! Tubular ... bells! Steve's guitar melodies in the final 90 seconds are some his best ever.(8.75/10)
3. "A Tower Struck Down" (4:53) explores Steve's penchant for disturbing, horror-type music with deep syncopated pulses, backwards guitar lines, odd percussives, and circus-like themes. (8.75/10)
4. "Hands of the Priestess, Part II" (1:31) returns to the flute and acoustic guitar supported themes before cor anglais takes over before the finale. (5/5)
Total Time 40:46
An awesome album coming at a time of uncertainty for the GENESIS crew, Voyage of the Acolyte contains some strikingly sensitive and beautiful guitar-based atmospherics not unlike that of ANTHONY PHILLIPS on his soon-to-arrive Geese and the Ghost (also with important contributions from MICHAEL RUTHERFORD and PHIL COLLINS). (I find it interesting that neither of these two gems contains any help from keyboardist Tony Banks.) While there is a cohesive flow and consistency to this album--feel and mood---there is something a little muddy in the recording/engineering that always left me feeling a bit frustrated--I wanted to hear the distinctive contributions of all the instruments but they always felt a bit too quiet or muddled. Also, some of the sections--as beautiful as they are--are either repeated too formulaically or go on a bit too long.
Line-up / Musicians:
- Phil Collins / lead & backing vocals, drums, percussion
- Steve Hackett / electric & 12-string guitars
- Tony Banks / RMI Electra-Piano, ARP Pro Soloist synth, Hammond organ, Mellotron, Echoplex, Leslie cabinet, 12-string guitar, backing vocals
- Mike Rutherford / bass, bass pedals, 12-string guitar
1. "Dance On A Volcano" (5:53) Great opening--especially the second section. Genesis is not dead! Not sure what the song is about, but it works for me! (8.75/10)
2. "Entangled" (6:28) IMO, one of Genesis's greatest songs--top five! Tony's eerie solo, the 12-strings and bass pedals are awesome. Steve's mixed way too quietly! (10/10)
3. "Squonk" (6:27) Great opening guitar hook, good vocals with really weak lyrics (Is this the pre-history to "A Trick of the Tail"?). The song really never goes anywhere. (It was pretty boring--a letdown--in concert.) (8.5/10)
4. "Mad Man Moon" (7:35) Beautiful song, sensitive, melodic, varied and rich. One of Tony Banks's most majestic. (13.5/15)
5. "Robbery, Assault & Battery" (6:15) Genesis had a habit of laying down some really interesting, really beautiful music and then, IMO, ruining it with either horrible lyrics or over-dramatic presentation. This is one of those songs. 9/10 musically + 2/10 lyrics and presentation = average of (7/10)
6. "Ripples" (8:03) A song I can never seem to hear too often or too much. I was always disappointed Hackett's guitar was mixed so far in the background and so thin. (13.75/15)
7. "A Trick Of The Tail" (4:34) is actually a very cute, bouncy song. Theatric and mythic with a modern moral. A nice change of pace. Tight presentation; no fluff or excess. (9.5/10)
8. "Los Endos" (5:46) An awesome overture/finale of this new adventure in Genesis world. (Great concert closer teamed with "Dance on a Volcano" and with Chester and Phil pounding away together in the background.) (10/10)
Total Time 51:01
"Trick" is not a bad album. In fact, it is a rather good album. Why they mixed Hackett so quietly into the mix, I'll never know, but I love hearing the drums, basses, and keys.
I really get the argument that this album may mark the beginning of the Neo Prog era--that the "classic" prog era was over. There is just something 'different' about this and its counterpart Voyage of the Acolyte.
90.0 on the Fishscales = A-/4.5; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music despite the fact that it holds a much dearer place in my heart.
Line-up / Musicians:
- Phil Collins / vocals, drums, percussion, cymbals
- Steve Hackett / electric, nylon classical & 12-string guitars, kalimba, auto-harp
- Tony Banks / Steinway grand piano, synthesizers (Roland String, ARP 2600 & Pro-Soloist), Hammond organ, Mellotron, Fender Rhodes
- Mike Rutherford / 4-, 6- & 8-string basses, bass pedals, electric & 12-string acoustic guitars
1. Eleventh Earl of Mar (7:41)
2. One for the Vine (10:00)
3. Your Own Special Way (6:18)
4. Wot Gorilla? (3:19)
5. All in a Mouse's Night (6:37)
6. Blood on the Rooftops (5:27)
7. Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers... (2:23)
8. ...In That Quiet Earth (4:49)
9. Afterglow (4:12)
Total Time 50:46
With the Trick of the Tail era, Phil Collins-led Genesis became more concerned with the audience connection than before. With Peter Gabriel in the lead it was as if all theatric development was as if by accident and surprise. (Even the other band members were often taken aback by some of Peter's costumes, stylistic choices, and, of course, his bizarre and often macabre extemporaneous space-filling stories. Heck! The most famous story of all revolves around the creation of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway album.
Peter had become a hot commodity, the "face" of Genesis, and was being courted by other ventures--including Hollywood. As the band was back home in England creating all of the music for their next album--the release to follow their most successful album to date, Selling England by The Pound--Peter was otherwise occupied in New York City. (Working with Exorcist director Peter Friedkin.) When Peter finally found time for the Genesis commitments, he took the music and wrote the libretto of story and lyrics over the course of two weeks time. The band was shocked and a little put off that Peter had done all this without them--even distorting some of the music in ways that they didn't necessarily agree with. And yet, The Lamb was released--under record label pressure--and a tour begun--a tour which had Peter running around on stage as the front man, acting out his libretto, relegating the rest of the band to kind of background or support roles.)
The Lamb and its tour were quite successful--especially in America--but exhausting. Especially to Peter. The reluctant star--who was far more naturally reserved and shy than his stage persona might suggest--could take no more. On August 15, 1975, Genesis' record label officially announced that Peter Gabriel had left Genesis--to concentrate on "other literary and experimental interests outside of music."
With no more Peter Gabriel, the band continued to practice, continued to come up with new music. While Tony tended to his new duties as a father, the other band members collaborated with guitarist Steve Hackett to help render his debut solo album, released under the title, Voyage of the Acolyte. This gave the four further confidence to go on without Mr. Gabriel.
A few ad hoc attempts to fill Peter's vocal shoes helped the band realize that they could still play all of their old music--and that they could create anew. Natural showman Phil Collins (who'd had quite a glittering resumé in stage theater productions in his youth) was an unexpectedly good stand in as Peter. The problem was with filling the stage presence--something a drummer could not do. Thus was born the idea of hiring a second drummer--one that could fill Phil's shoes when Phil chose to be up front as the standup man. Thus, the great drummer, Bill Bruford, was lured into the fold for the Trick of the Tail tour and born was the now-iconic stage setup with two drummers, one right handed, the other left, placed on stage risers behind and high above the rest of the band. Genesis concerts, with their vast stage and industry-leading laser light display, became more of a "show" and less the sacred, mystical, intimate "experience" that the small-venued Gabriel-era concerts had conveyed (which some fans lamented and still lament to this day). Thus the band became a stadium-filling headliner like Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Yes, and Jethro Tull.
The band was known. With the Trick of the Tail album, sales were up, for the tour even moreso concert ticket sales, too. The feature of two duelling drummers was a big hit, as was the ground-breaking light show. The band was almost on the verge of becoming a household name. All they needed was an AM-friendly American hit record. With Wind & Wuthering's "Your Own Special Way" they finally achieved that. What I think the band achieved on Wind & Wuthering that launched a new era of progressive rock music was to combine their usual penchant for mythic storytelling (something Mr. Gabriel had started and had very much excelled at) with highly memorable melodies over lush, romantic soundscapes while remaining steadfastly committed to their usual standards of superb musicianship. (One might consider Mssrs. Banks, Hackett, and Collins as virtuosi of their respective instruments, i.e. keyboards, guitars, and batterie.)
1. "Eleventh Earl Of Mar" (7:41) one of the greatest openings of any song ever! But then things get marred by the odd, muddled lyrics. The two passages in the song's middle section are also noteworthy for their timeless classic Genesis-worthy beauty, but then amping back up to the story's end sours the mix. How difficult it is to create a perfect classic! How nit-picky we prog lovers become when faced with flaw and less than super-human heights from our gods! (13.5/15) (Such a difficult song to rate.)
2. "One For The Vine" (10:00) a great story sung to perfection by Phil--perhaps his best Genesis vocal ever for the uncharacteristic delicacy in his voice (a characteristic that Peter possessed in spades). Wonderful keyboard and bass play by Tony and Mike, the guitars and drums remain restrained throughout the vocal sections, but come to life, of course, during the instrumental sections. (18/20)
3. "Your Own Special Way" (6:18) a guitar-based song that anyone among the masses could learn and play solo. A song that every young person could scream-sing to the chorus and sing to their special loved one. Some very romantic moments. (8.25/10)
4. "Wot Gorilla?" (3:19) a Phil-credited instrumental that could have come out of a BRAND X session. Tony is great, Phil not as great as one might expect, Mike's 12-string sadly drowned out (but bass-pedals strong), and Steve somehow mixed behind everybody else. (8.25/10)
5. "All In A Mouse's Night" (6:37) opens with a decent sound palette and great bass and drumming and some great singing, but then all falls apart with the soft percussion-&-circus section and the lyrics that follow. Some sad little tricks used to bridge sections. The buildup to and the actual dénouement are so cringeworthy and embarrassing; saddening and disappointing, then followed by one of the lamest fadeout endings Genesis ever did. (8.5/10)
6. "Blood On The Rooftops" (5:27) opening with some of Steve's best classical guitar work ever the song evolves only positively as it goes on, with another of Phil's finest vocals and some of Genesis' finest lyrics. Pure prog perfection (and listen to those synth washes and gorgeous keyboard arpeggi Tony bathes certain sections in). (10/10)
7. "Unquiet Slumbers For The Sleepers..." (2:23) almost orchestral in its arrangement and rendering with both MIke and Steve's rapid guitar arpeggi and Phil's timpani work providing more than enough backdrop for Tony's haunting synth soloing above. The only flaw would be that that synth sound could have been better. (4.5/5)
8. ...In That Quiet Earth (4:49) really a continuation of the previous song (I feel as if I always considered them one), jumps in with great drumming and great band cohesion with some truly dynamic play--all the while supporting Steve's melodic and then experimental electric guitar soloing. Tony gets a few chances to play with Steve's melody and then interplay with Steve, but it's the bass and drums that delight for me during the first two minutes. Then "the switch" happens. A habit that Steve continued and has not been able to get over of shifting power and beauty in which the two elicit quite drastically different responses from the listener: utter bliss alternated with shock and revulsion. Still, amazing drumming throughout this one. (9/10)
9. Afterglow (4:12) a saccharine simpleton born as a seeming companion to Side One's "Special Way." (8/10)
Total Time: 50:46
There is good music here, very good. "One for the Vine," "Blood on the Rooftops," and even "Eleventh Earl of Mar" [10/10 musically, 3/10 lyrically] achieve the same heights as some of the earlier Genesis "classic." As for the other songs, more often than not the sound draws one in but then some element puts one off: poor lyrics, over simplified song structures, or silly idiosynchrosies, etc. For example, "Eleventh Earl of Mar" opens the LP with such promise--and musically continues to do so--but those lyrics! Ridiculous! Same with "All in a Mouse's Night" [9/10 musically, 2/10 lyrically]. Phil Collins' simple stories for the simple man are no match for the macabre Grimms-worthiness or ambiguous, even absurd Carroll-ingian tales social-commentary tales of Peter Gabriel! The rest of the album is too much "trying too hard" to impress (Steve Hackett on "'Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers/In that Quiet Earth," Phil's on "Wot Gorilla") or to get a pop hit ("Your Own Special Way" and "Afterglow"). Again, an amazingly warm sound with the usual high Genesis musicianship but the song composition has met with an impasse: the lyrical content and commercial desire are not served so well by the old song constructs. Tensions are running high as the decision has to be made: will it be a new Genesis for the masses or the old parochial music reaching its fewer more cerebral listeners. Mr. Hackett let us know his choice: He left the band to pursue his own highly experimental creative juices. And then there were three . . . .
88.0 on the Fishscales = B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of neo-romantic progressive rock music; the birth of a new sound.
Line-up / Musicians:
- Anthony Phillips / acoustic and electric (6- & 12-string) guitars, Classical guitar, basses, dulcimer guitar, bouzouki, piano, organ, synthesizers, Mellotron, harmonium, celesta, pin piano, drums, glockenspiel, bells & chimes, timbales, gong, vocals (7), co-producer
- Michael Rutheford / acoustic and electric (6- & 12-string) guitars, Classical guitar, basses, organ, drums, timbales, bells, glockenspiel, cymbals, co-producer
- Phil Collins / vocals (2,4)
- Viv McAuliffe / vocals (4)
- John Hackett / flute (4, 7, 8)
- Wil Sleath / flute, baroque flute, recorders, piccolo
- Jack Lancaster / flutes, Lyricon (8)
- Charlie Martin / cello (5, 6)
- Kirk Trevor / cello (5,6)
- Nick Hayley & Friend / violins
- Lazo Momulovich / oboes, cor Anglais (3, 6)
- Rob Phillips / oboes (6, 8)
- Martin Westlake / timpani (3, 5, 6)
- David Thomas / Classical guitar (9)
- Ronnie Gunn / harmonium (9)
- Tom Newman / heckelphone, bulk eraser
- Ralph Bernascone / soloist
- "Send Barns Orchestra" & "Barge Rabble" conducted by Jeremy Gilbert
1. "Wind-Tales" (1:02) gorgeous electro-orchestral instrumental intro. (5/5)
2. "Which Way The Wind Blows" (5:51) layers of Mike Oldfield like pastoral-folk instruments providing the foundation for Phil Collins' emotional, multi-track vocals. So nice to hear Ant's guitar prowess. Not a bad collaboration with Phil. (8.25/10)
- i) Fanfare 0:56
- ii) Lute's Chorus 2:00
- iii) Misty Battlements 1:15
- iv) Henry Goes To War 3:36
- v) Death Of A Knight 2:33
- vi) Triumphant Return 1:46
4. "God if I saw her now" (4:09) guitar-supported duet between Viv McAuliffe and Phil Collins. Great, insightful girl-boy dialogue. Very beautiful. (8.75/10)
5. "Chinese Mushroom Cloud" (0:46) previews of Ant's cinematic themes and Private Parts & Pieces series. (5/5)
6. "The Geese And The Ghost" (15:40) Gorgeous music masterfully constructed for maximum emotional provocation. Very Hergest Ridge-like. (29.75/30):
- Part One (8:01)
- Part Two (7:39)
7. "Collections" (3:07) beautiful piano play (many people forget that Ant is/was quite an accomplished keyboard player) and orchestration over which Ant sings quite an impassioned lyric. More previews of his quite successful and prolific career in television soundtrack music. (9/10)
8. "Sleepfall - The Geese Fly West" (4:33) feels like a second part to the previous song with its piano base and full orchestral assistance, but there is a different structure and feel here. Again, shades of the beautiful keyboard-based soundtrack music he would do over his long music career. (9/10)
Total Time: 44:09
Subtle. Bucolic. Crystalline. Pastoral. Mediaeval. There is not much I can say while waxing romantic over The Geese and the Ghost that hasn't already been said by other reviewers here. I guess what most stands out for me when revisiting Ant's first album is the stunning clarity of every single instrument in the recording mixes. Amazing! No other "prog" LP that I know assembles such a seamlessly integrated ensemblature of instruments; neither does any "prog" recording that I have ever heard imbue one, whether intentionally or not--and oh so effortlessly--with the feeling that one is being surrounded by, communing with--even entraining with--Nature herself. Also, Peter Cross's artwork is among the most interesting, humorous album work ever created. I remember purchasing each Anthony Phillips album with almost as much anticipation for Peter Cross's artwork as the music--that and wanting to find out what Ralph Bernascone was up to lately--which says a lot since Ant's music has always been among my favourites. Curiously, despite Ant's talent, penchant, and proclivity for piano/keyboards, I've never quite been able to think of him as anything other than a guitarist. Apologies, Ant! More Tibetan Yak Music!
First released in the UK on Charisma Records on October 14, 1977.
Line-up / Musicians:
- Phil Collins / lead vocals, drums (3,5,8,9,10,12)*, percussion
- Steve Hackett / Gibson Les Paul guitar, Hokada 12-string guitar
- Tony Banks / RMI electric piano, Hammond T organ, ARP Pro Soloist, Mellotron 400, Epiphone 12-string guitar, backing vocals
- Mike Rutherford / 4- & 8-string basses, Moog Taurus bass pedals, acoustic & electric 12-string guitars, backing vocals
- Chester Thompson / drums & percussion
- Bill Bruford / drums & percussion (10)
Disc 1 (46:55)
1. "Squonk" (6:27) a great, whole-band three-chord riff that seems just perfect to open a concert with.
2. "The Carpet Crawl" (5:10) considered a semi-"hit" and fan favorite, this is an abbreviated version of the album length song.
3. "Robbery, Assault & Battery" (6:00) a great song by Tony that has a rather schlochty "Who-dunnit" schtick to Phil's libretto and stage performance. This is where the old stage-hungery Artful Dodger side of Phil really comes out.
4. "Afterglow" (4:18) an odd choice to include with so many other great songs they could have chosen from these tours/concerts. Always seemed like a "put the audience to sleep" throw-away song to me.
5. "Firth of Fifth" (8:37) great guitar and keyboard performances. In the progressive rock world, many consider Steve Hackett's solo here (which he replicates, time after time, to absolute perfection) to be the greatest single guitar solo in progressive rock history.
6. "I Know What I Like" (8:34) a showy, poppy, "hit"-like song that just happens to also have some great chords, melodies, sounds, lyrics, and, of course, Phil's famous foot-slappin' tambourine solo.
7. "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" (5:05) one of the more recognizable piano intros in prog music history. The song always left me aching for the whole thing.
8. "The Musical Box" (closing section) (2:44) ingenious creativity to include this segment of one of the band's "old classics" in the concert tours. Brave and commendable. It doesn't hurt, I suppose, that it includes the reproduction of one of Peter Gabriel's signature stage effects: the scary bald old man mask bobbing into the flashlight-between-his feet beam with every "why don't you TOUCH me, TOUCH me, touch me NOW, NOW, NOW, NOW, NOW."
Disc 2 (46:16)
9. "Supper's Ready" (24:30) simply amazing that this song, in its entirety, was performed after Peter Gabriel left cuz it felt so much his, but we are so lucky that they did! Great show of Phil and Chester behind Tony's keyboard magic during the "Apocalypse in 9/8" section.
10. "Cinema Show" (11:00) Another classic Peter Gabriel tune that surprised me with how lovingly close to detail the band preserved and presented it.
11. "Dance on a Volcano" (4:22) The opening bookend of the band's recent first post-Gabriel release, A Trick of the Tail, is, in its own right, a great song, but it is forever elevated to classic standards by being coupled, as it was, in concert, with it's opposing twin, the album's instrumental closer:
12. "Los Endos" (6:24) an incredible way to close a concert in that we have two drummers duelling it out behind and above the rest of the band members while Steve, Tony, and Mike are weaving other song melodies into the song's tapestry. Genius!
Total Time 93:11
Recorded live in Paris, June 1977 (except track 10 in Paris, 1976)
In my opinion, this is one of the best live albums ever made. It captures the essence of Genesis' 1976-77 tours so well! (I know: Those were the first tours I saw the band in concert!) It was so awesome to have them play so much of the "old stuff" (Peter Gabriel era songs) and still manage to blow people away with the new stuff. Having Chester Thompson up there duelling away with Phil--two masters at the top of their game, loving every minute of their performances--was such a gift! Too bad the beginning of the rift with Steve Hackett was so palpable. (He was front left--in his own territory--and he didn't really need it: physically mobility was not a part of Steve's shtick.) The recording truly captures some of emotional impact of some of the concert highlights: the theatrical genius of phil (sometimes a bit over the top), especially in "Robbery, Assault and Battery" and "Supper's Ready"; the amazing sound coming from Tony's keys washing and bathing the audience; the comedic moments (Phil's tambourine solo in "I Know What I Like"), great sound reproduction from the studio versions, and, of course, Phil and Chester's duels (especially in "Los Endos"). Awesome concert. Awesome album. Five of the greatest prog epics represented on one album, in one concert! Who could ask for anything more?!