Category: Genesis

Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

ARTIST: Genesis 

TITLE: The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

YEAR RELEASED: 1974

CHART ACTION:  #41 US, #10 UK

SINGLES: Counting Out Time (#53 UK), The Carpet Crawlers (#54 UK),

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

LINEUP: Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Steve Hackett, Phil Collins

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Expansive rock-opera with a hard-to-follow and confusing storyline, and some ingenious music that expanded Genesis’ musical palette.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Despite the renown of this album, this is not the place to start to explore Peter Gabriel-era Genesis.

The album shows Genesis at its most experimental, with some soundscapes, effects, and interesting noise. Working with the libretto and lyrics that Gabriel came up with was a challenge, and the band pulled together and made the record as concise and listenable as possible.

Yet, the story…my goodness gracious. The mid-70’s gave us a lot of impenetrable rock operas and storylines, and this one was right there with them. It’s not a story that you can get right away, or even after a few listens. It’s dense, and sometimes makes no sense. I don’t know what the hell Gabriel was trying to say. But he said it anyway. It probably could have been pared down a bit, especially on the back half. A good story editor could have done that.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They toured this by just doing the entire album plus encores of a couple of their past epic songs. It lost money due to the production. Also, Brian Eno helped with production adding effects.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 GRADE: B: The music is good, but it’s too long and dense.

Genesis – Selling England by the Pound

ARTIST: Genesis

TITLE: Selling England by the Pound

YEAR RELEASED: 1973

CHART ACTION:  #70 US, #3 UK

SINGLES: I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) (#21 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Dancing with the Moonlight Knight

LINEUP: Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Steve Hackett, Phil Collins

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Pop chart breakthrough for Genesis doesn’t mean they’ve gone pop.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After staging successful tours for Foxtrot in both the US and UK, and improved record sales, Genesis was ready to take the next step commercially. After a few months of working some ideas to death, they settled on the tracks and created this album, which contained longer suites with an actual honest-to-goodness pop song (well, proggy pop song).

“I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)” was destined to be a hit in 1974, and it was deserving. It had enough progressive elements to keep fans from crying sellout, but had hooks enough for chart success. “Dancing with the Moonlight Knight” and “Firth of Fifth” are also strong instrumentally.

The star of this record to my ears is guitarist Steve Hackett, whose inventive use of distortion and tapping added some fire to the somewhat placid epics and his instrumental piece is top notch. Tony Banks’ keyboards overwhelm some of the songs at times, and the two longer songs on the second side are just overly complicated lyrically.

Overall, except for the pop success, this doesn’t break new ground. Good enough for prog fans.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Phil Collins sang “More Fool Me”, which hearkens to the softness of his solo career a decade later.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 GRADE: B+: A great first three tracks, and some interesting bits and pieces later on.

Genesis – Foxtrot

ARTIST: Genesis                         foxtrot72

TITLE:  Foxtrot

YEAR RELEASED: 1972

CHART ACTION: #12 UK

SINGLES: Watcher of the Sky

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Get ‘Em Out by Friday, Supper’s Ready

LINEUP: Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford, Steve Hackett

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Bookended by two of their better prog compositions, Foxtrot propels Genesis to high esteem in the progressive rock world.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: From the mellotron wash of “Watcher of the Sky” to the concluding notes of “Supper’s Ready”, this album finds Genesis comfortable and confident in delivering their ornate, complex material.

Odd time signatures abound everywhere, and the lyrics are playful and storylike, drawing inspiration from Keats, ancient Norse kings, and even a spiritual encounter at Kensington Palace. The climax is “Supper’s Ready”, which over its seven movements and 23 minutes transports the listener to another realm, as long as they can follow along with the storyline.

Not everything works all of the time, which is typical for longer suites, but the the opening and closing and “Get ‘Em Out by Friday” really work, and became band and prog rock staples.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The main part of “Watcher of the Sky” is in 6/4, while the most famous part of “Supper’s Ready” is in 9/8. That’s for you scoring at home, as it were.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A-:  The great pieces dominate the album and make up for the so-so pieces.

Genesis – Nursery Cryme

ARTIST: Genesis                220px-NurseryCryme71

TITLE:  Nursey Cryme

YEAR RELEASED: 1971

CHART ACTION: #39 UK (though that didn’t happen until 1974)

SINGLES:  None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: The Musical Box, The Return of the Giant Hogweed.

LINEUP: Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Steve Hackett, Phil Collins

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The first “classic” Genesis lineup forms, and records a prog album with four major pieces and three fillers.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The first classic Genesis lineup, the quintet, starts it’s tenure with one of the all-time classics of the Progressive Rock idom, “The Musical Box”. A 10-minute trip through a short story full of mayhem and sexuality, it showcases all of the member’s strengths and while there are slow passages, it’s not boring.

The other three major pieces fall short, though there are some interesting pieces and parts in them. I like “Seven Stones”, and the mellotron on “The Fountain of Salamacis” adds depth to their sound. The other three pieces are short fillers, probably just to ‘make up the numbers’ as it were. Though on “For Absent Friends”, Phil Collins sings his first lead for Genesis, sharing it with Gabriel.

It’s a leap from Trespass, and capitalizes on the ideas put forth in “The Knife”. Gabriel’s lyrics are obtuse, yet well-thought out. No doubt like an art student’s would be.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Steve Hackett debuted his finger-tapping technique in “The Return of the Giant Hogweed” (listen to the intro – that’s Hackett), several years before Eddie Van Halen made his bones with it.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B+: “The Musical Box” is an A+. The other longer songs are solid “B” or “B+”. The filler is meh.

 

Genesis – Trespass

ARTIST: Genesis 220px-Trespass70

TITLE:  Trespass

YEAR RELEASED: 1970

CHART ACTION: #98 UK

SINGLES: The Knife

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not really

LINEUP: Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Anthony Phillips, Mike Rutherford, John Mayhew

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First release after leaving their original benefactor finds the group exploring longer, contemplative compositions – and then there’s The Knife.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Genesis, with new drummer Mayhew in tow, played several gigs around London and wrote material for a cohesive album, performing longer songs in a progressive vein. Choosing the best of the lot, they recorded five tracks and then brought “The Knife” in to end it.

The other five tracks were pleasant, bland, and not exactly thrilling. “The Knife”, however, was worth the price of admission. Banks’ martial keyboards signaled a rousing affair, backed with Phillips and Rutherford on guitar and bass, and then Gabriel comes in as the rebellion leader talking words and exhorting action, while he stays back from the fray. It’s a fantastic track. Even Mayhew, a drummer who was clearly behind the others in ability, adds to it.

Had there been another effort as complete as “The Knife” this would be a must buy. Instead, while none of the other songs are bad, they’re not essential. It did give notice that Genesis was a band to watch for prog rock fans, though.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This album went to #1 in Belgium, and they went on their first European tour in the Low Countries. That area would be strong for the band going forward

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION:  No.

GRADE: B-: “The Knife” is grade A – the rest…well…meh.

 

Genesis – From Genesis to Revelation

ARTIST: Genesis FromGenesistoRevelation
TITLE: From Genesis to Revelation
YEAR RELEASED: 1969
CHART ACTION: #170
SINGLES: The Silent Sun, Where the Sour Turns to Sweet
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Only if you bought it
LINEUP: Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Anthony Phillips, Mike Rutherford, John Silver. Chris Stewart drums on Silent Sun., Lots o’ strings and horns.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Mostly orchestral, slightly psychedelic, slightly decent collection of songs written by a teenage Genesis. Gabriel’s vocals are on point.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: School chums got together, wrote songs, recorded demos and sent them around. They got signed. Sounds typical, right?

Jonathan King got ahold of the demo, and picked “Silent Sun” as a single. Another single was released, and King then decided the band should create an album based on the Bible. The band was still in school, so they recorded it on holiday. King then added all the orchestras and strings and….nothing. By the time it was released the band was already moving on to longer form compositions and King released them from his grip.

It’s fairly impressive considering they weren’t quite of age yet when they produced this record and they were basically ‘forced’ to write most of the songs around a theme they didn’t pick. It’s got some really dud cuts thanks to the material. The orchestration really drowns out the group except for Banks and Gabriel (maybe Rutherford’s bass shows up at times). But Gabriel, man, he can sing, even then.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: King owns the tapes to these sessions to this day. There are about
18 songs, some demos, and single mixes out there and they’ve been repackaged ad nauseum.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, demos, single mixes, etc..

GRADE: C+: It ain’t half bad for what it is. Some of it is exiled sure, and it’s rather warmed over Moody Blues, but Gabriel’s vocals can patch things over.