Progressive era Genesis: What do I want?

Discussion in 'Music' started by Jim_C, May 9, 2002.

  1. Jim_C

    Jim_C Cinematographer

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    I've been listening to Transatlantic's Live in America which has covers of Watcher of the Skies and Firth of Fifth. I really like these songs and I was rather surprised to find out that they were originally recorded by Genesis. Up until that point all I knew about Genesis was that they were a trio that produced pop music. Yes, I've read some references to them in various prog threads but I never put much thought into it. Peter Gabriel was in Genesis? That's a bit of a shock.

    Anyway, back to the original question. What albums do I want to get as my first 70's era Genesis? I ask because I once asked a friend what Bowie album I should get and I suggested a greatest hits album. He said that I HAD to start with Ziggy Stardust if I wanted to 'get' what Bowie was all about. So, is there a Genesis album like this?

    I see from Amazon that The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and Selling England by the Pound are pretty popular. Should I start with one of them? How is Foxtrot? It has 'Watcher' on it so I have some reason to want that one as well.

    Help me out please. I'm not a big fan of later Genesis so I don't want to accidently go down that road.
     
  2. MichaelAW

    MichaelAW Second Unit

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    My fave is Selling England by the Pound, which contained the original "Firth of Fifth." Also worth picking up, if you like SEbtP, are two similar albums from the same period (Foxtrot and the slightly-better Nursery Cryme). Foxtrot is pretty damn good, though, although I rate it below the SEbtP and NC. Personal preference, although "Watcher" is a great song.

    Someone will be posting here shortly saying to start with The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, but don't listen to them. It's not as "accessible" for the new Genesis listener as the above albums.
     
  3. John Geelan

    John Geelan Screenwriter

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    Both Foxtrot and Selling England By The Pound are good starting points.

    Foxtrot has the great Suppers Ready on it, one of Genesis's greatest songs.

    Also if you like this period of time, check out the live album Genesis Seconds Out which has Phil Collins singing some of those great older PG Genesis songs.

    JohnG
     
  4. Bob Turnbull

    Bob Turnbull Supporting Actor

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    I'll just echo a few sentiments here and state that Selling England By The Pound is probably your best starting point.
    From there, grab both Nursery Cryme (with the stupendously fabulous "The Musical Box") and Foxtrot (with the equally fabulously stupendous 22+ minute prog classic "Supper's Ready"). Never been the biggest Lamb Lies Down On Broadway fan, but it has some great moments. I personally much prefer the follow up album Trick Of The Tail which was the first album Genesis released after the departure of Peter Gabriel.
    If you enjoy this stuff, batten down the hatches because there's plenty more great prog out there (both modern and "classic"). Um, of course there's some pretty horrendous stuff also, but what genre doesn't have a bit of both?
     
  5. LarryDavenport

    LarryDavenport Cinematographer

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  6. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I don't think I've ever sat down and listened to "Tresspass"
    Nursery Cryme - great.
    Foxtrot
     
  7. Paul_Medenwaldt

    Paul_Medenwaldt Supporting Actor

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    My first Genesis album that i purchased that had Peter Gabriel as the lead singer was "Trespass" and for some reason I really like that album better then the other Gabriel albums.

    I highly recommend that album also their first album "From Genesis to Revalation".

    Those first 2 albums are very dark the lyrics are very entertaining.

    Paul
     
  8. Jim_C

    Jim_C Cinematographer

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    Wow, I didn't realize that there were so many early Genesis fans here. This is great.

    I may just take Larry's suggestion and get them all. I did that with the Flower Kings. I listened to Stardust We Are on a Wednesday and by that Saturday I had all but one of their cd's.

    If nothing else I'll get Foxtrot and Selling. Rather convenient that they're the ones with the two songs I've heard already.

    >>If you enjoy this stuff, batten down the hatches because there's plenty more great prog out there (both modern and "classic"). Um, of course there's some pretty horrendous stuff also, but what genre doesn't have a bit of both?
     
  9. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Here's my album breakdown:
    Trespass
    Lineup: Anthony Philips- guitar, Peter Gabriel- vocals, flute, Tony Banks- keybaords, Michael Rutherford- bass, some guy- drums (sorry, don't remember his name).
    This is pleasant album with a lot of interesting ideas. Gabriel plays flute, which I don't think he did again until his first solo album. They are still finding their sound, but there is some lovely music here.
    Best song: The Knife, which points to the direction they would take, and is the only song they kept in their set from Trespass.
    Shortly after recording this, Anthony Phillips developed a severe case of stagefright and left the band. He was replaced by Steve Hackett. The drummer was replaced by Phil Collins.
    According to Phil, he never dreamed of being a vocalist. He ended up singing some background vocals, though.
    Nursery Crymes
    With tunes like Fountain of Salmacis and The Giant Hogweed, Genesis find their way. Their biggest song from this album is Musical Box. The lyrics are just all kinds of weird. A good album, but has its weak moments.
    Foxtrot
    This is the first great Genesis album and, IMO, the best one to start with. Lots of lush keyboards, odd-time bass lines, and absurdist lyrics. The band is still hungry, but they've perfected their sound. Peter Gabriel shines on Supper's Ready, the side-long monster of silliness and genius.
    Not a bad moment.
    Selling England By the Pound
    My personal favorite, and I can see why most people are recommending it. Firth of Fifth, I Know What I Like, Cinema Show- just fantastic prog workouts. The only weak track is The Battle of Epping Forest, which gets lost in its own ambition.
    The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
    This album is just so great, I don't get why folks don't dig it. If you like concept albums, you'll like this one. Better than Pink Floyd's The Wall, IMO. Worth it for "In the Cage" alone.
    Lyrically, this is even more absurd than anything Gabriel wrote before, if that's possible.
    Less of a guitar presence on this album, but still great despite that.
    The above three albums represent the pinnacle of Genesis' discography.
    Shortly after this, Gabriel left. By this point, Gabriel was the focus of the band. His stage presence, enhanced by outrageous costumes and makeup, overshadowed the music at times. When he left, most thought the band was over.
    The band continued, however, and after auditioning dozens of singers, they finally realised that they already had one in the band- Phil Collins.
    IMO, Phil has a better voice than Gabriel, but not nearly as much charisma and personality. The stage shows became normal, with Phil being very modest at first. The band tightened their sound, and released two albums as four-piece:
    Trick of the Tail
    This picks up where Selling England... leaves off, with some strong melody and tight arrangements. An excellent album.
    Wind and Wuthering
    This is bit lighter than Trick of the Tail and even had their first hit single, but it's still in the Genesis spirit and very good.
    Steve Hackett left after this, and then the band went to shit. Having already lost their lyrical and personality lifeline, losing Hackett took away a fantastic guitar player. Rutherford would play guitar and bass on records, and while he's no slouch by any means, he ain't Hackett. This suited them just fine, as the music they went on to write didnt' require Hackett's expertise.
    Their descent into musical mediocrity was gradual. Their first album as a trio, And Then There Were Three (clever, no?) had shorter songs, but still with some of the prog flourishes of before. Duke was the breaking point. While containing a couple of decent prog-ish tunes, most of it was synth-pop drivel. Abacab came next, ending all remnants of prog from Genesis.
    They sold records. They performed huge arena concert venues. Girls liked them. They sucked.
    All prog-Genesis fans pick a "cut-off" point in their career when they decide that Genesis started to suck. For me, that point is when Steve Hackett left. For some ultra-hardcore proggers, that point is when Gabriel left. For the more forgiving, some still like Duke.
    There are also some live documents of the old Genesis stuff:
    Live- released after Foxtrot, this album contains six songs. It's decent, and the Knife sounds better than on Trespass. It's a shame they never released a live version of Supper's Ready with Gabriel singing it, though.
    Seconds Out- this came out right before Hackett left, so it contains music up to Wind & Wuthering, my cut-off point. Collins sings- adequately. He hits the right notes on the Gabriel songs, but... something's missing.
    Archives- containing a full performance of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, obscure early singles, and other stuff. I have not yet heard this.
    Genesis at their best was everything that was great and silly about 70s prog, and I love it.
    What the hell is a unifaun?
    NP: Miles Davis, Get Up With It, CD
     
  10. Jim_C

    Jim_C Cinematographer

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    >>They sold records. They performed huge arena concert venues. Girls liked them. They sucked.
     
  11. Ryan Spaight

    Ryan Spaight Supporting Actor

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    Hey Mike,

    The Archives box contains a live Supper's Ready with Gabriel.

    I don't have it myself, but a friend does and loves it. Sounds like you'd get your money's worth out of it.

    Ryan
     
  12. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    To throw up another one, I'd also put Duke in with the recommendations. It is probably the last gasp of the "progressive" Genesis, and probably the best post-Hackett album.

    Jason
     
  13. LarryDavenport

    LarryDavenport Cinematographer

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    Good assessment Mike, but listen again. Peter plays flute on all the albums from Trespass thru Lamb (it's very apparent on Genesis Live (which you forgot to review) particularly on The Musical Box, Watcher of the Skies, and The Knife.
    Genesis Live and the Archive 1 box set shows how great the Gabriel era was in concert. Besides getting all of The Lamb live, you get the tracks left off Live (it was originally supposed to be a double album). These songs include great versions of Suppers Ready and Dance With the Moonlight Knight . The box also includes the great B-Side Twilight Alehouse (and the slightly lesser great Happy the Man).
    Some will complain that PG overdubbed some vocals on the box, (since I own many bootlegs I can say it was totally uneccesary), but the Archive box is a must buy once you've got all the LPs.
    and when you become a fanatic, seek out the bootleg, er "import," of Genesis "Live in Montreal," from the Selling England By the Pound Tour. It has a great version of The Battle of Epping Forrest, as well as Suppers Ready, Firth of Fifth, and Cinema Show.
    Finally, check out http://www.genesis-path.com/ for more info (they also have some cool mp3s of live songs).
     
  14. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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  15. Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm

    Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm Supporting Actor

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    I can't believe how many of you guys don't have Archive. It is freaking fantastic. Disc 3 is my favorite Genesis album: all live, all Gabriel, all classics.

    I must agree with the recommendation of Selling England by the Pound. It's been one of my favorite albums for a long time. Everything great about early Genesis is in there. And I have to stick up for The Lamb, which was the first Genesis album I was into. It is VERY accessible, IMHO, with a couple of singles on it ("The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway," "The Carpet Crawlers"). I think that much of the music on it is actually much more straight-forward than the previous three albums.

    Still, here's your order of attack:

    1. Selling England by the Pound

    2. Foxtrot

    3. Nursery Cryme

    4. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

    5. Trespass

    6. Genesis Live

    7. A Trick of the Tail (post-Gabriel)

    8. Wind and Wuthering (post-Gabriel)

    9. Seconds Out (post-Gabriel)

    And get the Archive box if you're still hooked around #4.
     
  16. Paul_Medenwaldt

    Paul_Medenwaldt Supporting Actor

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    I'd like to pose a question to the Genesis fans here.

    Would you recommend "Calling all Stations"?

    I purchased the CD when it came out and never really had any enthusiasm for it since. I have listened to it a couple times since its release just to make sure what I felt about the album was correct.

    I have tried to like the album as a whole, but I can't. There are a couple good songs on it ie: Congo, Shipwrecked, Alien Afternoon, but the album as a whole is boring and the pace of the album seems to just keeping going on and on.

    Unlike when I listen to "Trespass" I feel the songs are energized and full of life and almost have a spontanious feeling about each song.

    IMO "Callilng all Stations", if some of the songs were shorter and put together in more of a traditional pop song format, I could of enjoyed the album more. Now saying that I really enjoy the early Genesis albums and the epic songs they put together.

    I did enjoy Ray Wilson's vocals, because I thought he brought a raw talent back to what made Genesis a great progressive band in the 70's.
     
  17. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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  18. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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  19. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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  20. MichaelAW

    MichaelAW Second Unit

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    Calling All Stations is probably the most boring CD I've ever heard. It's all the same tempo, and Tony Banks uses the same synth patches throughout the album.

    And, as far as The Lamb goes. I knew I'd get called out about it, but it's just not my cup of tea. It's overlong (like most double albums) and lacks the specialness, for me at least, that the earlier albums had.
     

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