Tuesday, 23 December 2008

“Genesis 1970 – 1975” by GENESIS. A 6 SACD/DVD Box Set Released November 2008. “It’s Been A Long Time…Hasn’t It…”

This is part of my Series "SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters 1970s Rock And Pop" Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac (it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar). Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related publications:


Five albums are featured in this 3rd and last Genesis box set [Virgin CDBOX 14], each pumped up into a double issue, while the double “Lamb” is now a 3 Disc set (“Lamb” is in a Book Pack while the other albums are 2CD jewel cases). Disc 1 of each issue is the SACD and CD Remaster of the album with both mixes encoded onto the disc, while Disc 2 is a DVD with 5.1 Surround Sound with extras tagged on at the end of each. The sixth and final double is called “Extra Tracks 1970-1975” and features singles, demos and BBC Sessions – again both in Audio and DVD. “Extras’ is housed in a 48-page hardback book with an essay, band contributions, photos and celebrity reviews... (All are pictured above).

NICK DAVIS prepped the 5.1 Surround Mixes and Stereo CD mixes with the remastering carried out by TONY COUSINS at Metropolis Mastering. Both of these guys handled the preceding box sets to both applause and derision in equal measure. While I admittedly don’t have a Surround capability at home, I find the sound quality on the Stereo CD mixes to be GORGEOUS throughout – a real revelation. “Trespass” & “Nursery Cryme” are a tad hissy in places, but still so much better sounding than the crap 1994 Virgin remasters we’ve been lumbered with all these years (which were in turn supposed to replace the really dire 80’s issues). But the great news is “Foxtrot”, “Selling” and “Lamb”, each of which is an absolute blast. At 8:15 minutes into “Supper’s Ready” on Foxtrot when the acoustic guitars kick in, I was in floods, huge sound filling my room… We’ve been waiting 35 years to finally hear these great works in DECENT AUDIO.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of the sets:
Disc 1 (42:33 minutes) is their 2nd album “Trespass, originally released on LP in November 1970 on Charisma CAS 1020 in the UK and Impulse 9295 in the USA (the original UK issue had the ‘Pink Scroll’ label design and the CD reflects that). The DVD Audio version also has a ‘reissue interview from 2007’.

Disc 2 (39:36 minutes) is their 3rd album “Nursery Cryme”, originally released on LP in November 1971 on Charisma CAS 1052 in the UK and Charisma 7208 552 in the USA (Pink Scroll Label also). The DVD audio version also has the ‘reissue interview from 2007’.

Disc 3 (51:20 minutes) is their 4th album “Foxtrot”, originally released on LP in October 1972 on Charisma CAS 1058 in the UK and Charisma 7208 553 in the USA (changes now to the ‘Mad Hatter’ label design for 3, 4 and 5 reflecting the original vinyl). The DVD Audio disc has 3 extras - reissues interview 2007, Brussels, Belgium Rock Of The 70’s 1972 clip and Rome, Italy, Piper Club 1972 clip.

Disc 4 (53:39 minutes) is their 6th album “Selling England By The Pound”, originally released in October 1973 on Charisma CAS 1074 in the UK and Charisma 7208 554 in the USA. (Their 5th album, “Genesis Live” (pictured below) was released in July 1973 on Charisma CLASS 1 in the UK; it was an official release and no explanation is given for its no show in this box set). The DVD Audio version of "Selling" has 3 extras, reissues Interview 2007, Shepperton Studios, Italian TV, 1973 clip and Batacain, France, 1973 clip.

Disc 5 (45:38/48:51 minutes) is their 7th album “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway”, originally released in November 1974 as a 2LP set on Charisma CGS 101 in the UK and on Atco 7599 122 in the USA. The DVD has all of the slide show that accompanied the stage shows offering both Surround and standard stereo versions.

Disc 6 (46:44 minutes):
Track 1 is “Happy The Man”, a non-album 7” single issued in the UK on May 1972 on Charisma CB 181 with “Seven Stones” as its B-side (a track off “Nursery Cryme”)
Track 2 is “Twilight Alehouse”, the non-album B-side to “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)” issued on 7” single in May 1974 on Charisma CB 224
Track 3 is “Sheppard (BBC Nightride 1970)”
Track 4 is “Pacidy (BBC Nightride 1970)”
Track 5 is “Let Us Now Make Love (BBC Nightride 1970)”
Track 6 is “Going Out To Get You (Demo 1969)”
Tracks 7 to 10 are called Genesis Plays Jackson. Michael Jackson was a painter who put music to a silent film of “Metropolis” and invited Genesis in to score it. Some tracks were done, but the full project was abandoned. These tapes have only recently come to light and the four tracks are; “Provocation”, “Frustration”, “Manipulation” and Resignation” - “Frustration” would later turn up as “Anyway” on “Lamb” and ”Manipulation” became “The Musical Box” on “Nursery Cryme”.

While the DVD and Audio elements are fantastic and the extras fascinating – I find the packaging naff and cheap (typical of all things Virgin). The box lid won’t close no matter what you do, the individual booklets are simply the original artwork restored, but again they’re too small to read and massively underwhelming compared to the beautiful and event feel of the original vinyl gatefold sleeves (especially “Lamb”). And with no new essay, no new photos, nor nothing of their history - when they’re released as stand-alone CDs, fans are going to feel mightily short-changed - again. And why no “Live” set nor the single edit of ”Carpet Crawlers”, or its unique b-side, the live in 1975 (Evil Jam) version of “The Waiting Room”? And then of course is the price – just shy of £100! And with the boys now individually credited as Limited Companies on the rear sleeve – the whole thing smacks a little too much of corporate greed instead of musical celebration.

Wonderful in some respects and yet strangely disappointing in others, this eagerly awaited box is 4-stars when it should have been six. I can’t help but feel that many would be better off waiting for the individual issues.

Good then, when it could have been great.

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