Thursday, 31 May 2018

"Genesis 1970-1975" by GENESIS (November 2008 Virgin/Charisma 'Hybrid CD, SACD, DVD' Box Set - Tony Cousins and Nick Davis Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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Here are details for the six saintly shrouded men…

UK and Europe released November 2008 - "Genesis 1970-1975" by GENESIS on Virgin CDBOX 14 (Barcode 5099951968328) is the 3rd box set in an extensive reissue campaign. Each of the original five vinyl albums from the Peter Gabriel period are pumped up here into double 2CD issues - whilst the 1974 2LP-set "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" now becomes a 3-Disc CD set. "The Lamb Lies Down Broadway" is presented in a beautiful Book Pack while the other albums are in 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. Here's a detailed breakdown of the sets:

1. Looking For Someone [Side 1]
2. White Mountain
3. Visions of Mountains
4. Stagnation [Side 2]
5. Dusk
6. The Knife
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 'reissues interview from 2007'.

1. The Musical Box [Side 1]
2. For Absent Friends
3. The Return Of The Giant Hogweed
4. Seven Stones
5. Harold The Barrel [Side 2]
6. Harlequin
7. The Fountain Of Salmacis
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 'reissues interview from 2007'.

1. Watcher Of The Skies [Side 1]
2. Time Table
3. Get 'Em Out By Friday
4. Can-Utility And The Coastliners
5. Horizons [Side 2]
6. Supper’s Ready
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.

1. Selling England By The Pound [Side 1]
2. I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)
3. Firth Of Fifth
4. More Fool Me
5. The Battle Of Epping Forest [Side 2]
6. After The Ordeal
7. The Cinema Show
8. Aisle Of Plenty
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", 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 has 3 extras, reissues Interview 2007, Shepperton Studios, Italian TV, 1973 clip and Batacain, France, 1973 clip.

1. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway [Side 1]
2. Fly On A Windshield
3. Broadway Melody Of 1974
4. Cuckoo Cocoon
5. In The Cage
6. The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging
7. Back In N.Y.C. [Side 2]
8. Hairless Heart
9. Counting Out Time
10. The Carpet Crawlers

1. Lilywhite Lilith [Side 3]
2. The Waiting Room
3. Anyway
4. Here Comes The Supernatural Anesthetist
5. The Lamia
6. Silent Sorrow In Empty Boats
7. The Colony Of Slippermen [Side 4]
8. Ravine
9. Riding The Scree
10. In The Rapids
11. It
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 "Extra Tracks" (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 ("Seven Stones" is 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".

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 - a revelation. "Trespass" & "Nursery Cryme" are hissy in places, but still so much better sounding than the crap 1994 Virgin remasters we've been lumbered with all these years (which in turn were supposed to replace the dire 80's issues). But the great news is "Foxtrot", "Selling" and "Lamb", each of which now has GORGEOUS SOUND. 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.

While the DVD and Audio elements are fantastic and the extras fascinating - I find the packaging naff (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 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 1975 single edit of "Carpet Crawlers" - or its unique B-side, the live in the USA (Evil Jam) version of "The Waiting Room"? Nor is it cheapest of things either…so with the boys now individually credited as Limited Companies on the rear sleeve - the whole thing is beginning to smack a little too much of corporate greed instead of musical celebration.

The Music is truly incredible and still stands up with "Foxtrot", "Selling England By The Pound" and that amazing 1974 double "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" still eliciting gasps – and I’d have to say that the Audio is gorgeous and revealing throughout. "Trespass" and "Nursery Cryme" have their moments for sure – but it’s the final three in the Charisma period that are Proggy Heaven.

Wonderful in some respects and yet strangely disappointing in others - this eagerly awaited box is 4-stars really when it should have been six. And yet I love it and them in all their mad, imaginative and sprawling brilliance. Fans will know what I mean when I say - "...something tells me I’d better activate my prayer capsule…"

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