Thursday, 14 February 2013

Albums for Life: 51: Foxtrot: Genesis

Ok, here it is.
Back in 1973 his album captivated me.
The spots were kicking in, I was starting to walk around the dormitories with a permanent erection that I was unable, unwilling and too unwitting to point at anything other than my right hand.
What to do with all of the pent up passion?
Why, love music of course.
I jumped in, both feet.
It was unconditional and, as you've probably gathered, my quality control was all over the place.
This was a time of discovery and confusion.
I could only love what was put in front of me and this was dangled as Exhibit A 'the best album of all time' by some 6th form monitor who I was in awe (or fear) of. The cover was pretty captivating. And then I heard that voice. I still rate Peter Gabriel alongside Paul Buchanan as the great 'pop' voice of the last 30 years. That glorious rasp rattled on about otherworldly things; the whimsical stories told evoked what seemed like an Alice in Wonderland for 13 year old herberts; an earthy diversion from the whimsy of Lord of the Rings. He wasn't just singing about wizards and dragons; there were Estate Agents too; this was a weird parallel to real life, a retreat to a nursery rhyme riddled world of comic book characters that you could love and fear. And amidst all of the hokum... there were moments of real tenderness.

With the guards of Magog, swarming around,
The Pied Piper takes his children underground.
The Dragon's coming out of the sea,
with the shimmering silver head of wisdom looking at me.
He brings down the fire from the skies,
You can tell he's doing well, by the look in human eyes.
You'd better not compromise.
It won't be easy.

And it's hey babe, with your guardian eyes so blue,
Hey my baby, don't you know out love is true,
I've been so far from here,
Far from your loving arms,
Now I'm back again, and baby it's going to work out fine.

This was probably the first album that I did the 'put it on with the lights out' thing. Waiting for those moments of resolution amongst all of the discord was as exciting as hell; musically I could only count to 4 (still guilty) so the complexities of time signature rendered me lost, akimbo; awaiting those glorious moments of relief. When Gabriel did the "and it's hey babe with your guardian eyes so blue (uh?) hey my babe, don't you know our love is true" line at the end of 'Supper's Ready' I can still remember shaking like a shitting dog in ecstasy; my heart sang. 
You need to hear the album to get the controlled version; but here's a remarkable, out of control 1973 performance of the song; a cat suited Gabriel is impossibly thin and (if you go with it) it is pre digital, analogue, hard copy fanbloodytastic theatre.


  1. I knew you wouldn't let me down Trev!!!

    Supper's Ready was voted the best proog song of all time last tear by Prog magazine. And whatever is said about it, it is an exceptional piece of music both in execution and imagination.

    Steve Hackett has reinterpreted it for his Genesis Revisited 2 collection and it is a real spine tingler. So looking forward to seeing him perform it live in Cardiff in May.

    Anyway, agree with your assessment of Peter Gabriel. And hope to see SO further up your list (I'm sure I will).

    A Trick of the Tail will always be my favourite Genesis album. Such an English album, if there is such a thing. Everyone thought it would be a stinker after Peter left the band but it turned out to be their most complete and accessible (for prog) work. That would probably be in my top 10. But Foxtrot would certainly be in my 50, just for Supper's Ready.

  2. Thanks Nick.
    A return to the doldrums tomorrow.

  3. I was fortunate enough to see Genesis on tour after A Trick of the Tail, so, like your previous contributor, I would rank it as my favourite. Indeed, how could I not with Ripples washing waves of sheer contentment over me every time I listen to it.

  4. Seems like I need to get 'Trick of the Tail' then.
    Thanks to you and Nick for that Issy...