Classic Rock Review

The home of old record and bootleg reviews…

Genesis Archives Vol. 1: 1967-1975


The announcement of the first volume of the ‘Genesis Archive’ box-sets was received with something approaching euphoria by many old-school Genesis fans, as it promised much unreleased live material from the hallowed Peter Gabriel era of the band. It seems bizarre that such a massively popular period had only one live release- 1973′s ‘Genesis Live’, released at the time as a budget album in the first place- when a lot of the reputation the band had was due to their live performances. As such, it’s easy to understand why so many fans went mad for this release.

‘The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway’ is often regarded by the rock media as being the finest album that the band recorded. However, this reputation doesn’t seem to have been based on the reception it got on its original release. Its length and the fact that the band played the whole thing through every night of the live tour meant that it got a frosty reception at the time.

The first 2 discs present a full live performance of this magnum opus recorded at the LA Shrine on the 24th January 1975. Thankfully, it seems to be a terrific night, with the band firing on all cylinders musically speaking. The biggest problem, though, is that Peter Gabriel overdubbed almost all of the vocals on this set. The casual listener may not notice but to the die-hard fan, there is a clear difference between his vocals of 1975 and his vocals in the 1990s, as you would expect. Somewhat bafflingly, the final track ‘It’ is sourced from the original studio version with new vocals as it is claimed that this track was not recorded. This will come as a surprise to those fans who, um, are ‘aware’ of the untreated recordings from this show that do feature ‘It’. Still, the other overdubs are not intrusive and there is obviously a massive difference in quality when you compare this to the murky bootlegs.

The first 5 tracks of 3rd disc provide a suitable bridge between ‘Genesis Live’ and the live recording of ‘The Lamb Lies on Broadway’ – recorded at The Rainbow Theatre in London about 6 months after ‘Live’ had been recorded in Leeds, and featuring tracks from the then new ‘Selling England’ album, they showcase Genesis at their most confident and powerful; these tracks also show Genesis’s lighter side, with the humorous banter between Gabriel & Collins – and finally, we have a live version of ‘Supper’s Ready’ with Gabriel at the helm!

The last 4 tracks on disc 3 are alternate takes of old favorites, and very welcome to hear – especially the version of ‘Twilight Alehouse’, formerly (I believe) only available as the B side of ‘I know what I like’, yet it had been a staple of the live set since the very early days.

Then there’s the 4th disc. For reasons unknown, this set was arranged so that the discs go gradually backwards chronologically. So, you remember that first Genesis album? The one no one ever talks about, and only the really fanatical band devotees claim to like? This disc is jam packed with live and demo versions of the songs from that album, plus other long-lost songs from early in the band’s career. There are also some songs from that album in rough mixes without the orchestral arrangements. The band sounds still very “inmature”, but with some good quality. Some songs are naive, really, but still good. The BBC recordings from 1970: some of them are very good, like “Sheperd” (with Banks sharing lead vocals with Gabriel; Banks sang very well) and “Pacidy”.

If you are a Gabriel-era Genesis freak, here’s your ultimate chance to expand your collection even further with this fantastic and unique box-set.

March 4, 2013 - Posted by | Genesis Archives Vol 1 1967-1975 |

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