Archives Vol. 1, 1967-75 (Virgin)

 

 

Jan Poulsen, Music Guide 8/98

Rasende flot ny boks afdækker de tidligste og mest interessante perioder af Genesis' karriere

"Do you have champagne in your dreams?'. spørger Peter Gabriel i sangen "Build Me A Mountain". Ja, men selv ikke champagne er stort nok i drømme til at fejre det første boxset med gamle Genesis-optagelser. "Archives Volume 1" med undertidtlen "1967-75" indfrier mere end selv den vildeste drøm, for det er lykkedes Genesis at finde masser af guf frem til deres mange fans. Således har kun to af boksens 52 sange været udsendt før. Resten er live-optagelser, radiosessions, demoer eller alternative indspilninger af allerede kendte sange.

Den nævnte "Build Me A Mountain" er sammen med 19 andre nogle af gruppens allertidligste indspilninger, som de foretog for mere end 30 år siden, bl.a. den instrumentale "Patricia", som var på det allerførste bånd, gruppen nogensinde indspillede, og som skaffede den eftertragtede pladekontrakt. Selvom de gamle sange er enkle, og kun indspillet med akustisk guitar, klaver og sang, og derfor ikke har meget at gøre med det Genesis vi siden kom til at kende, hvad enten det var Phil Collins'  ledelse, viser de et band der blomsterer af talent.

Liveoptagelser af flere af gruppens store komplekse kompositioner som "Stagnation" (fra "Trespass"), "Supper's Ready" (fra "Foxtrot") og "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight" og "Firth of Fifth" (begge fra "Selling England By The Pound") føjer ikke meget nyt til de kendte studieindspilninger, men de viser Genesis fra deres mest dramatiske og teatralske side med en Peter Gabriel i utallige roller. Han synger varieret i mange betoninger og er i den grad med til at farve sangene, men hans glansrolle er uden tvivl den som gadedrengen Rael i historien "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway". Det var en af 70'ernes store konceptplader, om end ikke engang gruppen selv helt forstod, hvad historien gik ud på! Genesis turnerede verden rundt og opførte "The Lamb..." mere end 100 gange, men efter sigende blev kun én opførsel optaget på bånd, og den findes i sin fulde længde i boksen. Og dermed er det den sidste Genesis-optagelse med Peter Gabriel, for efter turnéens afslutning valgte han at forlade gruppen for at gå solo.

Mange ser studieindspilningen af "The lamb Lies Down On Broadway" som den definitive Genesis-plade, og her i sidste halvdel af 90'erne har den da også fået ny aktualitet. For et par år siden blev den genudsendt i en ny og lydmæssigt markant forbedret udgave, og sange fra albummet har fundet vej til så vidt forskellige steder som Hanne Boels koncertrepertoire og Jeff Buckleys posthume dobbeltalbum.

De to eneste tidligere udsendte sange i boksen er singlen "Happy The Man" fra 1971, og single b-siden "Twilight Alehouse" fra 1973, men da de har været uopdrivelige i årevis vil de formentlig også fremstå som "nye" for de fleste.

Udover de fire CD'er med en samlet spilletid på 4 timer og 13 minutter indeholder boksen en flot illustreret bog på 72 sider, hvor Tony Banks kommenterer flere af de gamle sange. Derudover bidrager gamle producere, managere og koncertarrangører med masser af information og sjove anekdoter. Som for eksempel da gruppen spillede i Aylesbury, og Peter Gabriel fortalte publikum inden koncerten, at gruppen kun ville spille hvis publikum ville buuhe og efter numrene i stedet for at klappe. Der var én blandt publikum, som ikke kunne forstå folks reaktion, for han syntes godt om koncerten. Han var blot kommer efter Peter Gabriels introduktion!

Genesis har altid haft ry for at være et pretentiøst og nærmest humørforladt band, men "Archives Volume 1" modbeviser dette. Boksen er uundværlig for alle med blot den mindste seriøse interesse i Genesis, og for fans af symfonisk rock i almindelighed vil der også være masser at hente. Boksen er blot den første af tre planlagte bokse, med hver fire CD'er med sjældent og ikke tidligere udsendt materiale med Genesis. Den næste vil omhandle 1976-80, altså de første år efter Peter Gabriel havde forladt gruppen, som dog stadig havde noget at byde på, og endelig vil den tredje og sidste dække perioden efter 1980. Her var Genesis reduceret til trioen Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford og Phil Collins, og synonym med ligegyldig om end ganske populær popmusik. De to næste bokse er planlagt udgivet de to følgende år.

Ed Sander and JJ de Haan, DPRP 1998

After years of waiting and rumours, this summer finally brought us the Genesis Boxset, officially called "Archives Vol.1". This box deals with the Gabriel Years, starting from 1967 upto 1975. There will be a part 2, dealing with the Collins Years. The four CDs in this box give a nice insight in the history and developement of the band, although the discs are in 'reverse'-order, from '75 back to '67.

After Peter Gabriel has introduced the large piece of music they will play and explained the start of the story, disc one heads of with a full length live version of "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" (recorded in L.A. on January 25th 1975), which takes up the first two discs of the box set. After "Grand Parade..." Peter explains the part of the story takes up the rest of the first disc. Unfortunately, these explanations are not continued on disc two. Strange enough "Fly on the Windshield" and "Broadway Melody of 1974" are not indexed as separate tracks. At the same time, the third track on the disc is the intro to "Cuckoo Cocoon", while the fourth track continues this song. A bit sloppy if you ask me.

The performance is very good. There are a couple of bum notes (for instance in Back in N.Y.C.), Peter has a bit of trouble with some of the high notes and there's not much improvisation going on and no real extended versions, which I had not expected but had hoped for. This, for me, is the main weakness in the recording; it's almost the same as the studio version.

The third disc is my personal favourite. It's got wonderful live versions of "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight", "Firth of Fifth", "More Fool Me", "I Know What I Like" and last but not least "Supper's Ready"!! All of these were recorded at the Rainbow in 73. The rest of the third disc consists of a 1971 BBC live version of "Stagnation", the rarities "Twilight Alehouse" (wonderful 73 B-side) & "Happy the Man" (72 single) plus an interesting single remix of "Watcher of the Skies". Great stuff.

The 4th CD is a collection of demo-versions from the Charterhouse era. This was the time when four boys in college met and formed a band. In fact, this band was a merger of two 'bands', one consisting of Mike Rutherford and Anthony Phillips, the other of Tony Banks and Peter Gabriel. This can be heard in these early songs. Many of them lack a proper drum-part and the songs can be divided into 'piano' and 'guitar'-songs. It's also nice to hear Banks and Phillips sing a line from time to time. Many of these songs were already available on bootlegs, like the famous 3-CD 'From One Fan To All Others', but these are of better quality, although one must keep in mind that much of this material was recorded on simple 4-track recorders. Whether you will like this 4th disc will depend highly on your personal taste. If you like the very early Genesis material, you will probably also like this stuff. The disc features some demo version of songs which would later appear on "From Genesis to Revelation" ("In the Wilderness", "One Day", "Where the Sour Turns to Sweet", "In the Beginning", "The Serpent", "In Hiding") - these versions are without all the sugar-sweet string arrangements - and "Trespass" ("Dusk"). Besides these there are also some other demos and BBC recordings of unreleased tracks from the period 67-70.

The 80-page booklet that comes with the set contains several stories about the early days of the band and is illustrated with many, sometimes exclusive, pictures of the band, the costumes etc. The book slips into a sort of pocket in the middle of the long shaped box (very much like the "Message in a Box" set of the Police or the "Total Eclipse" Pink Floyd bootleg box).

Genesis have spend the summer of '95 (20 years after the recordings!) to do some overdubs. One of the problems of Gabriel's extraordinary masks, was the fact that he couldn't reach the microphone. It was decided that about 40% of the vocals were redone, as well as some guitar-parts where the original recordings had 'mistakes' due to equipment problems. Finally the last song of "The Lamb...", called "It", was just a remix of the original, since the tape ran out during the gig.  One can discuss about these overdubs. Personally I (J.J.) thought this decision was a mistake. Nevertheless, the sound is superb and Gabriel's vocals are very beautiful. It's more difficult to find the 'new' parts, than I thought.

Another point of criticism is about 'what's not on it'. It is a pity that Genesis didn't use the full length of the CDs. There's no "Cinema Show", and the version of "Firth of Fifth" used here is the 'later' live version, without the legendary piano-introduction. It might have been a good idea to include some of the songs of "Nursery Crime" and "Trespass", although many of these were already on "Genesis Live". This one is of much better quality. "The Musical Box" comes to mind, especially since it was played as the encore during The Lamb-tour. It would have been nice to hear "Fountain Of Salmacis" or "Battle Of The Epping Forrest", both played on some of the '72 and '73 concerts and seldomly since. "Watcher of the Skies" is another song that misses, especially since it was played on the same concert where the other songs were taken from. A final thing missing is the complete new version Genesis recorded in 1997 of "Carpet Crawl". Although the band originally decided to release this song as a single, it never happened. Rumours say that Gabriel wasn't satisfied with the vocal-parts he did.

This box-set is a great document of a great band. The sound quality is superb, especially when you consider the age of the recordings. It's a pity there were some overdubs, but anyway this is the closest thing ever to a Genesis reunion.

5 af 6 points.

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