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Genesis - Selling England By The Pound CD (album) cover

SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.62 | 2847 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
5 stars I first discovered this LP at a friend's home (merci Patrick) a few weeks after his "birth" on the market (the album, not my friend). I felt immediately in love with "I Know What I Like" and "Firth of Fifth". A few days after this first experience, I purchased the vinyl album and it virtually did not leave my pick up for several weeks.

The opener "Dancing Out With the Moonlit Knight" is fantastic. The introductory vocal part is one of the most emotional of the Genesis repertoire. The exchange between Young man "You are what you eat" - Eat well" and Old man "You are what you wear" - Wear well" is quite bizarre. The musical section is bombastic and energetic. The first fave of mine from this great album .

Their first mini-hit, "I Know What I Like" is quite catchy and is quite love at first sight due to the beautiful melody. But I must say that you can get a bit bored by the song after hearing it on and on ... This song would probably have ranked higher in the charts if Genesis has accepted to perform it at Top Of The Pop (which they didn't). Still, it peaked at Nr. 21 in the UK charts.

It is not as simple as it sounds : there are a lot of characters acting here : Ethel, Jacob, Mr. Lewis, Mr. Farmer, and Miss Mort. Poppy, a nice pop song after all.

I have already mentioned in other "Genesis" reviews that I considered ""Firth of Fifth" one of my top three fave of the band. This song (almost 10 minutes) is wonderful : great piano intro (which was skipped during most of their live sets) and very good flute playing by Peter.

And what to say about Steve's guitar solo? It is one of most melodic solo I have ever heard : subtle, passionate, romantic and emotional : it could have lasted for ever. It is really one of the greatest moments in music history (all genres considered). Another highlight.

For the purpose of this review, I would consider the fourth track of side one as non -existing.

Side B opens with "The Battle of Epping Forest", a quite complex & long track with lots of vocals. I needed several hearings to enter into this scenario. (I was 15 and not very fluent in English at that time) but since lyrics were printed on the LP (Genesis was really a precursor for this as well), I finished to know it by heart (and I can tell you it is a difficult excercise).

So, Louise is the reverend hard to please? You're telling me ! The story is taken from a news story concerning two rival gangs fighting over East-End Protection rights. There are a lot of characters again here : Willy Wright, Little John, Georgie, Harold Demeure of course, William Wright, Mick the Prick, Liquid Len, Bethnal Green Butcher, Bob the Nob, Jones, Roy, Louise and the Reverend.

The story describes the fight between all these people and their gangs. The last two sentences are hilarous : "There's no one left alive - it must be a draw." "So the Blackcap Barons toss a coin to settle the score". I quite like this track, but it is probably one of the most difficult one to get into (together with "Get'em out by Friday" probably).

The instrumental "After the Ordeal" is a good transition track : ideal to calm down after such a "battle" and prepare the listener to another epic track : "Cinema Show".

This one will become a classic for their life shows, allowing Peter's narrative skills to submerge the audience with this sexually oriented love story (you know, Romeo & Juliet).

The instrumental section will influence lots of tracks to be produced later on by prog followers / clones (some of whom with great talent). While Steve's guitar was the highlight on "Firth", in this one the long instrumental section offers a fantastic cohesion between Tony, Mike and Phil who does a great drumming job.

"Aisle of Plenty" is the real closing part of "Dancing out with the Moonlit Knight" rather than being a track on his own.

With this album, Genesis definetely pleased all their fans. During their supporting tour, there was almost a riot after their Brussels show. While choosing the tracklist for the tour, the band decided that since it was a kind of theatric representation, there would no encores.

The crowd was so excited after the show that they were yelling for more than fifteen minutes after the lights went on refusing to leave the concert hall (Forest National). The police, mounted on horses had the hall evacuated after a long, long time.

At this stage, the band was discussing whether or not they should do an encore. Belgium was special to them. I mentioned in another review that their first concert abroad was in Brussels (in March 1971).Three were in favour, two not. I do not remember who though.

So, there was no encore. This story was published in the review of the concert, because, unfortunately I did not attend to this one in 1974. What I will soon do though is to attend the "Selling" tour performed by the tribute band "Musical Box". This is probably the best "Genesis" cover band.

Steve joined them once on stage at the Royal Albert Hall for an encore ("Firth" I think) and Phil did the same not so long ago in Montreux (on "It" from The Lamb" tour). If ever they are coming close to where you live, I recommend you to go and see them.

They are fabulous and will allow you to discover how "Genesis" was on stage for this tour. Five stars for these fifty minutes of pure happiness (pur bonheur). It is their first album to enter the US charts (Nr. 70, while it will reach Nr. 3 in the UK).

ZowieZiggy | 5/5 |

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