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Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel 1 [Aka: Car] CD (album) cover


Peter Gabriel


Crossover Prog

3.56 | 632 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars When this album came out, I wanted to BE Peter Gabriel. (Or Bowie, as he then was.) (OR Pete Townshend.) Wot! Leaving one of the world's leading prog bands because they were getting too commercial, or because PG wanted to follow his muse... How noble! And then he came up with an album ALMOST as good as the things he'd done with Genesis!

Back in '77, I played PG1 a lot and thought it was a virtually immaculate collection. The opening number, "Moribund the Burgermeister", was plainly weird, but theatrical in the best possible way. Fortunately, it was followed immediately by "Solsbury Hill", the least annoying hit single Peter's ever had (pardon me, I just can't stand "Sledgehammer"), and by a great rocker, "Modern Love", with which I totally identified, as I was desperately looking for a girlfriend. (Peter screams and shouts as if he's back in "Back in NYC" - a true delight!) Then you got some comic relief in the shape of "Excuse Me" (undoubtedly arranged with help from Tony Levin, Mr Barbershop himself!) and finally (to finish off the original A-side) the majestic beauty of "Humdrum". Friends of mine who hated prog used to say, 'It sounds just like Genesis', and it is indeed remarkable that on quite a few of his albums Peter would return to grand symphonic gestures in the style of "Firth of Fifth" and the "Supper's Ready" finale. ("San Jacinto" is another such piece.) I loved him for it.

The B-side took a while to get going. "Slowburn" never meant much to me, but all the same, I found it remarkable that, via producer Bob Ezrin, Gabriel had caught hold of some of the musicians who made Lou Reed's BERLIN and ROCK 'n' ROLL ANIMAL such a delight, notably guitarists Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner. "Waiting for the Big One" seemed a half-way convincing homage to the great Randy Newman, only it never sounded amusing and went on for far too long. Then, suddenly, with a thunderclap, you were hit by "Down the Dolce Vita". Like Neil Young before him, Gabriel borrowed the entire London Symphony Orchestra, who must have been desperate for cash at the time. Specially arranged by Mike Gibbs (one of the great jazz-rock composers of the 1970s), the orchestra made you feel as if you were watching a pirate movie, although "Dolce Vita" rocked as well - I can't remember how many times I played air guitar to that one! After the storm had subsided, you were left with the pure, ethereal beauty of "Here Comes the Flood", one of the loveliest songs Peter has written. You must remember there was no trace of a "piano-and-vocal-only" version at that time. My friends and I thought the orchestral version was just great. Even my fifty-eight year old dad was bowled over. Mr Gabriel touching the Sublime!

fuxi | 3/5 |


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