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Steve Hackett - Please Don't Touch! CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.60 | 602 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars This was Steve's First album after his break with Genesis, and is a more eclectic work than his first album "Voyge of the Acolyte".

This album showed fans what a talented songwriter he truly was, displaying elements of rock/pop, R&B/Soul, as well as the prog elements he had tried (and failed) to get on a Genesis album.

The album starts off with a tribute to CS Lewis entitled "Narnia". This is a lively and instantly catchy pop/rock track, boosted by the vocals of Kansas' Steve Walsh. This received favourable airplay in the US, but Steve Walshs' record company would not allow him to appear on the single version, so the single was never released.

"Carry on up the vicarage" and "Racing in A" are both fast paced rock/pop numbers, with the former having a humerous slant on "Agatha Christie" type murder plots, and the latter blending a fast rock tempo with a neatly dovetailed classical guitar break.

"KIm" is what will now be recognised as a traditional foray into pure classical guitar work by Steve. This piece has a slow waltz like rythm with brother John accompanying on the flute - makes you think of hot summers and taking it easy.

The next two tracks are fine soul songs. The first, entitled "How can I?" was used a a replacement single to Narnia, and featured the fine vocals of one time Geneisis support act Richie Havens. Richie's deep gravely voice enriched an already soulfoul "deep south" feel to this ballad - a sublime song.

The next soul filled track was by the then unknown Randy Crawford. This strings based song, mellow to start with, climaxes beautifully towards the end of the last verse as Randy hits the higher notes with a passion you know is heartfelt. I never expected such a powerful song from Steve, and this song illustrates more than any other that Steve knew how to be a songwriter.

"Land of a Thousand Autumns"/Please Don't Touch/The Voice of Necam place you firmly back in Prog rock territory, with exciting nightmarish guitar work in "Please Don't touch" which ends with the disturbing hiss of fairground organs. Out of this ending emerges "The voice of Necam" as if out of the mists. The volume slowly builds up from a whisper in this piece, which features soft acoustic play accompanied by choral effects.

The last track on the original release of this album is Icarus ascending, with Richie Havens on Vocals again. This piece employs various instruments and changes in tempo which slowy build up to a climax.

I have the remastered version which features 3 bonus tracks. I have to say that only one track, a live version of "Land of a thousand autumns/Please dont touch" warrants inclusion to the original.

The other two tracks are versions of Narnia. The first Version is the version Steve tried with John Perry on vocals when Steve Walsh was not allowed to appear on the single. You will see that John's voice was too thin to carry off this song, which isn't surprising the song was never released as a single.

The second version of Narnia is identical to the Steve Walsh opening track on the album, but with some sleigh bells introduced for a few seconds towards the end of the song (why bother including this track?)

Overall however, this is a superb start by Steve as a genuine solo performer. A well deserved four (and a half stars).

Leonardo | 4/5 |


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