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


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.60 | 610 ratings

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Per Kohler
5 stars Go west young man. Off to L.A. and America. In common with his former band mate P. Gabriel, Hackett chose to seek foreign land to record his debut work as solo artist. The reason for this can be obvious. To force one's way out from the past and to do something entirely different. On PDT Hackett goes in for to sound as un-English as possible. Not Voyage of the Acolyte Part 2 but a jazz- and blues style. The director has not entirely forgotten his roots though. Bombastic sound pictures, frail clinks, dramatic effects, romantic adventures... All for your soul and mind. An extended 12-string intro paves the way for vocalist Steve Walsh. It could just as well have meant Hackett joining American top notch act Kansas. I have to admit that Steve Walsh isn't my fave singer of all time but here he fits perfectly. 'Narnia' is as fresh as a premiere danseuse at the opera.

On 'Carry On Up the Vicarage' Hackett sings duet with himself. The light voice is recorded at half speed while the bass- is as natural as Steve himself. 'Vicarage' is as good as anything to emanate from the Genesis camp. The accessibility of 'I Know What I Like', the whimsicality of 'Willow Farm'. Pure genius! Randy Crawford pops up shortly in the vocal section. The lyric is a tribute to Agatha Christie (wasn't she involved in 'And Then There Were None' as well??). 'Racing in A' is made up of 2 separate sections. Once again Steve Walsh on voice and he's just as convincing as on 'Narnia'. Tom Fowler sounds clinical on his highly discernable bass. That's the risk with solo albums; you pay an individual for a commission. Nothing more, nothing less. Someone said that 60% of all studio musicians only play for the money. Some very convincing strings lead to a sole classical guitar. If it didn't happen it wouldn't be Steve Hackett. To edit different sections isn't unique for popular music. It even occurs in classical music and symphony orchestras.

'Kim' seriously calms down the temper. Steve on acoustic and Brother John on flute. Dedicated to spouse Kim Poor who in due order is responsible for the album cover. Inspiration comes from a shop on Portobello Road (London) which is selling articles from Victorian times. On the back cover Steve is standing at Palace Pier in Brighton. If you want a richer instrumentation listen to the version on Bay of Kings. 'How Can I' with Richie Havens on vox is the most down-to-earth and laid-back inclusion on the album. Not the most advanced piece of lyric in history. You wouldn't believe it to be a Hackett composition for obvious reasons. 'Hoping Love Will Last' feels like the records central piece and it's worth the price of the album alone. It was rehearsed in Genesis with Phil on vocals but never included on W & W. Hackett had a desire to bring in a female vocalist in the Genesis recording too. Instead it ended up here with a so far rather unknown Randy Crawford. The piano chords move the song forward to the delightful string section. A mixture between real strings and guitar synth. The strings took two weeks to record as every violin part is dubbed a number of times. Also first time for Hackett as string arranger so it was rather strenuous. Also for Graham Smith from Van Der Graaf.

'Land of a Thousand Autumns' consists of acoustic- and multi-layered gtr synth. 'Please Don't Touch' is as you probably know by now one of the many leftovers from W & W. As an amalgam with 'Wot Gorilla' but only the latter was included. There were still a lot of instrumental work from Steve on the B-side of Wuthering but PDT had to wait to this very moment. John Hackett on flute, piccolo flute and bass pedals is just as important here as his elder brother. It would still be interesting to hear Collins render the work, to cite M Rutherford; - 'the only drummer who cares about the song'.

'The Voice of Necam' is high-tech with a vengeance. Tape loop vocals, a singer sings a tone for 8-10 seconds recorded on two different tape recorders. Then transferred to 24-channel and changes speed on the tape to obtain various tones on every channel. On 'Necam' the voices are even treated through computer(please note that this is the Stone Age 1978!). Final 'Icarus Ascending' is performed by Richie Havens. A moderate and deep voice of fine standard. Once again Hackett takes out his guitar synth and this time he wants to resemble a saxophone. If you listen to the tones in the solo towards the end of instrumental section (in the middle of the tune) you're able to discern this phenomena. Tape loop on the chorus, reggae rhythms and piccolo from Bro. John. A grand mixture!

Released almost simultaneously with 'And Then There Were Three' and followed by 'P.G.2' shortly afterwards, you can state that 1978 was a productive year for the former cohesive band. Remarkably and quite unique everything still on the same label. Why not pick your favorites and turn it into The Lamb Part 2?

Per Kohler | 5/5 |


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