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Various Artists (Tributes) - The Fox Lies Down; A Tribute to Genesis CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Tributes)


Various Genres

2.90 | 13 ratings

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3 stars The 1990s saw a resurgence in progressive rock and part of that trend was a series of tribute albums covering many of the greats of the 1970s. The Magna Carta label effectively used this as a marketing tool to introduce listeners to new bands signed under their label. For many listeners, this generated enough curiosity to seek out original works by those bands. Some of them turned out to be great, some not so. In 1998, Purple Pyramid (a division of Cleopatra) chose to bring in a mix consisting of artists from that had their starts in the 1960s and 1970s and some newer artists to cover a number of classic Genesis compositions on The Fox Lies Down.

The first track is a nicely done version of Can Utility and the Coastliners by Brand X II (featuring John Goodsall, Doug Lunn, Nick D'Virgilio and Al Salas). They don't really break any new ground here as the original is still much better than this. Still, it's accurately done and an enjoyable listen. The next track is sort of a modernized version of Carpet Crawlers performed by John Ford (of Strawbs fame). About the most noticeable difference is the overwhelming snare drum which is higher in the mix than it should be. The drums are mechanical sounding so I suspect drum machines are at work here. It's nowhere near as good as the original. Things look up much more on Patrick Moraz and Ronnie Ciago's cover of Los Endos. Although true to the sound of Genesis, this sounds much more refreshing than the original and Moraz provides a masterful performance, although he sounds more like Emerson than himself in his playing style.

The fourth track features a cover of Your Own Special Way by veteran prog bassist/vocalist John Wetton. Unfortunately Wetton went the way of pop rock back when he joined Asia in the 1980s and it appears he hasn't come back to his prog roots. Perhaps that's because Your Own Special Way at best was a pop prog number. All Wetton does here is that he makes this into more of a ballad than it should be. If what Wetton wanted to do was make something appealing for doctor's offices and American bi-level shopping malls, he succeeded. For me, I'd rather skip this sappy nonsense. Next, Mother Gong covers In the Beginning, a song that appeared on Genesis' debut back in 1969. This is even worst than Wetton's cover. It turns what was an average 1960s psychedelic pop song into a techno/hip-hop throbbing waste of time filled with ghost-like sounds and the mediocre speaking vocals of Gilli Smyth which feel completely out of place.

Daevid Allen and Solid Space cover Visions of Angels. No new ground is broken on this performance as they perform this wonderful song almost note-for-note. It still doesn't compare to the original as the vocals are substandard. How can you compete with Peter Gabriel anyway? Still, an enjoyable listen. Spirits Burning attempts to breathe new life into Return of the Giant Hogweed on the next track. Although they do this, I'm not sure I like the direction they went. It sounds like a mix of harder prog and psychedelic/alternative rock. Parts of this song are done very nicely (like the instrumental section around the 3:00 mark), but the remainder seems sloppy, mediocre, and occasionally out of tune. Still, it's an admirable attempt.

Next, Darxtar covers Dancing with the Moonlit Knight. This performance is a lot more adventurous than the other tracks on this tribute album. A good chunk of Darxtar's performance is instrumental as the vocals are sparingly used and play more of a background role to the instrumentation. They do a nice job on this song making it sound almost nothing like the original. The biggest problem I have with this song is the mechanical drumming, which I suspect is from drum machines or some sort of programmed job. The ending is poorly done as it just drops off abruptly.

The famous Flower Kings from Sweden come on board to perform Cinema Show. True to the talent of this amazing band, their performance is exceptional and as energetic as their own original music is. There are some slight differences, but overall they stick with the original almost note-for-note, so nothing groundbreaking here. The keyboard solos are strictly following Banks' work on the original. Unfortunately as we get into the best part of the song (the long keyboard solo section), it abruptly fades out. What the heck?

Next, Controlled Bleeding performs Broadway Melody of 1974. This is really nicely done. It's longer than the original, but keeps the performance closely note-for-note. The instrumentation almost sounds like an effort from a neo prog band (although Controlled Bleeding is more of an experimental band), but the vocals are clearly different and heavily processed. One of the better tracks on this tribute.

The final track is a cover of The Waiting Room by Architectural Metaphor. Having a psychedelic band cover a psychedelic wipeout only seems fitting. Although I guess it seems pointless comparing who did the better wipeout, I still prefer the original over this. Hackett is clearly the better guitarist, even in wipeout mode. A weird ending to a weird album.

The Fox Lies Down is a respectable attempt at covering Genesis' classic period. As I suspected, some of the songs come close, most of them are no better than mediocre, and some are just awful. Still, I got enough enjoyment out of this to want to keep this CD in my collection. Overall good, but hardly essential at all. Three stars.

progaeopteryx | 3/5 |


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