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Genesis - Selling England by the Pound CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.64 | 4293 ratings

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4 stars Selling England by the Pound was my gateway drug to "Gabriel-era" Genesis, having come from the bias of the post-Gabe studio albums Trick of the Tail and Wind and Wuthering as well as concert attendances on both tours. So, Selling England took a bit to grow on me. But it did. The lush recording and engineering style of Trick and Wuthering had me a bit biased when I heard the fairly thin, quiet, and distant sound of the albums of the Gabriel era. But, there was no doubt I was hearing the collective genius of five creative geniuses. The fact that five geniuses could even collaborate and come out with these masterful song tapestries is astounding to me in and of itself. To do it over the course of an entire album is perhaps asking a bit much. And that is where Selling England falls a bit short for me: not every song clicks on all cylinders; some songs or song parts seem to lack cohesion or an objective empathy necessary to click with audiences.

1. "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight" (8:01) starts boldly with Gabe's acapella voice before becoming supported by delicate and beautifully interwoven piano and guitars. The 2:09 "Follow on" section, to me, weakens the song but provides the attention-grabbing transition to the album's first sequence of absolutely brilliant instrumental leads, support and interplay. An 'awesome' song in the true sense of the term, for there are here some amazingly bold/daring musical twists, turns, transitions, tricks and trials. The band is so tight! However, the reason for the slowed down "it's over" fadeout section that begins at the 5:48 mark is a mystery to me. (8/10)

2. "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" (4:06) I love this song--the music, the humor, the theatrics. A short classic that happened to get some "pop" attention. (10/10)

3. "Firth Of Fifth" (9:34) The poor recording/engineering of this album comes out some more in this song. Its live versions--even without Gabe's flute--are usually quite a bit superior. However, it is quite a masterful achievement of songwriting and melody-making. Far superior to "Dance" and "Battle." (BUT: The best guitar solo of all-time? I don't know . . . ) (10/10

4. "More Fool Me" (3:09) Phil's gentle voice. I think I like it better big and bold--even cocky. (5/10)

5. "The Battle Of Epping Forest" (11:43) Don't like it, never did. Maybe another example of one of those nice musical achievements that were ruined by lyrics or over-done theatrics. (5/10)

6. "After The Ordeal" (4:12) I love the idea of this song more than the actual presentation. Something sounds just too tinny about Tony's piano, while Steve's classical guitar is beautiful. Then the transition to electric blues guitar solo allows a different form of expression to come through. ("Free Bird!") (7/10)

7. "The Cinema Show" (11:06) Another supreme achievement of progressive music--one that stands up so well over time. (10/10)

8. "Aisle Of Plenty" (1:31) the beautiful, awesome finale of "Cinema Show." I can only rate it as I would "Cinema Show" for I do always consider them as one. (10/10)

Three long 10/10's--27 minutes out of 53. Does this a masterpiece make? I'm not so sure. "Epping Forest" always leaves a bad taste for me when I think of this album. The Lamb is still the best--of Genesis and prog. Close to the Edge and even Fragile are better than Selling England.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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