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Genesis - Archive 1967-1975 CD (album) cover

ARCHIVE 1967-1975



Symphonic Prog

4.28 | 285 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I grabbed hold of this as soon as it was released (hard to believe it was thirteen years ago now), all a quiver with excitement. As much as I enjoyed Collins era Genesis, the opportunity to pass up on a compilation like this was too much to refuse.

Was it worth it? Well, emphatically yes. This is a very clever release, and for that we have Tony Banks to thank. Rather than taking the easy option of pulling together a lazy compilation of previously available sets, Banks pulled off a coup by bringing us a live set of The Lamb which had passed into legend, with the added bonus of getting the band together in the studio for the first time since 1975 to "finish off" It, the final track which had disappeared from the master.

Not only that, on CD3, we had a good proportion (more was to follow in a later release) of a legendary set from The Rainbow from the Selling England tour.

Listening to both of these, you wonder just why the "official" live releases were so silent in terms of interaction between singer and audience (I include Collins as well as Gabriel here). The stories and dialogue were such an important part of the live experience, it is a wonder we had to wait so long to hear it on an official release (The Lamb set was widely available as a bootleg for many years prior to this).

CD4 is the one that is for pure completionists only, but contains some interesting curios and demo's from the band's earliest formative stages as spotty public school kids at Charterhouse. If you are able to put aside the obvious production shortcomings, and also naivety of the band, tracks such as In The Wilderness and Shepherd give a hint of the greatness to follow.

The Lamb live is nothing short of a revelation. Extremely well performed, and, given that they were playing a huge chunk of music live to many hearing it for the first time, extremely well received. Whilst tracks such as In The Cage sound better re production values on Seconds Out, the whole set has a rawness in its feel that completely matches the theme it deals with in the story.

The Rainbow set on CD3 is exceptional. Suppers Ready as it was meant to be heard, full of emotion and prog greatness. Dancing With The Moonlit Knight is wonderfully bought to life, and, also, for the Collins doubters, witness the difference in the audience reaction prior to More Fool Me (utter silence) and that when this great track dies to a close. They go bonkers, and rightly so. The fun doesn't end there, either. Old BBC archive material of Stagnation and Twilight Alehouse (both superb tracks) and an early attempt at hit single status in Happy The Man are all fantastic.

Lastly, this boxset is also worth getting and splashing a great deal of money on for the content of the booklet that accompanies it. Full of fascinating interviews, a history by the great journalist Chris Welch (who was there from the start), memories of a unique time in rock music history, and curiosities, you will visit this time and time again.

As for rating, CD4, whilst interesting and important in understanding the band's early development, renders it just short of a masterpiece. The remainder though, every single bar of music and dialogue, is nothing short of prog heaven.

Four stars. An excellent addition to any prog rock collection.

lazland | 4/5 |


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