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Steve Hackett -  Genesis Revisited CD (album) cover

GENESIS REVISITED

Steve Hackett

 

Eclectic Prog

3.36 | 235 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Ok, had anybody else done this album, it would have been a disaster. And yet Steve Hackett seems to pull of his renditions of Genesis numbers with his own flare, sometimes changing parts of songs completely. His choices for backing musicians for this album ranges across the board of prog greats, from Bill Bruford to Ian McDonald, to Chester Thompson and John Wetton. There is a lot to like about this album, but some selections are just confusing as to why he changed them, and some are just really out of place on the album. But in the end, you can't expect to hear the same old songs again, you have to expect some kind of reworking to be done or else it would just be plain boring.

Watcher of the Skies opens the album, a very faithful rendition of the original, although this time it's more majestic thanks to the augmentation of The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. John Wetton's voice suits the song well, and Tony Levin takes bass duties so that Wetton can focus on his vocal work (his voice has really aged well). Dance On a Volcano is somewhat different from the original, mainly because Hackett uses a voice distorter to make his voice deeper (really takes you away from the original Collins vocal), and it really doesn't fit with the song. Other than that, expect a more majestic version of the original.

Valley of Kings has no real purpose on the album as it isn't really even a Genesis song to begin with, but none the less it's a great instrumental showing off Hackett's guitar expertise. Deja Vu is a song that Gabriel presented to the band during the Selling England by the Pound sessions, but it never saw the light of day. It's nice that Hackett included it onto the set, for it is a really nice song with some great vocal work. Firth of Fifth is the first song that gets some real reworking done to it. The opening is rather solemn, but the song breaks out into that classic riff we all know. Wetton's vocals and bass work are astounding. But the real problem I have is that Hackett cuts out the classic flute solo in exchange for a breakdown that has really nothing to do with the song itself until it returns for his classic solo. A good rendition, but the power of the original is lost. For Absent Friends is one of the better songs on the album, the lush orchestral score really giving the original a boost in power and emotive feeling.

Your Own Special Way is one of the only songs that I feel doesn't fit on the album. First off, Hackett had nothing to do with this song, and secondly, the arrangement here makes it sound like something off of a Backstreet Boys or NSYNC album. Other than that, it's nothing more than playful pop. The longest song on the album is The Fountain of Salmacis, which gets a great treatment, with many added instrumental sections and great guitar and vocal work from Hackett. One of the highlights of the album indeed. Waiting Room Only is a reworking of The Waiting Room off of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. The first 3 minutes of the song sound faithful to the original, but then Hackett gives us a 180 and turns it into a quasi-blues number with many different instruments taking the lead within a 4 minute mainframe. I Know What I Like got the most reworking on the album, it being turned from a playful progressive pop tune to a jazz-lounge doo wop vocal track, with the tempo and the arrangement being totally thrown off as Hackett announces instruments as they take solos. It really is bizarre why he changed the track so much. Los Endos is faithful to the Hackett live version (which features a section from Dancing With the Moonlit Knight). What really threw me off was the tribal percussion section that takes place around the third minute, it doesn't really make sense to have a tribal percussion section in Los Endos, does it? After that, though, the song ends in classic fashion with the riff from Squonk being repeated as virtually every instrument in the song gets a turn playing the main melody.

Overall, this is a good album, not terribly great and not very essential even if you're a Genesis fan. Some may even be outraged at the reworkings, but I find them to be a creative way at changing something that everyone knows. Hackett's arrangements really come out of left-field, but they do (somewhat) work with the songs. If you want to hear Hackett versions of Genesis songs, I recommend you get this, but overall you may just be better off sticking with the original versions. 3/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 3/5 |

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