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Genesis - Selling England By The Pound CD (album) cover

SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.62 | 2848 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars I know what I like!

For me, the best of the Gabriel era Genesis albums.

After the excellent cover illustrations on the previous three albums, the uninspired look of the painting here does not bode well. The opening bars of "Dancing with the moonlit knight" however soon dispel any fears over the quality of the music. "Selling England by the pound" generally has a slightly softer feel, with more in the way of choral keyboards by Tony Banks, and highly melodic lead guitar from Steve Hackett. "Dancing with the moonlit knight " sets the scene well, with a slightly folk feel to the opening section, and a "Tubular bells" like ending. In between, Gabriel is on fine form vocally and lyrically, the track incorporating a succession of wordplays and puns.

Hackett is afforded enough space on the album to add a wonderful guitar solo on "Firth of Fifth", a track which must rank among Genesis all time best. From the delicate tinkling piano intro, through the supremely melodic vocals of Peter Gabriel as he works his way through truly poetic lyrics, to Steve Hackett's aforementioned virtuoso performance on lead guitar, the track is the definition of perfect prog rock. Banks too gets plenty of room to showcase his keyboard skills, especially on the long closing track "Cinema show". The structure an style of this track has similarities with "Firth of Fifth", but the result is somewhat different. There is a relaxed, timeless feel to the piece,

Phil Collins has an (at the time rare) outing on lead vocals on "More fool me". While it's a very pleasant if brief track, there is little indication of what was to come from him vocally.

For me, the only slight let down on the album is "The battle of Epping Forrest". Had this been a brief "Harold the Barrel" type track it could have worked well. At almost 12 minutes however, the joke wears very thin. Ironically, had they left the track off altogether, the album would still have clocked in at well over the standard LP time of around 40 minutes (And still longer than "Close to the edge"!)..

Also included is Genesis first hit single "I know what I like" This gave the band their first taste of singles success, something they were to crave more and more with later albums.

It's easy to forget with the passing of time, that when this album was released, it was a significant progression both for Genesis and for rock music in general.

Easy Livin | 5/5 |

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