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Mike Rutherford - Smallcreep's Day CD (album) cover


Mike Rutherford

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This solid solo undertaking from the stalwart Genesis bassman shouldn't disappoint Genesis fans. Rutherford has recruited some prog heavyweights to serve as his band here: Anthony Phillips plays the Keyboards (!), Morris Pert (Brand X & later Talk Talk) provides percussion, and the estimable Simon Phillips (Eno/801, Pete Townshend, etc.) is behind the drum kit, thundering away on his trademark double bass drums. As well, Noel McCalla (otherwise unknown to me) is a fine singer. The songwriting is equally up to the high standards of the band: apart from Hackett's work, this is the best of the solo Genesis outings. In classic prog fashion, the lyrics are written around a single concept (the life of a lonely "nobody" in a dead-end job) and the tracks all run together. The opening "Moonshine" with its trademark Rutherford bass pedals, and infectious keyboards, is especially powerful, and the closing "At the End of the Day" is moving and anthemic. What lies between is simply very good prog, and makes SMALLCREEP'S DAY a good option for followers of Genesis, and progressive in general!
Report this review (#27197)
Posted Thursday, January 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is indeed a fine pop prog concept album. The songs are good and less radio oriented than what Genesis did a the time, musicianship can't be wrong with the wonderful Anthony Phillips ding all Tony Banks tricks... What can I say ? This is good damn work and deserves to be heard by everyone who care for Melodious Prog and/or Genesis...
Report this review (#27196)
Posted Friday, March 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.9999 stars really ....but not three. This album is the proof ( if needed any) that Rutherford could write some good stuff , as opposed to that Special Way crap on Wutherings. The stuff on this album is sometimes good ,sometimes correct but also sometimes bad. Funny thing is that the library CD copy has got the side reversed compared to here. The overall tone of the album is a bit like Bank's Curious Feeling (but less put-me-to-sleep) and sounds a lot like Duke era material (which is of course normal given the dates of releases). The vocals are not very nice and some of the numbers (time and Time Again) are annoying especially on the non-suite side. As for the suite , it is easy to see that Rutherford was a full third of then Genesis . Duke (take away Misunderstanding and Turn It On again ) had some good stuff ( much better than ATTWT ) that still hinted to the better days but was also the last correct album ( along the first side of the Mama album where the Two Home By The Sea ). I would've loved to hear how that suite might have turned out on Duke with Banks's input." Avec des "Si" , on met Paris en bouteille".
Report this review (#27200)
Posted Tuesday, July 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Anything with Mike and Anthony Phillips playing together can't be bad. Ant's keyboards for me were a huge part of this album and he turns in a fine performance on side one (side two on the Passport Records version). It was hearing Steve Hackett include 'At The End Of The Day' from this on the programme 'Star Special' (where guests chose their favourite songs) which made me want this album for Christmas 1980, so much more than the single edits of 'Working In Line' and 'Time & Time Again'. It also made me want to investigate Ant's solo work!

Does anyone else think 'Romani' lyrically betrayed disillusionment within Genesis? 'Overnight Job' also has a bubbling synth line at the end recalling 'Stagnation' and taking us back to how it all started on Charisma. If only they'd included 'Compression' (the b-side to 'Working In Line') - the coda seems to recall 'Nightmare' on Ant's 'Sides', and I loved this!

If you find the original book that inspired this album, the ending is much sadder than the album and there are aspects that seem to anticipate 'The Lamb...' and 'The Ballad Of The Decomposing Man' (Steve Hackett).

Report this review (#27201)
Posted Sunday, July 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a great debut solo offering from Mike Rutherford. Sure it has all the flavours of Genesis like a Curious Feeling has for Tony Banks. The vocalist choice, Noel McCalla is a shrewd one because this guy can really sing and reaches those dizzy high peaks very easily. The album is a bit disjointed in respect that Side one on the LP is made up of 5 songs and Side 2 has the lengthy ' Small creep's day' and the final epic song ' At the end of the day' not as specified on this site as being part of the smallcreeps suite. Do not be confused because on the CD version they have swapped the format around, incorrectly IMO.The whole album is strong so I am not going to point out any individual pieces. Great musicians on here as well. Good to see Anthony Phillips on the keyboards.
Report this review (#27202)
Posted Tuesday, September 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This record is the best and the most progressive one from Mike Rutherford. Anthony Phillips on modern keyboards is a sure value: he creates addictive, memorable, introspective and enigmatic floating atmospheres which you are never tired of. Mike's electric guitar solos are very good and melodic, although his sound is not better than on Genesis' Duke album. Sometimes mellow & nostalgic, sometimes loaded with fast drums, this record can be listened from A to Z without any problem. Noel McCalla's lead vocals are EXCELLENT: he sounds a bit like Max Bacon (the GTR singer), with a much more soothing voice. Simon Phillips' drums are very good, refined and rather complex. It is not exaggerated to say that the "Smallcreep's day" album slightly sounds like Genesis around 1980: the difference is that it is much more progressive and less pop than Genesis. "Time & time again" is a rather soft FM romantic song, as reveal the melodic piano + guitars and the tender lead vocals. All the tracks are at least very good.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Report this review (#27204)
Posted Wednesday, March 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The best non-Genesis output by Mike Rutherford. A very, very, fine album. It's not at all dated, even at 25! His song writing is terrific and he assembles a brilliant group of musicians: his old band mate ANT PHILLIPS on keys, MORRIS PERT on percussion, the incredible SIMON PHILLIPS on drums, and a standout on vocals NOEL MCCALLA. If everyone else wasn't so damn good, Noel would have stolen the show. Just listen to his range on "Cat and Rats". I'm surprised that this album didn't make more of a dent in the Prog world. It's not as Proggy as lot of other stuff, but it's still good. "All I need is a miracle!" - Mike, you came as close as you're ever going to get with this one.
Report this review (#38152)
Posted Friday, July 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Mr Rutherford's first solo album, recorded and released (along with Tony Banks' 'A Curious Feeling) during the brief layoff between the heavy recording and touring commitments of Genesis (circa Seconds Out). Side one of the album was inspired by the book 'Small Creep's Day' by Peter Currell Brown, the second side contains a batch of individual songs with no overall concept.

This album is probably one of the better solo releases by a member of Genesis and the tracks hang together with both style and grace. Many of the familiar Rutherford/Genesis trademarks are here from the chiming 12-string guitars to the punchy bass pedal lines. Ace drummer for hire Simon Phillips pile drives his way through the material with his usual blend of double bass drum power and excellent technique. We're also treated to a re-union of Rutherford with ex-Genesis man Ant Phillips although I'll be buggered if I can pick out his guitar from the mass of chords and lead lines that weave their way through the record.

A worthy album that bares repeated listening and along with Hackett's 'Voyage Of The Acolyte', one of the great Genesis albums that never came to pass.

Report this review (#41298)
Posted Tuesday, August 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of the better solo albums from the Genesis stable. Rutherford always tended to be lumped with Tony Banks as one of the quieter ones in the band and maybe not as influential as the others. This album tells a different story. His guitar playing on this album is confident and as restained and tasteful as Gilmour or Latimer. The compositions demonstrate Rutherfords imprint on Genesis and the epic title track has nods towards Hackett. An album worthy of purchase which also showcases an excellent choice of musicians by Rutherford, and the singer Noel McCalla is also superb.
Report this review (#50836)
Posted Sunday, October 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Of all things, no prog-fan can dismiss this album as a mediocre album. This is not. Indeed it has a "Duke" feel in it, which is not bad. I would say, Rutherford's compositions here did show that he had some sharp stuffs outside Genesis. The biggest achievement for him is that there are very few bassists who have ever made a prog-rock album (I did not hear any-- though I know Geddy Lee made one, then again Geddy had always been a vocalist and a key factor of Rush). Rutherford conceived the idea of the album quite clearly, making it worthwhile. Its a must have for prog-rock fans.
Report this review (#50852)
Posted Sunday, October 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I can without hesitation call this album a masterpiece. It is beautiful and there is nothing like it- although other reviewers are correct that it has somewhat of a "Duke" sound to it- like Tony Bank's album of the same time- which is also a masterpiece, and both are some of the best examples of "concept" albums that exist.

I am a huge Genesis fan and can easily say that the songs are up there with some of the best Genesis songwriting. What I really love about the album is it's "sound", as with many Genesis albums, which is very keyboard heavy, and brilliantly so. I find this intruiging on the solo album of a bassist/guitarist, but must show the influence of Ant Phillips playing keys, although he also is usually a guitarist!

Report this review (#65960)
Posted Sunday, January 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Many of the other reviewers are right - the genius of this solo effort is that it attempts to be a good prog-concept album, in the same vein as Pink Floyd's 'The Wall,' though lacking some of the musical variety and greatness of Genesis' 'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway' (which Rutherford played bass and acoustic guitar on). It is obvious in Mike's guitar playing that he learned from the best: shades of Hackett's inspired playing are evident especially in his soloing on this album. Anthony Phillips shows himself to be an inspired keyboardist (after not being so sure of himself as lead guitarist for Genesis on 'Trespass'); his synth and mellotron sections are influenced - and rival - Tony Banks playing similar riffs for Genesis. It is always such a joy to hear the refined drumming precision of Simon Phillips and, on this album, he truly outdoes himself (though "Space Boogie" on Jeff Beck's 'There and Back' - recorded after this - is truly incredible!). For all of you double-bass drum fans out there: long before Mike Portnoy picked up his first drum-stick, Simon was setting the bar (and quite high) for machine-precise, yet musically refined, double-bass against hand- stick syncopation. (Though, in all fairness, Barriemore Barlow of Jethro Tull was also a double-bass drummer par-excellence in this same late 1970s time-period). Though a bit prog-pop in some individual songs (due to the chapter that Genesis was entering at the time), all-in-all, this is project is worthy of anyone who enjoys the prog-concept album motif.
Report this review (#78319)
Posted Tuesday, May 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks, and Phil Collins all put out solo albums starting around 1980; of these, I would say this is the best example of progressive music in the lot. Having Simon Phillips on drums adds quite a bit to this album, and Anthony Phillips appears as well, but this outing he is on keyboards. Side one of Smallcreep's Day is the bridge between what Genesis was doing at the time, and Rutherford's later work with Mike and the Mechanics. Most of side one is pop-oriented, although some very good harmonies, and skillful musicianship make it enjoyable. Most noteworthy are the first two tracks, "Moonshine" and "Every Road". What makes Smallcreep's Day really shine, however, is the eponymous 25 minute song taking up all of the second side of the album. "Smallcreep's Day" tells the story of a mild mannered employee sneaking through the factory he works at on a weekend to find out exactly what is being produced there. From the haunting opening keyboards, we are introduced to Smallcreep, plodding through the boredom of his workaday life, "Between the Tick and the Tock". This transitions to rapid guitar high chords as he is "Working in Line" which spark his curiosity, and back down to the mellow notes of "After Hours". At this stage, the song really takes off. There is some brilliant keyboard work in the majestic "Cats and Rats", as Smallcreep makes the frightening journey in the off hours to find out just what is going on at his employer's. This mellows into the short "Smallcreep Alone"; a segue which provides a break before the bass pedals swing into full gear on "Out into the Daylight", which has some soaring guitar work, and brilliant percussion. Wrapping up the opus is the closing section "At the End of the Day", which sees Smallcreep thankful for the little things in life, as he hurries back home to bed. Some of the guitar work here is quite reminiscent of what Rutherford had done in And Then There Were Three and Duke. While this song is a bit stripped down compared to what it might have been if Gabriel, Banks, et al had contributed to it, it is a very enjoyable song, and the album is worth the price for just this one. I picked up the original LP a couple of years after it was released - a "cut out" in the bargain bin for about $5.00 US, and copied it over to cassette. After wearing out three or more cassettes, I ripped it to CD, and still enjoy listening to it some 25 years later, which earns it four stars in my book. If you have not heard any of the solo albums from the final three members of Genesis for fear of buying pop, you can be assured of getting at least one very good progressive number on "Smallcreep's Day".
Report this review (#84166)
Posted Wednesday, July 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Mike Rutherford's first and ultimately best solo album (he would release one more and then start Mike & the Mechanics) was proof enough that he was a driving force behind Genesis' progressive sound and this album shows that he still had some left in him and that he would use his ideas to create an album with some strong more commercially oriented pieces and a sprawling 24 minute epic. The first thing that you'll notice is that Anthony Phillips is on this album, and not on the guitar like he was in Genesis. On this album he is strictly a keyboardist and he does a fantastic job on the keys creating lush textures on the synthesizers as well as ambitious solo sections. The rest of the band is pretty solid as well, with Simon Phillips on the drums and Noel McCalla on vocals (his voice is pretty disctinctive and solid as well). If you're interested in the solo careers of Genesis members then this will definitely be something to look out for, as it gives even some of Steve Hackett's career a run for it's money progressively.

The first side of the album is comprised of more commercially oriented pieces yet they still have a distinctive and progressive flare (the instrumentation certainly has some progressive overtones to it). The first of these songs is Moonshine. Droning synthesizers and punchy guitars are what to expect from the song. Mike Rutherford utilizes a lot of guitars on this album, and it's very evident from the get go on this piece. Pretty solid and punchy opener. Time and Time Again is a piano based ballad that has some passionate voals from McCalla. Phillip's organ sounds give off a Tony Banks vibe and the majestic mellotron work also makes it an enjoyable piece to say the least. Rutherford's guitar solo at the end also gives shades of the style he would unveil in the three man tenure of Genesis (he also hits a serious Hackett vibe as well). Romani begins with anxious synthesizers and hits an ambient electronic atmosphere (reminds me a bit of a Klaus Schulze or Brian Eno piece only more concise and with vocals and guitars). Although it's a bit samey and sounds similar to the previous pieces it's a pretty cool piece. Every Road is an acoustic ballad that reminds me a bit of Entangled during the chorus in terms of the progression, although the bass is really dynamic and the piano is very melodic (and the synthesizer solo towards the end also brings up more thoughts of Entangled). Overnight Job is the last of the regular pieces before the epic Smallcreep's Day. It's a guitar driven piece with some solid drumming from Simon Phillips as well as a great vocal performance from McCalla (and Rutherford's solo is also pretty killer as well).

Smallcreep's Day is the second side epic that shows Rutherford still had some aces hidden up his sleeve. It has all the ingredients of a superb epic, a soft intro that let's the keyboards explore a motif before turning into a more rocking section. On the album, it's indexed into different tracks to make it seem more like a medley than one concise piece. Between the Tick & Tock begins with a synthesizer melody that reminds me a bit of Pigs (Three Different Ones) from Pink Floyd's Animals and some expansive and anxious synthesizers exploring a very open atmosphere before hitting the second part, Working In Line. Working In Line has a magnificent 12 string guitar motif as well as some majestic synthesizer leads on top. Rutherford's first of many solos begins here, and he shows a melodic and precise performance offering a majestic and uplifting solo before entering the next section (he's a great guitarist actually). After Hours is next and it essentially is a short synthesizer based interlude that changes the atmosphere to that of the first part of the song again. Cats and Rats follows next with a walking synthesizer line and some precision rhythmic work from Simon Phillips and Mike Rutherford. Ant Phillip's first keyboard solo is also pretty comprehensive and expansive as well. Smallcreep Alone is another synthesizer based interlude in the vein of After Hours and once again offers another dynamic to the overall feel of the piece. Out into the Daylight has some great drumming from Simon Phillips as well as some more expansive synthesizers from Ant and Rutherford offers a great performance on bass and guitar (although the drumming is the real draw of this part of the piece, it goes far and beyond any other performance on this album). It goes into the finale of the song and the album At the End of the Day. It ends the album on a majestic and uplifting note, hitting many different emotions (mainly because of the expressive and tasteful vocal performance from McCalla. The keyboard solo at the end is also stunning and ends it in the same way that Afterglow ended Wind & Wuthering (along with the epic fadeout). It's a fitting ending to this great second side epic.

In the end, Smallcreep's Day is one of the better solo albums from a Genesis member and it's one of the better albums from 1980 that I've heard. You could still hear classic Genesis in Mike Rutherford's first solo album, maybe it was the Ant Phillips influence or maybe they were ideas that weren't accepted during the A Trick of the Tail- And Then There Were Three times, but whatever it is, this album is fantastic and I highly recommend it to someone wanting some fantastic music that features some infamous musicians at a time when it looked as if their progressive edge was being lost in mediocrity. 4/5.

Report this review (#87504)
Posted Thursday, August 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Team
2 stars I had been hearing good things about this album for years. A couple of my friends had it, but I never recall it being played. We usually ended up listening to Genesis, or Peter Gabriel. I even had a copy of "Acting Very Strange," but never sought this one out.

Last year, I came across a copy. I listened to it several times, and nothing sunk in. I really wanted to like it, so I kept with it. Still, there was nothing that stood out. I put it away for a while, and then tried again. Nothing had changed. It's not bad. The songs are pleasant, and the playing is up to the par of a man such as Rutherford. It just seems to lack life. There is no spark, nothing to make you sit up and take notice. The songs also tend to meander, without any solid direction. The endings don't seem to be closures, as much as the songs running out of steam.

I really hate to be so negative about an album that is not actually poor. I just found it very dull. If this is your bag, enjoy. However, I can't see it being appealing to anyone but true fans.


Report this review (#88070)
Posted Wednesday, August 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As a logical consequence of reviewing Shakary 2006, I continue my musical journey with Mike Rutherford "Smallcreep's Day". Why? The lead vocal is the same: Noel McCalla. Nothing logical, actually. But, the fact that Shakary includes Noel McCalla in Shakary 2006 reminds me this album by Mike Rutherford. Please bear in mind that this vocal line is completely different with Shakary 2006 - it's 26 years difference in time horizon. The vocal characteristic like in this album that reminds me to Noel McCalla's vocal tone. This album was one of excellent albums that I liked by the time this album was released. I expected something as high quality as Genesis music to prove that Mike can compose excellent music. Yes, he has proven it. This album was beautifully composed and it would not disappoint any Genesis fans.

The album (CD format) starts mellow with "Between the Tick and The Tock" without drums involvement; it's basically a keyboard-based composition. The strength of this song lies on its melody and harmony, delivered excellently with Noel's powerful and clean vocal. "Working Line" is an upbeat tempo track with nice acoustic guitar work and dynamic drumming. "Cats and Rats In The Neighbourhood" is a simple pop rock song with nice melody and stunning keyboard. Noel sings with his tiny voice and fits with the music.

The music continues with ambient mood of "Smallcreep Alone" followed beautifully with "Out Into The Daylight" which casts excellent combination of keyboard, guitar and drums in relatively fast tempo. It reminds me to "Duke's Travel" of Genesis' "Duke" album. This is an excellent instrumental piece that Genesis fans would love and enjoy it very much. It's hard to differentiate this track from Genesis music. The music flows wonderfully to "At The End of The Day" which has excellent melody in slow tempo.

The CD continues with the "A" side of LP format through an energetic "Moonshine" (6:23) with an excellent harmony. I like this track. Next track is my best favorite track with memorable melody "Time and Time Again" (4:52) which has somewhat colored my college days at Bandung. In large or small part this track is heavily influenced by "Many Too Many" from Genesis "And Then There Were Three" album. It's a simple track with nice melody and powerful composition. I like the piano parts at the opening followed with Noel's nice voice "It's been so many years since I saw your face ." oh .. what a truly melodic segment!

"Romani" is another Genesis-influenced music followed with nice ballad "Every Road" (4:13). The album concludes beautifully with "Overnight Job" (5:43).

Overall, this is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Genesis fans would not be disappointed with this album - even, it's a must to own this album for Genesis fans. The strengths of this album are on its powerful song-writing, beautiful melodies imposed into the music, excellent vocal job and excellent musicianship. I got no trouble at all enjoying this album even after 26 years since its release date. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#93849)
Posted Monday, October 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Curiousity

This, the first solo album by the Genesis bassist, was released some years before his much more commercially successful ventures with "Mike and the Mechanics". Rather ambitiously, he chose to fill one side of the album (on my LP, the first side) with a concept piece, based on a day in the life of a dull individual who works on a production line without any idea of what he is actually making.

The "Smallcreep's day" side of the album is a continuous piece of music, broken into distinct sections although there are no track markings on the vinyl. The opening "Between the tick and the tock" is a downbeat, reflective number which has echoes of Tony Banks' similarly timed first solo album "A curious feeling". The second section, "Waiting in line" is the most commercial part of the piece, and was almost a hit single. Noel McCalla's vocals here are distinguished and appropriate, thank goodness Mike resisted the urge to sing (he would find that urge too powerful on his next solo album). Former band mate Anthony Phillips contributes some fine keyboard work, sometimes as backing sounds but often to the fore such as on the "Lamb.." sounding "Cats and rats" and the excellent "Out in the daylight", where he sounds very Banksian.

The suite closes with the touching ballad "At the end of the day", where McCalla's sympathetic performance sees him displaying his full vocal range backed by some wonderfully atmospheric keyboard and guitar motifs.

Side two of the album consists of more orthodox pop rock songs, most of which would have suited Genesis albums "Duke" or "And then there were three". Indeed, "Smallcreep's day" was released between those albums, so these songs may even have been submitted by Rutherford for consideration for them.

"Moonshine" is a rather nondescript rambling piece, with Tony Banks inspired synthesiser driving it along. "Time and time again" is an excellent ballad, which once again has the feel of Tony Banks' "A curious feeling" (which curiously was recorded in the same studios at the same time. Note also that the central theme of "Smallcreep's day is curiosity!). The remaining songs are adequate but ordinary, and certainly overshadowed by the revese side of the LP.

In some ways, "Smallcreep's day" is a bit of a "Tarkus", with the title suite occupying the whole of one side, and completely overshadowing the other side. Like "Tarkus" the tracks on the second side do have some merit, but they are significantly inferior when compared to the album's focal point.

An essential album for the suite which gives the album its title. The LP represents excellent value too, running for over 50 minutes.

Report this review (#94482)
Posted Saturday, October 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I finally got round to buying this hidden gem. It was well worth the wait! This is, to be sure, MIKE RUTHERFORD'S best foray into prog music in his "solo" career. He claims all writing credits on this concept album. I guess by that he means lyrics and melodies. And for that he should be applauded, because both are strong. But I can't help but think, especially given the stellar line-up of musicians, that they themselves did infact add to, and improve the basic score put down by Rutherford. For example, I'm sure he didn't tell expert drummer SIMON PHILLIPS exactly what to play. The drumming is just too good for it to have been Mike's ideas. The same goes for the other players on the album. Be that as it may, it is a very strong prog/pop album - more prog than pop though. Mike's guitar and bass parts are also very good - comparable to his playing on the Genesis records of that era (1977-82). But the real stars of Mike's first solo effort are the band. In particular SIMON PHILLIPS on drums (incredible as always), NOEL MCCALLA on vox (terriffic singer, unknown heretofore, but now singing for Manfred Mann) and ANTHONY PHILLIPS on all keys (after listening to him play, you'll wonder why Genesis thought they needed Banks. Clearly, this album shows that they didn't!) Perhaps the genius of Mike Rutherford is that he allows his contributions to be added to the mix, without having to take centre stage, e.g. Genesis, SMALLCREEP'S DAY, and Mike and the Mechanics. This CD would be a fine, but not quite essential, addition to anyone's collection. It's good. It's better than good. 4 ****
Report this review (#117304)
Posted Wednesday, April 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Before venturing off into Popland , leading his way too clean Mechanics and the once great Genesis to dizzying commercial success, Rutherford used his Rickenbakers wisely on the Anthony Phillips debut "The Geese and the Ghost" and on this, his first solo album. Thankfully, we have these testaments to treasure , this one in particular is a fine collection especially at a time (1980) when Prog was being brutally assassinated by the Lester Bangs and assorted British punk-journalists (none of whom had talent musically or in penmanship!) of the world, imposing their rather poor taste in music and forcing Prog's extended but temporary hibernation (Video killed the radio star but punk didn't kill the Progster!).While no record executive was looking, Rutherford was free to delve into the musical adaptation of a book by Currell Brown , enlisting his good friend (and ours too) Anthony Phillips to chair the keys , as well as another famed Phillips :drummer extraordinaire Simon (no relation to the Ant), as well as one of the best movers and shakers in percussionist Morris Pert . The vocals are well piped by former String Driven Thing Noel McCalla and guitars and basses handled by the leader. The main treasure here is the long suite dedicated to the routine gloom of the hopeless blue collar worker , a stellar brew of sweeping symphonics straight out of the "Winds and Wuthering" song book , ending conclusivey on the painfully majestic"End of the Day" , owner of a melodic hook that would startle the daylights out of Peter Pan! Don't be fooled by Rutherford's future quest for stardom, this is prime prog that deserves eternal recognition.While perhaps not a monument, the context makes this an essential document. 4.5 meek inheritors
Report this review (#117674)
Posted Sunday, April 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Mike Rutherford´s first solo album was released at the time his Genesis pal Tony Banks did the same. But more than Banks A Curious Feeling, Smallcreep´s Day reflects a lot what was happening to Genesis at the end of the 70's: half the album is truly progressive music (the title track suite with its 24:38 time). The other half it´s pop music (with some prog overtones). Very much like Genesis Duke. And I must say I always liked it. Specially if you compare this one with his ludicrous second efford, the very forgetable Acting Very Strange.

First he put together an excellent team of musicians that included an ex Genesis axeman, Anthony Philips (now playing keyboards! and doing a fine job), England´s best studio drummer in the 70´s (Simon Phillips), a jazz rock percussionist (Morris Pert) and an old friend who once sang with the proto Genesis during school days (Noel McCalla). Songwriting wise, Rutherford proves he can write some decent symphonic tunes along with his obvious pop leanings. Fortunatly he does not sing on this one, McCalla´s choice being a very fitting one: he has a fine voice and his interpretations are very emotional and convincing. As for Rutherford himself he sticks to his guns, adding some nice solos here and there, emulating Steve Hackett´s style very well.

Certainly for progheads the title track is the true gem of the album, and I agree.. But the other songs are also fine. Pop songs alright, but sophisticated pop, tasteful and well arranged. An album I can hear from beginning to end without skipping a single track. If you like Genesis around the Wind and Wuthering era, you´ll probably love this album.

A little piece of trivia here: my old LP had the suite on the first side and the other tracks on the b side. it works better that way.

Report this review (#131427)
Posted Thursday, August 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Rutherford's first solo project came between And Then There Were Three and Duke by GENESIS. And a pretty good album this is. The group is perfect for this occasion: Noel McCalla (too unknown talent) on vocals, Morris Pert on percussion, Simon Phillips (who's heard on many Oldfield albums) on drums, and the old band mate Anthony Phillips (who left Genesis before really showing his multi- instrumental and writing skills) on keyboards. Mike naturally plays both guitars and basses. Production is modern and clean, more or less like on the mentioned Genesis albums.

Rutherford is the most AOR type of a songwriter in the Genesis camp, as was later demonstrated with Mike + The Mechanics. The pop songs of Side One are accessible AOR stuff, resembling more of the future eighties than the bygone seventies, but fairly listenable anyhow. Side Two is filled by a 7-part title epic of equally accessible 'prog pop'; that is, there are no majestic solos or other prog rock trademarks, it's just a narrative entity segued together. It works very well as it moves between various atmospheres. It's about a factory worker who tries to reveal the secrets behind the producing line.

For a collector of GENESIS-related stuff this offers a nice addition the same way as Tony Banks' debut A Curious Feeling (both being the only good albums in their solo discographies).

Report this review (#141460)
Posted Tuesday, October 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Mike Rutherford is certainly an important part of the Genesis sound as a bass player and composer. So it was really interesting to let him released a solo work...but the result isn't exactly what I expected...

Mike had a good idea to form a kind of band...but Anthony Philipps just played keyboards... and Noel McCalla is an honest singer but he doesn't possess a voice related to this kind of music.

Bside (on LP version) is supposed to be a long epic.... but every parts are not really musically related to each others...

So, "Smallcreep's day" have some good moments, but it sounds as not completely achieved.

To say the truth, I have the feeling than it could be really better with another singer ...and with more work or time in studio...

3 stars. Good, but non-essential.

Report this review (#147807)
Posted Sunday, October 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Strange how unpredictable art is regarding the momentum of an individual's inspiration: such is the case that brings us to the review for this Mike Rutherford's solo effort. Even though Rutherford had been responsible for some of the most progressively relevant passages in Genesis' history, he was usually surpassed by Banks' majestic vision and Hackett's texturial signature inputs. Outside Genesis, besides extensively collaborating as a musician and even sharing some writing credits for Hackett's and Anthony Phillips' debut solo efforts, prog fans were not in touch with what Rutherford could bring by himself to the prog genre until the release of his solo debut "Smallcreep's Day". It was amazing!! It still sounds amazing after all these years, typically Genesis-related in terms of overall sound and compositional moods - generally speaking, this album reinstates the serene density of "Wind & Wuthering" and the best elements of ".And Then There Were Three". The dynamics and colorfulness delivered through the repertoire in such a way that it overshadows Tony Banks' "A Curious Feeling"; for the more lyrical passages in the album, Rutherford almost equals the magic of the romantic pieces from Hackett's "Please, Don't Touch". The presence of a particularly special guest, Anthony Phillips, on keyboards is peculiar for many reasons: he reveals himself as a proficient keyboardsman who comes as no second to fellow Genesis founder Tony Banks. In fact, Phillips steals the limelight with his keyboard inputs in many moments. Noel McCalla is also vital for the delivery of the sung tracks' moods: his tone and timber, which remind us of Michael Sadler-meets-Graham Bonnet, feels at ease with his versatile AOR-like singing. Whenever things get cooking, the duo of drummer Simon Phillips and percussionist Morris Pert help things breathe and tighten up. The namesake suite open up the original British album with a first section deeply rooted in ethereal atmospheres, featuring lush keyboard layers and harmonies under which soft classical guitar arpeggios flow by. Part 2 'Waiting in Line' is a catchy yet subtly exercise on melodic prog that may remind us of the best aspects from late 70s Camel and Oldfield: a revamped version of this song with a repeated vocal part was released as a single. Among all the straightforward balladic, post-punk and new wave singles, I remember feeling captivated whenever they played this one on the radio (years before becoming the prog freak that I am). The remaining sections are diversified enough as to comprise eerie interludes (III & V); prog pop (IV, which sounds like a younger brother of 'Man of Our Times' from "Duke"); a bombastic Hackett-like instrumental (VI); and finally, the hypnotic pompous ballad 'At the End of the Day', which delivers a sense of grayish romanticism where optimism and pessimism fuse into one single feeling. Moments like this showcase the Hackett similarities that I mentioned earlier in this review. The album's second half gets started with the muscular mid-tempo 'Moonshine', a song that the guys of Saga in their pre-"Heads or Tales" era would have been proud of. 'Time and Time Again' is a beautiful ballad, perhaps in the mould of Banks' 'Many Too Many' and 'Undertow', yet providing a fuller sound and a more vibrant mood: the predominance of the keyboards' inputs is crucially essential for this. Beautiful indeed, it sends me chills just by singing it in my mind. The other ballad 'Every Road' is focused on the acoustic guitars, sounding closely related to the Anthony Phillips legacy. Between the two, 'Romani' is yet another "W&W"-meets-"ATTWT" sort of song, exploring a clever alternation of 5/4 and 4/4 tempos in a very fluid manner. The closer 'Overnight Job' is a fine rocker, with an interesting melodic nucleus, yet evidently less impressive than any of the four preceding pieces. It is a nice closure, but it wouldn't have hurt if any other track would have been chosen to fill this position: maybe the whole suite, as it appears in the US edition? All in all, "Smallcreep's Day" is a great item in any good prog rock collection.
Report this review (#183218)
Posted Monday, September 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars For those Genesis nuts who love their Wind & Wuthering yet DON'T have a copy of Mike Rutherford's Smallcreep's Day, you really need to put this one on your list STAT! Just a stunningly melodic collection of tunes that the Genesis bassist/guitarist was clearly squirreling away for his own pet project.

In some respects, I can see how many of these tracks would not have worked under a Genesis umbrella - singer Noel McCalla's full throated vocals complement the songs here much more than Phil Collins' thinner, more reedy voice would have. (Not to slight Collins in the least, but I honesty can't hear him singing anything on Smallcreep's Day.)

Though it's Rutherford's name on the jacket (and all the songs are indeed his own), the show stealers are the two unrelated Phillips boys: a very playful Simon Phillips on drums (one of his finest performances ever, by the way) and Anthony Phillips leaving the stringed acoustics at home in favor of a surprise home run on keyboards. For sheer lushness, Phillips' string synth work here is completely off the grid! You'd think he was using three hands! The five or six times I've played this album for Genesis fans, each one pretty much said the same thing: Wow! Is that REALLY Anthony Phillips on keyboards? Quite the performance!

Actually better recorded than either Wuthering or There Were Three, Smallcreep's Day scores in a big big way. If you have a jones for some uber-high quality late '70s Genesis played by some of the original suspects, your search is over, Sherlock.

A most exuberant 4.5 stars from me.

Report this review (#200315)
Posted Friday, January 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Smallcreeps Day gave me a greater appreciation for Michael Rutherford's contributions to Genesis. If it weren't for the vocals, you could mistake many of these songs for lost late-70's Genesis tracks.

The singer (Noel McCalla) has a voice that is rather nondescript. He's not bad, but he wouldn't stand out in a crowd and sound like a generic 80's AOR singer. On the more proggy compositions, however, his delivery reminds me of Peter Nicholls from IQ.

'Moonshine' is a good straight-forward rock song with a simple syncopated bass-pedal pulse that gets your head nodding. This whole first half of the album reminds me a lot of the 'Duke': 'Moonshine' is in the mold of 'Man of Our Times' and 'Turn it on Again', and 'Time and Time Again' is a decent ballad that sounds a lot like 'Cul-de-Sac' and 'Alone Tonight' mixed together. 'Every Road', another ballad, is more reminiscent of a weaker version of 'Your Own Special Way' and is one of the worst songs on the album.

The extended 'Smallcreeps suite' is definitely the highlight of the record and contains the only real progressive moments. The intro (Between the Tick and the Tock) is almost entirely composed of simple depressive synthesizer parts but has a nice dark atmosphere and creates a palpable mood of loneliness and desperation. 'Cats and Rats' feel like a throwback to 'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway' with an extremely 'Back in NYC'-like synthesizer riff. 'Out into the Daylight' is the best track on the album: it harkens back to the instrumental songs on Wind and Wuthering ('Wot Gorilla' and 'In that Quiet Earth'), but it's not quite as good as either of those.

It almost seems to me like Mike made this album only to prove he had a much bigger hand in the creation of Genesis' music (and success) than he usually gets credit for. It's obvious from this album that he was a major contributor to their sound, maybe even more-so than Tony Banks. He does repeat himself a lot though and there's nothing on this record that he hasn't done before (and better) with Genesis.

That said: 'Smallcreeps' is quite a pleasant and enjoyable listen, it's just not very progressive or groundbreaking. This is far from essential material, but I think hardcore Genesis fans will find a lot to like here.

Report this review (#203439)
Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is an incredible album, full of emotion and melody which oozes throughout the entire album. I would go as far as to say that it represents the best solo album from any Genesis artist. It is that good. The band is on top form and the vocals from Noel McCalla are pure heaven. Noel is currently the lead singer for Manfred Mann's Earth Band and has been so since 1991. An incredible 18 years, which is no mean feat in itself. He has a soulful voice (Between the Tick and the Tock) yet can reach the high points in songs such as "Cats and Rats". His vocal range suits fine the Earth Band's live material yet on this album he pushes the boundaries towards perfection. The music is played by many of Mike's friends and ex genesis band mates and they must have had a great time making the album because everything just clicks into place with apparent ease. But waiting around the corner was Mike's second solo album "Acting Very Strange" which unfortunately comes nowhere near this essential gem. Why oh why didn't he employ McCalla again? Five stars and still a regular play some 29 years on.
Report this review (#220159)
Posted Sunday, June 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Lot's of four and five stars for this album. Huuum?

I wouldn't be that generous. Some OAR oriented songs, like ''Moonshine''; but remember this was released in 1980. It holds some ''Squonk'' values and is an average + opener; but no more.

Some songs (or parts) of this album sounds rather popish like ''Time & Time Again''. This was the mood of the year I would say. No harm but no big thing either. The real harm is reached with the weak ''Romani''. Actually, most of the first side of this LP isn't really outstanding in terms of prog to be honest (cf. ''Overnight Job'').

This album do share a lot of the music available while the band were only three. The epic that resides here sounds too much though as a combination of several songs rather than a smooth genuine epic. There are some fine moments and the whole is by far the best available on this creep's thing.

The opening '' Between the Tick and the Tock'' has definitely inspired ''Marillion'' (the genuine one of course) in their early days and is one the finest part of this work; plenty of emotion and talent.

''Cats & Rats'' does have a solid ''When They Were Three'' feel (again) which is far from being bad. At this time, it is about normal to say that the lead singer doesn't perform a great job. I quite like the instrumental parts: ''Smallcreep Alone'' which is quite melodic or the very ''Wind & Wuthering'' number called ''Out Of The Daylight''.

Don't worry though: this album which was released in 198 has much more to deal with ''Duke'' than with ''Abacab'' if you see what I mean. As such, I would rate it with three stars: a good album which features some fine moments. But by no means a masterpiece.

Report this review (#220608)
Posted Wednesday, June 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Rutherford's Day

This first solo album by Mike Rutherford features Mike on guitars and bass, another Genesis member of the past in Anthony Phillips on keyboards, Simon Phillips on drums and Noel McCalla on vocals. The vocals are often rather soulful and soothing. The style of music involved is a kind of diluted Genesis of the And Then There Were Three and Duke era. I am a fan of those Genesis albums, but Smallcreep's Day, though a good album in its own right, is hardly up to the standards of those Genesis albums. Any claim to the effect that Smallcreep's Day is 'the lost Genesis album' is without merit in my opinion.

The compositions range from decent to good and the quality of the songs are quite evenly spread over the album's running time. The second vinyl side (the first side on some releases, I believe) is taken up by a continuous piece of music. It is rather good and fully listenable, but it is not very memorable. This long piece, as the album as a whole, has progressive moments and some soulful Pop moments.

In the end, I believe that this album will appeal to fans of post-Steve Hackett Genesis. A good but non-essential album.

Report this review (#229406)
Posted Saturday, August 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars These early Genesis solo albums really speak volumes about the frame of mind of each band member and also their contribution to the band's sound. Tony's A Curious Feeling sounds like outtakes from "And Then There Were Three" with a generally more organic sound. The songs are filled with layers of keyboards, simple, but evocative guitar playing, and ultra pretentious and sometimes meaningless lyrics. The songs don't have an incredible amount of catchiness, but they are complex and involved enough to be of interest. Tony never really wrote in this direction again which leads to good (The Fugitive album and Strictly Inc) and bad (Soundtracks, whoa) things for him. Phil's debut shows a man obsessed with jazz and R&B. The music is the simplest and most direct any Genesis member has ever written, and the songs are heart breaking and heart felt. Phil really doesn't venture far outside of his paradigm during his solo career which is a good (lots of money, steady selection of hits, consistency) and bad (cheesiness, predictability, major loss of respectibility amongst fans and critics) thing. So it seems that Tony brought in the complexity and seriousness of Genesis while Phil brought in the heart and simplicity. What about Mike? Well, Smallcreep's Day shows a man smack dab in the middle. Mike's album sounds similar to Tony's in that it often sounds a lot like contemporary Genesis albums. However, his album is also much simpler than Tony's. Anthony Phillip's keyboard playing is interesting and intriguing, but nowhere near the levels of complexity and depth (literal depth) of Tony's. Mike drives his sound forward with hard driving acoustic guitars and catchy vocal melodies. The songs are simpler in structure than Tony's occasionally rambling pieces, but much richer in texture, melody, and harmony than Phil's occasionally simplistic tunes. Like Tony's A Curious Feeling, this album is driven by a literary source, but it never overwhelms the album. It is an ambitious album, but not pretentious. It has a comfortable feel, relaxed feel that not many Genesis albums, solo or otherwise, have. Phil might be simpler, but he's often overdramatic. Tony might try to write simpler songs, but he seems strained doing this. It seems to come easy to Mike, this direct complexity. If Tony is the brain, and Phil is the heart, maybe Mike is the muscles and sinew connecting the two, and the heart. His pop sensibilities on this album are sometimes as strong as Phil's, yet not as banal. Mike shows his number one contribution to Genesis was incredible songwriting.
Report this review (#238645)
Posted Friday, September 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars I might say that with better production this might be a much higher rating. Actually the cool thing is that the synthesisers on this album are actually being played by Anthony Phillips. He was just as good as Tony on the keyboards (okay not quite), and he's a great guitarist as well. But back to Rutherford, he's made a double personality album, one side is very 'prog' and the other side is semi-prog. I don't doubt the melodic capabilities, and 'Noel McCalla' is a great singer, it's interesting to hear an R&B singer dealing with prog, but it would be nice to hear it more clearly. The production buries the vocals deep in the mix, and the whole production is messy. I've never had a lyrics sheet to this album, my first copy was a battered 2nd hand vinyl, I paid $5 for it and it didn't come with a nice, shiny lyrics sheet, nor did it comes with a colourful, glossy one either! A lot of the vocals are hard to understand and I just keep waiting for someone to throw some hooks at me as I listen to it, but that just doesn't happen.

Still, there are strong tracks towards the end of the 'semi-prog' side, 'Moonshine' is a good prog/blues-rock tracks, similar to 'deep in the motherlode', while 'Overnight Job' is an exciting song with a catchy rhythm, and 'Every Day' is a nice, semi-acoustic song. Rating 2.5

Report this review (#279093)
Posted Friday, April 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Based on the novel of the same name, Rutherford's solo debut is a lively concept album that mixes elements of straight-ahead pop with tinges of prog and features a sharp, synthesizer- heavy sound and impassioned vocals from Noel McCalla. It's much more 'Duke' than 'Nursery Cryme', and the music shares a lot of similarities with 'Mike & The Mechanics', the commercially-successful band Rutherford would create several years down to give him an outlet for his burgeoning solo work. It's all very light, with ballads and workmanlike pop the order of the day, but a couple tracks do deserve faint praise, such as the atmospheric opener 'Between The Tick & The Tock', which showcases Rutherford's impressive keyboards skills, and the fist-pumping rocker 'Moonshine', which is genuinely anthemic, featuring a pulsating beat, hard-edged guitars and impressive vocal harmonies a la Foreigner circa their '4' years. As a piece of prog, however, 'Smallcreep's Day' is fundamentally limited by Rutherford's simplistic approach, and fans of Genesis will probably find very little of interest. The album's lead single, the jangly, guitar-led 'Waiting In Line', is a perfect example of Rutherford's style, giving the album a brash and breezy feel similar to the disposable chart-pop that would soon dominate the eighties. Limited stuff then, 'Smallcreep's Day' should appeal to Mike & The Mechanics fans, and will appeal to die-hard fans of the Genesis guitarist. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
Report this review (#293643)
Posted Friday, August 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars I'm everything but a Genesis fan so it may seem strange that I like this one very much. If it wasn't for the vocals one could easily think that it's Genesis, but it's probably the absence of Phil Collins that makes it very appealing to me.

Of course I like the B side more than the A (I have it on vimyl, of course). The A side is just question of some disconnected songs, some of them nice, but none is a masterpiece.

"Moonshine" is a song that makes clear that this is a sort of lost Genesis album on which Noel McCalla sings midway between Gabriel and Collins. I like his voice, anyway. I think it's one of the best things of the album, really an added value. The song itself is good but non- essential, better in the slow chorus than in the uptime parts.

"Time and Time Again" is a sweet pop song in Collins' style, but also here McCalla transforms an average pop song into something special.

"Romani" is the song that I like less. After a symphonic intro it turns to be a missing Peter Gabriel's song. Not a bad song but it's only Genesis of the 80s.

"Every Road" is a missing Phil Collins song, instead. A sort of follow-up to Time and Time Again. Is it possible that Maike Rutherford is not able to make something "personal"? Just wait for the B side. By now this is another poppy sweet song with good vocals and the acoustic guitar reminiding more of Anthony Phillips than of Steve Hackett.

If I like less Romani, I'm used to skip "Overnight Job", so I suspect that a true Genesis fan would like it. Also this song is improved by the vocals, anyway.

Now the suite. It could have been a full concept album and it's a pity that Mike Rutherford has limited his effort to 20 minutes. An extended version of this epic to cover both the sides would have make of this album a masterpiece. The seven parts of it are strictly connected, the story is consistent and moving. It has good lyrics, too and make the A side appear like a collection of fillers. I remember myself listening to it for the first time on tape and playing continuosly the second half of the suite before going to purchase the album. "At The End Of The Day" deserves a remark, but all the suite can be intended as a single long song. Surely Marillion have been influenced by it when they composed Misplaced Childhood. 30 years after is still an album that I like to listen and I find that it's not so dependent by the time of release like other albums from the 80s are. It's full of the typical Genesis sound, not of the boring 80s fairlights and even if I usually don't like Genesis much, this is an album I would never get rid of.

The A side is a 3-stars collection of songs, the B side is a masterpiece so 4-stars.

Report this review (#443040)
Posted Thursday, May 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Mike Rutherford's debut solo release is a very ambitious and artistically successful album. It doesn't sound a lot like Genesis in general, but you can definintely tell that he was the one who wrote "Deep In the Motherlode", "Man of Our Times", and some of "Duke's Travels." The band he assembled for this album is very tight, including Anthony Phillips on keys, who's keys here have a very distinct color to them, and even showing vituostic skiil on the fast- paced "Working In Line." Simon Phillips (drums) and Morris Pert (percussion) take the prog- pop sound of the songs to a slightly left-(on the side of prog)-of-center side of the spectrum, and Noel McCalla's vocals are very strong and operatic, esepecially on the vivdly atmospheric "Between the Tick and the Tock", where his voice changes envelope in unison with Phillips' dramatically swelling mellotron chords. I had the version that ends with the side- long suite, and I imagine that's the best sequence, as the surprisingly dark mood of the suite's intro after hearing the five songs before it that are all excellent but slightly more rock than the other side gives a good effect to the telling of the story. Every track is excellent, but there are a few standouts for me, including the opening rocker "Moonshine", the expansive "Time and Time Again" (another moment of great bravado for Noel McCalla) and the great-synth- riffed "Cats and Rats (In This Neighborhood)." Not to say that songs like the very progressively arranged "Romani" or "Overnight Job" (with some of Rutherford's best soloing) aren't without their many merrits, either, though: in fact any song off this album alone shows Rutherford's strong and orginaly songwriting skills and would have fit in nicely on any Genesis album of it's time or any other of his solo albums.
Report this review (#570601)
Posted Friday, November 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars in the 80's many prog artists went solo and Mike Rutherford of Genesis was one. SMALLCREEP'S DAY from 1980 is a pretty mellow journey through pop tinted prog. This album always made me think of Camel and DUKE by Genesis. It is not a bad album, but also it has never left a lasting impression on me either. It is better than some of the pop crap that Phil Collins put out but nowhere near what other ex-Genesis man Peter Gabriel has done. This release is Light, harmless, and sometimes forgettable but never totally drivel. 3 stars almost to a tee. 3 stars.
Report this review (#733630)
Posted Friday, April 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Mike Rutherford is not a virtuoso guitarist, Ant Phillips is not a famous keyboardist. McCalla is an acceptable vocalist. Simon Phillips was a young drummer when he participated here, one of the best I saw in action. With these clarifications, I can say that Smallcreep's Day is a good product.

Do not expect an overwhelming instrumental deployment. Good songs well produced and executed, with some contribution progressive, especially in the epic title track. In the first part, I rescue Every Road and Time and Time Again.

Nothing spectacular or outstanding, but good compositions performed well. No great harvest year, which is a mitigating factor. Moreover, quite daring for being 1980.

3.5 Round 4

Report this review (#936820)
Posted Friday, March 29, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Mike Rutherford's solo record "Smallcreep's Day" is an interesting album. It gives us music that isn't far from what Rutherford at the same time did with Genesis. And then there were three and Duke is very similar. As those records also this is released on Charisma records and I like the cover picture very much, an artistic frame with an anxious man in the middle(Hipgnosis cover). Here plays Mike Rutherford bass and guitar, Anthony Phillips(old Genesis guitarist) pleays keyboard, Simon Phillips plays drums and Morris Pert plays percussion and Noel McCalla sings.

As every lp record this has an A and a B side and that is in some ways a pitty because the first side is very good and the second isn't as interesting anymore. "Smallcreep's day" is a lovely suite with almost 25 lovely minutes. I love that track because it keeps the best of Genesis at this time, but it's perhaps more progressive. Rutherford here plays with the symphonic feeling and tells here an amazing story. I also love the vocals on this song. Noel McCalla has a bright and professional voice which I appreciate on Smallcreep's day but not so much in the other songs. "Moonshine" is also a nice song with a peciliar melody but the other songs on the B- side aren't so interesting. "Time and time again" is hardly good, "Every road" is a bit lame and "Romani" and "Overnight job" are okey songs. I see here on the Archives that the A and B sides are reversed, but I think you understand what I mean. I feel it's a pity one of the sides isn't so good as the "Smallcreep's" side. Therefore I'm not fully content.

In its best moments this record is really good prog and Mike Rutherford showed he was a true here. Almost as good as the contemporary Genesis records and much better than the later pop influenced Genesis. I also think this is a quite different prog record. The slightly inferior B-side makes this a three stars record instead of a four stars record.

Report this review (#1059547)
Posted Monday, October 14, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I make a review I try to evaluate several things, for example, the presence of prog elements or the quality of the songwriting. I think that Mike Rutherford is without doubts a great songwritter.Him, with Tony Banks, were the main songwriters of all Genesis career, from 1968 till 1997. Of course, seems to be that Mike, when he wants, do something great, prog or pop, but not always things goes by this way. Here, he made an exceptional album, which along other soloist albums like A Courious Feeling of Banks or Wet Dream of Wright, are something iconic (IMO) of that era into the prog rock universe. The album is well balanced between a great songwriting, enough prog elements here and there and good instrumentations. The presence of Ant Phillips in the keyboards was surely one of the keys of this album, he made a great job, and the voice of the unknown Noel McCalla fits really well with muscial context. When I originally bought the LP, the suite Smallcreep's day was in the side one, and the rest of the songs in the side two, so I will review it by this order. The suite is just stunning, begining with the enigmatic and peacefull piece Between the tick and the tock, based over a keyboard motive and the voice of McCalla, to get then into the moving track Working in line, initially suported over an acoustic riff to get then into an incredible electric guitar solo, just great. Despiting a pair of filler tracks (good too), the rest of the suite includes Cats and Rats, a good one, and then two of the main highlights of the album: the instrumental Out into the daylight, based on a picking guitar pattern (in the vein of Follow you follow me or Turn it on again), and consisting mainly in a lead guitar solos. Then this great track flow into the ballad At the end of the day. This ballad, a truly prog ballad could be called something like an anthem, and here surely Phillips has much to do, cos the keyboard maitressare simply outstanding from the begining tilll the end of this marvelous song. The voice of McCalla seems to be ideal for the track, the lyrics are absolutely beautiful and melancholic, but in the last half things are even greater, with a shorter but extraordinary electric guitar motive and this keyboard ending that is something that moves me everytime I hear it.

The rest of the songs make up something great too. From the rocking Moonshine resting over this electric guitar sound that surround the album all the time, passing by the amazing ballad Time and time again, based on a piano motive and with almost poetic lyrics, or the acoustic Every road, simply a piece of art. Romani and Overnight job, are rock tracks with addictive guitar riffs.

I don't know if this is a masterpiece or not, but is something essential and almost perfect, so it has the merit for the five stars.

Report this review (#1080549)
Posted Saturday, November 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars This first solo album by Mike Rutherford is much better than his second solo album ("Acting Very Strange" from 1982), and it really a very Progressive Rock album with some Pop Rock influences. It was recorded during 1979, a year on which the members of Genesis took a hiatus from activities as a band, maybe to take a rest, but also due to Phil Collins`s personal problems with his marriage which he tried to resolve without success during that time and which finally ended with his first divorce. So, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks took that time out of the band to record their first solo albums that year, while Collins worked a bit with the band Brand X releasing a new album titled "Product" and also working in the studio with Peter Gabriel for Gabriel`s third solo album which was released in 1980 (plus an appearance with Gabriel as part of his band a the Reading Festival also in 1979). Both this album and Banks`solo album ("A Curious Feeling") were recorded at ABBA`s Polar Studios in Stockholm but I don`t know if both were recorded at almost the same time, but I doubt it. Banks`s solo album was released first, in October 1979, while Rutherford`s was released until January 1980. By late October of that year Genesis started rehearsing and composing new songs for their new album titled "Duke", which also was going to be recorded at Polar Studios and also was produced by David Hentschel like both solo albums. "Duke" was released in March 1980 and then Genesis toured again unitl June 1980.

For his first solo album Rutherford had some very good musicians, like drummer Simon Phillips, former Genesis member Anthony Phillips on keyboards, Noel McCalla on vocals and Morris Pert on percussion. The long suite titled "Smallcreep`s Day" is very good sounding a lot like Genesis in some parts, but my favourite part from it is the last which is titled as "At the End of the Day". Phillips is a good keyboard player playing very good keyboards atmospheres particularly during this last part of the suite. The suite is very good as a whole but a bit long (at almost 25 minutes in duration).

I prefer the rest of the songs which are shorter and more varied in styles. I can hear to some inlfuences from Camel, particularly in some arrangements and in some parts Noel McCalla`s vocals sound a bit like Chris Rainbow`s from the Alan Parsons Project and Camel. I think that McCalla is a very good singer and that Rutherford had the very good idea to have this singer for this album. McCalla`s vocals also sound a bit similar to the vocals of future lead singer of "Mike and the Mechanics", the late Paul Young.

With this solo album from Rutherford, with Banks `"A Curious Feeling" solo album, and with Genesis`s "Duke" album I can hear some of the musical transitions that the members of the band were doing from the music of the seventies to the music of the eighties: they were still retaining some of the Prog Rock influences while still incorporating new sounds and more influences from Pop Rock music. So, Rutherford`s guitar playing was moving more to the use of distorted electric guitars and guitar riffs than to the use of arpeggios which were more characteristic to the sound of Genesis`s music during the seventies. He still uses the bass pedals in several parts.

Thi is a very good solo album by Mike Rutherford. Mostly Progressive Rock in style.

Report this review (#1086155)
Posted Thursday, December 5, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars #30 Review

After reviewing the 80s hit "Acting Very Strange" with the lowest score i have given to an album ever, i decided to finish the reviews of Mike's solo efforts (not Mike + The Mechanics cause they're not in this site and i also don't care that much about that) with Smallcreep's Day, compared to the previous album, i already listened to this one and quiet enjoyed it, while "Acting Very Strange" was a first and last listen.

1 - 7.- Smallcreep's Day - Between the Tick and the Tock 8/10 Really atmospheric, good lyrics, everything sets you for this adventure. Reminds me of a SNES/Sega Genesis era theme, really nice. Still, some parts get a little bit boring and repetitive.

- Working in line 10/10 Reminds me a little of "Yes", really vibrant and happy, it is also brilliant, the guitar, battery, everything works really well. My only complaint would be that is short, but it works in the context of the story.

- After Hours 10/10 Pretty start, i can already picture the day fading away, brilliant keyboard by Anthony Phillips.

- Cats and Rats (In The Neighbourhood) 8/10 Reminds me of "Back in NYC" and like that theme, this one also falls in repetition, but is still good nonetheless.

- Smallcreep Alone 10/10 I'm getting the conception that people named Anthony are really good at atmospheric chords on keyboards, this also serves really well for the perception of loneliness, a nice little soundtrack that keeps the flow going.

- Cut Into the Daylight 10/10 Really interesting instrumental all through, just amazing. Nothing to envy from Yes or your Genesis mates, this is great.

- At the end of the day 7/10 Really beautyful, is repetitive the first half but then it keeps adding, reminds me of "Afterglow" a little.

8.- Moonshine 5/10 The wanna be single of the album, its ok and repetitive. This the theme that you would play in the credits of a movie. The rythm bores me.

9.- Time and Time Again 7/10 Another song that tries to be a single, this one gets me a little more because of the keyboards and its sudden changes near the end, that includes the beautyful piano part and solo.

10.- Romani 7/10 I like the chords, the really good bass and the 5/6 to 4/4 changes through the song, and the different ending, but i think that everything could've been a little bit more, maybe as a longer instrumental.

11.- Every Road 5/10 Simple use of the guitar for a melancholic sounding song, with beatutyful ending, i'm seeing a patern here, this theme is ok for what it does and for me what it does is bore me mostly because i'm not that much into ballads... maybe it would've worked better if it were shorter and added to the Smallcreep's Day suite somehow.

12.- Overnight Job 7/10 The final attempt at a single, this one also sports a repetitive rythm through the song and a noticeable structure, its a well done job, like an all working clean machine that doesn't impress me that much, people could say that i discovered a gem that sadly isn't the kind of thing that i'm into mostly. While the structure is recycled again with the aweosome ending, this one is the best and it sadly ends too soon, that part had more potential than the entirity of the song.

So, in the end this album is really good, i obviusly recommend the Smallcreep's Day suite. The final score for this one is: 78/100 wich is 4 stars.

Now its the time that i go and review Steve Hackett!

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Posted Saturday, December 15, 2018 | Review Permalink

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