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Genesis Congo album cover
1.90 | 54 ratings | 6 reviews | 11% 5 stars

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Congo (4:51)
2. Second home by the sea (edited version) (4:56)
3. Enhanced CD section with "Congo" video, Interview with Ray Wilson, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford, Digital animation of stage set design

Total time (audio) 9:47

1. Congo (edit) (3:13)
2. Congo (4:51)

Total time 8:04

UK Cassette
1. Congo (edit) (3:13)
2. Papa he said (4:07)
3. Banjo man (4:20)

Total time 10:40

Line-up / Musicians

- Tony Banks / Keyboards, vocals
- Mike Rutherford / Bass, guitar, vocals
- Ray Wilson / Vocals
- Nir Z / Drums

Releases information

UK CD - GENSDX12 (Virgin)
US CD PRCD 8202-2 (Atlantic)
UK Cassette - GENSC12 (Virgin)

Thanks to easy livin for the addition
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Buy GENESIS Congo Music

GENESIS Congo ratings distribution

(54 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(11%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(15%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (20%)
Poor. Only for completionists (20%)

GENESIS Congo reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Losing their way

"Congo" was the first single to be taken from the post Collins era "Calling all stations" album. Lead vocals are thus in the hands of Ray Wilson, previously of Stiltskin. The song is certainly commercially orientated, but the tribal rhythms and apparently banal lyric's did little to attract those who still purchased singles to the new music of this old band, and the release only briefly entered the UK top 30.

As had quickly become the custom for single releases, the various formats offered different additional tracks. The CD version has an extract from the magnificent "Home by the sea", presumably taken from a studio rehearsal for the then forthcoming tour. This is of passing interest only, since the definitive versions featuring Phil Collins were already available in studio and live format. Also included is a PC multi-media section with the promotional video for the single, and interviews with the three band members.

Ironically, it is the cassette version which is greater interest though. Although the title track is an edited version, here we have two other tracks which were omitted from "Calling all stations", and are otherwise unavailable. "Papa he said" is slightly reminiscent of "I can't dance", the funky backbeat suiting Wilson's style of delivery, but the song itself was left off the album for all too obvious reasons. "Banjo man" does indeed feature that instrument, but the overall sound is prosaic, with Wilson's vocals once again being the dominant feature.

These two (thankfully) rare tracks only serve to emphasise how desperate Rutherford and in particular Banks were becoming to rekindle the formula for a hit single. The philosophy here is clearly keep is as simple as possible, and it will sell in vast quantities. Unfortunately, in the process they completely forgot that you still have to come up with a decent tune.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Flip side material aside like Papa He said, this was the most disappointing piece of music Genesis ever released. I remember when the video came out which was my first taste of the new single and I was mortified at the well below par music being dished out. If my memory serves correctly the video filmed in Gibralter was equally poor. Thank goodness the album was stronger than this their first single. I would not recommend this as an introduction to CAS but as it is a single review and the xtras that came with this release it needs the necessary rating and unfortunately it merely shades a one star rating.
Review by progaardvark
COLLABORATOR Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
1 stars I only have the US version of this single which features the shortened and edited version of Congo (hint: radio suitable) and the album version. This was the first single Genesis in a post-Phil Collins lineup released. Although Ray Wilson is a good singer, his husky-like style takes a bit getting used making the song, and indeed the Calling All Stations album, seem more like a Banks/Rutherford collaboration rather than an actual Genesis song. That for me, is the major downside.

The other problem I have is why the US version didn't contain something different that didn't make it onto the album? I know the album was bad, so I can only guess the material that didn't make the cut was worst (or maybe not?).

Basically this is pop music from a band struggling in the late 1990s to get a new identity. Similar to the usual fare from Asia and ELP at the time. Not worth looking for unless your a completionist. One star.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
1 stars "Like a soldier ant, I will wait for the signal to act. To take a walk right through the door, if you don't want me here anymore"

I might be one of the few people who actually like the song Congo. To my ears this is actually one of the best "hit" songs by Genesis. It has strong vocals by Ray Wilson and a powerful melody; I even like the lyrics which have a special meaning to me. However, this single version is an edited one and the album version is strongly preferable. This single version runs for only 3:15 while the album version runs for 4:53. I hate it when a song is butchered like that!

Like the other two singles released from the Calling All Stations album, the present one also holds b-sides that are not available elsewhere (with the exception of three tracks that ended up on the extra disc in the recent remasters box set). Sadly, these b-sides are very far below the material that actually made in onto the album. Both Papa He Said and Banjo Man are disposable and are not worthy of serious investigation by anyone other than the most devoted fan and even a fan like myself who actually enjoyed Calling All Stations is bound to be disappointed by these feeble songs. Needless to say there is not a trace of Prog in these songs, but even as Pop/Rock songs they do not hold up well.

Of the three Calling All Stations singles, this is the least interesting one. Go for the album instead!

Review by Guillermo
2 stars I was a bit surprised when in March 1996 I read in a newspaper Phil Collins`s announcement about he was leaving GENESIS then. I had doubts about the band carrying on without him...but Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford wanted to carry on as GENESIS. And they did it. Finally by mid 1997 I read in a Rock magazine an interview done with them and new lead singer Ray Wilson. So, it was until September 1997 when I finally saw their new album called "...calling all stations..." in the record shops of my city and I bought it. But before that, I thought that the new lead singer could have been very well Paul Carrack (of MIKE AND THE MECHANICS) or a lead singer of more or less the same age of Banks and Rutherford. But no...the new lead singer was Wilson, a lead singer who was born in 1968, at the time that GENESIS were recording their first album when they were teenagers...The differences in age and in looks between Banks and Rutherford with Wilson were very clear from their appearances in photos as a band.

The cover design of the "...calling all stations..." album was in fact very "dark" for my taste. I thought the same thing about most of the music of that album. I also thought that the change of lead singer was a drastic move, with the new lead singer having a very different voice and style in comparison to Collins`s (in a similar way as in the case of MARILLION with new lead singer Steve Hogarth when he replaced Fish). Anyway, the band still retained some of the "old" musical style they had when Collins was in the band, but now they were more focused in the "dark" aspects of their music and lyrics, like they were trying to re-create the moods of previous "dark" songs like "Home by the Sea / Second Home by the Sea", "Mama", and others which I don`t like very much from their discography. But the band lacked a balance of moods in their music and lyrics, now lacking Collins`s humour and his more "light" musical tastes. So, most of the songs of the "...calling all stations..." album sound to me in a very similar, "dark" way. Even some of the ballads are a bit sad in content. But I think that Wilson really was not very involved in the creation of the content of the album. In fact Banks and Rutherford have recorded most of the tracks before Wilson joined the band. So with the exception of a few songwriting collaborations between the three musicians, the new album was really more the creation of Banks and Rutherford than a real collaboration with Wilson. I think that he was recruited more as a lead singer than anything else.

With a song like "Congo" it seems now that the band wanted to update their music for the late nineties. A "dark" song with some good arrangements and some Pop Rock oriented lyrics, and also with a not very good promotional video clip for my taste (also "dark"), in fact it sounded to me very far from the "old" GENESIS`s musical style with Collins in their most Pop Rock music oriented songs. I still think that this song was not the best choice from all the songs from their new album to be released as a single. I still think that "If That `s What You Need", even if it is a ballad / love song, could have been a Hit Single. That song sounds more related to the Collins`s Era in musical style. But maybe Banks and Rutherford wanted to distance the name of the band a bit from that kind of songs.

"Papa He Said" and "Banjo Man", the B-sides of the "Congo" single, sound more Pop Rock oriented in musical style than "Congo", and even less produced and polished, mostly like the members of the band were thinking that both songs were not very good for their tastes, so both songs were relegated to be released as B-sides and nothing more. But both songs are good for my taste, and I think that both (with more added production work ) could have made their new album more musically varied and interesting, offering some less "dark" songs. These two songs and other songs from the same period which were released as B-sides of other singles are now more for the collectors and most die-hard fans of the band as they were ignored for their inclusion in their "Archive" Box Set series. I seems that their period with Wilson as lead singer, not being very happy and successful for the band, was ignored, like Banks and Rutherford were trying to forget about it. Wilson, of course, was not the main "guilty" person in the lack of success of their 1997 album and in their tour in 1998. Maybe Banks and Rutherford should have done more detailed previous market research studies (if even they did something like that, a thing that I think they never did) to learn more about the musical tastes of their old fans and of the new musical audiences of the late nineties. But it seems that they wanted to be more loyal to their own musical tastes and musical experiments than to anything else.

Latest members reviews

2 stars #41 Review Disclaimer: UK Cassette version, since this is the version that has the B-Sides. So, i decided to look at those Calling All Stations B-Sides, to celebrate that, i'll update my original Calling All Stations review with all the B-Sides and unreleased tracks added, as well as a freshly ... (read more)

Report this review (#2343101) | Posted by FalconBleck | Sunday, March 15, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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