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Steve Hackett - Spectral Mornings CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

4.14 | 857 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Brothers in arms

By the time of this his third album, Steve Hackett had the confidence to put his Genesis pedigree firmly behind him, and make an album which represented his own musical influences and preferences. While Steve writes all the songs here, he is supported by a fine band line up including Pete Hicks who provides most of the lead vocals and Hackett's brother John on flute and sundry instruments. In his sleeve notes, Steve says ". I was looking for some musicians to play my existing music live, I am proud to say they have become my band."

The opening "Every day" sets the scene perfectly with one of Steve's great lead guitar solos. This really is a firm statement of intent for the album. "The virgin and the gypsy" is an acoustic folk influenced piece with wispy lyrics such as "Passing milk thistle by, fox on the run, old ragged robin flies, virtue undone". While the words may be abstract, the picture is clear. Side one also includes a couple of instrumental tracks, ranging from the oriental beauty of "The red flower. . .", to the striking "Clocks" with its wonderful cascading chorus. Only the cod North Country ditty "The ballad of the decomposing man" is superfluous.

John Hackett's flute work is delightful throughout the album, but comes to the fore for his acoustic duet with his brother on "Lost time on Cordoba". "Tigermoth" appears to be an instrumental, with fairly literal sound effects of a dog-fight, until the softer vocal section appears midway through. An old fashioned voice effect is used to tell a tale later updated by 10CC with "I'm Mandy fly me".

The closing track gives the album its title. This lengthy guitar dominated instrumental is simultaneously uplifting and frustrating. The frustration though stems only from the fact that Steve did not record many more such pieces.

For me, this is one of Steve's finest albums. While "Voyage of the Acolyte" was a wonderful debut, it found him to be very much still in Genesis mode. "Spectral mornings" finds him creating his own brand.


Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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