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Genesis - Archive 1967-1975 CD (album) cover

ARCHIVE 1967-1975



Symphonic Prog

4.28 | 287 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
2 stars Happy the man, when he reaches the twilight alehouse

In contrast to the Genesis Archive #2 1976-1992 box, this first archive box set (covering the years 1967-1975) contains mostly live material. The first two discs of this four disc set contain a performance of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway in its entirety. This is a nice, but ultimately not entirely satisfying feature for me as this particular album is, in my opinion, the least good of the Genesis albums from 1970 to 1980 (i.e. from Trespass to Duke). Taking up 50% of the space in this whole box it might be considered a bit overkill. But it will surely please those who hold up The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway as a personal favourite. The fourth disc goes all the way back to the very earliest days of Genesis career in the late 60's, a time when neither Steve Hackett nor Phil Collins had joined the band and when progressive Rock didn't yet exist. The 1969 - 1970 demos and outtakes are interesting, but the 1967 - 1968 material has very little to do with the Genesis we all know and love. Besides, the sound quality of these older demos is not very good.

It is clearly the third disc that holds the most interest. Here we first have some more live material, but this time there is a heavy focus on the much more satisfying masterpiece album Selling England By The Pound as well as a performance of the entire Supper's Ready. These are precisely the tracks that the first official Genesis live album was missing and as such this disc is an excellent companion to Genesis Live from 1973. In addition we get here also two studio tracks, Happy The Man and Twilight Alehouse that are not featured on any album. These two tracks are, as far as I know, not available anywhere else. They are both good songs, but not up to par with the album material of the times.

My main problem with this box set is two-fold: (1) there is too heavy a focus on live material over studio material and (2) there is too heavy a focus on the very early and very late Peter Gabriel-era i.e. 1967 - 1970 and 1974/75 and not so much on the years in between (1971 to 1973), which were, after all, the most interesting years of the Gabriel-era. However, I do understand that they cannot do magic - they cannot give us something that does not exist in the vaults. But take away the performance of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway and the pre-Prog 60's demos and you have about one disc's worth of material left that is of genuine interest.

I strongly feel that it would have been better if they had released an archive box set containing only studio material (such as non-album b-sides) from the whole career of the band and then another archive box set containing only live material from the whole career of the band. In that way it would have been possible to better follow the evolution of the band. This box set, like the follow-up Genesis Archive #2, is a nice addition and recommended for fans and collectors (like myself). These fans are, after all, the obvious target audience for these archival box sets anyway. For most others, having all the original albums, both studio and live (plus one or two live concert DVDs), is quite enough for a comprehensive Genesis collection.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |


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