Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel 1 [Aka: Car] CD (album) cover


Peter Gabriel


Crossover Prog

3.56 | 626 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
4 stars An album that receives more than its fair share of mixed ratings, the debut solo effort by Gabriel, following his self imposed hiatus after leaving Genesis, is, on first impressions, a mixed bag, but, ultimately, an album which rewards patience and, above all, an appreciation of an exceptionally talented artist starting on the long road to breaking free from his past and shouting out his own voice in the musical world.

An eclectic mix of guest artists was brought in to assist, although only one has lasted the course to still be with Gabriel to this day, that being the great Tony Levin on bass. Fripp featured on guitars, although not, pointedly, on the two most blazing exemplars of that instrument, Slowburn and Here Comes The Flood, both of which were played by the incredible instrumentation of Dick Wagner, who, this reviewer is quick to admit, has remained unheard of ever since. Fripp's more direct influence on proceedings would await the disappointing follow up, and this, in hindsight, is recognisable as Gabriel in his own right.

The opener is a deliberate attempt to resurrect the story telling he was famous with in Genesis alongside the humorous side so brilliantly portrayed on Harold The Barrel. It is a magnificent opener, but the other attempt at eclectic humour, Excuse Me, featuring a barber shop quartet, is less effective, to the point of being an annoyance, which is a shame because the lyrics are interesting in their depiction of a breakup.

The album spawned a hit single in the still evergreen and popular Solsbury Hill. A beautiful and aching paeon to the England he loved and found in spades in the West Country, it remains to me one of the most evocative short songs of all time, crying as it does to the need to belong and not be torn between conflicting loyalties and people. Talking of evocative, first side closer Humdrum is exceptional, giving us a lovely flute solo, almost jazzy backing, to a most incredible depiction of life in the "normal" lane. Almost certainly written as a description of life outside the music business and career he left, this is a track which, if anything, worked even better live, as the example on "Plays Live" shows more than adequately.

With the exception of Down The Dolce Vita, which is a little bit too knowing an attempt at something different for its own good, the second side of the vinyl LP I first purchased over 30 years ago now remains to this day a highlight of this great man's career.

Slowburn is simply amongst the best that Gabriel ever released, inside or outside Genesis. Wagner's guitar cannot be praised highly enough (it is simply to die for), and the rest of the band excel in both quieter and rockier passages backing a simply superb vocal and lyric that drags Gabriel, gloriously, back into Rael territory in its telling of a forlorn and doomed troupe.

Waiting For The Big One is another palpable attempt to move away from the Genesis heritage, but this one is more successful. The idea, in 1975, that Gabriel could possibly record what is, at heart, an old fashioned blues number, was unthinkable, and it is enlivened by some great guitar work in the solo bursts.

The album closer, though, saves the best until last. I am one of the few, I think, who believes that the solo Gabriel with piano and vocals version of Here Comes The Flood is better than the original heard here, but that statement is absolutely not made to denigrate at all the sheer beauty of this piece of music. It is, perhaps, the earliest example of Gabriel's later infatuation with bringing us stories of unsung heroes, those who willingly give up their lives and liberty for those less fortunate. The lyrics that expand the story are so painfully beautiful. "Stranded starfish have no place to hide", "and as the nail sunk in the cloud, the rain was warm and soaked the crowd", "we'll say good bye to flesh and blood", "it'll be those who gave their islands to survive, drink up dreamers, you're running dry". I could go on, but how such poetry can be transformed to such evocative music is, to me, the stamp of a true genius.

There will be younger members of the site who love classic Genesis but, for whatever reason, be reticent to explore the career of solo Gabriel because of mixed ratings. Don't be. The man is a truly exceptional artist, and this was the start of a very long and deeply satisfying journey. It has its faults, but, ultimately, its merits far outweigh those and give it a deserved four stars. An excellent addition to any prog rock collection.

lazland | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this PETER GABRIEL review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives