“Selling England By The Pound” by Genesis - album review

TJR says

Can you tell me where my country lies?” sings Peter Gabriel a capella, setting the tone in the very opening gambit. The fifth Genesis long player was delivered in October '73; they're concerned at the commercialization and Americanization of dear old blighty. Still, the album tour visited Europe and North America between September 1973 and May 1974 and, according to Wikipedia, their six shows in three days at The Roxy in Los Angeles were well received by audiences and critics, so it seems no offence was taken. The ever-more popular five line-up: Peter Gabriel (vocals, flute, oboe, percussion), Tony Banks (keyboards, 12-string guitar), Steve Hackett (electric guitar, nylon guitar), Mike Rutherford (12-string guitar, bass, electric sitar) and Phil Collins (drums, assorted percussion, backing vocals). “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)” would give the group a surprise #21 hit - the group's first - early in '74. It has an agreeable, vaguely psychedelic vibe, and comes complete with sitar and all, almost grooving it's way along. A request to appear on Top of the Pops was turned down by the group. Why, the very idea! Closing side one, drummer Phil Collins steps up to sing “More Fool Me”, a very worrying development for mankind in general. The sheer drippyness of the acoustic ballad is utterly offensive.

Opening side two “The Battle Of Epping Forest” starts promisingly with a war march that reminds me of Pretty Things “Private Sorrow”, but this only lasts for a minute or so before we launch into the familiar progressive pop. Still, it's one of their more interesting pieces, telling a tale that could almost translate as a clash between the firms of Millwall and West Ham. Even comes with mockney accents guv. The best is saved 'til last with “Aisle Of Plenty”, another which gains brownie points for good humour, word-playing with British supermarkets: “Easy, love there's the safe way home… Thankful for her fine fair discount, Tess co-operates”. It's almost delivered on a dubbeat plate, which is another extremely welcome surprise. Alas, it's all over within 2 minutes, almost as if they're not taking it too seriously. “Selling England By The Pound” is regarded by many as their finest work; I wouldn't know about that, but at least I can hear moments which aren't completely alien to me.

The Jukebox Rebel
14-Nov-2008

A1 [08:04] 3.5.png Genesis - Dancing With The Moonlit Knight (Tony Banks, Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins, Steve Hackett) Prog
A2 [04:07] 4.4.png Genesis - I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) (Tony Banks, Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins, Steve Hackett) Prog
A3 [09:49] 2.8.png Genesis - Firth Of Fifth (Tony Banks, Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins, Steve Hackett) Prog
A4 [03:12] 1.5.png Genesis - More Fool Me (Tony Banks, Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins, Steve Hackett) Songwriter
B1 [11:49] 4.5.png Genesis - The Battle Of Epping Forest (Tony Banks, Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins, Steve Hackett) Prog
B2 [04:13] 2.1.png Genesis - After The Ordeal (Tony Banks, Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins, Steve Hackett) Prog
B3 [11:06] 3.1.png Genesis - The Cinema Show (Tony Banks, Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins, Steve Hackett) Prog
B4 [01:32] 5.2.png Genesis - Aisle Of Plenty (Tony Banks, Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins, Steve Hackett) Songwriter




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