Genesis - The Lost BBC Session: Nightride 22nd February 1970. By Peter Morton.
How many of you remember the radio series Nightride which was on the air during the 1960’s and early 1970’s? Probably not that many of you. More importantly however, how many of you remember Genesis recording a thirty minute session for this programme during February 1970? Well, they did and this recording which has only recently been re-broadcast (played by Alan “Fluff” Freeman) must be the earliest professional radio recording done by the band.
The musicians in Genesis on this session were: Anthony Phillips, Tony Banks, John Mayhew, Mike Rutherford and Peter Gabriel.
What is so special about this recording is that three of the songs that were played haven’t appeared on any single or album. These being: Shepherd, Pacidy and Let Us Now Make Love. The other songs plated were early versions of Stagnation and Looking for Someone. Dusk was also played on the original broadcast but omitted when it was recently re-broadcast.
Looking at each song individually, probably Shepherd is the most interesting. It starts with Tony’s piano playing accompanying Peter’s vocals for the verses and then what possibly sounds like Anthony Phillips taking the lead vocal for the chorus. With Phillips on vocals and twelve string guitar, Gabriel on flute and Banks on piano, the song really takes shape.
Pacidy, the second unreleased song on the session was written the previous summer and had already been part of the band’s live set from that point. Like Shepherd, it is heavily influenced by twelve string guitar. Musical contributions on this song come from all members of the band. Particularly noticeable is Mike Rutherford’s bass guitar and Tony Banks’ organ.
The final unreleased song is one called Let Us Now Make Love which must have been written during the winter of 1969/70. Once again the emphasis on Anthony Phillips’ twelve string guitar playing is strongly evident but throughout the song all of the group get a chance to perform superbly. With Peter Gabriel’s strong vocals really piercing through.
Before I talk about the last two songs on this session, it is certainly worth mentioning that Genesis had obviously written a large amount of material since From Genesis To Revelation was released the previous March and I am sure that if the high standard of the three above named songs was anything to go by, then they must surely have had enough strong material to have released an album between From Genesis To Revelation and Trespass. It is very difficult to understand why no record company was interested in them until later on in 1970. Maybe it was that their music was just too far advanced at this stage. Whatever the case, it certainly is a pleasure to be able to listen to and enjoy these unreleased Genesis songs that were written over twenty years ago.
The last two songs on the session: Stagnation and Looking For Someone are slightly less exciting than the unreleased ones. However, Stagnation has a completely different ending to that which would appear on the album version released later that year with the words Then let us drink/then let us smile/then let us go replaced with the words: Join with me upon the quest for gold/there’s enough to make us all feel good/join with me and share the treasure trove/ Seems to me like any other crowd. The rest of Stagnation apart from the odd word alteration, is the same that would appear on Trespass although musically it is performed quite differently.
The final song; Looking For Someone is basically the same version that appears on Trespass apart from, once again, the odd word alterations and a very interesting cymbal rhythm that accompanies each verse.
Finally, it must be said that on Nightride Genesis played an excellently performed session which clearly proved that even twenty years ago, the band were already writing and playing outstanding pieces of music. In conclusion though, it must be said that it is a great shame that Shepherd, Pacidy and Let Us Now Make Love as well as a number of other songs that were written in the late 1960’s never made it on to album!
Editor’s Note: Peter also had a go at transcribing the lyrics for these
songs but got several of them completely wrong (much to the subsequent amusement
of Mr Phillips! So, to spare Peter’s blushes I have omitted them here)