"Genesis Mere Mortals" - The Musical Fox Live In Basle Switzerland 1972 bootleg reviewed by Ted Sayers.
The relatively recent arrival of the bootleg CD has really boosted the quality of bootleg packaging as a whole. In the beginning (fortunate pun there) you could tell a bootleg from the way it was presented, ie it was usually a very bad photograph of the artists concerned on a plain white sleeve (if you were lucky) with a record of equally poor quality, sound wise, within.
Most, indeed if not all, Genesis bootlegs from these heady days of 1972 were pretty poor unless they had been “stolen” form radio broadcasts - few and ever further between in those days than nowadays. The Musical Fox opens a few nice little windows on the Genesis of those days.
This bootleg is by no means of radio broadcast quality, in fact the editor’s consensus (Concensus? What Concensus?!) is that it is probably just a pretty good mix desk recording. We (?) also tent to feel that the date and venue may be incorrect (Genesis’ first Swiss gigs were at the Palais des Fetes Beaujoire Lausanne on 29.9.73 and at the Eulach Halle Winterthur on 22.1.74 and Geneva on 29.1.74 according to press releases etc - AH).
There is however, no doubt that it is a recording from 1972. There is no record of Genesis playing in Switzerland that year but in view of the fact that some of the song introductions are in French it may be that the recording was made at one of the shows that the band played in either Belgium or Paris in that year.
The quality, as already pointed out, may not be perfect (and it IS poorly edited) but it is good enough to make out the roughness of the undoubted talent present herein. Yes, roughness is the right word, for outside the sterility of the recording studios and without all those overdubs to help, Genesis here sound like a band that at times are struggling.
This is of course, partly due to their youth, and partly due to bad acousticsand sound engineers who bring in wrongly timed effects. Gabriel’s between song stories were just taking shape at this period in time and spoken partly in French, they truly expose his inexperience and charming naivete. As well all know, this banter went on to become an intriguing section of their stage show prior to Peter’s departure.
The inclusion of Happy The Man and Stagnation are interesting, if only to highlight their lack of performance since in the last two decades (or so), but the latter is scattered with beautiful mistakes. It is nice to know that Genesis were/are fallible. Yes, even they were once mortals.