Genesis on CD - The third in an occasional series examining the band’s CDs by: Jonathan Dann.
This time around we arrive at the CD issue of Seconds Out (GECD2001), arguably one of the best live albums going. The CD re-issue of this album was somewhat disappointing in a number of respects. Firstly, the packaging. There has been no attempt to reproduce any of the photographs from either the gatefold sleeve or the inner sleeves of the original album. Instead, a small series of photos depicting Phil during a tambourine abuse session are reproduced in the inside of the booklet. However, these are of fairly useless quality - the last photo makes him look lie some sort of alien! What was needed here were some of Armando Gallo’s live photographs reproduced in full and in colour! When this album originally appeared on CD it was at full price - around £22, so you would think some care would be taken over the packaging! The lyrics are reproduced inside the booklet which is a good idea, although as only the closing section of The Musical Box is featured on the album was it really worth printing the lyrics to the whole song?
The actual quality of the recording comes through well though, with Supper’s Ready and Los Endos making a lasting impression. There is a quibble about where Los Endos has been set to start on the CD - just after the drum duet would be the general consensus of opinion, but the CD registers the final two and a half minutes as being the track! The potential for extra tracks to be included has also been neglected on this re-issue. No doubt the tapes for the shows that the album is taken from are still in existence, and the opportunity to add all of the remaining tracks from the shows was there. Failing that there were several interesting songs played on the A Trick Of The Tail tour such as White Mountain which could have also seen the light of day on this CD.
And Then There Were Three followed Seconds Out in 1978 and its popularity meant that it was one of the first Genesis albums to appear in the then new format CD. There are two obvious omissions in terms of extra tracks that could be added here - the B sides to Many Too Many: The Day The Light Went Out and Vancouver. A further track that would serve to make the CD of the album complete - the US single remix version of Follow You Follow Me, which is a real rarity these days.
The lyrics to all of the songs on the album are reproduced inside the booklet which also features the cover artwork in full. The way the lyrics have been set out leaves a little to be desired - there are several large gaps which waste quite a lot of space. What might have been an idea for this and the other albums when placing them on CD is to include some photos of the line up on that album along with a background to the album so that established fans could learn more about each album, and those new to the band could find out how this particular album fits into the Genesis story. The actual sound on this album is well up to standard and the album comes over well as a whole.
Next we come to the CD re-issue of Duke. There is some difficulty over saying if the B sides to the singles taken from this album should appear on the CD of the album, given that they appeared initially on the CD of Three Sides Live. However, as this first issue of that album containing those B sides and the tracks from the 3 x 3 EP has since been deleted, it seems that there is the opportunity to add them to the Duke CD.
The booklet reproduces the lyrics and drawings as seen on the original album although a little colour wouldn’t do any harm. Apart from that quibble, the sound is spot on throughout and the album is another essential acquisition on CD. The albums that follow Duke have tended to keep more in keeping with the issue of the respective album as the CD became established as the way to present music for consumption by the general public. The opportunity to add B sides to the CD of albums such as Abacab is there, but what might be an answer to some of these non-album tracks appearing on CD is a specific compilation of B sides and rarities.
Recently there has been mention made by members of the band that they are considering
re-mastering the older albums to bring them into line with current technology.
While this sounds like a good idea, it is to be hoped that they won’t
even dare to try and produce a collection like the recent £100+ Pink Floyd
boxed set with just straight re-issues of the albums re-mastered and so on.
It would be a far better idea if they were to follow the lead of bands like
Jethro Tull who escaped the tired old boxed set format and presented something
that the real dedicated fans (who are the people who are most likely to buy
such an item) really want. In a recent interview, Mike Rutherford mentioned
that there are a number of “pre- first album sings” which are of
interest, and he adds that “it might be an idea to get them released sometime”.
It sounds as if with a little persuasion, we may one day get the legendary Brian
Roberts demos as an official release. Let’s hope so!