"Revisiting the musical box" - A review of Alan Hewitt’s book “Genesis Revisited” by John Wilkinson.
Ok, lets start with one thing first. It’s fair to say that the author of this book is a close friend of mine, however I was asked by him to give my unbiased opinion on this work with no holds barred and having actually PAID for my copy, I don’t feel that I can be accused of any nepotism with regard to this review. So in keeping with Alan’s request here goes…
That out of the way I must say that the book is a considerable improvement on Alan’s last work “Opening The Musical box” The lack of colour photographs in his last book, was something that I know irked Alan enormously. Thankfully, mainly to the efforts of TWR staff, this has been rectified in this book. Having said that perhaps it would have been advantageous to break up the long text passages by interspersing the photos throughout the book instead of having them all in two sections. That minor quibble aside the photos are of great quality and well document the band throughout its history with many photos that I have not personally seen before.
The writing style is as was in the first book, but with the addition of updated
material bringing the Genesis story right up to date with the inclusion of the
2006 Turn It On Again Tour press conference photos and corresponding words of
wisdom about this event. There is LOTS more in the way of updated biographies
of each band member,
with the welcome addition of a section on Ray Wilson, which is informative and adds a welcome discography. As one would expect the best solo sections are the ones on Ant and Steve, both friends of the author. The Steve section in particular is very well researched and is a taster of Alan’s proposed book on the man.
All the famous Hewitt attention to detail is there for all us Genesis anoraks who have to know where the band played on 5th March 1977 (it was the Civic Centre in Ottawa Canada by the way) with the gig guide corrected by none other than Phil himself (I know, I was there when he did it). As one would expect the discography section is also well put together with omissions from the last book dealt with.
Apart from the one minor quibble about photographs detailed above, the only other things that I can fault this book for is that for one, some of the typesetting of the book appears to have been rushed. There are several paragraphs which seem to be split for no reason, (some in mid sentence) and while they didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the book could leave it open to the charge already made by some individuals with vested interests, that it is an amateur production. Another slight quibble for a Philophile such as me is that whereby Alan details Steve joining the band in the main section, he leaves it to the Phil solo section to do the same.
So all in all the acid test for any book on Genesis has to be “Did I enjoy it?” The answer in this case is yes I did. To illustrate the point, I have recently purchased another book on Genesis which was full of both factual and photographic errors, and also had a rather off putting Peter Gabriel bias which actually spoilt my enjoyment of the book itself. Alan thankfully avoids this trap and has produced a book which in my opinion is up there with Mr Gallo’s book as the definitive book on Genesis.
So from one mad Genesis Scouser to another…..
Well done that man.