“Up close and very personal” - The latest CD release by Ray Wilson reviewed by Alan Hewitt.

Ray has been an incredibly busy boy of late. Not content with his latest studio album: Chasing Rainbows (see review in an earlier edition of TWR) but he has continued to gig incessantly in Europe although sadly still no sign of any gigs here in the UK but never mind, we have the next best thing here in the shape of a live recording recorded at the SWR1 radio studios in Mainz Germany.

Spread over two discs, here we have the best of Ray’s career to date opening with Follow You Follow Me delivered in a wonderful acoustic setting which for me at least brought back very happy memories of Ray’s all too brief time with Genesis. Goodbye Baby Blue and The Actor ably demonstrate Ray’s abilities as a lyricist of some note and there are several other examples spread over the two discs including the humour of The Airport Song which definitely has a ring of truth to it as far as I am concerned!

Several other gems from the Genesis catalogue are dusted off here too including wonderful performances of Ripples and Entangled where Ray’s performance is augmented by that of the rest of his band including Darek Tarczewski on piano and Alicja Chrzaszcz and Barbara Szelagiewicz on violins and backing vocals for truly stunning readings of these Genesis classics before the show comes to a suitably dramatic close with Ray’s massive hit with Stiltskin; Inside and Mama which once again brought back a LOT of memories for yours truly. All in all, another excellent offering from Mr Wilson and one which makes me wish he would take the chance and bring this marvellous show to the UK once again.

Ray Wilson: Up Close And Personal Live At SWR1. Jaggy Polski.