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4.6 out of 5 stars175
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 11 September 2002
A curious one this; a mass of contradictions. A sprawling, pompous prog-rock concept album packed with taught, snappy tunes. A showcase for the virtuoso musicianship of this most British of progressive bands, but featuring some of the most awesomely tight ensemble playing you will hear this side of a Bartok string quartet. This was the sort of music that punk rock was invented as an antidote for, and yet its obession with the phenomenology of inner city street life was two decades ahead of its time (rap is still going down the same graffiti-strewn alley today).
The story behind the stylish, surrealistic lyrics is that of Rael, a young Puerto Rican graffiti artist on the streets of New York, who finds himself catapulted into a symbolic underworld (a sort of Jungian Hades) where the meaning or possibly the meaningless of his former street life is played out in a series of surreal cameos involving a cloning (The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging), religion (Carpet Crawlers), various sexual urges and anxieties (The Lamia, The Colony of Slippermen, The Doktor, etc.), disorientation (The Chamber of 32 Doors), and death (Anyway, The Supernatural Anaesthetist). The final message about saving one's own self through self-sacrifice is almost but not quite religious, and its curiously cautious optimism does not at all clash with the rest.
This was the last album Genesis made with Peter Gabriel as principal lyricist and vocalist, and the last but two featuring the astonishing Steve Hackett (now a successful solo artist in his own right) on lead guitar. Provided you can cope with the odd few minutes of self-indulgence it ranks as one the band's best albums. It certainly contains some of the best playing and one of the best studio productions of their career. In fact many would see it as the high point of Genesis' career as a real rock band (i.e. before it became a matching accessory for Phil Collins' solo career).
A particularly interesting feature of "The Lamb" is how modern it still sounds. Apart from a few cheesy moog noises that clearly date the work to the days when synths were an exciting novelty, it is all tasteful and clean. The rhythm section of Collins and Rutherford shows an almost uncanny rapport - they seem to work better together than on some much later cuts, while Gabriel's vocals and lyrics are a good advert for the stellar solo career that was about to be launched.
As usual it is Banks who provides the matrix that holds everything together - one of the enduring mysteries of rock is why his solo projects never quite gelled with the record-buying public. The classically trained keyboard virtuoso provided much of the unique quality that set Genesis apart from other progressive bands in the seventies, and that keeps their early material sounding fresh and challenging today, viz. a grasp of musical architecture. They knew how to use space, different instrumental textures and compositional structure in a way that no other rock band ever equalled let alone surpassed.
To me and to many others, the band's subsequent inch-by-inch descent into the swamps of adult-orientated radio rock is one of the great musical tragedies of the late 20th century. "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" is not perfect and is arguably not their best album. Nevertheless, in this mixture of good and average, punk and classicism, indulgence and discipline, experimentation and pop, "The Lamb" captures everything that almost made Genesis the greatest rock band ever. And as with all true classics, much of sounds even better now, nearly 30 years on, than it did on first release.
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on 18 March 2001
Brilliant! Moody, dark, mysterious and humerous all in one fine prog package. Even for those who can just take or leave Genesis this is a worthwhile purchase for anyone into prog or the concept album. Check out the keyboard work on 'In the cage' and 'Broadway melody' This album is timeless and strangely didn't sell to well on it's release in 1974. This is the last album Gabriel made with the band and in my view the best thing he has ever done.
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on 30 March 2010
I was very fortunate to have seen the band on the UK Lamb tour back in 1975 with two nights at the Palace Theatre in Manchester. Absolutely brilliant and I can still remember the biggest impact visually on the first night was the identical figure of Peter Gabriel dressed as Rael and an identical dummy on the opposite sides of the stage at the start of the track, IT. Then it was a major stage stunt. It was impossible for a few seconds to understand what was happening with explosions and strobe lights but by today's on-stage graphic techniques probably very tame.

I have the original vinyl and the first CD released from 1985 (in my view this is a very poor recording). I also purchased the re-mastered UK vinyl box set but due to poor pressing of some of the other albums I gave up. Recently I managed to get a copy of the Atlantic/Rhino USA vinyl box set. Now I finally have a full vinyl re-mastered set that I am happy with. The Lamb re-mastered vinyl is excellent. In my view it lacks the higher frequency range in places vs the original but the bass/percussion is much cleaner and more pronounced in the mix. It gives a softer, less harsh sound.

Although in my view this album was the best recorded/produced of the albums from 1970, it was never one you could use to highlight the sound quality of your Hi-Fi system like for instance the Pink Floyd albums. For me with Genesis this never happened until ABACAB was released when Hugh Padgham joined the fold.

So to the re-mastered CD stereo mix, I find it excellent. Like all the others 2008 re-mastered CDs it has a different sound mix vs the original vinyls. I find it has what I like in a good CD: clear, clean, sound low background noise and the music fills the speakers. I will always prefer the vinyl vs CD sound but I have absolutely no issue listening to this re-mastered CD and enjoying it. The quality of the music is still first class and there are no major derivations that make the songs sound that different. It is still a 70s classic album and for me the best Genesis album released.

I do not believe this is an easy album to take on board as a first introduction to Genesis. All the previous albums in my view are more accessible on a first listen. I was exposed to this album in the full historical sequence of the first five albums so it was a natural follow on and a very high point of following the band in the early to mid 70s. I still find the story difficult to fully understand and clearly it can be taken many ways. The combination of music, lyrics and vocal performance make the album outstanding and there is so much to extract from it on each listen.

So what's good on this album: in my view everything from start to finish, but my favourites even after 36 years are still:

The Cage, I love the build-up and structure of this track. The vocals are great, delivered with real feeling.
Back In NY City, a very different sounding Genesis track with an aggressive, gritty feel.
Fly on a Windshield: Like the vocals at the start followed by the heavy musical sequence, which vibrates around the room.
Hairless Heart/Counting Out Time: A beautiful instrumental perfectly leading into a very catchy, commercial sounding track.
Carpet Crawlers: An excellent smoothing interchange of vocals with keyboards and later percussion:
Etc, etc

Like all the other Genesis re-mastered CDs, it is disappointing not to have any out-takes/unreleased materials included. I assume there must be is a good reason for this.

In conclusion, I recommend this re-mastered CD. It may not be as the as the original album was made 36 years ago but in my opinion it does not take anything away from a classic album. If you want to get into the Peter Gabriel fronted Genesis for the first time I would start with the other re-mastered CDs in sequence (Trespass to The Lamb). They are all excellent but `The Lamb' needs a little more patience to get into. Once you are in, you will never get out of `The Cage'.
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on 5 June 2006
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway defies categorisation. For me it represents the most imaginative document, both musically and lyrically, the band (and I do say the BAND) ever committed to audiotape. The musicianship is flawless and the arrangements are simply haunting. It's the little touches I find myself coming back to time and again - witness the eerie 50 second coda at the end of In the Cage; the gentle beauty of the instrumental break during Cuckoo Cocoon; the total wig-out of The Waiting Room; there really are too many moments which shiver the fur to list here.

From the accounts of those most intimately involved, The Lamb had a very, very difficult birth. A quick websearch will give anyone interested a good account of the inside story. Steve Hackett is on record as describing The Lamb happening 'despite him, not because of him.' It is a great shame, but often the fate of the artist, that he could not fully enjoy the creation of something which has brought such great happiness to its audience. For, whatever the tensions within the band at the time of recording, there is something about the production, to my knowledge the only 'studio' album in the canon recorded on a mobile unit, unlike any other. Recorded (and for the most part arranged, thought not necessarily written) at a remote location in Glosspant, Wales, with the Island Mobile Studio during August-October 1974, some of the sense of isolation the band have since described about the process, has transferred onto the recording and lends itself in no small part to the themes of dislocation and alienation portrayed in Rael's extraordinary journey towards self-knowledge.

The achievements of all involved in the writing and performance of this album in the now 32 years post-Lamb, both as solo artists and in the various later incarnations of the band, have much to commend them and have brought deep and lasting pleasure to countless millions. As such, speculation as to what might have been had the line up remained intact, are redundant and ultimately futile. Instead, let us give thanks for and rejoice in their talents which, for a brief and shining moment, combined to such devastating effect on this impeccable and dramatic recording.

The word on the wind is that there has been recent discussion amongst the band with a view to presenting several performances of the Lamb. If such a consumation should ever come to pass, this reviewer for one will find it hard not to let his emotions get the better of him.
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on 9 August 2001
Worth buying just to read the story of Rael. Saddo that I was in my teens, I must have read it a hundred times while listening to this epic album. The music is just as gripping, with Gabriel living every tortured moment. Yes it's over the top and self indulgent but gloriously so. Hard to pick out highlights as there's never a dull moment but here goes: 'Fly on a Windshield'; the lyrics to 'Broadway Melody'; the soft beauty of 'Carpet Crawlers' and 'Silent Sorrow'; the truly scary Slippermen; the giddiness of 'Riding the Scree'. It's mad but just pretend you're 15 again and go with the flow; you won't hear anything quite like it and I promise you won't be disappointed.
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on 29 January 2010
The triumphant climax of the Gabriel Era. A concept album which began to sow the seeds for the punk movement. All that was good about Gabriel era Genesis is contained in this album, especially the magnificent side 4 which I wore out with my vinyl copy. The sequence of tracks starting with Colony of the Slippermen through Ravine, Riding the Scree and In The Rapids is the nearest thing to perfection you are likely to get.

It's an album you can become completely immersed in with an urban tale of street punk Rael and his schizophrenic tormented psyche portrayed by 'brother john'. References to Homer's Odyssey intermeshed with popular american culture make this a story which has been deconstructed in many different forms. The beauty is that it probably evokes a different reaction and interpretation by every single person that is lucky enough to experience it's beauty.

The album is a fitting and (probably) carefully planned climax for Gabriel as it contains many segments of a song called 'The Light' which was played live during the Trespass tour. Almost as if they were taking all the great unused ideas from the past and neatly wrapping up that era of the band. The Genesis that evolved after The Lamb were so far detached from this piece of work that a band name change would have been fitting and appropriate.
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on 27 November 2002
I have loved this album since I first heard it about ten years ago. Parts of it are well ahead of its 1974 sales tag, and much of it still sounds fresh today. I am not a huge fan of Genesis as a whole, though the Gabriel era stuff is mostly great, however this album is a true classic that anyone of any age could enjoy.
The Lamb provides its listener with a truly unique soundscape, a double album which never seems too long, a concept album, yet unrepetitive and unpretentious. It is totally emotive, ranging from sadness to euphoria, mourning to anger, desire to impotence. In its own surreal and beautiful way this album deals with the dilemna of humankind struggling to assert its identity in a commercial era. The story of Rael, the protagonist New Yorker, is difficult to comprehend yet a joy to experience. This is a fantastic album.
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on 6 May 2007
This is by far the most mature and musically accomplished album Genesis ever made...sad that it was the final call with Gabriel at the helm.

The album just oozes class from the opening to the finish and should be considered in the classic realms of Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, Bowie's Ziggy Stardust as one of the 70's most important albums.

The musicianship throughout the album is superb - with Phil Collins sticking to what he does best....playing drums!! and Tony Banks in particular shining as the excellent keyboard player he is. However the whole band are are in top form on this set.

You can only imagine, listening to this album that NY had a bewildering effect on the young English lads which were Genesis, prompting them to make this eclectic piece of music.

The album absolutely has to be listened to as a whole and picking out individual tracks would be totally remiss.. however there are some highlights which shouldn't be missed, particularly towards the end of the album, in fact the whole of what was side four of the original double album from "The Colony of Slippermen" on is superb, however you must listen to the rest of the album to understand this in the first place, otherwise it would be a bit like listening to "As Sure As Eggs Is Eggs (Aching Men's Feet)", the final part of the excellent "Supper's Ready" (Foxtrot), without listening to the rest of the track.

Don't get me wrong, it can be a difficult listen on first hearing, but persisting definitely will produce its rewards.

Absolutely Recommended!
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on 7 March 2012
I'm a big a fan of Peter Gabriel era Genesis and this album ranks as one of my all time favourites by ANY band not just by Genesis but this edition has pretty much got me fuming because of what has been done to my beloved.

I own the vinyl and CD copies from way back and I've listened to this album so many times in the past you just end up knowing every part of each song and I was really looking forward to hearing this edition. My hopes were not only dashed but completely ground to dust by the the so called 'work' done on this. Some parts have been completely removed whilst others have been added where before there was nothing. I was expecting an improvement, even if minimal but this version is completely abysmal IMO. I just can't believe that the members of Genesis care this little about their back catalogue to allow this to happen.

So, in summary - fantastic album but ruined but someone who's name I haven't even been bothered to learn but anyway GREAT JOB but really - perhaps it's time to find another one.

Not impressed.
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on 12 March 2003
The best Genesis album and, if you only know them with Collins' singing,then this will be a revelation. An album that tells a story that really does make you think. It, also, makes you think whem you hear Gabriel singing and Hackett on guitar how they miss them. From the title track to Carpet crawlers, which is a brilliantly atmospheric track, every one is a winner. Gabriel sings every song with an intensity that is awesome and I believe he left after this album. They did not get better and, once Hackett also left, slipped into MOR mediocrity but having made an album like this is an achievement and something that most other groups could never reach. Therefore, instead of knocking the present day Genesis, we should celebrate the old one...long may they be remebered!
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