on 22 October 2009
Viewed as a Genesis album, the group's debut is likely to disappoint. But when viewed as an archetypal late '60s lightly-psychedelic pop record, compared and contrasted to all those one or two hit wonders like the Herd, the Honeybus, the Warm Sounds etc...it's likely to impress. It may be speaking the same musical language as those aforementioned '60s-kitsch classics, but it's clearly the work of a seriously talented band. Tune out certain lyrics and admire the vocals and keyboard work - Gabriel and Banks were already formidable, and they're the focal points here.
It's often said that this album sounds like either the Moody Blues, or the Bee Gees trying to be arty. Both comparisons are valid, and not just because of the string arrangements and mellotron usage. The album was planned - whether by then-manager Jonathon King or the group - as a concept album, "the entire Bible, in twelve songs!" Sounds Moody, but then so do the backup vocal harmonies which crop up in many songs (in which Tony Banks's is the most discernible voice), and the song intros which seem more like unrelated link-tracks (one of which is actually a snippet of "Twilight Alehouse"!).
As it turns out, the Biblical concept broke down halfway through the album - you guessed it, they never got beyond the book of Genesis! And why not, it's easy to use the creation and the Garden of Eden as metaphors for adolesence, awakening sexuality etc.
As to the Bee Gees comparison - Gabriel specifically impersonates Robin Gibb for a few seconds on "The Silent Sun" (which in an alternate mix became the lead single from the album), and there are other moments when his intonation is rather Gibby - not that there's anything wrong with that. Also, Anthony Phillips's guitarwork (worth focussing on, even when they're buried in the mix, as on "In Limbo") is not so very different to Vince Melouney's. You could say, these are the songs the Bee Gees were trying to write during the late '60s - Genesis beat them at their own game.
The double-disc of the album is the one to get...if you don't mind duplication of the Archive Volume 1 box set. The bonus disc is virtually a recapitulation of that box's fourth disc. Then again, that's an improvement on previous issues which were padded with inferior-quality transfers of songs from the Archive, or - worse still - an interview with Jonathan King. Not forgetting the terible cut-price-label issues which jumbled up the running order, omitted the non-album single sides, or even omitted original album tracks.
Key songs (hear these first): "The Serpent", "Am I Very Wrong?", "In The Wilderness", "In Limbo", "That's Me", "One-Eyed Hound", "Build Me A Mountain", "The Magic Of Time", "Hey!" and "Patricia".
on 19 December 2011
The first Genesis album is quite distinct from their Seventies Progressive rock albums, hence the wide ranging opinions found in other reviews. I enjoy all sorts of music from all eras and Genesis in the 1970's were a special band. But this is also special in a different way. It is an excellent album chock full of melodic, psychedelically tinged late Sixties pop with plenty of vocal harmonies to complement the songs. Much criticism is in the direction of the production, which is partly justified as the band's instruments are boxed in over to one side of the mix. The string arrangements are actually largely tasteful and complementary, the only flaw is in the stereo mixing - but then again, this was recorded in 1968 when it was still common practice for instruments to share tracks on four or eight track recording equipment.
Stand-out tracks include 'One Day', 'In the Beginning', 'In the Wilderness', 'The Serpent' and 'Window'. However, the album is very consistent and the songs are linked by instrumental passages to create a cohesive whole (the piano piece following 'In the Beginning' is wonderful). The album is bursting with melodies and ideas.
It seems there are Seventies prog fans who simply aren't into Sixties pop-psych and dislike this album, which is fair enough; there is no right or wrong when it comes to musical tastes. However, I will simply say that if you're into late Sixties pop, this is a hugely enjoyable album and a fantastic debut, especially considering that they were still only about 18 years old. I disagree with those who state (including perhaps the band themselves!) that Genesis really begins with the follow up, 'Trespass'. 'From Genesis to Revelation' is, most emphatically, a proper Genesis album - Peter Gabriel's voice is instantly recognisable and there are acoustic guitars aplenty. If Genesis had split up before 'Trespass', I'm sure this album would be a cult / lost / underground classic of the era.
on 15 August 2010
T think this was their first album. Some of the tracks are old enough to be recorded only in mono! But this doesn't really detract from the quality of the content. Although not as experimental as their early seventies records this cd is bursting with inventiveness and is mostly themed around beginnings - or genesis! The cd is entitled 'From Genesis to revelation' but I remember it being called '....And the World was', which was identical except that it had two tracks that are missing from this later pressing. A pity, since the missing tracks were amongst the best. Still, for the money this is a worthy cd and points out to the listener where the band were coming from. 8 out of 10.
on 10 February 2009
I'm an italian Genesis old fan. Since any weeks ago this title was the only one that felt in my collection, because I thought that the quality of this old record could be not acceptable. When I saw this new (2005)remasterized full version (2 cd set) I finally decide to complet my Genesis collection: now I can say to all of you that it was really a good idea. His Sound is very clear and in the 2nd extra cd there are many precious things for a Genesis fan. Don't lost the opportunity to hear the first Genesis songs. Bye Flavio
on 2 April 2013
You have seen I have a peculiar interest for not so hit making releases from 1969.
From Genesis to revelation is one of those, I am now listening to the first pressing of the vinyl album, from way back then.
The tone of the recording is delicate organic and milder than the CD release. It is the one moment to hear John Silvers carefully put drumming. On this debut album the whole band per se are making a more subtle performance in comparison to the large size Prog rock and slick pop that would effect the band post John's departure.
This is way before the large than life sound was established and the sound on this album is more authentic and modest, totally made for vinyl.
The songs are not magnum Opus recordings as on say "Selling England" but in return the sound is softer and more delicate.
I have heard several recordings from this group `Land of Confusion' era, `We Can't dance' era or (most recently) `Calling All Stations', I am also aware that Gabriel appears as back up On the Yusuf Islam and Friends' tape `Night of Remembrance Live at the Royal Albert Hall' (2005), really worth seeking out, but yet as they say, from small beginnings... 'From Genesis to Revelation' is delicate and unique, well before Symphonic rock, world music and the what not.
Speaking of `From Gensis from Revelation,': I must say there seems to be nothing quite like it. It is note only sweetly atmospheric and swiftly put together, the members of the Group carries their hearts out on their sleeves and do so while retaining the listener together with a producer who new how to in simple terms production wise carry a somewhat ethereal feel with up close and personal existential songs, with leanings towards existential philosophy, without letting the group fall into traps such as overindulgence or pretentiousness. Jonathan King knew what he was on about in giving them direction not only by providing lush strings but handing them some well considered advice on their approach as artists and composer. Thusly therefore An initial demo named about a Good Looking Girl named "She is Beautiful" with a chorus like "She is a Model" was developed to become "The Serpent" with a more telling chorus "Beware: the Future".
At this point the band was only in it for fun and they were still rehearsing at drummer John Silvers house.
This not quite unlike The Beatles used to have rehearsals at Pete Best house, and this is wonderful another proof you do not need to be big around the kit to be a great drummer, If you will.
Compare early Genesis cuts with John on drums like say "When the Sour Turns to Sweet" or "In The Wilderness" with early prolific Beatles cuts with Pete still in the band like "Why" or "Nobody's Child" the same sweet delicacy is there, and it changed quite a lot when Collins ( or Ringo in the case of the Beatles) came about and stole the show.
'So You Want to Experience
`From Genesis to Revelation'?
If you really want to experience this From Genesis to Revelation, you do not really need the expanded and digitally re-mastered edition(unless you are really into music history and how sounds have developed through the years - as there is demos in the set from as far back as 1967).
'The final say'
Try finding the original vinyl because then you will get the entire spectrum of the organic, concerted delicacy that is "From Genesis to Revelation". Existential wandering wonders of life and death and moral dilemmas of true seekers, that almost gives Urban Hymns a run for it's money. The thematic concept `From Genesis to Revelation' expresses it self in many ways.
As such "I Cry: When Will I Die" (in Limbo) are in perfect harmony with sweet un candid expression of LOVE "Silent Sun" that has a really smooth vibe not quite unlike something from `The Bee Gees,' and also we have ethereal, pastoral songs like the onces stated above, but delievered with such mildness and caretaking, I doubt the never did anything quite like it, after this.
The LP was a Commercial failure, that said, it doesn't make it a bad album, it should be sought after I think, many worse 60's albums as considered masterpieces while this album gathers dust or passes by virtually unknown to many people passionate about music history. A quintessential and unique 60's album and probably the best this group ever put out, however modest, and subtle it may be.
Is it `the best 60's' Debut since the Byrds solid 12" `Mr Tambourine Man LP' 1965?
It may very well be, but in the end "From Genesis to Revelation" does not have to be compared to anything else.
on 30 October 2011
My introduction to Genesis was `Selling England by the pound'. A great album but terrible one to use as a bench mark for the earlier work, and this one in particular.
I bought this (FGTR)as a vinyl LP back in the 1970's. Played a track or two and decided there were better things to spend money on than this platter. So I returned it to the shop and got my money back. What a d**k!
OK, so it ain't dance music, but I've just listened to the Mp3 samples and I recon I could have lived with it maybe after all. How much is that vinyl LP worth now???!
Somehow it fits in with the time line that leads on to Trespass, Nursery Cryme and Foxtrot.
For me a great band until the departure of Hackett and Gabriel with their finest being 'The lamb lies down on Broadway'. Still love this one to pieces................ Oh Hum!!
on 16 April 2016
No cheating. No Googling. I'll tell you what I know in my own head and no more.
I first bought this album in 1985 on vinyl. I'd loved Genesis for the previous five or so years and had bought all the key Charisma pink label stuff: Nursery Cryme, Selling England, Foxtrot, Trespass, etc. and enjoyed them all.
I previously had no idea about this album's existence, let alone the impression it has was about to make upon me. I'd thought Genesis began around 1970 and that I'd already got all their early stuff. No internet in those days, so you learnt essentially by word of mouth, or stumbling over things rummaging in a second-hand record shop, say.
I think I got a Rare Record Guide book and found out about this Genesis Sixties release there. Desperate to seek it out, I drove about twenty miles (from Crouch End) to the late and much lamented Beanos record store in Croydon. This is where I got hold of my first copy - a Dutch import Decca copy. I paid what for me was a fortune for it - about £15 at the time. £15 very well spent.
The album was produced by Jonathan King. Don't let that put you off. Whatever your view on him as a person, he knew how to make catchy and commercial songs and for Genesis, this is about as catchy and commercial as it gets, until their 1990s 'We Can't Dance' period.
Band personnel at the time, I am not sure of in full, but I do know a teenage and sweet sounding Peter Gabriel was there on vocals. Anthony Philips, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks were also present, but no Phil Collins on drums at that stage.
From Genesis to Revelation is more piano and strings than anything else and for me, a simple and deeply beautiful sounding album. Many of its songs have stayed with me for life to date - imprinted upon my mind. Melodic and naively charming in intention, it is one of those rare albums where virtually every track is inherently listenable by varying degree.
I mentioned 'commercial' earlier. Well, it was certainly my 'commercial' but in terms of original sales, a flop, with several flop singles to go alongside it. Songs like The Silent Sun, A Winter's Tale and When The Sour Turns to Sweet are infectiously catchy to me, but at the time, passed most people by it seems. Still, there was so much great music for them to contend with at the time, you can understand why the album didn't sell more copies than it did, getting swallowed up by all the more established releases of the period.
My favourite track? In the Wilderness. I have played this so many times and never tire of it. If I had a pound for every time etc...etc..
The CD release I purchased has 19 tracks in total - the orignal LP release ones, the Decca A and B side releases, plus an excellent booklet to accompany it.
If you only know your Genesis from the sharp suited 1990s Phil Collins version, go back in time and be amazed at how they sounded during their more innocent times. Equally if 'your' Genesis was the one when Peter Gabriel dressed as a flower with attitude, you should love this album.
After listening to all of Genesis' other output, I thought I would start at the beginning and listen to "From Genesis To Revelation" and the group's first two singles, "The Silent Sun" and "A Winter's Tale".
Before listening to it, I asked myself whether I should listen to it from the perspective of someone who has never heard any Genesis and judge it entirely on its own merits or to listen to it trying to pick up any signals as to what the group would become. I think I did a bit of both. Michael Rutherford has described the group's development as a continuum so it makes sense to listen to this as it marks the start of the group's history.
The story of how this album came about is interesting. The group was made up of friends from two different student bands at Charterhouse School, the Garden Wall and the Anon. They produced a demo which had been politely declined by record companies but tried again when Jonathan King came to the school one day. Someone discretely put the demo in King's car with a note saying, "listen to this". He liked it sufficiently to help produce the first single, "The Silent Sun." As the group was worried that King would lose interest in them, they acquiesced to his advice and produced a rather Bee Gees influenced record for Decca Records under the name Genesis, a name selected by Jonathan King himself.The group ditched its first drummer from their schooldays and appointed John Silver for the album, which was again produced by Jonathan King.
The album was made in 1969 and sold some 600 copies - hardly setting the world alight. I am sure that people only listen to it because of the later success enjoyed by Genesis.
The first thing that strikes me is the astonishing maturity of the musicians on this recording. It definitely does not sound like a group of 17 year olds. There are some distinctive touches that mark the recording out such as interesting key changes and Tony Banks' rich classically inspired piano playing. Every so often there are moments in which you can glimpse the future Genesis (like the synthesiser sounds at the beginning of "In Hiding". Most of the songs are enjoyable to listen to and I certainly didn't feel like a waste of time.
There are aspects I don't like though.There is heavy use of orchestral strings, which give the album a rather soupy sound which is very much at odds with the sound we have got to know in subsequent recordings. There is also a brass section in certain tracks which impresses but again it's not Genesis. The think that impresses me about Genesis is their amazing ability to create a huge almost orchestral palate without bringing in any extra musicians.
One song that had me cringing was "Am I Very Wrong?" It starts well but then it has the naffest chorus! It is incredibly dirgelike and sadly a couple of other songs are also have this quality.
I think it is a worthwhile listen though. I enjoyed hearing it but doubt whether it would encourage anyone to become a fan of this group.
on 5 June 2011
This often forgotten Genesis album was written and recorded when the band members were very young indeed and only thought of themselves as a songwriting co-operative as opposed to a proper band. Understandably then the playing isn't always the most impressive but the songs themselves are still excellent.
Recorded at the tail end of the 60s, the style is definitely in the pop style of the time. Some of the songs remind me of Scott Walker, with deep reverb on Peter Gabriel's thick voice and expansive semi-orchestral arrangements.
It's actually hard to pick favourite tracks as the overall quality of songs is very consistent. 'Where The Sour Turns To Sweet' was the first track I ever heard from this album and remains a favourite for sentimental reasons but all the songs have very good tunes, genuinely poetic (if a little naive) lyrics and a certain atmosphere that hints that this band is more than just another band.
This was a very promising start to what was a major recording career and I'm discovering more of its secrets as I grow older and listen to it more and more. Give it a listen!
on 4 May 2006
If you have any of the previous re-issues of G-to-R and the first achive box set there is nothing new here except a second (more refined) version of "image blown out". I would have preferred the 2nd disc to be a stripped down version of the album wthout strings/horns (cf "let it be..naked"), as the group were reputed to have been disappointed with these additions; but thanks to the helpful sleeve notes this effect can almost be achieved by shutting off the left speaker channel during tracks 1/3/6/8/9.
For those not familiar with the record,it is enjoyable, though clearly without the majesty of later works, and is a product of it's time; songs 2-4 mins, album recorded in one day,at a time when "prog" meant Moody Blues and BeeGees.
If you can enjoy Piper at the Gates of Dawn and eponymous debuts from Yes, Fairport, Caravan etc without undue critical comparison with later masterpieces,give it a go.