on 24 January 2004
An absolute masterpiece as Genesis albums go. 11th Earl is a first-class opener, and it just gets better from there. Phil, having taken over as lead vocalist on "A Trick of the Tail", continues to lend his own unique style to some beautiful lyrics. "Blood on the Rooftops" has a poignancy as it was one of Steve Hackett's last contributions to the band before he left. A stunning finale - the last 3 tracks are segue, a winning formula later repeated on "Duke", with that good old trick of reminding the listener of previous tracks. (In that quiet earth has a great riff from 11th Earl). "Afterglow" really rounds it all off with its powerfully romantic sound. Certainly worth every penny!
on 30 November 2007
Whenever I hear this album, thoughts go back to the gig in 1977 at Birmingham Odeon, when I saw the boys on the "Wind" tour. The most brilliant concert I have ever been to, showcasing their most brilliant album (more so than Trick of the Tail). This album represents the high-water mark of Genesis's career, before the sad decline through "And Then There Were Three", and "Duke", to the appalling "ABACAB".
Prog-rock is often criticised as just self-indulgent twiddling, but listen to the epic story-telling of "One for the Vine", the lush romanticism of "Your Own Special Way", and the semi-orchestral "Blood on the Rooftops", with its witty lyrics (the Queen, Errol Flynn and Mother Goose mentioned in the same song?) - I'm getting a bit carried away, but you get the picture. If you want the finest example of 1970's British prog-rock, this album is close to perfection. If your acquaintance with Genesis began in 1979, buy this album and hear what you missed.
Incidentally, I know I'm not supposed to comment on other reviews, but I can't let previous comments on "All in a Mouse's Night" go without offering a different view. A weak track? Let's run it through the checklist for Genesis classics: 1. Whimsical/nursery-rhyme lyrics - check. 2.Sublime guitar from Hackett - check. 3. Movements with different time-signatures - check. 4.Climactic, multi-layered ending with Banks playing everything including the kitchen sink - check. Yep, sounds like a classic to me. Definitely one of the best tracks on the album. But hey - don't believe me, buy it and judge for yourself!
on 22 October 2000
Simply put, IMHO, the last great Genesis album before it all went downhill. They hadn't had a bad album from 'Foxtrot' to 'Trick of the Tail', and Wind and Wuthering is the last of this great era of Genesis albums.
The Album opens with Eleventh Earl of mar, which is really the stand out track for 'theme' of the album, that, and One for the Vine are just amazing. If you like the instrumental sections of genesis work, then wind and wuthering is definetely no exception. Two tracks in one 'Unquiet slumbers for the sleepers.... and ...In that quiet earth' is a suberb 10 or so minute instrumental that eventually crescendos to a very funky rendition of the Eleventh Earl of Mar theme (which i might add, is my favourite few bars of the album, and i can't help but Bounce to). Other Stand out tracks are 'All in a mouse's night' which for some reason reminds me of 'Robbery, assault and Battery' from Trick in it's structure - (and in it's place, at the start of side two), actually overall Wind and Wuthering is a very succesful evolution from Trick of the Tail, developing a new side of Genesis, that unfortunately only lasted these two albums (although i feel they recaptured some of the magic on 'duke'). another great track is 'Your own special way', which i hated at first, because i can't stand ballads, but after the Middle Eight section with the mellotron, When it kicks back in, really got me interested - Now i love it. Overall, A great album, but needs a few listens to get used to.
on 1 June 2001
Wind And Wuthering continues from where A Trick Of The Tail left of - excellence all-round. There are many excellent songs on this album. 'Eleventh Earl Of Mar' is a pulsating opener, filled with booming drums and quietly atmospheric guitar. The wonderful epic track 'One For The Vine' is equally loud, but with wonderful keyboards/guitars. Other personal favourites include 'Blood On The Rooftops' with the well-crafted accoustic opening and eccentric lyrics, and the U.S. Hit 'Your Own Special Way' - a classic ballad (recently re-done by Paul Carrack). It was a shame that this was Hackett's last studio album - although he was on Seconds Out. But the trio continued to greater heights - and this album is another great continuation of the epic Genesis style, as the later albums were too!
on 3 March 2003
This is, put simply, the best rock album I have ever heard. Most people discuss the orchestral sweep, the mastery of One for the Vine etc etc; I want to put in a case for Blood on the Rooftops as one of the most surprisingly moving rock songs ever written. The unlikely writing partnership of Phil Collins and Steve Hackett pays off with an unusual and devastating result: this song and this album should be played in schools to teach the youth of today what music is!
W&W was Steve Hackett's last outing with Genesis and is usually considered by purists to be the last great collection from the band prior to their morphing into a 1980s pop group.
`Wuthering' is certainly a fine album showcasing the four-piece band now delivering beautifully crafted songs with confidence and flair, and you have to say that the transition from the Gabriel era was here demonstrably complete. Peter is not really missed, yet the band retains its essential English lyrical quirkiness and the complex musical arrangements are better than ever. Tony Banks shines as musician and composer, Phil Collins proves he was a great singer for Genesis during this period, and the incomparable Steve Hackett adds touches of delicate virtuosity which, from `Then there were Three' are sorely missed. Not quite up to the superb `A Trick of The Tail' but not far behind, W&W is in the same groove.
The sound production on the original 1976 vinyl album was quite honestly not really that great, with some instruments and the vocal tracks weak and `tinny'. For my money the Definitive re-mix of this album still has the edge; fans of the later SACD mix make a strong case but to my ear, the sound is overall too compressed with the drums and bass in particular sounding `muddy'. So, consider seeking out a copy of the Definitive release if you can find one.
on 8 April 2007
Of all the five Genesis albums that have recently been re-mixed and re-released, this is probably the one that has gained the most from its new stereo mix (I have not heard the surround mix). The original recording and mix was done in a substandard studio (by professional standards), hence the poor tonal separation and cheap reverb soaking every instrument and vocal.
But stripped of these artefacts and treated to the latest digital reverbs and compressors, hearing the new version is like having the wax removed from your ears, it's all so clear!
'Wind' was always my favourite Genesis album, partly because I feel this is Tony Banks (my favourite composer of the band) at the top of his game, creating drama and beauty in his chord movements and arrangements, and fine contributions from the other members too.
But the songs always suffered from all that heavy reverb and a buried lead vocal, non more so than 'Eleventh Earl Of Marr'. No more though. As with 'Trick' and '...Three' but to an even greater extent, this mix is a massive improvement on the original.
The downside, as with all the five re-releases, is a slightly over-zealous compression applied to the whole mix (possibly added at mastering stage), making it sound a little squashed and suffocated. But since the improvement over the original is so great, this is easily tolerated.
Not much in the way of DVD extras to speak of, other than a fine section of the interview which spreads over all the discs. It is very enjoyable to watch, especially as the usually shy Tony Banks speaks eloquently and passionately about this, one of his favourite Genesis albums.
Buy it, and ditch your 'definitive remaster' edition.
This is an excellent (if not perfect) Genesis album - probably the last true 'progressive album' as from then on the 'poppy' side of Genesis tends to show through more and more. What this album shows more than anything is how crucial Steve Hackett was to the sound the band produced. The lack of cutting edge on future albums when Mike Rutherford is playing lead guitar can be clearly seen and heard if you listen to this album. There are some top class songs - some of them may now seem a touch overlong but that is a minor criticism. 'One for the Vine' is a classic Genesis song with an interesting story line and some superb instrumental passages. 'Blood on the Rooftops' is another classic which Steve Hackett has recently been playing in his live show. There is only one weak song on the album 'Your Own Special Way' which is frankly quite boring. It is also disappointing to note that Steve Hackett left after this album as he felt that his work was not been represented - then why put a bit of a filler in like 'Wot Gorilla'? Have a listen if you get the chance to the song 'Inside and Out' which is available on the Arcoives 2 and wonder why it was not included on this album -it would have made it an even stronger album and probably have kept Hackett in the band.
on 8 October 2009
Ah, 1970s prog rock...
We loved our odd time signatures and our obscure lyrical content - oh, and virtuosity was a given. Mediocre players needn't apply.
So it was with Genesis before it began to fall apart with Peter Gabriel's departure after 'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway'.
Everyone assumed that Genesis would fold instantly; but Phil Collins, as it turned out, could sing. So, whereas you might not have had the benefit of Peter Gabriel's "characters" within a song, or the opportunity to get all metaphysical whilst trying to talk to your stoned mates about the deeper layers of meaning contained within 'Trick of the Tail', at least we had a passably good album. 'Los Endos' was excellent, actually.
'Wind and Wuthering' was the last album before Steve Hackett's departure. It has its high points ('Blood on the Rooftops')and its low points ('All in a Mouse's Night'). In the case of the former, you have an achingly lovely classical guitar intro, some fantastic chord (& key?) changes that really push you into that 'other place' - the place in your head, where your dreams happen - and a well-characterised, bittersweet lyric. This is what we'd learned to love about Genesis. Lovely. In the case of the latter, you're not far away from trite synth-pop.
'Rooftops' was Steve Hackett's contribution. If Wikipedia is to be believed, he had more to offer to this album, but was faced with opposition from the other members. Subsequently, he left and over the last three decades has produced some fantastic music (provided he doesn't sing... Sorry, Steve).
After 'Wind and Wuthering' came 'Then There Were Three' - in which Genesis, stripped of its personalities, became a pop band. Really, Phil Collins' solo albums were better; the material wasn't much different and the session musicians were far better than poor old Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks. (I mentioned virtuosity earlier on - Mike and Tony could play, for sure, and made some excellent contributions to some very complex arrangements. But Chris Squire and Rick Wakeman, from Yes, could eat them for breakfast. Once the complex arrangements had gone, there wasn't much left of interest).
To sum up - you should buy this album, for 'Blood on the Rooftops','Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers...' '...In that Quiet Earth' and 'One for the Vine'. This is really good music. The rest of it is notable for its early indications of a band transmuting into something else. I don't like what Genesis became. You might disagree. Either way, I'd say that this is the last shout of anything like the 'old Genesis' Buy it and see what you think. It's worth it, just so you can have an informed opinion.
on 4 July 2015
Along with Trick of the Tail, this is Genesis at the peak of their powers. With retrospect, we can see that Steve Hackett was the critical influence, whose creativity with the guitar was second to none. He also provided the "quality control" element which ensured that Genesis kept at the leading edge of progressive rock. Without him, there was nobody to prevent them slipping into the insipid pop songs made commercially successful by Phil Collins, and most notable in Phil's solo work, focussed as it was on sad love songs influenced by his various dvorces. With Hackett, Banks and Rutherford were encouraged to focus on stunning instrumental compositions, which followed on from the phenomenal work found in Lamb Lies Down and Selling England (with Peter Gabriel on vocals). One cannot imagine songs like Misunderstanding or Please Dont Ask making it onto an Album with Hackett. Genesis were to become more commercially successful after Wind and Wuthering, but they would never again achieve its perfect creative balance, whilst staying quintessentially "English" throughout.