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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 28 September 2003
I admit that I approached this album with some trepidation as the original Genesis tracks are wonderful in themselves.
However, I was more than pleasantly surprised by the treatment administered by Mr. Hackett.
To be honest, Steve should think twice about performing lead vocals on any song (sorry Steve), but his instrumental work and rearrangements of classic Genesis material is often spine tinglingly good.
The dazzling array of musicianship present on this album is thrilling. From Tony Levin and Bill Bruford through John Wetton, Alphonso Johnson, Chester Thompson and Paul Carrack to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the assembly is stunning in its breadth and skill - not forgetting Mr. Hackett himself, of course.
Even though I am a Genesis fan through and through, I would have to say that all of Mr. Hackett's reworkings have something to complement the originals.
"Watcher of the Skies", an already powerful piece, benefits from Wetton's rich vocals and the added orchestration.
"Dance on a Volcano", a terrifically exciting Genesis track, is very poorly vocalised by Steve, using some sort of distortion technique. However, a redemption is effected by the combined drum and bass of Chester Thompson and Alphonso Johnson.
"Valley of the Kings" is a new piece; an OK bow to Mr. Hackett's apparent belief in reincarnation.
"Deja Vu" is a tremendous completion by Steve of a Peter Gabriel song from the "Selling England ..." era. The song would stand alone under any circumstances. In this context, however, it resonates with a certain melancholy for days gone by - appropriate for this album.
"Firth of Fifth" is successfully reworked, from the celeste-style children's musical box intro, to the brazillian percussion and familiar, yet different, Hackett guitar solo.
Perhaps the biggest mistake on this album is the waltz-time "For Absent Friends". It feels and sounds like a bit of a hotch potch; as if there wasn't quite enough rehersal time before recording.
"Your own Special Way" is radically reinvented as a warm and affectionate love song, different from the melancholic original. The electric piano takes on a quite different feel and the whole song sounds more optimistic. Paul Carrack's vocals are particularly rich and relaxed.
Some of the instrumental interludes in "Fountain of Salmacis" seem artificially inserted. However, the whole piece is performed with a power and nobility which reminded me of why Genesis were great in the first place.
"Waiting Room Only" is a scherzo (a musical joke) rather than a replay of the piece from "The Lamb ..." It includes some of Hackett's favourite guitar riffs/effects and some funny cricket commentary by "Jonners" (trust me, you'll smirk when you recognise it).
"I Know What I Like" is a bit unusual, being performed in a sort of West Country swing time. However, it is an enjoyable riff on the original.
"Los Endos" is a tour de force, as it always was with Genesis. Under Mr. Hackett's guidance it includes yet more exciting Brazillian percussion
All in all, this album is a fine revisiting of some classic Genesis pieces. Given that there is little point mimicking what has already been accomplished (one of Mr. Hackett's reasons for leaving Genesis in the first place), he has impressively reinterpreted these pieces in a way which will delight long standing Genesis fans as well as those for whom the music is new.
My biggest surprise, as a dyed in the wool Genesis fan, was how little I missed either Gabriel or Collins on vocals. On the contrary, the singers assembled here contributed some fine performances which added to, rather than detracted from, the classic status of these works (save for Mr. Hackett's singing. I really am sorry Steve).
This album recaptures much of the magic which made Genesis music great from the early 70s onwards and which departed, along with Steve, in about 1978. Enjoy ...
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on 29 November 2001
The sleeve notes (by SH himself) promise plenty of unexpected twists and turns, and the album certainly lives up to his description.
There's so much to talk about that everybody needs to hear it for themselves. Especially worthy of mention are the superb and unobtrusive orchestrations, which work marvellously where you just wouldn't expect it to hang together.
I've got to say I'm not a Paul Carrack fan-his voice sounds too much like the type much-sought after by TV advertisers to do jingles for things like "wash-and-go" shampoo - but his vocals on "Your Own Special Way" are compensated for by superb instrumental work, which saves the track from MOR schmaltzdom.
Personal (completely unexpected) fave is the re-working of "For Absent Friends". The simple orchestration and Colin Blunstone's unmistakeable vocal really create a magical result.
The joke-jazz take on "I Know What I Like" is one of the whackiest things I've ever heard,complete with Bonzo Dog "Intro/Outro" cum "Tubular Bells" references, and I'm still not sure whether I like it or not; but that reservation aside, there is 75 minutes of consistently fascinating and highly enjoyable music here, which makes it a steal for anyone with an interest in Genesis or Steve Hackett.
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on 22 September 2006
I think that one of the earlier reviewers is being a touch harsh about this album. Overall, I enjoy the CD. I do have some reservations, and these are down to Mr. Hackett's eccentric ideas, sense of humour, and urge to experiment. `Dance On A Volcano' is one of my favourite Genesis tracks, and I must admit that Steve's interpretation, using distorted vocals, does not really do it for me. Otherwise the piece is played with style and gusto that do it justice. Another piece that raises questions for me is `Waiting Room Only' - the urge to hit the fast forward is almost overwhelming. An interesting exercise in musical experimentation, but ultimately, for me, it seems overly self-indulgent (even though there is a passing nod to Queen's classic `Brighton Rock' lurking in there!)

Other new arrangements of old favourites put a freshness into them that is not to be dismissed out of hand. Indeed, the new versions may encourage people to dig out albums they have not listened to in a while for a comparison, and may find they like both. Perhaps the album should be thought of as a `what if?' scenario.

In summary, if you cannot bear the idea of someone, even a former member, messing around with your favourite Genesis albums, this CD is probably not for you. However, if you fancy a new interpretation, maybe it's worth a try. Personally, I err towards the review given by Bigusdaveus - read it and you will get a fair idea of what this album contains.
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VINE VOICEon 29 March 2002
A great introduction for anyone who came to Genesis later in the Phil Collins era and a) wants to explore their back catalogue, or b) wants to understand what Steve Hackett brought to the 'classic' five piece line up during the early 1970s.
"Watcher of the Skies", "For Absent Friends" and "Firth of Fifth" are superior to their original versions and the whole album benefits from the orchestral arrangement which adds a greater depth of feeling to the Genesis tracks.
Why Hackett chose to add non-Genesis tracks is a mystery when versions of "Horizons", "Blood on the Rooftops", "In that Quiet Earth", etc, would have better suited this collection, so for Genesis purists, the more recent Hackett album "Genesis files" may be a better choice as it includes those tracks 'dropped' from this album.
If you're new to the music of Hackett or the early Genesis stuff and you like this then go out and buy "Selling England by the Pound" (Genesis, 1974) for the 'classic' Gabriel-era album, and hunt down a copy of Hackett's 1999 "Darktown" album which builds on the mood and feel of this album demonstrating that the revisiting of the Genesis catalogue has given Hackett a fresh spark of creativity.
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on 30 November 2000
Put the cd into the player, started to listen, turned the volume up to ear shattering level. Great album, for those of you who mourn the day Steve departed from Genesis, this is well worth purchasing. He is and was the soul of Genesis. The best track on the album is, oddly enough, track 3 a non-Genesis composition. The little booklet is great as well and has lots of commentary from the man himself, a few little jibes at Mr Banks which is much fun. I would recommend this cd to anyone who enjoys listening to music.
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on 2 April 2015
I bought this album a week after my dad passed away, and he would have loved it, as we both regularly saw Genesis since the mid seventies. Once you get over the shock of Steve's 'treatments' to each track, which in some cases turn the track into a completely new thing, you will be delighted as I was. To me, Hackett does Genesis better than they did themselves; he instills a majesty and power which was missing on the original LPs, which was mainly down to the rubbish sound quality which plagued most Genesis albums ( Seconds Out excepting). For some, it will be a 'marmite' album; but for those who love it, it will become one of your top ten albums, if only for the astonishing array of world class prog musicians on board.
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on 17 March 2001
Having been an ardent fan of genesis for many years,this collection of tracks from Steve Hacket is a must for all who have followed genesis in the past.Steve has brought together a group of musicians who all have acheived fame in their owm rights John Wetton(King Crimson)Bill Bruford(Yes)Chester Thompson(Genesis).Brilliant vocals from Paul Carrack and Colin Blunstone suit Hackets versions of these classics superberbly Love to see it live
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on 20 December 2009 see a Genesis tribute band - of which there are increasingly more and more - this is not such a bad investment. Because they are songs that Hackett contributed to it's fair game for him to take them to new places, the only pity is that he hasn't taken them further left field than he has.

This isn't a lukewarm review from a Genesis fan outraged that he's tampered with the grail, more like a Steve Hackett fan who thinks that an opportunity's been missed. It's certainly worth buying, even for just a couple of the tracks - Firth of Fifth and I Know What I Like - but I can't see how anyone would rate it at four stars or above, because that would put 'Please Don't Touch to something like six stars plus.

And it's good to hear Colin Bluntsone's vocals (wish he was on more of Steve's records)
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on 21 November 2000
In this Genesis revision Steve gives himself and the audience a homage, supported by many great artists as Tony Levin, Bill Bruford, John Wetton, Chester Thompson,etc...The album can not have other result than exceptional, though I recognize that I'm not a version's lover; but this time Steve shows that he can change this personal point of view, while he creates something new in where we had something before. Anyway I'll mantain my opinion by saying that the original versions never are as the original ones; but we don't need to compare. Though it's probably that you listen to the songs quite strange, Steve change our mind the most symphonic art-rock, but also phylarmonic. For me my favourite songs is "Valley of the Kings" and also "Deja vu", which was wrotten before by Peter Gabriel. Probably I like these two songs because I hadn't heard them before. The rest songs are elaborated and the musicians demostrate their admiration for Genesis and the man who once play in the band, but still love it with his heart. The work is asawome and is difficult to understand how a man - Steve Hackett - has this imagination, fascination, composition, rythmn and motivation. He still plays not just with his fingers, but also with his heart. I have to tell something curious: so I tell my girlfriend that I like this album ¡she bought it again for me!...of course she imagined that I did have it. It happens when you get emotioned talking about something that you really like, so it seems that you want it...that's why she bought it again. Anyway, Steve is so amazing that when I see his records at the stores, I've got the sensation and the impulse that I want to get everything he does, but I control myself, knowing that I have all his records, so I get calm and when I come back home I just listen carefully them enjoying every note, every melody... because they are simply magic.
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on 25 August 2014
Worthwhile 're-telling of some very old tales. Steve Hackett has updated some of our old favourites with his own often quirky interpretations. One small note of caution for me would be the sometime weakness of the various vocal interpretation - but that said really enjoyed this and will buy the second album
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