Saturday, March 9, 2013

Genesis Live: Front and Back Covers

This is the deep end folks.  This is ground zero of Prog Rock.   40 years ago.  Gabriel in Magog costume garb, and related regalia.  Steve Hackett sitting while playing.  Sparse stagecraft, their groundbreaking stage lighting would still be a few years off - on their next Seconds Out tour.  Like many bands, their early live albums were ciphers.  And here, for their SLA, Genesis were persuaded by their label, Charisma Records, to release Genesis Live as a budget-priced title to mark time while the band recorded Selling England by the Pound in mid-1973.  Available sources tell us (Contractual obligations to Charisma's North American distributor, Buddah Records, may also have been a factor, as Charisma would move its distribution to Atlantic Records shortly before Selling England's release.)  The tracks on the album were recorded at De Montfort Hall, Leicester, England by the Pye Mobile Recording Unit, engineer Alan Perkins, on 25 February 1973 except for "Return of the Giant Hogweed", which was recorded at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, England on the previous day, when the band was touring in support of Foxtrot.  These recordings were originally made for the US radio show King Biscuit Flower Hour, although they were never broadcast.  A live recording of "Supper's Ready" from the following year's tour was released on 1998's 4-CD boxed set, Genesis Archive 1967-75.  However, Gabriel re-recorded some of his vocals before allowing release.  A handful of early radio promotional double-LP test pressings by Philips/ Phonogram Int. B.V. (actually PolyGram at the time) were created which included a 23-minute version of "Supper's Ready" from the Leicester show.  This pressing's running order was "Watcher of the Skies - "The Musical Box" - "Get 'Em Out by Friday" - "Supper's Ready" - "The Return of the Giant Hogweed" - "The Knife", and included between-song patter by Gabriel.  Whether this test pressing was intended to be released as the actual album is unknown. In any event, "Supper's Ready" was not included, even though a photograph taken during a live performance of "Supper's Ready" (with Gabriel donning the "Magog" mask) was used for the front cover.  Excellent digital copies of the double-LP test pressing are readily available.

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