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1 February 2016

Genesis - 'Selling England By the Pound' (Atlantic)

Forgot I Had This Department: Yeah, I have a Genesis record, and of course I like some Genesis, because they are good records that you can find in charity shops for very cheap. But I don't like them that much - even a cursory glance at the A through F's of this gauntlet will show my prog tastes tend to stay away from the bigger names and likewise from medieval and fantasy-leaning lyrics. Genesis were always just right in the middle of it all for me; I greatly prefer them to Yes or ELP or things like that, but don't enjoy them as much as I enjoy King Crimson. This record has some airy-faery stuff (mostly in the opening track, which is called, wonderfully, 'Dancing with the Moonlit Knight' -- and has some nice flutes and bells) but the real reason I have this record, honestly, is the song 'More Fool Me'. It's a cute little throwaway love song at the end of side one, and it's sung by Phil Collins in an affable, genteel croon instead of Gabriel's bombast. I wouldn't profess to know the entire Genesis catalogue or even much beyond this and Foxtrot and the 80s MTV hits, but it's undoubtedly my favourite Genesis song. If I remembered that I owned this record (which I don't, usually, unless an alphabetical blog-revue forces me to confront my accumulation), then surely I would pull it out occasionally just to hear that song. The rest of the vinyl is scarcely played, at least by my stylii. Though now, on a mandatory listen, it's clearly Genesis doing what they did best. There's some searing guitar solos (though they aren't as broken or blistering as, say, Area) and some epic key changes and some Mellotron and a very English feel to it overall.  'The Battle of Epping Forest' is a lengthy narrative about contemporary British unrest, which is an achievement in its own by putting street gangs into the usual medieval epic aspirations of 70s British progressive rock, but the song goes on forever (even to me) and I find it a bit unmemorable overall beyond it's conceit. This is going to go to the sell pile (or the give-away pile) not because I dislike it, but because I have too many records and can't justify keeping this for one song which I could just listen to via YouTube when I get a hankerin' for it.

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