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Genesis - Nursery Cryme
Label: Atlantic Records
Release: 1971

Tracklisting:
The Musical Box
For Absent Friends
The Return of the Giant Hogweed
Seven Stones
Harold the Barrel
Harlequin
The Fountain of Salmacis
Nursery Cryme - Genesis
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Average Blamo User Rating: (2 votes)

OH MY. After the excellence of 1970's "Trespass", the next year's "Nursery Cryme" saw Genesis step up several gears. Not the absolute centerpiece of Genesis, but it features three cuts that are all amongst the best songs that Genesis ever created. The first one of these is the opening "Musical Box"...christ, what a record. Starting with it's wonderful acoustic lines, before going headlong into classic heavy sections, and finishing with an absolutely brilliant ending. Total Genesis classic, it also features some great Gabriel one-liners ("But i am lost, within this half-world...") and this song is generally fantastic, and would probably just pip the other two to the post for album's best song.

Next up is the outstanding "Return of the Giant Hogweed". This one features some outstanding keyboard playing from Tony Banks, a killer bass riff from Mike Rutherford, and a great set of lyrics from Peter Gabriel about a giant plant conquering the world. Ridiculous, yes, but not to be taken seriously - it's all ridiculous fun! If you can't have a good laugh at great lines such as "Still they're invincible! Still they're immune to all our herbicidal battering!" then please, go and listen to Rush and Dream Theater. And the band contribute another storming ending, as every instrument goes off at once to create an outstanding coda at the end of the 7-minute piece.

Oh dear, i've gone 2 paragraphs without mentioning two of the main reasons for the huge leap from the acoustically-inclined "Trespass" to the sheer brilliance of "Nursery Cryme". You see, after 1970, drummer John Mayhew and blondie indie kid from the future guitarist Anthony Phillips decided to leave Genesis. Step forward their replacements! Guitarist extraordinaire,
Sir Steve of Hackett, a master player with a sound and style about 1 million times better than his predecessor, and jazzwise, funking, alleged cancer of the band, Mr. Phil Collins (This, of course, if you know anything about the history of Genesis, isn't true), a superb drummer with outstanding ability in areas of jazz and funk that were regarded as parts unknown by Mr. Mayhew. When these two came in, the classic Genesis was born. Sir Gabriel, Sir Rutherford, Sir Collins, Sir Hackett and Jester Banks go on to create the best music ever to come from the entire genre.

Anyway, I haven't talked about the classic epic that is "Fountain of Salmacis" yet. This album closer begins in wonderful fashion, with the swirling acoustic guitars and the lush Banks Mellotron that just fades right into the sound. Classic. We go through the loomy verses before heading right into the kick-ass Hackett guitar solo (Well, Banks live, but Hackett here). Everything rules, from Rutherford's superb bass and Banks' well-chosen keyboard chords, to the massive Hackett sound. The song also features another classic Hackett solo, right at the end. Every note in said solo is pretty much perfect, as is the way with a guitar genius like Stevie.

But Blake? You've forgotten about the other songs on this album! Well, that's not difficult, unfortunately. The other songs on this album are good, but are nothing compared to the big three on this record. "For Absent Friends" and "Harlequin" are both nice, sweet acoustic ballads of little interest, although hardly offensive, and "Harold the Barrel" is good throwaway, but still throwaway - more funny, odd little lyrics from Gabriel though. Personally, i think that you could get rid of these three, and then you could stick in the AWESOME-AS-FUCK b-side "Twilight Alehouse" but oh well. The song that comes the closest to the majesty of the big 3 is the often overlooked "Seven Stones", which has some great keyboard playing and mellotron. Not incredibly memorable, but still great - it's kind of in the same underappreciated category as the next
album's awesome "Can-Utility and the Coastliners".

It's not going to get any less than a 9 from me. Mainly thanks to the 3 classic cuts on this - they all bank 3 points each. Unfortunately, it's not a complete classic, but they were certainly close.

Reviewer Rating of CD :

wow. the first album with steve hackett and everything is great. even the bereated shorter songs are at least pretty.

the first song on here, the musical box, was what got me interested in this band in the first place. the dynamics in this song... wow!! it goes from quiet, three way guitar parts, to EXPLOSIVE guitar solo'ing by steve hackett, then insane organ parts, and they quote beethoven or bach i'm not sure which and the song ends.

phil collins sings a really short song next.

return of the giant hogweed at first sounds completely messy and poorly thought out. after listening ot it a bunch of times, it's just obvious three or four differnet melodies and time signatures are being played at the same time on different instruments to create one brilliant melody. plus, the SMASHING ending is great, even if it worked better live.

another short song is next.

harold the barrel is next, the best short song on here, it's funny, goes through several different sections,e ach brilliant, and featuring a great descending vocal line at the end, illustrating the guy's fall.

another short song.

the fountain of salmasis is next and it's very beautiful, as only this band could do. there are great solo's interesting lyrics about hermaphrodities, and wonderful mellotron.

a bit RAW in production, the music is nevertheless brillaint. a must have for prog fans.

Reviewer Rating of CD :

 


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