After a dinner of Kelly’s chicken Alfredo, the girls have retired to their respective rooms with their respective cats leaving me to my EZ-Boy, my book (‘The Boundless Life‘ by Simon Donato) and the turntable in peace as the storm clouds move across the horizon to the north.
Now spinning the ‘Rock Roots‘ album by Genesis.
This is not something I would ever have purchased on my own.
I mean, look at it. It looks like some bad knockoff album you’d see for $15.00 on the shelves at Kmart (they still have those right?).
But a few months ago while nosing through the stacks of records at Niagara Records in downtown St. Catharines, low and behold, HRH stumbled across this and, of course, had to have it being the big Genesis fan she is. I tried to talk her out of it as I’m sure it was going to be a total dud but she was having none of it so being the sucker I am, we came home with it.
So with that being said, I didn’t have much expectations for this album this evening which has been sitting in our “To Get To…” pile for two months now.
I figured, “okay, let’s get this over with”.
It’s easy to write off Genesis’ earliest recordings as wholly unrepresentative of the band’s later glories – shit, I sure did! In truth, however, little of ‘From Genesis to Revelation‘, as that maiden album was originally titled, will strike even the long-term fan as especially out of the ordinary.
Sure it’s Genesis, but it’s not Genesis even though it is.
Even calling it “Prog Rock” is a stretch.
True, the musicianship is a little more naïve, and the lyrics certainly somewhat less mature than one might have expected. But the band members themselves were still in their teens when this was recorded, and the only truly valid criticism is that, in choosing to debut with a neo-Biblical concept album, they were maybe trying to run before they could walk. But the melodies are strong, the ideas are sound, and both the keyboards and guitar are far enough to the fore to suggest that Genesis not only knew what they were doing, they knew where they wanted to go as well.
In short, what do I know?
For an early effort, this is some really good shit. Tracks like ‘The Silent Sun‘, and ‘The Conqueror‘ with it’s spaced out piano, off-beat tambourine and busy jangling guitars are very cool. Impressive even. Kind of like Lou Reed meets Phil Spector. But remember that this is 1968 through 1969, when British groups weren’t supposed to be experimenting with such daring concepts and the music industry was just recovering from the “psychedelic” era and seemed to be opposed to anything that might threaten to be new, or worse still, clever. This album is both those things.