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Depending on the Genesis camp to which you belong, A Trick of The Tail just may be their best album ever.

Music Review: Genesis — A Trick Of The Tail

If Abacab completed the transition of Genesis from progressive rock band to pop band, A Trick Of The Tail marked the beginning. It was this album that saw the departure of Peter Gabriel because he felt too cooped up by the band and wanted to go solo. This was after The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and the subsequent tour in 1975.

Genesis began to audition singers to replace Gabriel and drummer Phil Collins was given the job of coaching them. At the time, the rumor was that Collins did not want the job, but he later admitted that he really did want it but wanted someone to ask him. Eventually they did and Collins became the lead vocalist.

A Trick Of The Tail, the first post-Gabriel album and produced by a new producer, David Hentschel, featured a cleaner production than previous releases. It was well received by the critics and was the best selling Genesis album to date. Some say that it was because Collins sounded more like Gabriel than Gabriel did!

The quality of this CD is superb. They kept the CD in its original format and supplied a DVD with 5.1 sound quality as well as extra videos. The videos contain interviews and footage of the band

Here you have songs that are very dynamic such as “Dance on a Volcano,” ones that are whimsical such as “A Trick of the Tail” and Squonk,” and you have the clever songs such as “Robbery, Assault, and Battery.” Many of these songs trace their history back to the Gabriel days. There is not one bad song on the album.

There are a few highlights. Someone listening to “Dance on a Volcano” for the first time might think that the CD is skipping. It has a polyrhythm that becomes very catchy after listing to it a few times. You have Hackett strumming a tenuous, chromatic pattern until Collins checks in with his thunderous drumming, which really comes through in this re-mastering.

“Robbery, Assault, and Battery” contains a sprightly rhythm that captivates you and takes into a Gabrielesque attempt that is very innovative. The instrumental solos are very good — pay attention to Banks on the keyboards. Here he really shines.

“Ripples” has Hackett providing some absolutely great acoustic guitar work. This has a very Collins flavor and a very dark tone surrounding it. What it says is that with age, we will only be left with ourselves. Again listen to Banks on the keyboard.

“A Trick of the Tail,” while perhaps not the most profound song here, is certainly a lot fun. Its tune is similar to “Robbery, Assault, and Battery” in its sense of humor and it is certainly one of the shorter songs on the CD.

What makes this an “attic album” is that it shows what Genesis could have become had the right conditions stayed favorable. Had Hackett stayed on, had the band gelled a little more, they could have retained their progressive rock roots and still gained popularity as did some other progressive rock groups of the time, such as Yes.

Is it the best Genesis album ever? Most die hard fans would say that Lamb is the best. On the other hand there are a lot of people thought that Lamb was a little too artistic, poetic, and esoteric for their tastes. If you like the Gabriel Genesis, then A Trick Of The Tail is just a real good CD. If you prefer the Collins Genesis, then A Trick Of The Tail may be their best album ever.

A Trick Of The Tail track listing
CD:
Dance on a Volcano
Entangled
Squonk
Mad Man Moon
Robbery, Assault, and Battery
Ripples…
Trick of the Tail
Endos

DVD:
Dance on a Volcano
Entangled
Squonk
Mad Man Moon
Robbery, Assault, and Battery
Ripples…
Trick of the Tail
Endos
Robbery, Assault, and Battery [*] Ripples… [*] Trick of the Tail [*] Reissue Interviews 2007 [*] I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) [Live][*] Fly on a Windshield [Live][*] Carpet Crawlers [Live][*] Cinema Show [Live][*] Entangled [Live][*] Supper’s Ready [Live][*] Endos [Live][*] “White Rocks” Premiere Programme 1977

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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One comment

  1. Mad Man Moon is literally perfection