From Genesis To Revelation (1969)


 
1.Where The Sour Turns Sweet 2.In The Beginning 3.Fireside Song 4.The Serpent 5.Am I Very Wrong? 6.In The Wilderness 7.The Conqueror 8.In Hiding 9.One Day 10.Window 11.In Limbo 12.Silent Sun 13.A Place To Call My Own

 

Genesis goes down in history as one of those bands whose very first album sounded virtually nothing like anything else they would ever release. Such instances are no completely unheard of, but they are rare. Sometimes it may take a freshman recording for a band to realize that they, in fact, want to proceed in an entirely different direction. To add to this distinction, we must be brutally honest and state that it is highly unlikely that a record like this ever could have been made at a later time in history. Basically, this band originally consisted of five well-off (i.e. ‘rich’) kids that met at boarding school in England during the late 1960s that had a bit of a flair for playing music.

Before they teamed up, they each played in different bands around school, and as these situations usually happen, one guy quits one band and joins another, and then one day these guys found themselves united as a group. Fortunately for them, a recent graduate of their boarding school (Charterhouse) became a mildly successful pop artist (Jonathan King), so they reached out to him with a demo tape, and the whole Genesis project got started.

The original line up (which changed a lot in the early days) consisted of Peter Gabriel on vocals, Ant Phillips on guitar, Tony Banks on keyboards, Mike Rutherford on bass, and John Silver on drums. When they went into the studio to record this album, they had almost no experience playing live – another ‘ding’ that would disqualify them for a record deal by today’s standards. Therefore, they were actually more song writers as opposed to a well-gelled band. The innocence and inexperience shows.

Most of what is here is pleasant, radio friendly pop. The songs are mostly very flower child oriented, with no song going longer that four and one-half minutes. The quality of the recording simply isn’t very good. Fortunately, after multiple listens, one can find rather a lot of charm here. There are quite a few pleasant melodies and song structures about. It’s very easy for a sweet song such as The Silent Sun or Am I Very Wrong? to slowly become stuck in your head. Being that this is the late sixties, the guys try to branch out into the mystical/fantastic fantasy-like psychedelia on such tracks as In The Beginning and The Serpent Song, but they’re too young and too sheltered to give off the desired effect that is necessary to make any sort of impact.

Once the album was recorded, someone at the label decided it sounded a bit too sparse and added string arrangements to most of the tracks. Of course, when the band found out, most recoiled in horror. Their precious compositions had been tampered with without their approval. From a listener’s perspective, however, it really sounds like these tracks needed something, so these enhancements come across as what one might hypothesize as a welcome addition.

Since these guys were still teenagers, one must assume that, at this time, they weren’t really that serious about becoming music stars. After they finished this record, discussions were held as to whether they should continue, or do something “proper”, such as continue their respective educations. Drummer John Silver chose to exit to do just this, and no one was really surprised. The rest of the guys held on, enhanced their skills, decided to chart some new paths, and kept going. It would be awhile, but after a few more records, they would slowly see the light.

Note: Because they left their respective record label after releasing this album, it has been reissued in many different formats under many different names. At one point it was called In The Beginning. Another pressing was called And The Word Was. I’m sure there have been many more – all with slightly different song selections.

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