Ray Wilson - 'Genesis VS Stiltskin: 20 Years And More' / 'Up Close And Personal: Live At SWR 1' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 11, 2014    
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These albums are quality all the way.

It seems odd that two live albums (the former with a DVD) by the same artist should emerge almost simultaneously but ours is not to reason why. It’s somewhat ironic that I’d just finished reading Mike Rutherford’s autobiography, in which he dismisses Ray Wilson’s time in Genesis in a perfunctory manner, when these collections arrived. Rutherford claims, rather disingenuously, the reason it didn’t work with Wilson in the band was because he wasn’t a songwriter; well excuse me Mr. Rutherford, you couldn’t be more wrong. Cop a load of the majority of the songs Wilson’s written which appear here and tell me they aren’t extremely worthy creations. Maybe the problem was that he couldn’t break the Rutherford/Banks stranglehold on the creative process.

I had the pleasure of meeting Wilson at a launch event for his ‘Change’ album and he was a charming and amiable fellow, something that comes across in his banter with the audience and stories which add to the excellent musical offerings, all featuring Wilson’s fabulous voice that has a nice gravelly edge.

The first named album has Wilson backed by a full band and a five-piece brass and string ensemble whereas the latter is a scaled back and intimate affair but both are equally entertaining and wonderfully listenable.

Needless to say there’s considerable duplication of material across the albums but some of the songs are subject to different treatments which makes both very appealing prospects; I have enjoyed them both equally. The respective sets are well balanced between Wilson’s solo material, Stiltskin songs, a range of Genesis and even a Peter Gabriel offering.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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There are a couple of throwaway moments (‘Swing Your Bag’ and ‘The Airport Song’) but those aside, these albums are quality all the way. Of his own songs, ‘Another Day’ and ‘Change’ are both highlights; the former appears on both albums but in different forms, one being full electric with the other acoustic based. Of the Genesis tracks, he’s made ‘Carpet Crawlers’ his own and ‘Ripples’ is performed very well with the strings adding a new dimension to an already special track. ‘Mama’ is also subject to different treatments; both hitting the spot for different reasons as does ‘Solsbury Hill’; another triumph is his version of ‘No Son Of Mine’.

He also thumbs his nose rather effectively with superb renditions of songs from the album he recorded with Genesis, notably the title track ‘Calling All Stations’, a wonderful ’Shipwrecked’ and ‘Congo’, the latter not being a personal favourite.

The DVD rounds out the package very nicely indeed offering great value for your money.

Gary Marshall

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