Genesis - Selling England By The Pound

Album cover

  1. Dancing With The Moonlit Knight (8:04)
  2. I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) (4:08)
  3. Firth Of Fifth (9:37)
  4. More Fool Me (3:10)
  5. The Battle Of Epping Forest (11:46)
  6. After The Ordeal (4:16)
  7. The Cinema Show (11:06)
  8. Aisle Of Plenty (1:32)

Virgin, 1973

also by Genesis:

see also... Steve Hackett, Tony Banks, Jethro Tull

Apart from "Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" (which is too long/weird/rambling for many people) this is often cited as the best album of Genesis's prog-rock period. Indeed for most of this album they are on fine form. It starts starkly with Peter Gabriel's unaccompanied voice singing "can you tell me where my country lies", continuing with some lovely resonant layers of guitar, and more firmly English-themed lyrics. "I Know What I Like" is an entertaining but silly single. "Firth of Fifth" is another great symphonic prog-rock piece. Tony Banks's solo piano introduction sets the scene for the song which builds gradually towards Steve Hackett's gloriously lyrical guitar solo. Its one weakness is in the vague and rambling lyrics.

However the album is spoiled by "The Battle of Epping Forest". Peter Gabriel playing a series of Cockney gangsters in silly voices, to an uninteresting tune, is OK for 2 minutes but not for a whole 11, please. This is appropriately followed by the mellow, pleasing instrumental "After the Ordeal", while "More Fool Me" is a throwaway ballad for Phil to practice his limp singing style for the future... "The Cinema Show" starts off with gentle layers of 12-string guitars and flutes, the typical Genesis sound again, and continues through the brief mellow song to an extended, but tasteful, band jam. The short coda consists of Gabriel reciting a 70's English grocery price list "seventeen-and-a-half p..." in layered vocals to a reprise of the opening tune.

August 12, 2003

8 out of 10

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written and maintained by Christopher Jackson