Album Reviews

Issue 2022-070

Gerard Bassols — The Musical Instruments Of Progressive Rock

Gerard Bassols - The Musical Instruments Of Progressive Rock
Jan Buddenberg

I'm going to need a bigger coffee table.

This was amongst my first thoughts as I opened the solid envelope that had shipped Gerard Bassols' book over to me. Initially expecting a lightweight paperback, I was surprised to find out it weighed over 1 kg. Seeing that it is an independent release, that was an expensive decision but one that has paid off most brilliantly. It does full justice towards the marvellous contents of this book which takes a closer look at the instruments used in progressive rock, predominantly in the 70s and 80s when the genre flourished like never before.

The author of the book is Gerard Bassols, a Spanish (amateur) multi-instrumentalist who as a fan of progressive rock has passionately devoted his time for the past 45 years collecting and listening to albums, and attending countless concerts and assembling a large collection of articles and literature on the subject. Gaining extensive wisdom on the instruments associated with prog rock, he started out with a blog to put this knowledge into writing. Ultimately this evolved into a book with a first Spanish version appearing in September 2019, shortly followed by its English counterpart in December of the same year. A wise decision, for this book most certainly gleams with a global and international appeal.

The book of 286 pages, bound neatly in an inviting stylish cover, is accompanied by two subtitles: From The 1960s To The Present and An Illustrated Guide. The first one is a bit tricky, for, let's face it, progressive rock originated in the late 60s and the present, as presented in the book, will likely become outdated fairly quickly.

This is already illustrated by the absence of Steve Vai's new toy, the custom-built "The Hydra". Given other entries (e.g. Vai's own triple-neck "Heart", Uli Jon Roth's "Sky guitar" and Brain May's "Red Special") this novelty instrument fully deserves an entry, and this fate will await more instruments in light of the never-ending stream of innovations and inventive new designs, especially in the guitar department. That said, for prog-newbies this subtitle does prove its worth, providing a perfect description as to what to expect in this book.

Which is a lot, for Bassols covers everything-but-the-kitchen-sink in terms of instruments, describing them in full detail on their differences, similarities, progression, failings and other important features. He reassuringly avoids drifting away in too many technicalities, which is a definite plus, especially for a novice like me. For those willing and able to take in more specifics there are few boxed-in pages filled with further elaborations on frequencies, waveforms and other interesting aspects, mainly in the synth department, so anyone wanting a more in-depth view is well catered for as well.

Bassols has dissected the various instruments into four main sections (keys, guitars, drums and other), each segment is thereupon divided into paragraphs on individual instruments. All this is written in an easy-to-read and engaging style, complete with some funny anecdotes, interesting historic tales and eyebrow-lifting facts. The overall result is a great chronological narrative that starts out with prog's quintessential instrument: the keyboard (and its many derivatives).

This first part takes up 125 pages of the book, which is quite understandable given the revolutionary evolution of the keyboard over the years. Starting out with the Chamberlin, a predecessor to the Mellotron, Bassols works his work way through the ages and passes the familiar Moog, Hammond, Keytars, MIDI and every other kind of synthesizer offspring. Linking all instruments to the musicians known for playing them, he ultimately reaches the Synthaxe, a hybrid between synths and guitars once endorsed by Allan Holdsworth.

Surprisingly one also finds the Theremin in this section, which I was actually expecting to be included in the "others" part. Given its distinctive electronic sound it does make sense appearing here, much like the reasons as to why the guitar-synthesizer turns up moments later in the guitar section. Between all of Bassols' vast knowledge, expertise and excellently clear elaborations this specific instrument is maybe the only time there might be some sort of momentary lapse in his otherwise superbly-orchestrated tale.

As a highly nostalgic fan of Symphonic Slam's 1976 debut, a magnificent album filled with tantalising songs shaped by enticing play from Timo Laine on his polyphonic guitar synthesizer, I was anxiously awaiting this instrument to be mentioned in the book. However, when it appears Bassols mentions a real polyphonic system only came into play in 1980. A possible explanation for the difference in years might be that Laine's device was a personally built instrument, even though it bears the same company name, and it took some time before polyphonic play could eventually be achieved on a larger scale. Seeing the role played by several musicians towards developing new instruments and techniques, this isn't hard to imagine.

Showing completeness, the guitar section furthermore expands to cover every extravagantly-designed guitar/bass one can dream up. Fretless, E-bow, Lap steel, headless, triple necks, Chapman or other sticks, multi-scaled, they're all accounted for as far as I can tell.

After 30 pages of digging deeper into the various innovative aspects encountered in the history of drums and percussion (e.g. electronic drums, stainless steel drum kits, cymbals) Bassols takes a final bow with a very brief glance at miscellaneous instruments like harp, saxophone, bagpipes and sound effects. Finally this well-researched book ends with an outline towards Robert Fripp's Frippertronics, before a frequency chart closes the book. An index would have been appreciated.

Attentive readers will have noticed I haven't touched upon the "An Illustrated Guide" subtitle yet. Simply stated, these 500+ photos inserted from Bassols' personal archive are the book's greatest asset. One that elevates his passionately worded texts from a nice and insightful pass-time into a captivating "Honey-I'm-off-to-get-us-a-new-coffee-table" experience.

Every single instrument mentioned, even the obscure ones, is shown either in newspaper clippings, video stills, (action)-photos or other means of advertisement. Some stills and adverts have lost some of their sharpness over time, but overall every picture included provides a clear view of the instrument at hand. More importantly it shows the musician usually associated with the instrument captured in a memorable moment in time when they played, cherish or mistreated these timeless inventions.

So next to Ian Anderson's authentic fluting pose and Eddie Jobson showing his see-through violin, we see pictures of Chris Squire wearing his famous Rickenbacker bass, while Tony Levin demonstrates his Chapman chops, just to mention a few. Many of those bring back lovely memories, some of which I witnessed myself such as the Midi-gloves of Steve Hogarth and Mark Kelly, and the spectacular set-up of Neil Peart's drums. Best of all are the historic circumstances I missed, like the example of Keith Emerson rotating mid-air on his aerial piano, which must have been a spectacular view at the time.

These attractive images also play an enlightening part. I still wouldn't know how to rig them like Geoff Downes, Rick Wakeman or Tony Banks do (as shown on several explained overviews), but it has clarified many of the differences between all these instruments to a novice like me.

And finally, let's not forget that these pictures also illustrate the passing of time, as demonstrated by a variety of electronic instruments that in the past occupied the size of a bookcase, but through technical advances are nothing more than an IPad today.

All in all, with or without a coffee table, Bassols' beautifully-designed book is a welcome addition to any music-lover's collection. It's not aimed specifically at progressive rock fans (despite the title). However, prog fans will obviously benefit the most from Bassol's vibrant story, especially in the way it's presented and delivered. Excellent work!

John Kilbride — The Golden Road: The Recorded History Of The Grateful Dead

John Kilbride - The Golden Road: The Recorded History Of The Grateful Dead
Martin Burns

Scotland-based journalist and teacher John Kilbride, has produced a monumentally detailed Sonicbond book about the cornucopia of releases that form The Recorded History Of The Grateful Dead. Even dedicated Deadheads (as fans are known) must be intimidated by the sheer scope of recordings available.

If you are not aware of the Grateful Dead, they were a band that formed and grew out of the hippy scene's summer of love in the San Francisco of the late 1960s. They played an eclectic mix of rock, psychedelia, blues, rock and roll, country-rock and jazz but were revered for their long-form live improvisations and jams. They would stretch out a song from the three-minute studio version into forty-minute epics.

The reason for Grateful Dead's (no definite article by the way) prodigious output is that early in their career they made live recordings of every gig from the sound board, in order to analyse and improve the performance. This made for good quality recordings that the band made available in multiple formats over the years. The recording of gigs continued throughout their career. Live releases, around 100 plus, far outweigh their 13 studio recordings. And it is in the live arena that Grateful Dead grew to be such a highly regarded act, though in Europe and the UK they, it is fair to say, remain a cult band.

John Kilbride has organised The Golden Road: The Recorded History Of The Grateful Dead by the years in which they were active (1965-1995). Looking at each given year John records the band's touring schedules, linking the gigs to the live releases, sometimes not made available until many years later. In each year he also includes their major influences as well as extracurricular activities of band members, as well as solo releases. But he focuses, in the main, on the releases by the band.

For each year he tells the reader of changes in the band's line-up, the introduction of new songs to the set lists, details of gigs played and how they often blew the chance of being a much bigger band worldwide, by under-performing at key counter-culture moments such as Woodstock, Monterey Pop and so on. But Grateful Dead's dedication to the road and regular gigging built their audience without these shortcuts, and this is also what drives this book.

There is also a substantial (a whopping 145 pages) of appendices. These list, as you come to expect from Sonicbond books, details of the album's year of release, the players and of course the tracks that appear. There are five different appendices covering contemporary live and studio recordings, archive releases, collections of unreleased materials, compilation albums and last, but not least, solo releases by Grateful Dead members.

Especially in the first ten years of the band's existence there are so many releases that any critical examination of the songs is almost side-lined due to that proliferation of releases. This becomes less of an issue from 1975 onwards as increasing costs led to a scaling back of the Dead's touring schedule. So here you get more of a look at albums, such as the almost progressive Blues For Allah album. But if you are looking for that kind of guide, as a new fan or those curious as to what the band are about, this is probably not the place to start. For committed fans, Kilbride's book is a treasure trove of information, and he does single out some recordings of gigs as essentials. But you only find this through reading the text closely.

John Kilbride's The Golden Road: The Recorded History Of The Grateful Dead is not one for the casual fan, such as myself, or those curious about the Grateful Dead and unclear where to start. However, it is certainly one for the Deadheads. Fans will lap up every twist and turn in the band's story, as well as possibly pointing to important releases they may have missed in its well written and organised pages. He manages to invoke the pathos and regret of mainman Jerry Garcia's slow decline and eventual death that called a day on the band's activities. So, hats off to John Kilbride for taking on such a monumental task and succeeding at what he set out to do.

Eoghan Lyng — Decades: George Harrison in the 1970s

Eoghan Lyng - Decades: George Harrison in the 1970s
Theo Verstrael

Although I was only 12 years old when The Beatles broke up, I vividly remember the bad news coming to me, making me completely puzzled. As far as I remember this was the first time that real world news really hit me hard.

The music of The Beatles had a magical spell that very few bands would be able to achieve. The amalgamation of the four talents resulted in a unique discography that very few artists have equalled. As a consequence, the break-up also made me very curious what would happen next.

For some reason I immediately lost track of McCartney and Lennon. Their first solo outings didn't appeal to me at all. Instead I was overwhelmed by All Things Must Pass, the triple album George Harrison released in 1970 shortly after the break-up.

Okay, the jams and experiments on the third record were absolutely not my cup of tea, but the two other long players contained only good to excellent songs. With this album Harrison established himself as a genuine high quality song-writer. For although he penned such classics as Something, Here Comes The Sun and of course my personal favourite While My Guitar Gently Weeps for the Fab Four, he always stayed in the shadow of that genial couple that pushed each other to seldom-seen heights. Therefore, the sheer quality of the full song cycle on this solo album came as a big surprise to almost everyone. It would prove extremely hard for him to reach that level of quality on subsequent albums, but he definitely proved himself with this classic album.

Being a big fan of that album I wanted to review Eoghan Lyng's book which covers the life and career of the quiet Beatle in the period after the break-up. I hoped to find out more about his inspiration, the stories behind the songs, maybe some juicy details (which artist sees his wife run away with his best friend yet manages to remain friends with both of them? Well, Harrison did!). With those high expectations I started to read this book; only to find myself wandering off very soon. Why? Because this book lacks a decent built-up, a natural flowing storyline, an attractive writing style and, above all a serious editor.

Lyng is an experienced author who, amongst others, did the On Track volume on U2 that got a good review by my DPRP-colleague Geoff Feakes. In this book he bluntly plunges into the start of the decade describing some major developments within The Beatles, primarily from the viewpoint of McCartney and Lennon. It remains a mystery to me why he takes that angle, as this book should clearly be about Harrison. And in the first half of the book, he again and again describes Harrison's development in the context of what those other two were doing. That makes you think that Harrison was simply reacting, instead of acting as an individual and creative artist. Just listen to All Things Must Pass and you hear an artist who was full of creativity, (also with some anger and frustration) and who manages to translate all these emotions into great music.

The text reads as if Lyng tries to stay neutral, while writing a book about a guy he deeply admires. It gives the text a feeling of compulsiveness and distance, instead of spontaneity, and that is too bad.

Another weak element in the book is the lack of consistency which occurs on numerous places. While reviewing the period of the Thirty Three & 1/3 album he tries to stay positive, to almost defend his protagonist against the apparent (?) evil powers of the reader. It wasn't the best album Harrison ever made but okay, Lyng likes the guy so he doesn't want to be too harsh on him. Yet at the start of the next chapter he qualifies that same album as “banal, pedestrian and uninteresting” which came as a complete surprise to me as a reader. Here a serious editor would have intervened but unfortunately that hasn't happened here, nor on other places where similar inconsistencies occur.

The final weak point is the fact that he uses qualifications like “genial” or “bristling with fire” when referring to a short slide guitar piece in a song or “universal” when dealing with some lyrics far too easily. These are quite over the top in my opinion, especially when used on songs that feature on albums that turned out to become far from successful, let alone historical.

So all in all this book was primarily a disappointment but it wasn't a waste of time to read at all. Lyng does full justice to Harrison's spiritual development and the way that seeped into his songs. He also takes the effort to pay a lot of attention to Harrison's innovative actions to help alleviate the world's misery through organising the first ever free concerts to raise money for those in need, in his case the people of Bangladesh. And the author takes his time to shine light on the relationship between Harrison and Phil Spector, as well as with the guys of Monty Python.

As with all volumes in this Decades series it is slightly puzzling that the book focuses on just one era. For Harrison this was by far his most memorable decade but still, there were activities before and after. Lyng hardly mentions Harrison's first two solo albums (Wonderwall Music and Electronic Sounds), which seems logical as these albums haven't made any impression on the press nor on the fans.

His come-back in 1987 with the satisfying Cloud Nine album and the subsequent successful collaboration with Jeff Lynne culminating in the Travelling Wilburys albums with amongst others Roy Orbison and Tom Petty isn't mentioned at all, which makes this book feel rather incomplete. It may not fit the formula, but Harrison's activities after the 70s are far too scarce to deserve a separate volume in this series, so expanding this book into the more career-spanning On Track ... series would have made more sense. The quiet Beatle deserves a homage that would do him full justice in every respect.

Lyng has done a brave attempt, but he wasn't helped by the restricting formula of the series nor with the lack of serious editorship by the publisher.

Kev Rowland — The Progressive Underground Vol. 4

New Zealand
Kev Rowland - The Progressive Underground Vol. 4
Jan Buddenberg

Author Kev Rowland is a passionate prog-aficionado who during 1991-2006 led a very active life as secretary and progressive rock reviewer for the English magazine Feedback. This was a magazine written for devoted prog fans by even more devoted prog fans. Having written over a thousand album reviews and conducted a large amount of interviews, all handsomely collected in the first three volumes of The Progressive Underground, he decided to step down completely in 2006 and emigrate to New Zealand where he managed to stay away from any reviewing duties for 18 whole months!

Meeting his inevitable fate, he slowly started writing his much-loved and appreciated writings once again. And not just about progressive music, for Rowland likes pop, folk, metal, avant-garde and jazz. Nowadays, his complete turnover adds up to a staggering 1000+ reviews a year. Or better said, that's what it amounted to in 2018, so this could even be higher at the moment. Many of these reviews are featured on websites like Progarchives, and Muzic.Net.NZ. Considering familiar circumstances like work, eat, sleep, maintaining a healthy relationship with loved ones, pets and listening to the stuff, I think the days and nights down-under must be longer. Much, much longer...

This fourth instalment captures all of Rowland's (400+) progressive rock reviews written and published during 2008-2013, as well as three (very) short interviews. And like the previous three volumes, volume 4 is another delightful collection of passionately-told, enthusiastic and to-the-point reviews that generally opt towards a warranted positive view. Laced with insightful knowledge and essential information, they portray an easy-to-read style which makes for engaging reading.

Brilliantly entertaining for anyone with an interest and love for progressive rock (we all know who we are), this new volume follows the same principles as before. This time it is laid out in full alphabetic order whereby artists featured with several entries (Jeremy, Karda Estra, Millenium) are then subsequently categorised by ascending month/year of publishing.

Within this clear procedure, a prog-martyr-to-detail will find an exception like Soniq Theater's Life Seeker, but this is just a minor timeline glitch that proves to be completely negligible. If one notices it at all that is, for Rowland's delightful reviews paint a perfectly clear picture every time, regardless of whether he addresses a more recent album, before he pays a visit to an older one. Even when he jumps through a series of releases at random (Soniq Theater and various Robin Taylor efforts, for instance), the overall flow of his story is never broken.

With the previous books, which I also highly recommend, I got into the habit of first reading the reviews of albums that I already have/knew, after which I picked out reviews in a random manner. This way I got a great insight into Rowland's taste, sense of humour, and musical preferences. For this fourth part, I have deviated from this and fully explored and devoured the paper gold mine from front cover (which sports another fine illustration from Martin Springett), via the introduction by Olav M. Björnsen, to back. The latter featuring comments by DPRP colleague Jerry van Kooten, and Thierry Sportouche of Acid Dragon Magazine.

A hefty 300 pages of reviews might be a bit daunting for first-time readers. So another possibility, which I tried myself on holiday for a few days, is exploring a page a day. This successfully kept information-overdose away. Any which way, the satisfying end results are exactly the same and its contents have again re-acquainted me with many magnificent albums of the era, while my memory-banks spent many after hours reminiscing on those good old days. Reading upon Ark for example instantly made my ears subconsciously beg for sound-annihilating-earplugs (one of the loudest concerts I've ever witnessed), while reading reviews on Comedy Of Errors, Final Conflict, Galahad, Red Jasper and Quasar transported me back to highly memorable concerts at the Paradiso temple in Amsterdam.

To make matters worse (maybe I should move to New Zealand as well?) I found another pile of albums worthy of personal attention to which Endeavour, SYZYGY and Vangough are only a few. And at the same time, I was reminded that many safely secured albums within my collection fully deserve to be revisited again. One of those now blasting from the speaker as I type this is Threshold's Wounded Land, a brilliant album which isn't even in this part of the series (it is in volume 3 though). I'll never forget the moment I first heard Intervention, a track from the 1992 SI Compilation Disc II, which pre-dates their debut album by months, played over the intermission-stereo at Noorderligt, Tilburg, thinking: "Ooh, nice, Landmarq are going metal!" Which off course they weren't, but how was I to know in those pre-internet days?

Next to reviews of the first two Landmarq albums (1992/1993), showing my easily made mistake: many other re-issues by bands like Galahad, Pendragon, IQ, Haze and Twelfth Night are included. It is especially in this UK-based neo-progressive rock arena that Rowland's love for the genre radiates from the pages. He gets to share his vast knowledge of the scene with enthusiastic wordplay, sprinkling readers with many other interest-worthy British progressive rock acts in the process. One name I cannot remember reading about, however, is Trilogy (see video), a band I feel should have become a big name in the prog world all those years ago. (They have recently met up after 35 years so who knows?)

With reviews on (nowadays) household names like Spock's Beard, Mystery, Haken, Flower Kings and Riverside, alongside so many lesser-to-unknown bands (some of which I reviewed myself later on in their careers), and it's clear that Rowland covers a lot of progressive (under)ground. All in all, it's virtually impossible not to find something to your liking in this highly recommendable book. Or in any of the previous volumes for that matter.

I have to admit that due to other obligations and commitments, a lot of progressive bands and albums from 2004 until approximately 2018 passed me by. Therefore, I have a slight preference towards volume 4, as it fills many a gap. Regardless of this, all four volumes are essentially icings on a huge, delicious prog cake and should be an integral part in every prog-lovers' cabinet. I frankly can't wait for the next slice, which considering Rowland's current catch-up streak, might be in the oven as we speak. Tasty stuff!

Andrew Wild — Decades - Phil Collins In The 1980s

Andrew Wild - Decades - Phil Collins In The 1980s
Jan Buddenberg

For the past five years Andrew Wild has been a busy writer, turning over book after book for Sonicbond publishing in their On Track/Decades or miscellaneous series. Many of those have found a way onto our pages, as recently as his enjoyable 2021 book On Track - Eric Clapton Solo. Followed by a sequel (On Track - Eric Clapton Sessions) he now returns with his tenth book on their roster that focuses on Phil Collins In The 1980s.

All the books I have read so far by Wild are written in an appreciative, engaging style that's easy to read, has a clear structure and is entertainingly filled with an abundance of precisely researched facts, anecdotes and other interesting information.

In his newest venture, Wild closely follows every single musical footstep taken by Phil Collins in the 80s; and one gets the best of both world again. Many of those footsteps coincided with mine, although obviously from a different perspective, for at the age of eleven in 1980 I was merely just beginning to enjoy music and progressive rock hadn't been properly introduced to me yet. Therefore, by the time In The Air Tonight ruled the airwaves, I didn't have the faintest notion of Genesis or any other bands Collins had participated in before his own commercial success. It would be impossible to remain this ignorant in the following years, for after this successful song his name would pop up just about anywhere.

With Wild in his usual descriptive top-form, all of these musical highlights and achievements pass by, one by one, after a short introduction to Collins' previous whereabouts in Genesis and Brand X during the 70s. It was an era which obviously saw a big change within Genesis, with Collins taking over for Peter Gabriel as vocalist, something still passionately discussed by fans.

I won't take part in this argument as I'm not a fan of either incarnation and only by twisting my arm I would probably yield a preference towards the Collins Era, as this simply is the one I grew up with, and I prefer his distinctive recognisable voice. Either way, there's no denying that Collins' awakening as a solo artist, composer and producer hugely benefited the band and their commercial success. Maybe even more than we realise or like to admit.

Supported by a variety of quotes, interview out-takes and excerpts from other books and magazines, Wild's chronological story begins as expected with Genesis' Duke album. This album already saw a slight shift towards a radio-friendlier sound; one that would grow considerably over the years to come. With Collins meanwhile participating in various solo albums by other artists, this would become apparent rather quickly with the release of his highly successful 1981 debut solo album Face Value and the subsequent Abacab. The latter likely profiting commercially from Collins' sudden solo success.

Personally still unaware of all this going on, 1982 would see additional Genesis releases and lots of session work with Robert Plant, Rupert Hine and Gary Brooker amongst others, and a first 'Princes Trust Rock Gala' appearance. And then suddenly his second solo album Hello I Must Be Going was released and You Can't Hurry Love unforgettably danced into view. A song which even my mother liked, although truth be told, her being of a certain age, she already liked the Supremes' original. If the Genesis audience wasn't split already by then, this song surely managed to do so.

Receiving a Grammy nomination, this album firmly established Collins stature as a solo artist, hardened by the subsequent success of Genesis' Mama tour. The award-winning Against All Odds, Collins' USA breakthrough that brings him a first Oscar nomination, only strengthened this. From there on in he constantly grew in confidence as a vocalist and composer. Helping out Eric Clapton in the meantime on various occasions, Collins continues to score hit after hit and dominates the radio with songs like Easy Lover, Sussudio and One More Night. The latter songs from his most commercial and massively successful album No Jacket Required from 1984.

Topped off with a participation in Band Aid in late 1984 his world would never be the same again. In 1985, during the globally aired Live Aid concert, one could see him play solo spots on both sides of the Atlantic and join artists like Sting, Clapton and Led Zeppelin. This highly memorable event and explicit exposure turned him into a global superstar that met the likes of Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna and Queen to give some examples of other era defining artists.

Cashing in with Genesis' Invisible Touch and its subsequent tour, Collins then tours with Clapton, thankfully witnessed personally in The Hague during 1987. In 1988 he follows suit and takes his success to the movies with a lead-role in the romantic crime-comedy Buster, having previously appeared in a Miami Vice episode in 1985 as 'Phil the Shill'. More recording sessions follow with Tears For Fears (Seeds Of Love), Stephen Bishop and Clapton until the compositional decade finally ends with ...But Seriously, toured extensively in 1990.

It keeps Collins' grip on the charts firmly going with mega hits like I Wish It Would Rain Down and Another Day In Paradise, the latter winning him his first Grammy as Record Of The Year and a subsequent 1990 Brit award for Best Single. By the closure of the decade, with Collins giving a solo performance on the Arsenio Hall Show, his insurmountable success has ultimately earned him eight number one albums in the UK (two in the US) and some 25 hit singles on either shore, solo or as a collaboration. A great achievement if ever there was one.

Selling over 100 million records, an astonishing number only ever achieved by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney, and winning in total eight Grammy awards, six Brit awards, two Golden Globe awards, One Academy award and six Ivor Novellos, it's clear Collins' career is one of respectable heights. It comes with a cost, for there are lows as well, like his lost relationships and growing physical limitations.

These and many more details regarding his musical pathway are all accounted for in the various background stories and album credentials that Wild has carefully woven into this excellent, well-told, informative read. As so often encountered in the series, it brought back many memories of enjoyable days gone by, and even managed to make me watch a Genesis live recording from 2007 for old times sake.

Overall Wild's capture of Phil Collins' shining musical career in the 80s is another fine addition to the fast-growing Decades series. A perfectly suitable book for the obvious Collins aficionado and those generally interested in Genesis, as well as those who like to read upon the achievements of one of prog/pop's most iconic personalities in the 80s (and beyond).

Album Reviews