Genesis Revisited II With a better tracklist than the first and impeccable production, this is essential for Genesis fans – but there’s not  quite enough re-invention for me. It sounds like Hackett is buffing up his legacy and creating definitive versions of the songs that made his career.

Label: Inside Out Records
Time: 21 Tracks / 146 minutes

For the second time, ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett has gathered some talented friends to re-make great Genesis songs, but this time he has had a change of approach.

The original project, created with help from John Wetton, Chester Thompson, Bill Bruford, Colin Blunstone and others, was an experiment in how to deal with the band's rich legacy. Some tracks ("Watcher of the Skies") were played very straight; others completely re-worked ("For Absent Friends," with help from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and "Waiting Room Only"); while many sat somewhere in between: "Firth of Fifth" was an excellent companion to the orginal, but could not compare as a prime account. These fresh interpretations were fascinating, but the level of experimentation led to a severe loss of drive.

For this version, Hackett shows a clear sense of purpose: to  create perfect versions. It helps that most of the original material is 5-tock quality to begin with. The tracklisting very closely resembles my own ideal Genesis favourites: “Horizons” preluding a glorious “Supper’s Ready;” the under-rated gem “Dancing With the Moonlit Knight” – here introduced by a snatch of “Greensleeves”; the ever-powerful “Fly on a Windshield/Broadway Melody of !974;” two matching highlights of the trio format, “Entangled” and “Ripples;” and lushly mellow works from The Lamb Lies Down, “The Lamia” and a majestic “Chamber of 32 Doors.”

He has also added a few tracks from his solo catalogue that were largely written at the same time as many of these (1971-77), such as “Please Don’t Touch” and “Shadow of the Hierophant” which adds a new perspective to the collection – although “Blood on the Rooftops” lessens the effect.

My biggest surprise is how little Hackett plays around with the material, right down to the tones used. I expect a revision project to replace several organ sequences with keyboards that were unavailable at the time of the original recording, but which may have been used if they were on hand. This would have suited “Return of the Giant Hogweed” well. Yet this set reveres the originals in their exact form, only occasionally tweaking bits to update them.

In many ways that is ideal: if the tracks were magnificent to begin with, too much re-working can only be a downhill journey, or so some would say  - and he may have been stung from reaction to the first project. But the logic falls down when you look at Nick d’Virgilio's impressive Rewiring Genesis: The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, where he replaced synthesizers with brass and created an à capella version of “Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging.”

That said, to have a collection of great tracks all polished up to dazzling and given extra power is a wonderful thing. Although Hackett was less concerned about vocal authenticity than he was about the rest of the sound, a selection of vocalists, including Phil Collins’ son Simon, still sound remarkably similar to Peter Gabriel.

The bits that are polished the brightest and given most freedom are Hackett’s own guitar lines, so it sounds like he is buffing up his legacy and creating definitive versions of the songs that made his career. Looking at the tracklist here is a strong reminder that Hackett was as present as Peter Gabriel for Genesis’s best bits. Gabriel did Trespass without Hackett, but after Gabriel left, the guitarist made his mark on  A Trick of the Tail, which contained even more classic songs.

At the time of writing the whole thing - including appearances from Nik Kershaw, John Wetton, Steven Wilson, Roine Stolt and Neal Morse - is being streamed at

Derek Walker

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