Genesis Revisited 2: Steve Hackett (EMI)

One of the great things about Genesis was that it was a band comprising a group of musicians each of which brought a lot to the party.

In the early days you might argue that the dominant forces were Tony Banks, whose distinctive keyboards often define the key Genesis sound or Peter Gabriel, the charismatic front man with his fantastic vocals and incredible showmanship.

I was a big fan and sometimes feel that the contribution of guitarist Steve Hackett was perhaps underestimated.

That might be because his guitar playing – unlike the histrionics of some of his 70s contemporaries – always seemed understated.

That said, many Genesis fans would tell you that some of their favourite musical interludes are when Hackett is playing one of his ethereal guitar solos (check out Firth of Frith, for example).

Hackett is still tourting and has released many albums since leaving the band in 1977. I’ve seen him live several times and it is always rewarding when he plays an old Genesis track.

He’s previously recorded Genesis material but just out is a double album that includes some of the best songs from the 1971-1977 period.

Inevitably they feature tracks where the guitar is particularly to the fore.

Genesis fans will love Genesis Revisited 2. Hackett treats the songs with proper respect – he hasn’t changed them too much, though the guitar is higher in the mix in certain places than on the original recordings.

There are so many highlights but, to me, the tour de force is the 23-minute-long Supper’s Ready, with its different phases and moments of light and shade. At times lyrical and whimsical, it builds to a crescendo of epic grandeur.

Chamber of 32 Doors, Dancing With The Moonlit Knight and Blood On The Rooftops are equally good.

Hackett includes several tracks from The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, an album that some love and some dislike. Fly On A Windshield and Broadway Melody of 1974 are both excellent.

Of course, it’s hard to hear any Genesis track and not compare the vocals with those of Gabriel or Phil Collins. Hackett employs numerous vocalists, some more successfully than others but, overall, the recordings work.

And the musicianship, particularly the keyboards, is first class throughout.

Other titles featured include The Lamia and The Musical Box. Entangled, Ripples, Eleventh Earl of Mar and Afterglow.

Hackett will tour this album in May next year, visiting Liverpool Philharmonic on May 12. I can’t wait.