Bass player with Mama, Dave Jones, gives casts his mind back to that very first Genesis LP purchase.
Last chance to get your tickets to see the band live this weekend (30th April 2016 @ The Musician in Leicester)! You can get tickets from the venue website, priced £11.00.
If you’re not around the Leicester area this weekend or indeed any other weekend, maybe you’re in Shropshire? Mama will be performing two shows next weekend (Friday 6th May & Saturday 7th May) at Theatre on the Steps in Bridgnorth. The first night will be an all out Genesis-fest. The second night will feature hits of Collins, Gabriel, Hackett and Mike & the Mechanics. So remember, that’s arguably two completely different shows! Want tickets? Grab them from the venue website.
And now for today’s feature…. Remember your first Genesis album? Our Dave does!
It’s 1973 and I am sixteen years old. I am the bass player in a cabaret band called Chuck and the Young Ones. The group consists of a singer (Chuck – not his real name!) and four lads aged 13 (lead guitar), 14 (rhythm guitar), 16 (drummer) and 16 (me!). At each gig, we take to the stage first and play two instrumentals by The Shadows, then Chuck comes on and we play classic pop songs and current chart favourites. We usually play on Fridays and Saturdays in clubs around the North West.
Our drummer is a certain Peter Clarke, later to find fame as Budgie in Siouxsie and the Banshees. He lives in the same street as me, six doors up. We often meet after school and play our latest album purchases to each other. One day in November Peter plays me an album by a band called Genesis. I had read about them in Melody Maker but in the days before the internet, YouTube and MTV, the chances of hearing Genesis other than on some very late night radio programme was quite frankly remote. Anyway, Pete plays me this album called Selling England by the Pound. If memory serves me right it actually belonged to his elder brother.
I truly believe, that Jesus…
My first instinct is that it is very English. It has chord changes that remind me of hymns. I had been in the church choir and so I was used to the sound of church music and the harmonies that are usually used. The next feature of the music was that it had the same instrumentation as Yes, whose albums I had and loved. The first track, Dancing with the Moonlit Knight, was over eight minutes long and contained some great instrumental passages. I was hooked!
Next up was I Know What I Like (in your wardrobe), much shorter and very accessible – later to be released as a single in 1974. I can remember loving the bass run for the chorus.
Like most people when I first heard the piano intro to Firth of Fifth I was stunned. It was like nothing I had heard before. The closest I could relate to it was some of Rick Wakeman’s piano passages on Fragile. Then later in the piece came that guitar sequence. All the guitarists I had played with up to that point had been blues guitar players, but this was something else.
More Fool Me ended the first side – sung by none other than Phil Collins, his second time as lead vocalist (first time had been on For Absent Friends on Nursery Cryme). It was a lovely short piece to end side one.
We flipped the album and the stylus kicked into The Battle of Epping Forest. By now I knew I had to buy this album. I loved that track then and I love it now. It is one of the tracks that I really want to play with Mama someday. It is ace and inspired so many songs I wrote in 1974 and 1975.
Next up is After The Ordeal, a really great little number that tends to be forgotten because of all the other outstanding songs on the album. Then into Cinema Show – wow! Just wow! Ace lyrics, fab melodies, fantastic playing – can it get any better than this? And finally Aisle of Plenty, again these lyrics have stayed with me forever.
The album ends and Pete & I both know we have just sat through something special. It made the music we played at weekends pale into insignificance. It took nearly two years to assemble a band to attempt to play this type of music but in 1975 we were both in The One Way Band and played songs that were inspired (lifted!) from the music of our heroes; namely Yes, Genesis, the Mahavishnu Orchestra and so on.
I went out and bought Selling England By The Pound that weekend and used my pocket money over the following weeks to buy the Genesis back catalogue. Along with Trick of the Tail and Duke, it is one of my favourite Genesis albums and was the start of a love of the music of Genesis that continues to this day. If you have not listened to this LP for a while then set aside forty minutes and listen to the whole album in track order. I promise you will feel better for it!
Want your very own copy of this classic and favourite of Dave’s? Grab it here: