[Review] Supper’s Ready (1995)

Minor prog stars, many from the Magna Carta label, take a shot at serving up some of Genesis’ greatest songs.

Kronomyth x.x: You name them all, we’ve had them here, but the real stars are still to appear.

Where the hell is Fountain of Salmacis?! How can you possibly have a Genesis tribute album without Fountain of Salmacis? (That for the dorkosaurs who think I’m actually going to take a tribute album seriously.)

Before we begin, let me tell you that Steve Hackett released a “tribute” album to Genesis the following year, called Watcher of the Skies. Great album, that, and one you should definitely snack on before Supper’s Ready. This album is compiled by neo-prog label Magna Carta. The same label that by 1996 had glutted the market with tribute albums to Rush, Yes, Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull. So, first off, a crass bit of business this tributary, which mostly provided an elevated platform for Magna Carta artists like Magellan, Cairo, Robert Berry, Shadow Gallery, Enchant and World Trade. There are, however, also some genuine prog contemporaries aboard who warrant a raised, appreciative eyebrow: Annie Haslam, Pete Bardens, Richard Sinclair, John Goodsall, David Hentschel. Nice to see them rummaging about in the old wardrobe.

What I like about Supper’s Ready is the song selection (only a fan could appreciate choices like “Man of Our Times” or “Many Too Many”), and the due deference accorded the legendary Genesis in detailed performances. Mostly, the bands play it by the books, which makes this sound like a very smart cover album more than anything. Kevin Gilbert’s version of “Back In N.Y.C.” (with Nick D’Virgilio and Mike Keneally!) and Crack the Sky’s creepy version of “I Know What I Like” are the notable exceptions.

What’s interesting is that the various vocalists have better luck with Peter Gabriel than Phil Collins (only Annie Haslam bests Buster). Have we seriously underestimated Gabriel’s understudy? Perhaps so. Imaginary points are docked for packaging (I have no idea what the cover is supposed to represent and the title Supper’s Ready makes as much sense as One For The Vine, Another Record or sundry other Genesis songs) and John Goodsall’s completely inappropriate guitar solo on “Carpet Crawlers.” Here’s hoping someone retaliates with a wanky guitar solo on Magna Carta’s inevitable Brand X tribute album.

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The Songs

1. Robert Berry and Hush: Watcher of the Skies (Tony Banks/Mike Rutherford/Phil Collins/Peter Gabriel/Steve Hackett) (6:50)
2. Over the Garden Wall: Firth of Fifth (Tony Banks/Mike Rutherford/Phil Collins/Peter Gabriel/Steve Hackett) (9:25)
3. David Hentschel with Jay Tausig: Undertow (Tony Banks) (4:42)
4. Annie Haslam: Ripples (Tony Banks/Mike Rutherford) (4:48)
5. Kevin Gilbert: Back in N.Y.C. (Tony Banks/Mike Rutherford/Phil Collins/Peter Gabriel/Steve Hackett) (6:37)
6. Richard Sinclair: For Absent Friends (Tony Banks/Mike Rutherford/Phil Collins/Peter Gabriel/Steve Hackett) (3:11)
7. Magellan: Mama (Tony Banks/Mike Rutherford/Phil Collins) (6:51)
8. Enchant: Man of Our Times (Mike Rutherford) (5:37)
9. Pete Bardens “Mirage”: Many Too Many (Tony Banks) (2:58)
10. Shadow Gallery: Entangled (Steve Hackett/Tony Banks) (6:18)
11. Cairo: Squonk (Mike Rutherford/Tony Banks) (6:28)
12. Crack the Sky: I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) (Tony Banks/Mike Rutherford/Phil Collins/Peter Gabriel/Steve Hackett) (4:04)
13. John Goodsall with Michael Zentner: Carpet Crawlers (Tony Banks/Mike Rutherford/Phil Collins/Peter Gabriel/Steve Hackett) (5:24)
14. World Trade: Keep It Dark (Tony Banks/Mike Rutherford/Phil Collins) (4:06)

The Players

Stevie Adams (guitar on 9), Brendt Allman (guitar on 10), Mike Baker (vocals on 10), Pete Bardens (keyboards on 9), Greg Bennett (guitars on 2), Sue Bennett (keyboards & vocals on 2), Jeff Berlin (bass on 3), Robert Berry (vocals, bass, rhythm guitar & arranger on 1), David Biglin (arrangement, instruments & background vocals on 4), Roger Bonasera (drums on 1), Jeff Brockman (drums on 11), Carl Cadden-James (backing vocals on 10), Daniel Todd Carter (drums on 3), Paul Craddick (drums on 8), Tim Deaner (backing vocals on 12), Bret Douglas (lead vocals on 11), Desha Dunnahoe (bass on 9), Nick D’Virgilio (drums on 5, lead vocal & drums on 9), Rob Fordyce (bass on 11), Alec Fuhrman (guitars on 11), Trent Gardner (lead vocal & keyboards on 7), Wayne Gardner (guitars and Taurus pedals on 7), Kevin Gilbert (vox, guitars, bass, keys, cello & recorder on 5), John Goodsall (guitar on 13), Annie Haslam (lead and background vocals on 4), Dr. Maurice Hayes (narration on 12), David Hentschel (keyboards on 3), Toby Holmes (trombone solo on 5), Chris Ingles (piano on 10), Paul Keller (lead guitar on 1), Mike Keneally (guitars, kalimba, bell piano & recorder on 5), Ted Leonard (voice on 8), Marc Leveille (lead vocals on 2), Paul Marangoni (percussion on 2), Tommy Mars (keyboards on 13), Douglas A. Ott (guitars & keys on 8), Ian Palumbo (guitar & backing vocals on 12), John Palumbo (keyboards, guitar & lead voice on 12), Tos Panos (drums on 13), Ty Parr (backing vocals on 13), Roger Patterson (drums & percussion on 7), Gene Perrault (percussion on 1), Ed Platt (bass on 8), David Rees-Williams (piano, harpsichord & keyboards on 6), Mark Robertson (keyboards on 11), Jay Schellen (drums on 14), Billy Sherwood (vocals, bass, guitar & keyboards on 14), Richard Sinclair (vocals on 6), Gene Stout (bass guitar on 2), Jay Tausig (vocals & guitars on 3), Gary Wehrkamp (guitar on 10), Mike Wible (keyboards on 1), Susan Willett (backing vocals on 13), Michael Zentner (vocals on 13). Produced by Peter Bardens (9), Robert Berry (1), David Biglin, Denny Bridges & Annie Haslam (4), Jeff Brockman, Alec Fuhrman & Mark Robertson (11), Carl Cadden-James (10), Rich Cox & Jeff Green (12), Don Garbutt (2), Kevin Gilbert (5), David Hentschel & Jay Tausig (3), Bob Madsen (8), Magellan (7), Douglas A. Ott (8), John Palumbo (12), Billy Sherwood (14), Richard Sinclair (6), Michael Zentner (13); engineered by Denny Bridges (4), Jeff Brockman & Alec Fuhrman (11), Carl Cadden-James (10), John Carr (2), Rich Cox (12), Eric Fahlborg (9), Trent Gardner (7), Kevin Gilbert (5), Gus Hilton (6), Dave Jenkins (13), Bob Madsen (8), Scott Robertson (3), Billy Sherwood (14); mixed by Jeff Brockman & Alec Fuhrman (11), Dave Jenkins (13), Douglas A. Ott (8); executive produced by Shawn Ahearn & Sami Kaneda (9), Dave Kirby (2), Pete Morticelli & Mike Varney (7).

The Pictures

Cover art by Mitchell Hartman/M Studios. Package design by 4D Advertising.

The Plastic

Released on compact disc on August 22, 1995 in the US (Magna Carta, MA-9004-2).

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