[Review] Peter Gabriel (1977)

Trick of the Tail proved there would be life after Lamb, but not this album.

Kronomyth 1.0: Here comes the dud.

I had crossed between the poles with Peter Gabriel—climbed white mountains, battled giant hogweeds, stood at the threshold of a new Jerusalem and chased a raelbit through 32 doors of unreality—and I thought not now our journey done. A Peter Gabriel solo album promised nothing less than a grand adventure on an even greater scale than Steve Hackett’s marvelous Voyage. Or not. Peter Gabriel I (as the album has come to be called) isn’t the lost Genesis album I had hoped for, just lost.

The first two tracks on it are actually very good: “Moribund The Burgemeister” is another colorful character in Gabriel’s Rogues Gallery, “Solsbury Hill” is a declaration of independence from Genesis done in his own special way. The rest of the record, unfortunately, is a schizophrenic mess made up of barbershop (“Excuse Me”), modern rock (“Modern Love”) and lounge theatrics (“Waiting For The Big One”). Only the closing “Here Comes The Flood,” which looks forward to the quiet intensity of “Biko” and “San Jacinto,” can be salvaged after the opening pair.

So there you have it: three good songs, three years in the making, three stars at best on a scale of one to five. As we know, Gabriel’s solo music got progressively better with time, making it easier to chalk up this mediocre effort to a maiden voyage’s misadventure, but at the time it was a major disappointment. The real continuing adventures of Genesis can be found on A Trick of the Tail, Wind & Wuthering, Steve Hackett’s Voyage of the Acolyte and Anthony Phillips’ The Geese & The Ghost.

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Original LP Version

A1. Moribund The Burgemeister (4:19)
A2. Solsbury Hill (4:20)
A3. Modern Love (3:37)
A4. Excuse Me (Peter Gabriel/Martin Hall) (3:20)
A5. Humdrum (3:23)
B1. Slowburn (4:34)
B2. Waiting For The Big One (7:26)
B3. Down The Dolce Vita (4:43)
B4. Here Comes The Flood (5:54)

All songs written by Peter Gabriel unless noted.

The Players

Peter Gabriel (voices, keyboard, flute, recorder), Jozef Chirowski (frontal keyboards, barbershop), Larry (Wires) Fast (synthesizers and programming), Robert Fripp (electric guitar, classical guitar, banjo), Steve Hunter (full frontal guitar, electric and acoustic rhythm guitar, pedal steel), Tony Levin (bass, tuba, leader of barbershop quartet), Jim Maelen (percussion, synthibam, bones and barbershop), Allan Schwartzberg (drums, directories) with Michael Gibbs (conductor on B3), The Lond Symphony Orchestra (orchestra on B3), Dick Wagner (backing vioces, solo guitar). Produced by Bob Ezrin; engineered by Brian Christian, Jim Frank, Keith Grant, Dave Harris, Robert Hrycyna, Rod O’Brien, Robert Stasiak.

The Pictures

Cover by Hipgnosis.

The Plastic

Released on elpee on February 10, 1977 in the UK (Charisma, CHC 39), the US and Canada (Atco, SD 36-147) and Japan (Charisma, RJ 7216); reached #7 on the UK charts and #38 on the US charts.

  1. Re-issued on elpee in 1978 in Japan (Charisma, BT-5197) with lyric sleeve.
  2. Re-packaged with Peter Gabriel 2 on 2-for-1 2CS in March 1983 in the UK (Charisma, 102).
  3. Re-issued on compact disc on May 18, 1987 in Germany (Charisma, 786 367) and in 1987 in the UK (Charisma, PGCD 1).
  4. Re-issued on elpee in 1988 in Japan (Charisma, VJL-144).
  5. Re-released on remastered elpee in 2002 in the US (Classic/Real World, PGLP1) and on remastered CD in 2002 in Germany and the Netherlands (Virgin, 811 678).

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