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Genesis – The Demo Mix Down On Broadway (Highland HL199/200)

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The Demo Mix Down On Broadway (Highland HL199/200) 

Disc One:  The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway different mix 1, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway different mix 2, Fly On A Windshield/Broadway Melody Of 1974 rehearsal take 1, Fly On A Windshield/Broadway Melody Of 1974 rehearsal take 2, Cuckoo Cocoon different mix demo 1,  Cuckoo Cocoon different mix demo 2, Cuckoo Cocoon different mix demo 3, Cuckoo Cocoon different mix demo 4, In The Cage different mix demo, In The Cage rehearsal instrumental take, The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging different mix demo#1, The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging incomplete different mix demo#2, The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging different mix demo#3, Back In N.Y.C. different mix demo#1, Back In N.Y.C. ending different mix demo#2,  Back In N.Y.C. ending different mix demo#3, Back In N.Y.C. different mix demo#4, Counting Out Time incomplete different bass in demo, The Carpet Crawlers different mix demo#1, The Carpet Crawlers different mix demo#2

Disc 2:  Lilywhite Lilith different mix demo, The Waiting Room sound effects only demo, The Waiting Room live at Shrine Auditorium Los Angeles January 24th, 1975, The Waiting Room different mix final demo, Anyway different mix demo, Anyway different final mix demo, Here Comes The Supernatural Anaesthetist different final mix demo with Phil Collins, Here Comes The Supernatural Anaesthetist rehearsal instrumental take 1, Here Comes The Supernatural Anaesthetist rehearsal instrumental take 2, Here Comes The Supernatural Anaesthetist rehearsal instrumental take 3, Here Comes The Supernatural Anaesthetist rehearsal instrumental take 4, The Lamia different mix demo#1, The Lamia different mix demo#2, The Colony Of Slippermen rehearsal instrumental take#1, The Colony Of Slippermen rehearsal instrumental take#2, The Colony Of Slippermen rehearsal instrumental take#3, The Colony Of Slippermen ending rehearsal instrumental take#4, The Light Dies Down On Broadway different vocal rehearsal take, Riding The Scree different mix demo, In The Rapids incomplete different mix demo#1, In The Rapids incomplete different mix demo#2, In The Rapids different mix demo#1, In The Rapids different mix demo#2, In The Rapids rehearsal take, It rehearsal take 1, It rehearsal take 2

After reaching more success with the release of Foxtrot in 1972 and Selling England By The Pound in 1973, Genesis became even more ambitious by releasing The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, a 2LP concept album.  Following in a line of The Who’s Tommy, Tales From Topographic Oceans by Yes and A Passion Play from Jethro Tull, Genesis’ contribution to this genre is one of the more bizarre yet fascinating creations.  The demos for Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway are a strange collection of documents.  These discs contain amateur recorded demos, different takes, and even a live track placed in proper sequential order of the final work.  Before Highland released The Demo Mix On Broadway there were several other collections including The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway – Outtakes (OUTTAKES COMPANY-G092110), Silence Of The Lamb, In The Beginning, Vol. 1 (Extremely Rare — EXR 005),  In The Beginning, Vol. 6 (remastered) (Extremely Rare — EXR 022), In The Beginning Vol 13 (EXR 029) and In The Glare Of A Light (Alternative Recording Company ARC 021-022).  Highland gather together all of the relevant outtakes and assemble them into one convenient package in the best available sound quality.

Genesis worked on their opus from August to October 1974 in Headley Grange using the Island Studio mobile truck with final mixing at Island Studios in London.  As Phil Collins explained, “We were living at Headley Grange – this house that Led Zeppelin, Bad Company and the Pretty Things had lived in. it was a bit of a shambles – in fact they’d ripped the shit out of it. We were all living together and writing together and it went very well to start with. Pete had said he wanted to do all the words so Mike and Tony had backed off and we were merrily churning out this music. Every time we sat down and played, something good came out.”

Peter Gabriel said:  “Several ideas for the album were presented in order for the band to exercise a democratic vote. I knew mine was the strongest and I knew it would win – or, I knew that I could get it to win. The only other idea that was seriously considered was The Little Prince which Mike was in favour of – a kid’s story. I thought that was too twee. This was 1974; it was pre-punk but I still thought we needed to base the story around a contemporary figure rather than a fantasy creation. We were beginning to get into the era of the big, fat supergroups of the seventies and I thought, ‘I don’t want to go down with this Titanic.’

“Once the story idea had been accepted we had all these heavy arguments about writing the lyrics. My argument was that there aren’t many novels which are written by a committee. I said, ‘I think this is something that only I’m going to be able to get into, in terms of understanding the characters and the situations.’ I wrote indirectly about lots of my emotional experiences in The Lamb and so I didn’t want other people coloring it. In fat there are parts of it which are almost indecipherable and very difficult which I don’t think are very successful. In some ways it was quite a traditional concept album – it was a type of Pilgrim’s Progress but with this street character in leather jacket and jeans. Rael would have been called a punk at that time without all the post-’76 connotations. The Ramones hadn’t started then, although the New York Dolls had, but they were more glam-punk. The Lamb was looking towards West Side Story as a starting point.”

Gabriel’s reference to John Bunyan’s 1678 novel The Pilgrim’s Progress is significant in understanding the plot his work.  All good drama centers on the struggle of the hero against challenging odds to emerge victorious over the adversary and growing spiritually in the process.  But Gabriel’s work is unique because, while most heroes deal with enemies or internal struggles, he focuses upon the sexual awakening of the male protagonist Rael.  The female’s sexual awakening has been covered in literature before by authors such as  Thomas Hardy, Kate Chopin and Judy Blume, focusing on the male aspect is rare.  This is supported by the consistent reference to the male genitalia with “Counting Out Time,” and “The Colony Of Slipperman” where the raven snatches it from the character and the end of the story is concerned with the quest to retrieve it in the rapids.  Also important are the use of mythological figures Lilith and the Lamia, both of whom have strong sexual connotations.  The conclusion of the story seems to suggest a reversal of the “free love” movement with a prudish use of the double entendre in the final song “It.”  

The first two tracks are different mixes of the opening song “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.”  Except for the little guitar introduction and the fade out, they are identical to the final version used on the LP.  This is followed by two different takes of “Fly On A Windshield.”  The first is a twelve minute amateur rehearsal tape of the band working through the rhythm under the heavy mellotron lines of Banks.  Gabriel can be heard scatting the melody over the music.  The second is another mix of the commercial version of the track with less echo on the vocals. 

The four tracks of “Cuckoo Cocoon” also come from the final mixing at Island Studios and differ very little from one another and from the final version.  They emphasize the different instruments and experiment a bit with the echo, but the differences between them are minimal.  It is the same story with the first “In The Cage.”  The various instruments are louder compared to the final version.  The second “In The Cage” is from an amateur cassette demo from Headley Grange which begins during the solo as the band runs through the song.  The three takes of “The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging” all are variations of the commercial version.  The second is a forty-four second fragment of the beginning only, and the differences are minuscule. 

The four “Back In NYC” experiment with different mixes of the ending and its transition into “Hairless Heart.”  The third and fourth are only forty second fragments, and in it the band try emphasizing different instruments such as the bass or the tambourine.  “Counting Out Time” is merely a two minute fragment of the track with louder guitar in the mix.  The first disc ends with two different mixes of “The Carpet Crawlers.”  The differences are again subtle, but in the first Gabriel’s vocals sound a bit more buried in the mix while in the second Collins’ backing vocals are a bit higher.  The second also has the song’s original, awkward ending. 

The second disc begins with “Lilywhite Lilith” that is pretty much identical to the finished version.  This is followed by a five minute track “The Waiting Room.”  The first two minutes are concerned with the sound effects and Gabriel can be heard speaking in the control room speaking to someone many identify as Brian Eno.  As Christopher Currie writes:  “Eno himself has never specified his role, claiming only that he helped the group to adjust a few tracks. Frequently suggested possibilities as to the identity of these tracks include: vocal distortions on “The Grand Parade”, keyboard distortions on “Riding The Scree” and “In The Cage”, effects on “The Colony Of Slippermen”, etc. Tony Banks has recently claimed that Eno’s role was actually quite minimal, and that he didn’t really deserve an official credit. Nevertheless, this mystery, too, refuses to die.”  This is followed by “The Waiting Room” from the KBFH Shrine tape and another mix of the song. 

The first track for “Here Comes The Supernatural Anaesthetist” is the final version with a bit less echo on the vocals.  The next four come from an amateur recording of the band practicing the melody and the transition from the happy melodic guitar theme into change into a minor key.  Gabriel doesn’t sing the lyrics but claps along at points.  The two takes of “The Lamia” are the final version mixed with different levels of echo on the vocals.  The four “The Colony Of Slippermen” is another amateur cassette rehersal recording running through the organ theme.  It is the same with the minute long rehearsal of “The Light Dies Down On Broadway,” which features Gabriel improvising lyrics.  

“Riding The Scree” is the commercial version with minor differences in the mix.  Five different tracks of “In The Rapids” follow.  The first four are fragments of different verses in the song and, with the pausing of the tape, sound like monitor mixes.  The first is a different mix of the first verse “Moving down the water / John is drifting out of sight, / Its only at the turning point / That you find out how you fight / In the cold, feel the cold / all around / And the rush of crashing water /Surrounds me with its sound.”

The second track focuses upon the fourth verse:  “I’m spiralled down the river bed, / My fire is burning low. / Catching hold of a rock that’s firm, / I’m waiting for John to be carried past. /We hold together, hold together and shoot the rapids fast.”  The third track backs up a bit to “And the rush of crashing water / Surrounds me with its sound.” 

The last three tracks on the disc, the final “In The Rapids” and the two takes of “It,” are amateur cassette rehearsal demos in very good to excellent quality.  The arrangements don’t differ much from the final versions, but Gabriel improvises the lyrics during “It.”  His voice cracks at times throughout as he tries to keep up with the furious pace of the song.  It is perhaps the most interesting tape on this release, but it makes one wish his lyrics were more audible since whatever ever he is singing, he sings passionately.  The Demo Mix Down On Broadway is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with an interesting variation of the cover art with Gabriel truly taking the role of Rael on the cover and Collins taking the place of John.  Outtake material is valuable in tracing an artist’s development in general.  Although there is nothing here truly revelatory, it does make one appreciate the work that went into the piece.     

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Genesis - The Demo Mix Down On Broadway (Highland HL199/200), 3.0 out of 5 based on 3 ratings

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