A brilliant album! Overall, however, this album is far removed from the band Gabriel helped launch into stardom. While it is obvious this is the same man who created such brilliant records as "The Lamb Lies Down," the music on this disc is much less artsy and atmospheric, all though no less eccentric and pioneering. There are a few un-Genesis like straightforward rockers in"Modern Love" and "Dolce Vita". "Solsbury Hill" is a beautiful song and was a minor hit for Peter, although nothing like what would happen in a few years. "Here Comes the Flood" sounds the closest to his popular 80's works. Peter Gabriel's debut features the same studio band as Alice Cooper's 1977 album 'Lace and Whiskey' (Dick Wagner, Steve Hunter, Jozef Chirowski, Tony Levin) and it was recorded at the same place, too (Sounstage, Toronto). It was also produced by Bob Ezrin. Bassist Tony Levin has also played with Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman & Howe, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Liquid Tension, et al. This CD went out of print, and as I assumed, the entire Peter Gabriel catalogue was remastered and re-released.
Peter Gabriel (Atlantic) 1978
1. "On the Air"
The former Genesis frontman pairs up with former King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp, who produces and performs on this disc. Funny thing is most people rate this disc very low in the Gabriel catalogue, perhaps because everyone was expecting some progressive rock masterpiece. Instead what they give us is simple, clean and grandiose modern rock. (modern for 1978 that is.) This disc is full of synths, along with insistent, infectious rhythms, and polished, processed guitar sounds. The production is big yet streamlined not unlike what would become the norm in the coming 80's. Perhaps it's just nostalgia for me, but I really love this album, although I will admit that it isn't my absolute favorite Gabriel cd. (That honor still goes to the third self titled disc.) There are a few standout cuts here, including minor hits 'On the Air' and 'D.I.Y.' One listen to 'D.I.Y.' and I have the song stuck in my head for the rest of the day. I am also quite fond of the under-appreciated "A Wonderful Day in a One-Way World," "Exposure" and "White Shadow." "Exposure" has Peter experimenting with some deep, menacing vocals as well as his usual vocal stylings on top of a funky new wave sound. "Indigo" is the most Genesis like song on this disc, reminding me slightly of something off of "Selling England by the Pound" or even "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway". "White Shadow" has a slight touch of the old Genesis sound too, which I suppose is only natural being the Peter was the driving force behind Genesis at one time. "Animal Magic" is a more straight forward rocker, that is actually unusual for Peter Gabriel. Like Peter's first solo album, this disc was a bit hard to find as it is out of print. I expect that soon it will be re-released as a "remastered series" or something like that. Regardless, I am glad to finally own a copy of this album on disc.
Peter Gabriel (Geffen) 1980
Man, I've been wanting this CD for the longest time. I really don't know what took me so long to replace the crappy record I had for so many years. I actually bought that record as a new release in 1980. Anyhow, Peter Gabriel's third solo album is absolutely his best, or at least my personal favorite, thus the reason it was the first CD I purchased by him. This disc is not bogged down with "hit" pop songs or any filler crap, but rather just Gabriel at his most bizarre and creative. Phil Collins plays drums on much of this album. According to rumor this album is where Phil developed his trademark "cavernous" drum sound because Peter didn't want any cymbals on this disc! I suppose he was going for a more "tribal" sound, which I think he attained. Every song on this disc is a classic with a vocal melody that will stick in your head like super glue. "Games Without Frontiers" was a minor hit for Peter, but nothing compared to what was to follow. I'd pick out a favorite, but this would be a futile exercise since I love each and every song.
Peter Gabriel - Security (Geffen) 1982
1."The Rhythm of
the Heat" (5:15)
Yet another of Peter Gabriel's masterworks. This one is probably my second favorite, with only III beating it out. Once again Peter did a lot of experimenting on this album, especially with odd African drums and rhythms. It paid off because this album did very well for him. "Shock the Monkey" became a huge hit and helped to send 'Security' to gold status, which was really good for the depressed record industry sales in the early 1980's.
"Shock the Monkey" has been covered by Coal Chamber with Ozzy doing the vocals.
Peter Gabriel - Plays Live (Geffen) 1983
With "Security" Peter Gabriel had finally reached the success of former band mates Genesis. "Security" went gold and was a Top 40 radio hit. Following it up with a live record was a great idea, especially since Gabriel had just come off of his most successful tour ever. Not only does give new fans a chance to hear older material and possibly boost sales of those older releases, but it gives long time fans a much longed for live album. Despite the fact that this double album release focuses pretty heavily on the "Security" and "Peter Gabriel III" tracks, it does summarize his four solo albums to this point pretty well and includes one song never released before, "I Go Swimming". However, I must confess that I prefer the studio performances to these live tracks.
1. Segment 1-Genesis Live
in London 1975 (25:14)
Interesting bootleg. The cdr contains the entire radio broadcast, right down to the commercials about hemorrhoid problems. Strange. Still, the live material is all presented uncut and in high quality stereo. Of course live Genesis with Peter fronting the band is always interesting. On Segment 2, Peter introduces guest guitarist Robert Fripp. Not sure what or who Wilco is or why they are included on a Peter Gabriel compilation, but thankfully this 'alternative country rock' band is at the end of the disc, thus there is no need to hear it.
Peter Gabriel - So (Geffen) 1984
Peter Gabriel's HUGE multi-platinum pop album. When it first came out, I ignored it. Of course being a fan of his earlier works and his work with Genesis, it was only inevitable that eventually I would purchase it. Long after the hype wore down I checked out the whole album and found that it was quite good, although not as much to my liking as his first three albums. Since I still don't have all three of those great albums yet, I didn't think I'd upgrade my vinyl copy of this for a long time. However, I found this copy for a mere $3.99. Listening again, after having not heard it for several years, I still think that this is a good and artistic pop album. Lots of big name guest artists on this one, including Kate Bush singing a duet with Peter as well as performing artist Laurie Anderson.
Peter Gabriel - Us (Geffen) 1992
1. "Come Talk to Me"
"Us" was released some six years after his blockbuster hit "So." Not surprisingly, this album is not "So Part 2" "Us" is mellower, more personal and more somber. However, it is also a bit pop oriented not unlike "So". Also "Steam" seems to echoe Gabriel's last platinum album, sounding a tad like "Sledghammer." "Kiss That Frog" is a killer song, and probably my favorite track on the album. This particular song is upbeat, catchy and has some incredible harmonica playing. Overall, however, "Us" doesn't have the experimentation, or even the immediate hooks of past Peter Gabriel albums, although if I am in the right mood, this album is a perfect listen.