- This is an excellent set of songs and a surprisingly good recording
- After suffering through so much bad Genesis sound over the years — their pressings are all over the map — it was a real treat to hear the better copies of this one let these classic songs really come to life
- “Indeed, part of the beauty of this album is the sheer flexibility of the band during this period — in addition to superb vocals by Collins throughout, the drumming by Chester Thompson is at least a match for Collins’ best playing.”
- If you’re a Genesis fan, this title from 1977 is surely a Must Own.
- The complete list of titles from 1977 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here
This live album from 1977 has some of the best Genesis sound we’ve heard. Their studio recordings are often a bit flat and dull, so it’s really a treat to hear those songs with this kind of big, open, dynamic sound! Phil Collins handles the lead vocals here, but he does a great job even on the Peter Gabriel material.
This vintage British Charisma pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What the Best Sides of Seconds Out Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1977
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
What We’re Listening For on Seconds Out
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Mint Minus Minus is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.
The Carpet Crawl
Robbery, Assault and Battery
Firth of Fifth
I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
The Musical Box (Closing Section)
Dance on a Volcano
Depending upon your point of view, Genesis in 1976/1977 was either a band ascending toward its peak commercially, or a group crippled by the departure of a key member, and living on artistic borrowed time. In reality, they were sort of both, and fortunately for the members, their commerciality was more important than their artistic street cred, as their burgeoning record sales and huge audiences on tour during that period attested. Seconds Out caught the band straddling both ends of their history, their second concert album and this time out a double LP.Apart from capitalizing on a successful tour, the album’s raison d’etre appears to have been to present the case to critics and longtime fans that post-Peter Gabriel Genesis, with Phil Collins as lead singer, was essentially the same band as Genesis fronted by Peter Gabriel.
The original side one songs consisted of repertory from such post-Gabriel albums as Trick of the Tail and Wind & Wuthering, and most of those live versions, including “Squonk,” “The Carpet Crawl” (positively ethereal), and “Afterglow,” are superior to the original studio renditions of the same songs. Indeed, part of the beauty of this album is the sheer flexibility of the band during this period — in addition to superb vocals by Collins throughout, the drumming by Chester Thompson is at least a match for Collins’ best playing.
On that older repertory (which comprised sides two and three of the LP version), the results are more mixed, though still surprisingly enjoyable — on “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway,” despite the best efforts of Collins, backed by Michael Rutherford’s and Tony Banks’s singing, he really can’t match the subtlety or expressiveness of Gabriel’s singing, though he comes close; he actually fares slightly better on the closing section of “The Musical Box,” a piece that requires power as much as subtlety. “Supper’s Ready” — which, sung by Gabriel, missed making it onto 1973’s live album — holds up well, mostly by virtue of the playing; and in fairness, the band even extended itself to including “Cinema Show,” which is worth hearing just for Bill Bruford’s transcendent drumming, over and above how well everything else works; as this track was never represented with Gabriel, even on the group’s boxed set, it’s difficult to complain too loudly about any weakness in Collins’ singing.