|Genesis Klassik - Ray Wilson Live in Berlin (Album Review)
review by: Iain Robertson
A lot of water has passed beneath the bridge since Ray Wilson joined and then departed rock legend, Genesis, during which one low-key tour and solitary album had resulted. To some eyes, he was drafted-in to replace Phil Collins, who had left the band in the mid-1990s. To others, Ray had introduced a darker and more youthful quality to the group, in what would be its swansong creative period. Apart from revisiting its classic works a couple of years ago, Genesis is now (huge sales of compilation box-sets aside) all but deceased.
However, despite being able to add ‘Genesis’ to his CV, the former front-man of Scottish prog-rockers ‘Stiltskin’ had been harmed clearly by the experience. While he is able to joke about the issues that arose at the time, his new album, ‘Genesis Klassik - Ray Wilson Live in Berlin’ is another means by which Ray can dispense with his demons. Joining forces with the Berlin Symphony Ensemble and making the recording live from Radio Berlin (88.8FM), he is merely exercising a potent link in Germany, where his musical stylings and that country’s never-ending fascination for the Genesis sound have provided him with a valuable crust.
For the past decade, Edinburgh-based Ray has been a regular tourer around Germany, Holland and the Low Countries, which has been more than enough to keep the wolf from his door. Fortunately, he is able to exercise good links with the members of Genesis, certainly for gaining permission to play and record their compositions, and, as a former song-writing partner of that band, he has also been granted a number of privileges to which even the tribute groups cannot lay claim.
As a result, the 13-song listing on this engaging new album, as well as being a tribute of sorts, is given that uniquely appealing Ray Wilson slant. ‘No Son Of Mine’, ‘Land Of Confusion’, ‘That’s All’, ‘Carpet Crawlers’, ‘Jesus He Knows Me’, ‘Follow You, Follow Me’ and ‘Turn It On Again’ are all popular Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins titles, although ‘Not About Us’ and the title track from the ‘Shipwrecked’ album, of which Ray was part, add to the rich mix.
Two of Ray’s self-penned songs, ‘Change’ and ‘Short Story’ are supplemented by another Wilson epic, ‘Constantly Reminded’, while Peter Gabriel’s Genesis departure track, ‘Solsbury Hill’, also receives an airing. It is a very satisfying collection of tracks, accompanied beautifully by the strings of the Berlin Symphony Ensemble that will have appeal to fans of Genesis and its music and also of Ray Wilson, who is otherwise of only minority interest in his home country.
My advice is to buy into his sound, because you will find much to like