In fact this is a re-release of Ray Wilson's “Unplugged” album of 2001. This independent release can now reach a bigger audience with this InsideOut release. The cover is the same but they had to change (?) the title from “Unplugged” into “Live and acoustic”. On the backside of the cover it says: "File under Rock/Pop". This is indeed the case, so why reviewing this album in progVisions? Well I think Ray Wilson deserves this because the big record companies dumped him after doing a great job on the Genesis album “Calling all stations”. In Europe that album was appreciated by progfans who are not so narrow minded, but in America it had no impact on the big audience. Ray Wilson got the blame for this. The companies didn't think this Genesis line-up was commercial enough for the American market and forced Genesis to give Wilson the sack. But ironically with this action, not to give this Genesis line-up with Ray Wilson a second chance, they blew up this Genesis that was in my opinion on the way back after their very commercial Collins period. Personally I think Ray Wilson is a better singer than Collins. Not everybody will agree with me but I think his voice fits better with the music of Genesis. Maybe it has to do with my passion for the Gabriel line-up of Genesis. Wilson's voice is closer to Gabriel than to Collins. Collins is a great musician but in my opinion he had to stay behind the drum kit with Genesis and do his (commercial) solo work with another band and not mix up the two in Genesis. What is my statement here? “Calling” all stations and with it also Ray Wilson has not got the credits they earned. This introduction has nothing to do with this album but I had to get this out of my system once and for all. It had to be said once.. period.
Ray Wilson: Vocals and acoustic guitar; Amanda Lyon: Vocals and keyboards; Steve Wilson: Guitars and vocals.
In the first place I was very curious to hear this album. Just because I liked Ray Wilson's voice so much on that Genesis album. But honestly I was a little bit disappointed. This is a Pop album with acoustic versions of covers of not only his own bands Guaranteed Pure, Stiltskin (he reached no.1 in the charts with this band before joining Genesis) and Cut (his new band) but also covers of Bob Dylan, The Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, Phil Collins ("In the air tonight"), Peter Gabriel ("Biko") and of course Genesis.
I will not describe all 17 tracks of this 70 minutes album. For the most progVisions readers the Peter Gabriel and Genesis covers are the most interesting tracks of this album. Wilson is adding his personal touch to these unplugged versions. From Peter Gabriel he is doing "Biko" the anti-apartheid song about the life and tragically death of the South African anti-apartheid fighter Steven Biko who died in prison. From the diverse Genesis line-ups he is performing "Shipwrecked", "Not about us", "Lovers Leap" (taken from "Supper's Ready"), "The carpet crawlers" and "Mama". I like his choice for "Lovers leap" an excerpt from the “Foxtrot” epos "Supper's ready". This piece of text has a permanent place in my memory. After listening to it back in 1973 it got a place in my memory and it never left. It seems I was not the only person who got this experience with this great old Genesis track. I enjoyed listening to these interpretations of these classics.
The tracks of his new band Cut are proving he is a good songwriter too. Please listen to "Another day", "Sarah", "Gypsy" and the new "Always in my heart". All delicate and beautiful ballads.
"Live and acoustic" is giving
a good overall picture of the career of Ray Wilson
so far. It proofs once and for all that Wilson
has a great voice and is a good songwriter too. But I will warn you once
more; this is not a progressive or Symphonic album!
It is just a good Pop album.