My Record Collection 125

Steve Hackett – later days.   And what a return to form.  1993’s Guitar Noir is really one of his very best records.  A beautiful selection of varied songs, some heavy rock, some gorgeous melodies and occasional acoustic guitar.  He manages to sound different on every track and yet the same unique Steve Hackett sound overall.  Hard to pick a favourite from so many good songs; maybe the first three ‘Sierra Quemada’, ‘Take these pearls’ and ‘There Are Many Sides To The Night’ – which incidentally happens to be the title of his next (live) album.  I bought this as a double 2 cds some time in late 90’s but it was a 1995 release – There Are Many Sides To The Night.  This is a lovely live record of a mostly solo set by Steve where he plays sumptuous mostly acoustic guitar pieces.  He had released a couple of classical guitar albums in the late 80’s and a blues one too, so lots of tracks I hadn’t heard before – and some that were familiar have softer arrangements on this recording.  The Genesis Files is up next, and album from 1999 where Steve both revisits and re-interprets some of the songs he wrote for Genesis or was inspired by,  A couple of new numbers ‘Valley of the kings’ and ‘Waiting Room Only’, and some fine old tracks re-recorded – best of which is ‘Firth of Fifth’.   My next album is To Watch The Storms (2003).  A really excellent album, lots of variety and including a song by Thomas Dolby (see D) ‘The Devil is An Englishman.   I am often amazed how artists keep coming up with new songs, and in Steve’s case, entirely new sounds – but he does, and of all the Genesis musicians, who have all pursued solo careers, he has released far more and varied records than the others.  I remember I bought this CD in Orleans while we were driving back to England, recognising it instantly by the Kim Poor cover.  And it really is a great album.  Hard to pick best tracks really but here goes; some of the tracks are really heavy rock, some blue, some acoustic and some have a fairground feel.  But standouts are ‘Circus of Becoming’, Come Away’ and ‘Serpentine Song’.  Really one of his best albums.  He followed this with Wild Orchids (2006) another strong and varied album.  Some artists simply keep getting better, writing stronger songs and producing amazing albums; not many, but some.  Best songs; opener  ’Transylvanian Express’, the sinister ‘Down Street’, sung in his mock horror voice and the Dylan classic ‘Man In The Long Dark Coat’.  But really a splendid record with not a filler or duff track on it, full of surprising sound effects and interludes of delicate guitar.   My next album is Out Of The Tunnel’s Mouth )2009), which despite its title is quite a gentle album, at least in large part – there are a few louder heavy songs but a surprisingly lyrical feel mostly.  Best songs are the last two, ‘Still Waters’ and ‘Last Train To Istanbul’ – with its eastern feel.  A nice record all round.  My last is Live  Rails, which was from the tour promoting Tunnels mouth, and it is a really dynamic live album, lots of old favourites and some really loud stuff.  A great way to end on.