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Asked once to name my favourite album of all time I decided to compile a list of my top10 and say it's one of those 10. After a bit of time and thought I decided to include a Lamb lies down on Broadway as one of the ten, this album was released in 1974 by those most unpopular of British bands Genesis. This is a double album concept album telling the tale of a half-Puerto-Rican living in New York City, it tells of his life, hopes and ultimately his demise. The album was written by Peter Gabriel who was then lead singer of Genesis and the band played the whole album from start to finish for their 1975 tour.
Genesis was a British band made up originally of Tony Banks, Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford, and Phil Collins. Though only Banks, Gabriel and Rutherford are founder members, Collins joined after one album and guitarist Steve Hackett appearing from the second album until the late 70's. They were known for long musical pieces with long periods of Banks on the piano, Rutherford on guitar and Collins on drums, their longest piece Suppers ready was 23 minutes long and was prepared as a response to the 3 minute pop song. Initially all the songs were written by individual band members which had to face competition to get onto the bands albums, however, the majority were Banks and Rutherford. Despite being allowed to write the words to A lamb lies down, Gabriel left the band in 1975 and Phil Collins took over vocals. Banks, Rutherford and Collins would release albums until Collins left in 1990. Genesis made one more album before disbanding for good.
A Lamb lies down on Broadway
What makes this album special? A lamb is a concept album which is more rock opera than standard music album. The story of Rael a poor Puerto Rican in New York is the narrative but in truth the story gets lost in the music, only vague concepts come through, the tone of the records echo his moods, happy, maudlin, sad, ecstatic, sexual, free, repressed, anger and a lost voice in a large vibrant city.
The first ten-twelve tracks of the album, or the original first LP tells of a young excited Rael, his life is upbeat and happy we have upbeat charging songs like carpet crawlers and counting out time. Here the band use sharp staccato sounds to depict a vibrant city and an energised young man, there is sexual conquest, a sense of belief and drive and a chance for a poor man to become something more. The tracks are shorter, punchier and defined, we have his travails through his various jobs and his belief that life is better.
The second half, is descent we have a series of songs showing Rael as he truly is, there are clear drug induced messages with supernatural or horror elements. So none of the fast paced, charged songs of earlier, here the songs are longer, darker and more melodic.
This album which is so diverse and varied works on many levels, we have progressive rock, melodies, catchy tunes like carpet crawlers and long instrumentals all give us a clue to Rael life. When we finally reach the albums end with the uplifting Light of Broadway we can catch our breath.
This is my album for when I want some quality music, some slightly ethereal pieces of music and my favourite on the album is the bizarre but brilliant Labia, this track tells of ancient gods, and has a haunting melody which perfectly echoes the lyrics.
So if you're sick of 30 minute pop albums, full of songs about sex, violence and more sex than give this album a try, you never know you might like it.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (2008 Digital Remaster)
2 Fly On A Windshield (2008 Digital Remaster)
3 Broadway Melody Of 1974 (2008 Digital Remaster)
4 Cuckoo Cocoon (2008 Digital Remaster)
5 In The Cage (2008 Digital Remaster)
6 The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging (2008 Digital Remaster)
7 Back In NYC (2008 Digital Remaster)
8 Hairless Heart (2008 Digital Remaster)
9 Counting Out Time (2008 Digital Remaster)
10 Carpet Crawlers (2008 Digital Remaster)
11 The Chamber Of 32 Doors (2008 Digital Remaster)
Disc #2 Tracklisting
1 Lilywhite Lilith (2008 Digital Remaster)
2 The Waiting Room (2008 Digital Remaster)
3 Anyway (2008 Digital Remaster)
4 Here Comes The Supernatural Anaesthetist (2008 Digital Remaster)
5 The Lamia (2008 Digital Remaster)
6 Silent Sorrow In Empty Boats (2008 Digital Remaster)
7 The Colony Of Slippermen (The Arrival/A Visit To The Doktor/Raven) (2008 Digital Remaster)
8 Ravine (2008 Digital Remaster)
9 The Light Dies Down On Broadway (2008 Digital Remaster)
10 Riding The Scree (2008 Digital Remaster)
11 In The Rapids (2008 Digital Remaster)
12 It (2008 Digital Remaster)