Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Best known as the main guitarist for Genesis from 1971 to 1977, Steve Hackett has long been regarded as one of the leading progressive rock guitarists of his generation. This remastered pressing of his 1981 album features ... more »
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Best known as the main guitarist for Genesis from 1971 to 1977, Steve Hackett has long been regarded as one of the leading progressive rock guitarists of his generation. This remastered pressing of his 1981 album features 11 tracks including three bonus tracks: 'Tales Of The Riverbank', 'Second Chance' and 'The Air Conditioned Nightmare'. EMI. 2007.
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Good but Flawed
The Old Rocker | SF Bay Area | 06/25/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In his long and eclectic career, "Cured" may be Steve Hackett's most overlooked and underappreciated album. This is primarily for two reasons; first because the pop songs that make up this album are the polar opposite of classic progressive albums like Spectral Mornings and Voyage of the Acolyte and, second, the production, instrumentation and vocals are subpar from what fans expected from Hackett.
Cured comes near the end of Hackett's classic period (Acolyte to Highly Strung) and, at least in America, probably hastened his slide from a moderately popular artist into progressive rock obscurity. (Although the bizarre GTR album in the late 80's temporarily put him back in the spotlight.) But, in fact, this is not a bad album by any means and complements instead of distracts from the body of work he produced in the late 70's and early 80's.
In fact I have always felt that Cured represents his overall best songwriting. He had already proven himself a master in composing complex and textured progressive epics, but, it takes real talent to write a successful 3 or 4 minute pop song and this album has several. I make a clear distinction between songwriting (pop music) and composing (epics like Spectral Mornings). I believe this works because mainly, at his core, Steve Hackett always loved a good melody. And these songs are no exception.
Of course the problem with this album is the overall recording itself. After jettisoning his recording and touring band to cut back on his expenses, Hackett entered the studio with only keyboardist Nick Magnus to record this album. As good as the songs are, they can't overcome the drum machine (still in its infancy) the dated 80's syn sounds from Magnus and Steve's thin, reedy vocals. In fact, choosing to sing lead for the first time was the biggest mistake he made. He had to double and triple track his vocals and use lots of harmony just to fill the sound out. These songs would have gone down much better had he hired a session singer.
I've always had this dream that Hackett would one day take the master tapes, hire a drummer, bassist and re-record parts of this album and add additional vocals. I suspect this album would attract a lot more fans. Still, for the opened minded and curious Hackett fan, there are some very good songs on this album; you just have to listen past their faults to get the core of some good pop.
When I first bought this I couldn't stop listening.
Kirk P. Tuminaro | Las Vegas, NV | 07/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was born in the tail end of the 1960s so by the time I was old enough to be addicted to top-40 radio the original progressive rock movement had pretty much come to an end. Having a brother who was 18 years older than I was allowed me to learn about other music, including progressive rock. I started buying all of Steve Hackett's albums on cassette, then later CD, about 1988 when I was in college. I thought everything he had released up to that point was just incredible and wonderfully diverse. He continues to amaze me even now and I'm sure he will continue to do so for some time to come.
Cured was one of my favorites then, and it still is. It has a very stripped-down feel to it since it mostly consists of Steve on guitar plus synths and a drum machine, but in this case that is a virtue because it showcases just how talented Steve is as a songwriter. The more upbeat tracks on this album are ditties that you just can't shake from your head, and the slower songs have quite the emotional impact on me. For a more pop-oriented prog album, this easily compares to the best of the commercial smashes from the early 80s such as 90125, Abacab and Vinyl Confessions.
One more thing I should mention. Tony Banks' album The Fugitive is in some ways rather similar to this one and is another must-own for Genesis completists, or anyone else who enjoys the freedom of restriction that early 80's pop had (especially in comparison to today), and would like to try something a bit different."
Perhaps a 3.5 -- But a Worthwhile Purchase
M. Elam | MO | 02/24/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As this review's title indicates, this album might not be for everyone. I think Steve Hackett fans will enjoy it, and they should add it to their collections simply for the remastered songs. The remastered "Overnight Sleeper" (my favorite track on the album, maybe one of my favorites of all SH's music) is worth it alone. This album is a little quirky with its highly synthesized feel, but it's worth having.
All of Steve Hackett's first six albums have benefitted from remastering, but not all have benefitted from the bonus material; that varies from album to album. The bonus material here is okay: not the worst, not the best. "Tales of the Riverbank" and "Second Chance" sound good, but they sound even better on Bay of Kings. "The Air Conditioned Nightmare" is okay too. The bonus material is probably the only thing that makes me think a 3.5 is the best rating for the album."