The First and Best of the Phil Collins Era
Duke's Travels | Denver, CO | 02/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Trick of the Tail gets a slight edge over Wind & Wuthering as the best Phil Collins era Genesis album. I won't regurgiate the fine information provided by my brother and sister Genesis fans. I will merely state that Trick of the Tail has eight tracks of sheer musical perfection, from the hauntingly beautiful (Mad Man Moon, Entangled, Ripples) to the downright aggressive (Squonk, the classic Los Endos). Incredible depth, dynamics and musical maturity for four dudes in their mid-20s at the time. A landmark album of the original Progressive Rock era."
The Best of Both Worlds
Elmer Craven | Union City, CA United States | 06/25/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is my favourite Genesis album after "Selling England". For me, the other Peter Gabriel albums are too dense and impenetrable, with too many competing interests, while the Collins era Genesis, while possibly stronger on melody, became way too saccharinely commercial for my tastes.
So what sets "Trick of the Tail" apart? It's a struggle between the melodic prog leanings of the Gabriel years against the commercial sappiness that engulfed the band in the Collins years. It encapsulates the best of both worlds without being particularly groundbreaking, unlike "Selling England". It's strong on memorable songs, unlike the sprawling "Lamb", the melodies and sounds lodge in your mind. "Dance on a Volcano" and "Squonk" are excellant musically. Tracks like "Ripples" and "Mad Moon", while firmly in the Collins Ballad mould, and "Robbery Assault and Battery" and the title track, both in the Collins pop song mould, succeed in being blessed with the proggy touch that was to evaporate once Steve Hacket departed. This is their saving grace.
In summary, genuinely good, strong melodic songs with clever prog playing - the balance is just right.
One of my all-time favorite albums PERIOD
Johnny Boy | Hockessin, DE | 09/21/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It was 1976. Genesis was at a standstill. Peter Gabriel had just left the group, and they had released their critical masterpiece 'The Lamb Dies Down On Broadway' just two years earlier. Gabriel, the group's frontman, left Genesis in 1975 after the 'Lamb' tour to start his own solo career.
The group interviewed many different lead vocalists, and eventually settled on their own: Phil Collins, the group's drummer since 1971 (the year 'Nursery Cryme,' another great record was released), took over the role as the lead vocalist. The result of all of this transitioning was this, 1976's 'A Trick of the Tail.'
At this time, Genesis were at a creative peak. One listen to 'Dance on a Volcano' and you'll understand my reasoning. Great vocals by a young (25 at the time) Phil and a great keyboard riff by Tony. Steve's guitar is great throughout, especially at the jam session near the end of the track. Truly one of the greatest Genesis tracks to appear on one of their records.
'Entangled' is a great, madrigal-like acoustic number. Mike and Steve play mellow acoustic guitar, and Tony's keyboards at the end are just haunting. Truly one of the most bone chilling moments they ever did.
Moving right along, 'Squonk' provided Genesis a great, rhythmic jam session, with some of Phil's best vocals. But, take my word, the song sounds much better on 'Seconds Out,' and I strongly recommend you buy that album along with this one. It's one of the all-time great live albums.
'Mad Man Moon' is perhaps Genesis' most underrated song. A nice, piano-driven ballad featuring mellow vocals by Phil and a driving acoustic piano as only Tony can play. And Tony's solo here is outstanding, proving the point of how great a keyboardist Tony is. Just an outstanding song, probably one of my favorite Genesis songs period.
'Robbery, Assault & Battery' is a nice little mini-rock opera that just sounds great here. Another great keyboard driven song, Tony sounds awesome here and really shines. I have often wondered how this song would have sounded with Peter Gabriel at the helm. One has to wonder...
'Ripples' is another great acoustic ballad, and like 'Entangled,' features a madrigal-like sound to it. It starts of with Mike and Steve playing acoustic guitars, and Tony playing a harpsichord, with Phil singing quietly and mellowly. The song kicks into a jam session halfway into the song, with Tony and Steve just dominating. This is a highlight of 'A Trick of the Tail.'
The title track is a nice little ditty, and is the shortest song on the album. It's actually one of my favorites on the album; it's a simple, catchy little song and one of the first where Phil really comes into his own as a vocalist. An excellent song indeed.
And what a better way to close a record than 'Los Endos'? Clocking in at 5:49, 'Los Endos' is instrumental, and Mike, Tony, Phil and Steve just jam here. This has become a concert staple for the group, and one of the few songs from their '70s days that Genesis continued to play live after the 'Abacab' tour. This is one of the best songs they ever did by a long shot, because it's so complex. I recommend listening to the version on 'Seconds Out' as well, which features a great drum duet between Phil and their longtime touring drummer Chester Thompson prior to the start of the song.
Overall, 'A Trick of the Tail' is one of their best albums period and is one of my personal favorite albums. It's such a great album to listen to because there are so many different moods on it. It's a very sophisticated album, and it's hard to believe that this is the same band (sans Steve Hackett) that released 'Invisible Touch' exactly ten years later.
Something else to note is this album was remastered and remixed (by Nick Davis) in 2007. I don't recommend that reissue; notice the word REMIX. I much prefer the original 1994 remaster, because everything just sounds right. Although the 2007 remaster is good (and it's the only one that's readily available nowadays), if you plan on buying the remastered 2007 version of this, hang on to your 1994 copy and compare the two. That way you can make your own decision about which mix is better. But I prefer the '94 version personally.
I can't recommend this album enough. It's one of the greatest albums they ever did and is to this day a personal favorite of mine; it's something everybody should listen to at least once. It's just that great of an album.
Highly, highly, HIGHLY recommended.