As Seen On Classic Rock Radio (UK)
Originally Published: 16 November 2018
Uncle G’s FUN Book Reviews
Title: And The Lamb, Lies Down, On Broadway (2018) – Author: Jon Kirkman
Article (and incidental photography) – Gary “Uncle G” Brown
Poor Jon Kirkman. I get sent via electronic mail his new book written about a specific topic, and here I am over a month later, finally saying a few words about it. A cool thing happened while in the process of doing so. I submit an excuse for I rediscovered; Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. The album (CD actually).
More so lyrically this time around. I found myself centered in on the story of Rael, and not just hearing Peter while paying more attention to the musical instruments being played. That’s what I am notoriously known for when it comes to reviewing. A lover of instrumental compositions and or musical passages contained within … wait, plenty of that is included in ‘The Lamb’, and for a specific reason. Never dawned on me why when in the past, while giving ‘The Lamb’ a spin. Probably because I never saw the original band perform it live. The answer to be found within the front and back covers to this informative coffee table guide. All about what I’ll say is one of the most interesting projects … to the highest degree. Easily one of the most thought out, adult-themed rock n’ roll musical odyssey’s ever produced/recorded in the past fifty years (since 1968).
Jon’s hardcover here is a limited edition. I noticed 300 of them signed by; Steve Hackett (that says volumes) and Jon Kirkman (note: the softback signed solely by Jon is limited to just 200 copies worldwide). Close to selling out now (by the time this article is published). I imagine other prints in a smaller format will soon follow. I could be wrong. Both my past wives use to say that about me, all the time.
On my Twitter page, a couple weeks back, I received this response after doing a ‘280 character mention’ of this particular book. From: ‘The Genesis Archive’:
“We are pretty certain this will be the Lamb reference guide for future generations… unless Mark Lewisholm suddenly switches from being an ardent Beatles fan over to the Prog Dark side.”
Author, Jon Kirkman has been involved in the British music scene since the 1970s and devoted his life to rock music. Fearless leader of the 24/7 Internet music station; Classic Rock Radio (UK). I ask myself is this is the very same classic rock radio station out of the United Kingdom, in which my stories have been appearing on since the year 2012? I reply back inquiring if I was recently diagnosed with dementia. Not yet sentenced down that dark path, here I am with yet another write up. Am I biased? Under the circumstances, I wouldn’t have taken on the assignment if I thought I would be.
Jon knows I’m a fan of the group (Genesis). Most prog-heads would guess that. He and I never had we had an in-depth discussion about the band. The man of many hats (journalist/broadcaster/announcer/MC, etc) knows through our near two decades of friendship that I like Yes, Emerson, Lake, & Palmer, Alice Cooper, and Steve Hackett (just to name off a few).
Mister Hackett just so happened to be the lead guitarist of the band Genesis when they released to the masses, this landmark concept double album. Mike Rutherford is credited with playing; 12 string guitar. I am pointing this out so not to give any guitar sounds credited to the wrong player. Mister Rutherford’s bass playing along with Phil Collins (drums, percussion, and other assorted duties) is akin to Chris Squire and Alan White on the masterpiece prog-rock album: Yes – Relayer (1974). Tales From Topographic Oceans (1973) as well. Perfect! One fully compliments the other. Mike and Mr. Collins do this seemingly effortlessly when in essence, they help transport Peter’s somewhat ‘far out’ vision forward and in the process make sure that from beginning to end, that all flows evenly. No train wrecks. Something needs to cradle the lyrics, for without they are just words sung aloud. All musicians who participated, doing their assigned tasks so well that one can easily take for granted exactly what it is each one out of the five does. For the listener, one can focus on a certain instrument or Peter singing. Meanwhile, everything else is going on perfectly as it should be, so one can continue to be overwhelmed with whatever is getting their nut. Magical when that happens. I read online recently about how some folks can get goosebumps while listening to music. A mildly stimulating mind-numbing tingling sensation, that lasts for a few moments. Hairs on arms standing up on end. I believe Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (1974) contains parts where if a listener was that deeply submerged, that something of that sort can happen. Cool when it does.
I’ve forgotten what a piano/keyboard heavy album ‘The Lamb’ is. Being a rank beginner myself (keyboards) I have goals of being able to play one day, just small sections, from this piano/keyboard masterpiece. Tony Banks states;
“The Lamb is a restrictive piece.”
When performing, I imagine so. I would have loved to have been able to attend just one show the band did in support of the album. Jon’s book goes on to report that the last few shows were very down. Regarding spirits/moods. Due to the fact of Peter Gabrielleaving the band, once the tour was completed. This is heavily discussed. As is the band never really being a huge success when it came to sales (up to this point), which is surprising to me. I have their entire catalog. Every Genesis album with Peter Gabriel is worth having. Shame on anyone who calls themselves a fan of classic progressive rock, and doesn’t.
If sitting in a pub one late afternoon or early evening (in which I am sometimes known to do) and explaining to the barkeeper what has been mostly on my mind the last five weeks, it would not have been the ‘midterm elections’ my country has recently suffered through. Instead, it would be the 1975 double album by Genesis: The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. Brought on by Jon’s literary masterpiece; …And The Lamb, Lies Down, On Broadway. What is now a fictional period piece; mid-1970’s. A little before I saw the mighty Led Zeppelin at Madison Square Garden; a part of a non-fictional recounting of my youth. The younger ones of today might not get all the pop culture references that Mr. Gabriel mentioned; Howard Hughes. Being a baby boomer or a baby born due to the results of a good time, back when JFK was commander and chief, and later in my teens getting lost in New York City (more than once), around that time period, I for the most part do. Beautiful poetry, from start to finish. Deep thoughts. So many directions to look and try to comprehend. Includes a child eating monster, and a ‘happy’ ending if that’s what you desire it to be.
If still in a pub and maintaining to hold the attention of one or all, I would have yet another swallow of brew, and then nonchalantly name a song or two from the last studio album that the original singer of Genesis, Peter Gabriel, would participate on. I would say:
“One of Genesis’ greatest hit. Beautiful harmonies. Be warned! Lyrics that burrow into your brain, and will take up a residency for the rest of your life; Carpet Crawlers”
Something along those lines but it depends on how many pints I’ve had. ‘Anyway’ … another brilliant number.
Photo: Green Earth Brewing Company in Greeley, CO (USA)
If continuing to hold anyone’s attention at this point, I would perhaps ‘TRY’ to explain the storyline. Would need another round, first. Odds are a trip to the loo, as well.
I would then compare ‘The Lamb’ to other rock n’ roll concept albums; The Who – Tommy (1969), or Alice Cooper – The Last Temptation (1994). Both if side by side, would be totally different. Two examples of stories told successfully. Same as a play one would see on the ‘great white way’, if one could afford it. A full production in which poetry/lyrics and music are combined to tell a tale, either true or fictional. In the case of Genesis, it’s the story of a poor Puerto Rican guy named, Rael. I went to high school with students from Puerto Rico. Was a skinny stoner with long dirty blonde hair, and most of them for reasons I never fully understood, fucking hated me. The main character, in a nutshell, is unsure of himself and his place in 20th century’s, rough and tumble unsure streets of where he calls home: New York City. Once the lamb who appears from nowhere lies down on Broadway, life for whoever within range …for our main character, it’s like Alice while naked falling down the rabbit hole. Without any indication of the psychedelic drug LSD, being anywhere in sight. Sounds like a seedy porn film. Know what a ‘Slipperman’ is?
I received Jon’s book, and when the time was right, opened it. Took me about 20 pages to realize that it’s been a while since I heard all of Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. Multiple weeks later here I am. I didn’t only finish reading this astonishing reflection about one of Prog-Rocks finest releases, but done so again while giving repeated listens to (many times via Sennheiser headphones); The Lamb…
It simply marvels me, an amateur musician (beginner) and a life-long consumer of music, of all that went into creating what I believe is a true musical accomplishment. One that will be deeply discussed in the future over legal mushrooms and listened aloud so to enlighten others. It’s that good! Composed/imagined during a time where the players involved were primed as a group. And not said lightly. Again, I could be wrong. In all reality, some who labeled themselves music connoisseurs back when ‘The Lamb’ was released, totally panned the sixth studio by Genesis. Mentioned in Jon’s book. Those like myself assume these very same people are the same ones heard about, who drive to the country on the weekends for the sole purpose … just to inhale cow flatulence. Difficult to even type, let along spend long lonely nights contemplating with an online person that you’re really hoping could be a potential sex partner, sooner before later. But in all seriousness, a ‘working’ theory that’s currently being battered about by a few of us prog-rock reviewers.
What’s not in this fine collection of pictures and topics of conversation is an analyst/review of the album. Instead, Jon’s attention is more the story as to ‘The Lamb’s’ creation, and what followed; the promo, and tour. Real details. Jon Kirkman interviews people who know the topic like it’s the back of their hand. This would include Genesis lead guitarist at the time; Steve Hackett. A rather in-depth chat. He injured his left hand right before ‘The Lamb’ tour started. How frightening is that for a professional musician?
I can keep raving about Jon’s book. So, therefore, I will. Outstanding archival scans of “Lamb” ticket stubs, and anything that you could think of pertaining to the album. Photographs…totally fascinating (especially for those who were not around at the time).
Jon’s book about Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway album (production) is something Genesis fans, old and new, should be interested in. They are the audience for which it’s intended. Easy to immerse oneself in? Well…depends on who you ask. One of their crowning accomplishments? Well …this book is certainly one of Jon Kirkman’s, and he’s had many of them professionally. Here’s yet another achievement/gem in his collection.
I conclude your Honor that this book entitled, …And The Lamb, Lies Down, On Broadway, is a must read. Being in the procession of one means you not only have an interesting recall all about the album, but a very cool keepsake as well.
As much as I like “The Lamb’ album, I sincerely enjoyed checking out my good friend’s account; ...And The Lamb, Lies Down, On Broadway. If into Genesis mildly or hardcore and either interested or hooked on ‘The Lamb’, then I believe Jon’s limited edition hard-cover publication on the subject to be right up your alley.
To order/inquires – Jon Kirkman Official Website: www.jonkirkman.co.uk
…And The Lamb, Lies down, On Broadway Official Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/genesisthelambliesdownonbroadway/
Gary “Uncle G” Brown Archival Website: www.garyunclegbrownarchives.com
Bonus Photo: Gary “Uncle G” Brown enjoying a delicious brew at Green Earth Brewing Company in Greeley, CO (USA)