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Genesis - The Jackson Tapes (1970)

Updated on July 24, 2018

For decades, little or nothing was known about these mysterious Jackson Tapes; the recordings seemed lost, and there's still a little bit of confusion about their origin and their content. So I will try to make some clarity here.

In January 1970, between From Genesis To revelation and Trespass, in an era of constant change that brought Genesis from the quite good group of the first album to the style for which they are still remembered today. Those months between late 1969 and early 1970 were perhaps the most important period of their career. It was then that they found their way and laid important foundations for the future, all very evident in Trespass, as well as in Nursery Cryme and in these Jackson Tapes.

So, as I said, we are at the beginning of 1970 and Genesis were commissioned a soundtrack for a documentary, which should have been on a painter named Mick Jackson (or at least this seems to be the name, even if it is not totally sure). Sadly, however, this documentary never saw the light of day and is still lost today, and so it seemed to be the soundtrack. Until a few years ago when, apparently, these tracks popped up in the bootleg market and were bought by Genesis themselves (or someone on their behalf) and then officially released in a bonus CD in the boxset "Genesis 1970-1975" in 2008. But what about the music? Well, let's analyze all four tracks that make up these Jackson Tapes:

1 - Provocation

It soon becomes obvious that the introduction of this track ended up in The Fountain Of Salmacis the following year. Here, however, Gabriel sings a different vocal line on it (which starts in a different, more fragmentary way). Shortly thereafter comes a never-heard section, full of rhythmic changes, which then leads us, quite curiously, to what will become the ending of Looking For Someone, again with a vocal line that is absent in the final version. Perfect example of the growth process of those times, as well as of the fact that many musical ideas used later were born in this era. We will see others in fact.

2 - Frustration

We talked about ideas used later and we find ourselves practically listening to Anyway, from The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. The main section is almost identical (apart from the lyrics, of course), up to the section that in the album precedes Hackett's solo. Here it is followed by a new section in which Gabriel exclaims "I say what's the use" (curiously, this phrase was already present, in a very similar way, also musically, in the song Hair On The Arms And Legs, an outtake From Genesis To Revelation) and from a further, more rhythmic, section that almost reminds me of early Camel (or vice versa, more probably); up to a final that, after a frenetic organ ascent, leaves us suspended.

3 - Manipulation

In case further proof of the fact that The Musical Box comes largely from Anthony Phillips (in addition to the F Sharp demo) is needed, here we find an embryonic instrumental version of the aforementioned, also complete with the sections that will later accompany the various solos. As it progresses, however, it ventures into sections that will not find a place in the final version, but always remaining instrumental.

4 - Resignation

Here instead we have a totally new song, again instrumental, not far from certain sections of Stagnation. So it is maybe not so absurd to think that some of these sections could have been part of the legendary The Movement: a long suite played, it seems, only in live concerts, and of which very little is known except that it was then condensed, in fact, in Stagnation.

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