Wilson, Ray - Live And Acoustic

Year of Release: 2002
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD 102
Format: CD
Total Time: 69:40:00

Ray Wilson is likely best known to readers here for his brief stint with the final (to date) version of Genesis; though because of that, his previous gig, Stiltskin, is also known. On Live And Acoustic, recorded at the 2001 Edinburgh International Festival, Wilson plays live acoustic versions of Genesis (pre- and with Wilson), Peter Gabriel, and Phil Collins tunes (including the "Lovers Leap" section of "Supper's Ready" and "The Carpet Crawlers") alongside some of his own material from the various bands he's been with over the years (Cut, Guaranteed Pure, and Stiltskin). Joining Wilson are Amanda Lyon on vocals and keyboards and Steve Wilson (not the PT frontman) on guitars and vocals. In addition to vocals, Wilson strums a guitar. So, not only an acoustic, or nearly acoustic setting, but also stripped down - no drums or percussion, just voice with accompaniment.

An acoustic setting often results in an intimate setting - and at times, this is the result here. The best tracks here are Wilson's rendition of "Biko," the moving Peter Gabriel classic, and his/Genesis' "Not About Us," the emotional throughlines of both coming through clear. There is something quite powerful about these tracks that translates well to the acoustic setting, since the focus is on voice rather than other instrumentation. So much of Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight," on the other hand, relies upon the presence of drums that without their presence, something seems lacking. Not that Wilson does a bad job rendering this song. Likewise "Mama" - there is something missing from this in an acoustic setting, though Wilson does have the sinister, gutteral "ohs" down. In fact, at times it's spooky how much like Collins he sounds ? and when he's singing Gabriel, sounds like Gabriel. The two tracks from Wilson's time with Genesis - "Shipwrecked" and "Not About Us," translate well, and perhaps its because Wilson has a little more "ownership" of the songs (though it is only the latter that he has writing credit for).

The Stiltskin track "Inside" sounds like it could have been on Calling All Stations. I'm not familiar with the original, but given the ferocity with which Wilson attacks his acoustic guitar on this piece, which gives this a aggressive and powerful feel, I can only imagine how big the full-scale version sounds. "Rest In Peace" has a bit of 60s groove, and in this acoustic setting, hints a bit at Bob Dylan? though not as sung by Dylan. Maybe Dylan via The Byrds (though Dylan is covered later in an un-Dylan like manner). Rather nice in this context (again, not familiar with the original). The Cut track "Sarah" is sad and plaintive, another track that translate to an acoustic setting nicely. "Always In My Heart" sounds as if it were written to be acoustic (and maybe it was)? and is another highlight track. The campy, vaudevillian Guaranteed Pure track "Swing Your Bag" is here, too; I couldn't help but think of David Lee Roth's "Just A Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody."

The album closes with "The Airport Song" (another Guaranteed Pure track) that until I looked at the credits, though it was a Lou Reed composition. Wilson speak-sings this in a Reedian manner and has the same sense of rawness, a vignette from the seemier side of things. It isn't, looking at the lyrics printed at the Ray Wilson song ? it's about being stuck in an airport.

While not entirely an overview of his career, as in amongst the Genesis/Gabriel/Collins/Wilson pieces are a cover of the Eagles' "Desperado," a track where the original was so sparse to begin with that acoustic it shows little difference (not a criticism, however); Bob Dylan's "Forever Young" (with Lyons on lead vocals) and Bruce Springsteen's classic "Born To Run," it does hit some of the highlights. And the material Wilson has chosen is, overall, well suited to an acoustic interpretation.

In The Air Tonight / Inside / Rest In Peace / Shipwrecked / Not About Us / Another Day / Sarah / Gypsy / Swing Your Bag / Always In My Heart / Lovers Leap (taken from Supper's Ready) / The Carpet Crawlers /Biko / Mama / Forever Young / Desperado / Born To Run / The Airport Song

Ray Wilson - vocals, acoustic guitar
Amanda Lyon - vocals, keyboards
Steve Wilson - guitars and vocals

Guaranteed Pure - Swing Your Bag
Stiltskin - The Minds Eye
Genesis - Calling All Stations
Live And Acoustic (2002)
Change (2003)
The Next Best Thing (2004)
Ray Wilson Live (2005)
Stiltskin - She (2006)
Propaganda Man (2008)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: February 23rd 2004
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.raywilson.net
Hits: 773
Language: english


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