Cryme: The Demos On Nursery 1971-1972 [Highland 1CD]
Demos for Nursery Cryme recorded 1971-1972. Ex SBD stereo.

First things first. It’s not clear which planet the compilers were on as they put together the track listing for this set, but it was certainly one where Genesis albums are extraordinarily scarce.

How else, after all, could they mistake the standard Foxtrot version of "Supper’s Ready" for a demo? A heavy hiss notwithstanding, you wouldn’t swear to either "Harlequin" or "Fountain Of Salmacis" being the promised alternate versions, while "Watcher Of The Skies" sounds more like the US single edit than the advertised demo. And four versions of "Happy The Man," supposedly taking your ears on a journey from demo to near-final mix, are identical enough that only the varying sound quality truly differentiates between them.

Which leaves just four tracks to salvage Cryme: The Demos on Nursery from the landfill, and they’re not even by Genesis. Rather, "Only Your Love" and "Silver Song" were composed and recorded by Anthony Phillips and Mike Rutherford as a possible Phil Collins solo single - a full eight years before Collins himself thought of releasing one. A studio rehearsal of "Only Your Love" comprises Collins la-la-la-ing over a gentle ballad backing (the completed take appears, mystifyingly, on the same label’s equally misleading Moonlight Demos collection), while three takes of "Silver Song" include a pair of demos, but add nothing to the already oft-bootlegged final cut.

To call this a disappointment, then, is to do it an wholly undeserved favor. The Nursery Cryme sessions were among Genesis’ most creative, and the snippets that have leaked out in the past reveal a band in a serious state of transition. This disc, on the other hand, offers nothing more than the merest glimpse, and then snatches that away via the sheer weight of misleading detail. Tut tut. - Dave Thompson

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August 31, 2007