Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Steve Hackett - Please Don't Touch (1978)

For the title track of his first post-Genesis album, and second overall, Steve Hackett gave the following directions: "For maximum effect this track should be listened to as loudly as possible with as much treble and bass as your system can muster - not to be played to people with heart conditions or those in severely hallucinogenic states of mind."  And the track in question definitely packs a punch, framed perfectly as the centrepiece of a three-part instrumental suite.

Please Don't Touch, the full album, is a curious thing - almost like a series of picture frames that don't quite make for a coherent gallery, but still form a satisfying collection.  I've been listening to this album for more than any other in the last six weeks, so seemed obvious to feature it here.  Hackett set out his stall here with a great mix of his strengths in playing, composing, and full-on songwriting, with a well-picked supporting cast.

The vocal talents of Richie Havens, Randy Crawford and Steve Walsh (from Kansas) gave the album an oddly transatlantic feel right from the start, as Walsh sings lead on the C.S. Lewis-inspired Narnia (specifically, Lucy and Edmund's respective discoveries of the land beyond the wardrobe).  This is followed up by another literary tribute, this time to Agatha Christie - Hackett obscured his own vocals à la Laughing Gnome, which grates a little, but the track is musically brilliant with its memorable organ motif.  You could imagine this more English-sounding, whimsical track appearing on a Genesis record (like the title track nearly did).  From then on, the gear shifts into Racing In A, a solid piece of AOR with Walsh on lead vocal again.

A heavy 'and don't miss...' quotient for this great little record: the brief instrumental Kim (Hackett's then-wife), showing the writer's debt to Erik Satie; the gorgeous soul ballad Hoping Love Will Last fronted by Randy Crawford; and Richie Havens' two great contributions.  Think I've now covered every track actually, so I'll wind up there.  I love this album.

mega / zippy

3 comments:

  1. curiouser & curiouser...
    Randy Crawford? Erik Satie? Richie Havens? Genesis? AOR?
    this could go anywhere, bleedin' anywhere.
    to say i'm looking forward to this would be an understatement. thanks.

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  2. love this album too! god knows why i bought it considering my opinion of genesis, but am real glad i did. give it a go readers!

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  3. love this album too! god knows why i bought it considering my opinion of genesis, but am real glad i did. give it a go readers!

    ReplyDelete