I am going to say, well write, this in public for the first time ever.
Duke is the best Genesis album without Peter Gabriel.
I am well aware this contravenes common opinion, we are all supposed to bow down to the glory and pomp of A Trick of the Tail or the flawed genius of Wind and Wuthering, we are not supposed to raise the three piece band up as excellent. It is ok to admire the longevity of the band or their pop sensibilities but we are not supposed to prefer their output.
Don’t get me wrong I love Mad Man Moon and One For The Vine but Trick and Wind and Wuthering would have made a great album if combined without the silly songs about mice and Squonks.
Duke is a classic album, it is the first that really breaks away from Gabriel and it thankfully has no songs on it about animals. It even has a concept for the old progheads among us.The strange story of the funny Duke guy Albert. It is often referred to as the Duke suite and was meant to be, Behind the Lines, Duchess, Guide Vocal, Turn It On Again, Duke’s Travels, and Duke’s End. On one side of the album and the other songs on side 2.
Instead of doing this the band decided to integrate all those songs from side 2 into the album proper and thereby in my opinion created a masterpiece, Songs of loss alienation, confusion and love all mixed in with some serious prog leanings and no songs about mice.
Duke was the first Genesis album I bought, I remember listening to it while my Dad watched the news to realize that the band were playing the Liverpool Empire that night and I did not have a ticket. So I never saw Genesis but I certainly played this album to death.
The German pressing I am listening to tonight does not have the crazy Duke guy running around the label like my old vinyl but it does have my favorite label of all time the Famous Charisma Label. There is that cray mad hatter going round and round on the turntable all out of focus and fun. I miss watching the little Duke guy running around though.
The Collins songs on this album are truly things of beauty as well, they are some of the simplest things Genesis had played they are also not as calculated as some of the later songs after Abacab.
There you have it then the word is out, I am out of the closet, Duke rocks it is the best post Gabriel album by Genesis and I shall continue to relive my teenage fascination with this album through the wonder of second hand German vinyl. Remember now Turn It On Again.
I defy any band to produce as exciting an end to an album as Duke’s Travels and Duke’s End, they are transcendent and worth the price of admission alone.