Genesis’ “I Know What I Like,” and “Follow You, Follow Me” had been likeably rotated on FM radio playlists for years, when a friend bought “Wind and Wuthering” and we lowered the needle on “The Eleventh Earl of Mar.” At exactly 37 seconds into the song I felt the pit of my stomach drop when the song lowered a half step and my life had literally changed.
No one uses more pretty chords than Tony Banks, Steve Hackett and Michael Rutherford, NO ONE. “Ripples?” “Entangled?” “Cinema Show?” “Supper’s Ready?” Firth of Fifth?” Come on. Get real.
“Wind and Wuthering” would turn out to be one of the best albums I would ever hear, producing four of staggeringly beautiful works (“Eleventh Earl of Mar,” ” Afterglow,” “Blood On the Rooftops” and “One for the Vine”). Of course I wanted to cover “One for the Vine,” but I wanted to use the fretless to add some expression and help distinguish it from Michael Rutherford’s original bass.
Well, I got expression – but I also got some pitchiness (sorry about that) and a couple of dynamic spike because the fretless is a very different animal from the fretted and intonation can be challenging. Still, this beautiful work is almost a rapture to play and it is glorious all the way through. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for watching!
“The Eleventh Earl of Mar” is a fantastic work written by Tony Banks, Steve Hackett and Michael Rutherford. The intro alone is breathtaking, and the song has a beautiful classical guitar section that I have transposed to bass and play in the video.
One of the most striking things about this song and the album is that it never sounds as if it’s in a hurry, nothing feels rushed; the chord changes can raise gooseflesh and elicit smiles that start in the soul It’s that good.
Fortunately, Genesis released more than one astounding album, and for this bass cover I reach back to Foxtrot and cover “Watcher of the Skies.” This is from the Gabriel-era, of course, and in covering it I detected Mike Rutherford’s playing, as good as it is on this song, really is very unsophisticated from a bassists view reflecting their age and relatively brief time as a bass player.
Interesting lyrics by Tony Banks and Michael Rutherford, this song is their first to feature the Mellotron (loaned from King Crimson). A very energetic song with some terrific extended musical passages, “Watcher of the Skies” is exciting to play and listen to.
“Firth of Fifth” is one of my favorite Genesis songs and I love playing it. There are so many fantastic parts to this piece – the dynamics are incredible and the song moves easily from one section to the next, with a reprise at the end. While Tony Banks wrote most of it, the entire band contributed to “Firth of Fifth” (a play on the river called “Firth of Forth” in Scotland) and this great tune features Peter Gabriel on flute. I hope you enjoy it!
When I was, I guess, in the 11th grade in High School, a friend played Dixie Dregs “What If.” I recall hearing “Ice Cakes,” and being completely floored. The song turned on tight tempo changes, had amazing dynamics and astonishing musicianship. It got me interested in Steve Morse’s music and amazing jazz-fusion bands. I thought, “Wow – I’ll never be able to play that – it’s just nuts.”
Here it is – my bass cover of Dixie Dregs’ “Ice Cakes,” featuring a rare slap bass attempt.