Ray Wilson

Picture of Ray Wilson

Live And Acoustic

Ray Wilson - Live And Acoustic ©2002 InsideOut Music
1. In The Air Tonight
2. Inside
3. Rest In Peace
4. Shipwrecked
5. Not About Us
6. Another Day
7. Sarah
8. Gypsy
9. Swing Your Bag
10. Always In My Heart
11. Lovers Leap
12. The Carpet Crawlers
13. Biko
14. Mama
15. Forever Young
16. Desperado
17. Born To Run
18. The Airport Song

Genesis, over the course of thirty-plus years, has turned out to be a great launchpad for singers to embark on solo careers. Both Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins have enjoyed monumental success in their own personal ventures as solo artists. However, after Phil Collins left the band in the mid 90s, Genesis recruited a new singer named Ray Wilson and released a commercial and critical bomb with the title Calling All Stations. The album fell from the charts faster than the meteor that killed the dinosaurs and Genesis has been not so mysteriously quiet ever since. But Ray Wilson has finally resurfaced on a collection of acoustic songs with the master-of-the-obvious title Live and Acoustic. While the CD is quite enjoyable, I sense Mr. Wilson may not quite be destined for the same stratospheric success of his two vocal predecessors in Genesis.

The eighteen tracks on this CD were all recorded live at the 2001 Edinburgh International Festival. It would seem by all accounts (and if you believe the liner notes) that his performance was a howling success. Choosing to be backed by only another guitarist and a keyboardist, Wilson offers career highlights as well as a curious selection of cover songs. While a handful of the songs are solely written by Ray Wilson, he also chooses to reprise songs from his stint with Genesis as well as some older Genesis numbers ("The Carpet Crawlers", "Mama", "Lover's Leap"). More interestingly, he also throws in numbers from Collins and Gabriel's solo careers. I suspect that these songs are truly a nod of respect, particularly in "Biko", which Wilson calls one of the most moving songs he knows of. There are also covers of Bob Dylan, the Eagles and Bruce Springsteen to keep things interesting.

The performance is quite good. Wilson proves to be a capable acoustic guitarist and his vocals, somewhat reminiscient of Peter Gabriel's slighly rough pitch, are strong throughout. If nothing else, Live and Acoustic shows why Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks thought highly enough of Wilson to recruit him for Genesis. The arrangements of the familiar songs are creative and both capture Wilson's style as well as the spirit of the original. Admittedly my attention span bogs down after so many acoustic songs in a row, but it's only a minor complaint.

With any luck, Ray Wilson will be able to forge a productive and creatively rewarding solo career of his own. Genesis may have been a bit of a disaster, but that should not stop him from continuing on with his own music. Live and Acoustic should interest Genesis fans, despite any negative associations some might have towards Calling All Stations.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/2002

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