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The Grand Parade Of Unique Packaging

Starbucks releases "14 From Our Past"

It is a bit unusual that Genesis completists have to go into a coffee shop these days. This would not have happened a couple of years before. Back then you had to bid for something in the classified ads and wait for weeks to find out whether you got it or not, or you would have to walk through seedy alleys in London to get some digipack or other that has a “DG” instead of a “DX” in its code. And then the internet came and changed everything. Enter Ebay and out went the comfortable experience of rummaging around in small record shops.

Why this nostalgia? Because it is the same approach this sampler takes that was available at US stores of the world-wide coffeshop chain during Genesis’ US tour for some fifteen bucks.
For your money you get a compilation that does not restrict itself to the hits but takes the listener on a musical journey through the world of Genesis. It does not begin in the (more successful) Collins era but way back when Mr Gabriel still was the singer. Okay, so they left out a song from From Genesis To Revelation, but they included The Knife from their 1970s Trespass release. Happy The Man is next, a non-album track of a kind that is rarely found on compilations such as these. The listener quickly realizes: This album is a journey back and it really works. Big gambles are avoided, though, and so you hear I Know What I Like from Selling England By The Pound instead of Dancing With The Moonlit Knight. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway is represented by the title track of, as the liner notes stress, Genesis’ only studio double album, and more daring tracks such as Lilywhite Lilith are left out. The makers of the CD need not be reproached for that, though. The album is made listeners curious for more, after all, and that is okay.

The journey continues and every (!) studio album is included, whether it is Your Own Special Way from Wind & Wuthering, Turn It On Again from Duke, That’s All from the self-titled album or Congo from Calling All Stations. Yes, that point of their journey is not left out. It is part of their history, too!

The booklet features well-known photos, but what is more interesting are the liner notes. They were written by Rickey Wright and he did a good job. After an introductory text that covers the history of the band he provides some background information to all songs. A pity only that the (brief) digression into the solo careers of the band members covers only messieurs Gabriel and Collins – their band mates Banks, Rutherford, Phillips and Hackett have good stuff to offer, too. The brief notes to the songs are really good write-ups and provides information that is not necessarily known to all fans. The booklet really completes this collectors’ item. Who knows? Perhaps this part of the Starbucks Entertainment series will one day become a rarity?

Author – Bernd Zindler
Translation – Martin Klinkhardt