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Djabe Hackett

Air-Conditioned Remasters

He was the first one from the Genesis camp to endeavour a solo career even though he still was a member of the band. It must have been in 1973 that initial frustration occurred in the band about the musical direction. Some band members looked for jobs outside the Genesis label, like Rutherford with Hackett’s predecessor Anthony Phillips, or Collins as a session musician (which would, in turn, lead to the formation of his other band Brand X), or like Steve Hackett. He worked on those of his pieces that had not made it into Genesis’ repertoire while it was still very unclear whether and if, how, the band would continue in the time around and after The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.

Hackett’s first six solo records were published between 1975 and 1983 on the Genesis home label Charisma Records. Later they were re-released on CD by Virgin Records when they swallowed Charisma Records. Unfortunately all publishing rights remained with Virgin so that Steve Hackett could not release reworked versions of these records on his on label Camino Records. He had done that with all his post-1983 records in the mid-90’s. When the cult around Genesis kept growing continually and Hackett profited from it by selling his albums very successfully, things changed. In 2005 Virgin Records were not averse to release Hackett’s first four records in reworked form. Sales apparently matched expectations when the discs made it to the stores on October 15, 2005, so there were no obstacles for the release of the ‘leftover’ albums Cured (1981) and Highly Strung (1983) anymore. From January 29, 2007 onwards fans will be able to finally enjoy all solo albums by the former Genesis guitarist in remastered shape.

Virgin / EMI Records fortunately left it to the artist to decide who should rework the original master tapes of the recordings. Benedict Fenner proved the right man for the job. He is a long-time pal and connaisseur of Hackett’s work. This ensured that Steve Hackett kept control over the outcome and that nothing would be released he would later have to distance himself from.
The old recordings were polished very carefully; frequencies were very carefully worked on without compromising the familiar sound. Fenner also preserved the dynamics of the volume in Hackett’s compositions. Many a remaster of other artists’ works was wrecked by the remasterer pushing the overall volume of the album. The artwork, too, is very good work: The original cover was chosen for the booklet alongside elements of the original LP inlays. The booklet contains the lyrics and credits as well as numerous hitherto unpublished photos from the album’s period and new remembrances of the respective production by Steve Hackett himself. The CD label is a very nice touch as it features the almost forgotten Charisma logo label. Fans will also be interested in the bonus tracks that follow after the album proper. Most of these were only available before on vinyl or, as in most cases, unknown. Let us take a closer look at these rarities...

voyageVoyage Of The Acolyte

recorded in June/July 1975, recorded in October 1975

Tracks: Ace Of Wands / Hands Of The Priestess Part 1 / A Tower Struck Down / Hands Of The Priestess Part 2 / The Hermit / Star Of Sirius / The Lovers / Shadow Of The Hierophant.


Ace Of Wands (Live) 6.30

Recorded on Nov 11, 1979 at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London, UK. This is obviously not a recording from the period immediately after the album’s release. Steve Hackett did not play concerts to promote his debut so that there is no live material. The lineup consisted of flutist/guitarist John Hackett, keyboarder Nick Magnus, bass player Dik Cadbury, drummer John Shearer and vocalist Pete Hicks. At the time the band usually played a shortened version of the piece and combined the second half with Racing In A.

Shadow Of The Hierophant (Extended Playout Version) 17.00

This is identical with the regular album version until the closing part (5:54 onwards), but then the closing section was kept in its original form. That means not cuts – tension builds for five more minutes towards the climax. The best bits of the long version were combined to make up the album version. The tape that holds this version of the Hackett / Rutherford composition was found when Hackett’s father decided to tidy up the garden shed!

pleas don't touchPlease Don't Touch

recorded between November 1977 and February 1978, released in Mai 1978

Tracks: Narnia / Carry On Up The Vicarage / Racing In A / Kim / How Can I? / Hoping Love Will Last / Land Of 1000 Autumns / Please Don’t Touch / The Voice Of Necam / Icarus Ascending


Narnia (John Perry Vocal Version) 3.32

When the opening song proved a huge favourite with US radio stations it was decided to release the song as a single. The label of vocalist Steve Walsh (then with Kansas) objected, though. Therefore vocal tracks for a potential, slightly shortened 7” version were recorded by John Perry. Despite additional changes in the mix the result was not too convincing. After the production of a promo the single was shelved.

Land Of Thousand Autumns / Please Don’t Touch (Live) 7.50

Another recording from the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London (Nov 11, 1979) that had not been available previously. Strictly speaking, this opening song from the 1978/9 shows that was recorded on the next to last show of the Spectral Mornings tour also contains bits of Tigermoth.

Narnia (Alternate Version) 4.30

This previously unreleased version with vocals by Steve Walsh differs from the album version in that it has a different mix and a “natural” end of the song without a fade-out. Percussion and keyboard tracks differ occasionally and little bits like the whistling at the end were left out.

spectral morningsSpectral Mornings

recorded in January / February 1979, released in May 1979

Tracks: Every Day / The Virgin And Gypsy / The Red Flower Of Tai Chi Blooms / Everywhere / Clocks / The Ballad Of The Decomposing Man / Lost Time In Cordoba / Tigermoth / Spectral Mornings


Every Day (Alternate Mix) 7.06

This is not the version that was specifically recorded for the single. It is based on the album version, although with a slightly changed mix. Note the hitherto unknown 60 seconds worth of closing section in half time.

The Virgin And The Gypsy (Alternate Mix) 4.25

This mix contains additional guitar tracks and Steve’s harmonica in the chorus.

Tigermoth (Alternate Mix) 3.18

Only the second half of the song surfaces here in another mix. The keyboard has moved to the foreground and some vocal tracks are mixed differently than in the final album version.

The Ballad Of The Decomposing Man (Alternate Mix) 4.19

After an unusual intro featuring vocoder vocals this mix includes a guitar part of Steve’s that had not been included in the first part, a different mix of percussions and shouting in the second part as well as a prolonged end. The eight seconds of noise in the beginning of the track actually have nothing to do with this song but stems from Tigermoth.

Clocks The Angels Of Mons (Single Version) 3.36

This classic was robbed of most of the drum solo for the 7” and 12” versions that were released in September 1979.

Live-Acoustic Set 5.37

Recorded on June 11 at the Pavillion de Paris, this piece was originally published on the Clocks 12” maxi single. It includes snippets of Lost Time In Cordoba, Etude In A Minor (Carcassi), Blood On The Rooftops as well as complete versions of Horizons and Kim.

Tigermoth (Live) 2.58

This was also recorded at Paris and included on the Clocks 12” maxi single. The 1979 live version makes do without the second part of the piece. Observe a minute of silence and then...

Hidden Bonus Track: The Caretaker 1.40

… someone is ticked off and very vocal about it! This unmusical extra also surfaced as a hidden track on some early pressings of Spectral Mornings.



recorded in spring 1980, published in June 1980

Tracks: The Steppes / Time To Get Out / Slogans / Leaving / Two Vamps As Guests / Jacuzzi / Hammer In The Sand / The Toast / The Show / Sentimental Institution


Hercules Unchained 2.43

The first ‘real’ non-album track was released as the B-side of the single The Show. It is a surprising track for Hackett because it has unusually fast hard rock pieces, staccato vocals and brief vocoder bits in the briefest of middle parts.

Sentimental Institution (Live) 3.02

This previously unreleased track, like the bonus tracks on Voyage and Touch comes from the gig at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London, on Nov 11, 1979. At that time it had not been released at all.

The Steppes (Live) 6.14

Slogans (Live) 4.38

Clocks The Angels Of Mons (Live) 5.52

These three unreleased live tracks were recorded at the Reading Festival on Aug 28, 1981. It features the Cured tour personnel, i.e. John Hackett (flute, guitar), Nick Magnus (keyboards), Ian Mosley (drums) and Chas Cronk (bass). It is unknown why no recording was chosen for this CD from the 1980 Defector tour ensemble.



recorded in spring 1981, published in August 1981

Tracks: Hope I Don’t Wake / Picture Postcard / Can’t Let Go / The Air-Conditioned Nightmare / Funny Feeling / A Cradle Of Swans / Overnight Sleeper / Turn Back Time


Tales Of The Riverbank 1.59

This track has been released on the flipside of the Hope I Don’t Wake single. Played by Hackett on the nylon string guitar, its core was composed by Mauro Giuilani labelled Andante In C. In the 1950s it was used as the title melody of a children’s TV series. A more recent recording of this piece can be found as the bonus track for the 1994 re-release of the Bay Of Kings album.

(Theme from) Second Chance 1.57

The duet of classical guitar and flute (played by Hackett’s brother John) became the title track of the eponymous British TV series. It was first released in 1981 as the Picture Postcard b-side before it appeared as a re-recording on Hackett’s first acoustic album Bay Of Kings in 1983.

Air-Conditioned Nightmare (Live) 4.08

Here is another recording from the Reading Festival (Aug 28, 1981) in addition to the three live tracks on the re-released Defector album. This piece could be heard before on the 12” maxi single of Cell 151 (1983).

highly strungHighly Strung

recorded between February and November 1982, published in June 1983

Tracks: Camino Royale / Cell 151 (Long Version) / Always Somewhere Else / Walking Through Walls / Give It Away / Weightless / Group Therapy / India Rubber Man / Hackett To Pieces


Guitar Boogie 2.10

This short instrumental, a fast rock boogie, was often played in live shows as an encore. The recording is most likely from the tour rehearsals because it features the complete live band from 1983.

Walking Through Walls (12“ Version) 5.54

Though the song is labelled '12” version' here and indeed two minutes longer than on the album, this version (done by Rafe McKenna) did never appear on a maxi single. It may have been intended for one, though, but it was only published on the US album version of Highly Strung. Additional effects and edited parts make this piece the more interesting. Note the closing section with additional keyboards, vocoder, drums and the whistled melody.

Time Lapse At Milton Keynes

Steve Hackett wrote this piece with the Genesis reunion on October 02, 1982 fresh in his mind. It was first published on the 7” and the 12” single versions of Cell 151 in 1983. A re-recorded version became the bonus track of the remastered Bay Of Kings in 1994.

steveAll in all...

Virgin / EMI Records have finally seen the light and re-released the early albums to the delight of both the artist and his fans. The new versions stick to Hackett’s ideas and wishes as far as both acoustic outcome as well as packaging and extras are concerned. Who cares if not all the photos and live recordings match the time of the album’s original release. Who cares if there are some minor mistakes about the track lengths given. This remaster series is a godsend for friends of the former Genesis guitarist.

translated by Martin Klinkhardt