Steve Hackett - Highly Strung (40th Anniversary, review added)

    • Official Post

    40 years ago today, STEVE HACKETT released his album "Highly Strung"

    We have added a review on our website here:

    https://www.genesis-news.com/c…rung-Rezension--s388.html


    Any thoughts about his album?

    cheers

    Christian


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  • Great album, though a few changes would have helped: Back cover would've made a better front cover than the one used. Give It Away should have been the single, or failing that, an edit of Walking Through Walls. Steve has always said he considers "Camino Royale" on of his best, but for me, it's a weak spot, comparatively.


    In short: Same year as shapes, and it's the better album. IMO

    Ian


    Putting the old-fashioned Staffordshire plate in the dishwasher!

  • saw this tour Winter Gardens Margate. Met Steve after and signed the programme, which is somewhere. From what i remember the setlist was pretty much all solo stuff...those were the days! ...not a bad album but not played for a long time, better dust it off

  • My first reaction to this album extended from my disappointment with the preceding album, Cured, and my longing for a return of the Spectral Mornings/Defector line-up.

    I didn’t hate it, but I was very lukewarm towards it.


    It took over a decade before one night while listening to the album in the car on a long drive, something finally clicked.

    It may have helped that I hadn’t listened to it in a couple of years and so when I did play it, it was with a fresh set of ears – and some of it seemed new to me again.


    Despite any misgivings I still had about the thinness of the overall sound and the fact Steve was now handling all the vocals, I noticed the rawness in the guitar playing and some extended solos that pushed aside the notion I may have had that this was some failed attempt at synth pop.


    I recall, by the end of the third track, "Always Somewhere Else," I had to listen to that song over again because I enjoyed it so much and by the time I was more than half-way through, I came to a realization or conclusion that I had completely misjudged this album.


    Highly Strung now has a place among my 10 favourite solo albums by Steve Hackett, though somewhere at the tail end of that list.

  • This album has one of the ugliest covers of any Hackett album. In fact, I saw it listed somewhere as one of the worst covers of 1983.


    Steve does a good job singing throughout, noticeably better than on CURED. Note that he doesn't play any guitar on "India Rubber Man."


    I originally heard the album in its U.S. LP version; I've never listened to it in its "official" configuration. I only listen to it on a CDR copy arranged like the U.S. version (Cell 151, Give It Away, Camino Royale, Always Somewhere Else, Walking Through Walls [long version], Weightless, Group Therapy, India Rubber Man, Hackett to Pieces), with the short version of "Walking" as a "bonus track."


    BTW, what the review calls "chewing noises" on "Walking" are most likely meant to be the sound of someone jogging through leaves or over gravel.

    “When the waitress asked if I wanted my pizza cut into four or eight slices, I said, ‘Four. I don’t think I can eat eight.’” -- Yogi Berra

  • This album has one of the ugliest covers of any Hackett album. In fact, I saw it listed somewhere as one of the worst covers of 1983.


    ..................


    BTW, what the review calls "chewing noises" on "Walking" are most likely meant to be the sound of someone jogging through leaves or over gravel.

    As I said above, the back cover would have made a far better cover.


    I agree with the "walking noise" assessment too!

    Ian


    Putting the old-fashioned Staffordshire plate in the dishwasher!

  • I haven't listened to this for at least 30 years. I have a vague memory of generally liking it, maybe I'll give it a go soon. It definitely is a dreadful cover but then I never liked Kim Poor's artwork. At best dull, at worst - well, this

    Abandon all reason

  • I must also listen to this again. I love his first four albums, I found a lot to like in that Darktown - Shrouded Horizon period and I’ve found the last few albums too samey to tell them apart from memory. Highly Strung has fallen through the cracks a bit so I’ll revisit it soon.

  • I've heard something to the effect that "Cell 151" was originally released as a shorter song before being lengthened into the 6.5-minute version we know now. Is this true? I've never come across a shorter version, but I notice that some releases of HIGHLY STRUNG on Discogs have a length of 3:30 listed for the track.

    “When the waitress asked if I wanted my pizza cut into four or eight slices, I said, ‘Four. I don’t think I can eat eight.’” -- Yogi Berra

  • I've heard something to the effect that "Cell 151" was originally released as a shorter song before being lengthened into the 6.5-minute version we know now. Is this true? I've never come across a shorter version, but I notice that some releases of HIGHLY STRUNG on Discogs have a length of 3:30 listed for the track.

    It is indeed true. The vinyl copy had the short version. After it looked about to chart, Charisma asked for an extended version, so Steve went back in the studio and let them have it! ^^

    Ian


    Putting the old-fashioned Staffordshire plate in the dishwasher!

  • It is indeed true. The vinyl copy had the short version. After it looked about to chart, Charisma asked for an extended version, so Steve went back in the studio and let them have it! ^^

    Is there anything of interest about the short version, or is it just the same as the longer version except for fading out sooner? I'm guessing the latter since it's never shown up as a bonus track anywhere.

    “When the waitress asked if I wanted my pizza cut into four or eight slices, I said, ‘Four. I don’t think I can eat eight.’” -- Yogi Berra

  • Is there anything of interest about the short version, or is it just the same as the longer version except for fading out sooner? I'm guessing the latter since it's never shown up as a bonus track anywhere.

    From the above discussion I surmise I've only ever heard the short one. I had the vinyl LP so that fits with the explanation. As I recall it faded on the repeated chorus line and was short of 4 minutes. On that tour the song (introduced by him as just "151" at the gig I went to) ran on for a couple of minutes longer than the then album version, with no further vocals and just some guitar noodling. Is that what the longer one is like on the cd?

    Abandon all reason

  • Is there anything of interest about the short version, or is it just the same as the longer version except for fading out sooner? I'm guessing the latter since it's never shown up as a bonus track anywhere.

    The latter, yes.

    Ian


    Putting the old-fashioned Staffordshire plate in the dishwasher!

  • Personally, I love this album and put it in my top ten Steve albums. I think it's quite underrated by many. Funnily enough, Walking Through Walls is probably my least favourite track on it, but I still enjoy it. I've still got the 12 inch single for Cell 151. For me, an album I often go back to. (Played it about two weeks ago in fact). 8)

  • On that tour the song (introduced by him as just "151" at the gig I went to) ran on for a couple of minutes longer than the then album version, with no further vocals and just some guitar noodling. Is that what the longer one is like on the cd?

    There are no further vocals in the longer ending but whether one would call it "just some guitar noodling" is up to them. Personally, it kind of reminds me of the long ending on Genesis's "Abacab."


    I guess you'll just have to listen to it yourself; look it up on YouTube or something.

    “When the waitress asked if I wanted my pizza cut into four or eight slices, I said, ‘Four. I don’t think I can eat eight.’” -- Yogi Berra

  • There are no further vocals in the longer ending but whether one would call it "just some guitar noodling" is up to them. Personally, it kind of reminds me of the long ending on Genesis's "Abacab."


    I guess you'll just have to listen to it yourself; look it up on YouTube or something.

    Well it is a number of decades since I last heard it. It doesn't strike me as a song that needed another 2 or 3 minutes. But anyway I am intending to revisit the whole album and see how I get on.

    Abandon all reason