Genesis fans and Ray Wilson

  • I've noticed that Ray Wilson is viewed rather critically among Genesis fans (ok, I guess it's rather obvious), but I wonder why that is? Obviously Calling All Stations is a contentious album, but it seems to me that his solo albums get a lot less attention among Genesis fans than Tony's or even Ant's. Of course there's the problem that he almost only plays concerts in Poland and Germany, but Tony or Ant don't play live at all.

    I followed Ray's music with interest and thought at the time that his band Cut could be a good contrast to Genesis. I like almost all of his solo albums, of course there are weaker albums, but overall I think he has taken an interesting path.

    In fact, the vast majority of Genesis fans don't seem to be interested at all.

    Why is that? How is it with you? Have you looked into Ray Wilson? If so, which songs or albums appeal to you? If not, why not?


    I'm looking forward to the answers and comments :)

    ... good things come to those who wait

  • I'm a big Ray fan. I think his voice is excellent.


    I would love it if him and Steve did a joint tour. His vocals on Ripples and Carpet Crawlers are awesome.


    I think he gets a lot less attention as he's viewed as a sideman like Jack Hues on Strictly Inc or Noel Mcalla on Smallcreep's Day not a full-time member like Ant for example.


    My parents saw Ray in Germany last year and met him backstage. He's based in Poland now and, when quizzed why he doesn't tour Britain, he just said that that is no to little interest in him here.

  • As a fan who has checked out all of the Genesis-related solo careers to various extents, I decided to check out Ray's as well. I bought CHANGE when it was new, in the version with 3 extra tracks, without hearing any of it first. But upon listening to it once, I found that it didn't grab me at all and I passed it on.


    The following year I picked up THE NEXT BEST THING when it came out. I liked the first 2 songs, but couldn't even make it through the rest of the album before I gave up.


    However, I eventually got LIVE AND ACOUSTIC and liked it, although I'd say that a few of the Genesis & related covers aren't really needed. This album's version of "Gypsy" is one of my favorite Genesis-related solo tracks.


    LIVE remains the only Ray solo item in my collection, other than the version of "Inside" from NEXT which I purchased as a download.

    “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

    Edited 2 times, last by DecomposingMan ().

  • The main point you're raising is that RW is either seen quite critically or fans aren't interested in him at all.


    On the critical bit, do you mean in relation to the CAS album and tour, or generally? Regarding CAS my perception is that many are not keen on the album, with some on this board even saying they've deliberately never listened to it, and/or don't regard it as Genesis. I think that's unfair, but understandable. A key long-standing member who was so identified with the band had gone, taking with him not just the lead face and voice but outstanding musicianship too. Any replacement would have a hard time following that and would likely struggle for fans' approval. That said, he and the album have their defenders. And there's also a feeling among some that he wasn't given enough of a chance, and that at least one more album with him might have led to a more established line-up and yielded some interesting results, which is where I personally stand.


    Regarding the notion that the 'vast majority' of fans aren't interested in his work, while it's not really possible to gauge what that many people think it probably is true, but it's likely true of their attitude to most of the various members' solo work as well. The global fanbase is probably mainly most interested in the trio's output as it constitutes the bulk of what's best-known and most popular, and they'd consequently have little or no knowledge of, or interest in, solo work beyond PC, M&tM and to a lesser extent PG.


    On this board we're not like that broad fanbase as we're interested in and have knowledge of the whole breadth of their work, we're a minority among fans globally, so we'll view aspects like RW's involvement differently. I get the sense many here have some regard, even affection, for him as he's officially in the Genesis 'family', had a very tough job and did his best but was ultimately not given much chance.

    Abandon all reason

  • ^ I agree with all of this and I couldn't put it any better.


    I made a few efforts to check out Wilson's solo work and side projects, however in my book I found him to be a solid to good song writer and singer, yet it never went beyond the "yea, nice stuff" point. The special something just wasn't there. I haven't seem him live though, I think I should take that chance for once.

  • I like CAS (although I struggled with it at first, especially the videos), and I like Ray's voice, musicianship & songwriting. The last album by him, The Weight Of Man, is really good as is the compilation Upon My Life. I follow him on Facebook and Instagram, and have a friend who goes to see him in Germany all the time (and she's not even that big a Genesis fan). I honestly think I prefer his work to the current Mechanics output, for instance.

  • I agree with much of the above discussion.


    I think Ray has a good voice. CAS is an OK album, but it would take a superlative album (like ATOTT) to firmly establish a new lead singer in just one go. I certainly haven't heard anything that has made me want to explore his solo work.


    As it is, I haven't explore much of the solo output of any Genesis member, other than Peter. I like Phil's first few albums. I have liked some of what I've heard of Tony's solo work, but I own none of the albums. I have only listened to a few of Anthony's and Steve's solo albums and own none of them also. I most appreciate Genesis as a group, not as individual musicians.


    I can give many other examples of this. I have nearly everything officially (and much unofficially) released by The Beatles. However I only have a few solo albums by John, Paul, and George, and none by Ringo. Paul is the one I have the most albums by (8), so I am hardly a completist with him.


    For me, the whole is often much greater than the sum of the parts.

  • I confess to not following his work at all. I don’t like CAS but I thought it was perfectly reasonable for them to do it. It is a legitimate Genesis album and he’s a full time member at that point. I tend to think of that CAS lineup, Mike and the Mechanics and Ray’s solo work in the same way. Polished, professional and fine in their own terms- short, quality songs, well performed. But I think other bands do short songs better for my tastes, e.g a lot of new wave and 80s bands,

    Others like U2, Arctic Monkeys and countless pop and soul outfits, plus of course Peter and Phil. When it comes to varied, experimental and challenging music I find a lot of prog to be self important and showy- but Genesis, Ant, Steve, Peter and Tony (and Phil for his musicianship) have a soul and a sincerity which transcends Prog and keeps me coming back. I know their outputs can be uneven and I tolerate the dips in quality, for example with Steve, because overall I like his work and I want him to keep producing stuff.

    I’ve nothing at all against Ray, in fact I suspect he was hard done by through poor communication. I’d like to see him do well, but there’s not enough in what I’ve heard of him to interest me.

  • Never really appealed to me, though CAS is far from the worst Genesis album, however, as a half-Doonhamer myself, I wish him well.

    Ian


    Putting the old-fashioned Staffordshire plate in the dishwasher!

  • I have a couple of his albums, but not all of them. Sometimes I find this songs rather boring, but there are some quite interesting tracks as well, and I think that most of his stuff is quite accessible and has nice melodies.

    It’s quite obvious that a large amount of the fans and the band somehow regret that period a bit, although I don’t know really why. Back in the day when Calling All Stations was released It didn’t seem that obvious - it was more a feeling that people appreciated the band was carrying on and then over time, Genesis themselves ignored the album.

    Of course this was more or less a pre-internet period in 1997, at least compared to today.


    Speaking of his Musik: I follow what he does and like his last album. And I recommend to give him a chance.

  • I have followed Ray Wilson's career ever since the CUT album and have enjoyed most of it.

    His weaker albums are probably The Next Best Thing and Makes Me Think Of Home and his strongest are SHE and The Weight Of Man.


    Anybody who wants to explore his music may check out those songs as a start


    Change

    American Beauty

    Taking Time

    I, Like You

    Song For A Friend

    Razorlite

    Beach

    Ought To Be Resting

    Wait For Better Days

    Makes Me Think Of Home

    Show Me The Way

    Alone


    This is of course a quite personal list, but this may help.


    Albumwise, I recommend SHE and Song For A Friend. Both albums are very different and show quite nicely his spectrum.


    If I had to rank his albums, this would be it


    1) SHE

    2) The Weight Of Man

    3) Song For A Friend

    4) Unfulfillment

    5) Change

    6) Millionairhead (Cut)

    7) Propaganda Man

    8. Chasing Rainbows

    9) Makes Me Think Of Home

    10) The Next Best Thing

    cheers

    Christian


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  • I don't have a downer on Ray. He is a talented writer with a good voice.


    The problem for me during Ray's brief stint in Genesis wasn't him at all, it was the tragically awful material that he had to work with. The band had lost Phil's arrangement skills (an often unacknowledged talent of his) along with his obvious talents as a drummer and writer, which left a series of dull, unimaginative and sometimes cringeworthy meanderings which Ray was called in late to improvise some vocals over. If he was actually at the table as a proper writer and arranger, in there at the very beginning, Calling All Stations could have sent the band in an interesting new direction. Instead the album turned out to be something that I'd be embarrassed to use as a coaster, which was a first for me in relation to Genesis.


    None of this was Ray's fault though. He just wasn't properly integrated within the group and the big shame for me was that there was no second album with him (and maybe even Drennan) having a proper seat at the writing table.


    I like his solo work and I think the Genesis thing with Ray was a massive missed opportunity.

    Edited once, last by Micklemus: Typo correction ().

  • a series of dull, unimaginative and sometimes cringeworthy meanderings which Ray was called in late to improvise some vocals over. If he was actually at the table as a proper writer and arranger, in there at the very beginning, Calling All Stations could have sent the band in an interesting new direction.

    There's only four songs that credit Ray as a co-writer. I wonder if 'Not About Us' is the only one out of these which he wasn't just responsible for the lyrics but for the music as well? That song always stood out for me, it shows what Ray might have added as a song writer, had he only had more chances.

  • Thank you for all your comments

    That really helps me to understand the situation better.


    For those of you interested in some "deep cuts" from his career, here's a small list


    Guaranteed Pure: A Well Known Song

    Stiltskin: The Poltroon

    Cut: No Place For A Loser

    Cry If You Want To

    Cool Water

    Sometimes

    Stiltskin: Summer Days

    Frequency

    Things Don't Stop

    Guns Of God

    No Dreams Are Made Of This

    Tried And Failed

    The Next Life

    Cold Like Stone


    He has also sung the track "Roses" by German band RPWL

    ... good things come to those who wait

  • There's only four songs that credit Ray as a co-writer. I wonder if 'Not About Us' is the only one out of these which he wasn't just responsible for the lyrics but for the music as well? That song always stood out for me, it shows what Ray might have added as a song writer, had he only had more chances.

    Yes.


    I remember reading a magazine interview with Tony and Mike while they were recording and they said they were looking at taking a darker turn and perhaps more of the long form stuff that older fans would be interested in. Given Ray's style (as we know it now) and his previous time in Stiltskin, I think he could have really helped bring this out, and done it in a way that wouldn't have traded on past glories, As it turned out however his contribution was very limited because he wasn't there from Day 1, and even if he was, I doubt that the other two (and Tony in particular) would have immediately let him go into whatever direction he wanted. Net result, and as you rightly note, was a very limited contribution.


    As is probably obvious by now, I can't stand that album. I really really dislike it and I was beyond disappointed when it came out. However, Not About Us happens to be a track that I can tolerate - which signals to me that Ray could have brought something to the group that I would have liked at least. Not that my opinion counts for anything!! My point is that I am more of an "old" Genesis fan and to me there is a deeper feeling to Ray's work, which has been missing from Tony and Mike for years (apart from Tony's classical albums) so I think he could have given the band that magical 'something' if he had a fair crack of the whip. Fans of my kind, the 'proggier' ones, would have appreciated this, I think.


    I'm certain that a second album would have seen them leap forwards but alas it never happened.

  • I think he could have given the band that magical 'something' if he had a fair crack of the whip. Fans of my kind, the 'proggier' ones, would have appreciated this, I think.

    This reminds me of something that takes us on a tangent from all the above. I recall dismay from older "proggier" fans that the CAS tour didn't signal a sudden mass-return of 70s songs. I believe many of them thought it might have done for two reasons. First, that RW's voice isn't far from PG's on the vocal spectrum, with a certain kind of duskiness. Second, these fans clung to this absurd belief that what they saw as the 'poppier' more commercial trio material they disliked was Collins's "fault" and that with him gone, old stuff would flood back into the setlist. (Admittedly, RW would potentially sound good on FoF or the first bit of Cinema). But it highlighted how silly that attitude was and still is, with even some on this board maintaining that PC "took them in that direction." He didn't; all three of them did.


    Quote

    I'm certain that a second album would have seen them leap forwards but alas it never happened.

    I agree, as do a number of us here. While I understand their reasoning for stopping after CAS, this will always be for me one of the most unfortunate things about how their recording career ended.

    Abandon all reason

  • I agree, as do a number of us here. While I understand their reasoning for stopping after CAS, this will always be for me one of the most unfortunate things about how their recording career ended.

    If I could like this 10 times I would (I am obviously one of us here!). I try not to dwell on things too much but they were relatively young despite the long career they'd already had. The phrase that sticks in my mind the most was Ray's, when he was lamenting the whole thing and made the observation that "we were just starting to be a band", in relation to the group clicking and getting better in the course of the tour. Oh well.


    I also suspect he'd have done very well with the older material, had the opportunity arisen on subsequent tours. Hmph 😡