TotW 09/15/2018 - 09/21/2018: STEVE HACKETT - A Place Called Freedom

  • What do you think about "A Place Called Freedom"? 13

    1. 11 points - good (5) 38%
    2. 13 points - very good - (4) 31%
    3. 15 points - outstanding! (1) 8%
    4. 14 points - very good (1) 8%
    5. 09 points - satisfactory + (1) 8%
    6. 06 points - sufficient + (1) 8%
    7. 12 points - good + (0) 0%
    8. 10 points - good - (0) 0%
    9. 08 points - satisfactory (0) 0%
    10. 07 points - satisfactory - (0) 0%
    11. 05 points - sufficient (0) 0%
    12. 04 points - sufficient - (0) 0%
    13. 03 points - poor + (0) 0%
    14. 02 points - poor (0) 0%
    15. 01 point - poor - (0) 0%
    16. 00 points - abysmal (0) 0%

    STEVE HACKETT - A Place Called Freedom

    Year: 2011

    Album: Beyond The Shrouded Horizon [album review]

    Working title: unknown

    Credits: Hackett

    Lyrics: Yes

    Length: 05:56

    Musicians: Steve Hackett, Roger King, Nick Beggs, Amanda Lehmann, Gary O'Toole, Rob Townsend

    Played Live: 2011

    mp3 downloads: iTunes

    Cover versions: none


    Notes: Things get folk-y with this song. Steve Hackett has a knack for putting a pleasant melody into the right musical structure. His 12-string picking may remind you of his time in Genesis.



    We invite you to share interesting facts and tidbits about this track. Let's look at the track in the context of the band's / the artist's history, at the music, the songwriting and all other aspects that are relevant for this track. Please do stick to the discussion of the track above. Comparisons to other tracks are okay, but remember that the other track you may be keen to talk about has or will have its own Track Of The Week thread.



    If you spot a mistake or if you can close a gap in the fact sheet above please feel free to contact martinus or Christian about it; we will gladly add and improve!

    ...cried a voice in the crowd.


  • That's one of Steve's finest from his later albums. I always likes the melody and Steve obviously sings better (or is better produces) than on previous records.


    I like the bit when his guitar comes in. Great track, 13 points!

  • Someone will be along shortly to criticize the chorus! ;)

    Ian


    There is a church bell

    That rings on the hour

    Filling the streets

    Stopping the world awhile

  • Someone will be along shortly to criticize the chorus! ;)

    I don't know if you had someone specific in mind or if the chorus just happens to be a frequent target of criticism - but I can say your expectations have been fulfilled: I like the song but the chorus takes some of the wind out of its sails for me.

  • I don't know if you had someone specific in mind or if the chorus just happens to be a frequent target of criticism - but I can say your expectations have been fulfilled: I like the song but the chorus takes some of the wind out of its sails for me.

    I once made the point, in discussing Steve's songwriting skills, that he has what I called a ''chorus'' problem'', meaning his songs often lack the punch required which is generally speaking delivered by the chorus. Even with his best Genesis songs: Entangled and BOTR, the choruses were written by Tony and Phil.

    The problem, apart from a few notable exceptions, becomes even more apparent with his solo songs.

    Ian obviously disagrees but a couple of forum members shared my opinion apparently.

    As for the song in question, as it is a bit too early to hijack the thread, I agree with you, the momentum of it is lost with the chorus but another thing not really working with me, as often with Steve, is his singing. The voice is not exactly full of expression and character and the vocal lines are nothing to write home about but who knows? This one, with a real singer and a chorus written by somebody else could have been really, really good.

  • As far as I'm concerned, "Prairie Angel" and "Freedom" together are really just one long song, and it's the best one on BEYOND THE SHROUDED HORIZON. I even like the chorus. (If you want to point to a Steve song with a really bad "chorus problem," look no further than "Catwalk" on the same album.)


    Most of what I really needed to know in life, nobody ever told me, and reality had to force it into my skull slowly and relentlessly until I couldn't ignore it any more. And, indeed, most people who had it explained to them to would angrily argue against it.

  • I am one who does like Steve's vocals.

    I really don't and nor for lack of trying. A bit harsh perhaps but I while I appreciate he wants to have control over his music and singing is key in that aspect, I think anybody can sing like that plus, I hardly find a memorable vocal line of his. If it was somebody else singing those songs, the way Steve does, I am quite sure many would think, why doesn't Steve pick another singer?

    I was listening to Loch Lomond the other day, in the car. Beautiful three-part intro. It begins with a quite dark, epic and atmospheric guitar-keyboards interplay, it becomes sort of hard rock, drums kick in, a nice power chords riff and then it flows into folksy-pastoral. It lasts a couple of minutes but it could have gone of for 10, as far as I am concerned. A truly beautiful build-up, till he begins to sing and it is really anticlimactic. The voice lacks expression, the tone is anonymous and the harmonies only help relatively, really-low key and the vocal line of the verse really undoes what he had done with the intro.

    Whatever expectation you might have had is gone, vanished.

    The verse for once is not that bad but as usual it puts a brake on the song and once again I find myself thinking it is a squandered opportunity and he should have gotten a real singer to work on it.

    Edited 2 times, last by Fabrizio ().

  • I've never really had an issue with Steve's vocals, apart from bits of Cured. Certainly, there are much better singers, and Steve himself would agree, I'm sure (He has alluded to it himself at gigs) but vocalists cost money, and there have been times that the cash was a touch short.


    Ultimately, it doesn't really matter, since his voice is not no. 1 attraction to his music, and it's not his prime reason for making the albums. Also, he has achieved some nice touches on occasions. To a Close is one example, using multi=tracking and studio effects, he gets a really nice, effective sound that fits the song well.


    If you really want to criticize vocals, I've just heard the worst culprit on the radio: Shania Twain. She's a singer! That's her main appeal, yet she has a dreadful voice, uses Autotune to extremes, and can't even decide what genre she wants to be.

    Ian


    There is a church bell

    That rings on the hour

    Filling the streets

    Stopping the world awhile

  • I've never really had an issue with Steve's vocals, apart from bits of Cured. Certainly, there are much better singers, and Steve himself would agree, I'm sure (He has alluded to it himself at gigs) but vocalists cost money, and there have been times that the cash was a touch short.


    Ultimately, it doesn't really matter, since his voice is not no. 1 attraction to his music, and it's not his prime reason for making the albums. Also, he has achieved some nice touches on occasions. To a Close is one example, using multi=tracking and studio effects, he gets a really nice, effective sound that fits the song well.


    If you really want to criticize vocals, I've just heard the worst culprit on the radio: Shania Twain. She's a singer! That's her main appeal, yet she has a dreadful voice, uses Autotune to extremes, and can't even decide what genre she wants to be.

    I 100 % agree that the music is the most important.


    It saddens me that top professional singers cannot sing the American National Athem. This leaves me confused X/

  • I've never really had an issue with Steve's vocals, apart from bits of Cured. Certainly, there are much better singers, and Steve himself would agree, I'm sure (He has alluded to it himself at gigs) but vocalists cost money, and there have been times that the cash was a touch short.


    Ultimately, it doesn't really matter, since his voice is not no. 1 attraction to his music, and it's not his prime reason for making the albums. Also, he has achieved some nice touches on occasions. To a Close is one example, using multi=tracking and studio effects, he gets a really nice, effective sound that fits the song well.


    If you really want to criticize vocals, I've just heard the worst culprit on the radio: Shania Twain. She's a singer! That's her main appeal, yet she has a dreadful voice, uses Autotune to extremes, and can't even decide what genre she wants to be.

    I don't think we need to stoop to Shania Twain level to criticize Steve's vocals, plus she had all the assets she needed to sell her genre of music.

    True, vocalists cost money but they also make you some and can help you write better songs, put you on the map and propel your career.

    Ask Mike Rutherford and Paul Carrack. Phil has often said the drummer is the goalkeeper and I think he had a point, the singer, keeping up with the footie analogy, is the striker, he scores the goals.

    If you are in the rock-pop business, release songs and want an audience for them, the singer is crucial and a good one is vital.

    As for his voice not being the no. 1 attraction to his music and not his prime reason for making the albums, it might be true but here's a thought:

    I reckon the no. 1 attraction to his music, and his prime reason for making albums is his guitar playing and THAT is truly more than a valid asset.

    However, without a voice making a real difference and without some brilliant songwriting, my opinion of course, if everything revolves around his playing, as marvelous as I may find that, isn't it a bit too ''thin'' for a solo career?

  • I 100 % agree that the music is the most important.


    It saddens me that top professional singers cannot sing the American National Athem. This leaves me confused X/

    But aren't the vocals an integral part of the music when the song is not instrumental? Actually, it is the one thing most of the general audience pay attention to. Not everybody is a musician after all. That's why singers get the most attention and why producers will tell you the voice is where the money is.

  • But aren't the vocals an integral part of the music when the song is not instrumental? Actually, it is the one thing most of the general audience pay attention to. Not everybody is a musician after all. That's why singers get the most attention and why producers will tell you the voice is where the money is.

    I do agree with you. Certain bands contain both elements in music. One band that stands out is Renaissance, with the lovely Annie Haslam for example, offering both singing and instrumental passages. I've only found one example of the American anthem sang well and that was from a kid. These so called singers IMO are rubbish who perform at top level and awarded this money to attend a so called ceremony makes me sick!!

  • But aren't the vocals an integral part of the music when the song is not instrumental? Actually, it is the one thing most of the general audience pay attention to. Not everybody is a musician after all. That's why singers get the most attention and why producers will tell you the voice is where the money is.

    I compare Steve with Don Felder of the Eagles, who never sang lead with them except once, but has only two solo albums to draw on, so has to rely on Eagles songs, which he sings himself. He's not good enough. Steve at least doesn't sing Genesis songs live & I still think his voice is perfectly adequate for his own material, but this does come down to personal choice.

  • Steve at least doesn't sing Genesis songs live & I still think his voice is perfectly adequate for his own material, but this does come down to personal choice

    I don't know whether to agree with that or less and I mean it. On the one end, he does write the material and it is only natural it should fit his vocal ability, although, let's be honest, I have still to come across a musician who is OK with his skills being defined as ''adequate''. On the other I am suggesting that perhaps more could be done with his music with a singer who is a bit better than adequate, that's why I mentioned Loch Lomond earlier. There is of course a level of indulgence when a someone sings his own material and we happen to like the artist but I think we would be all a whole more harsher if he had just an ''adequate'' singer.

  • Ex-Hackett keyboardist Nick Magnus employs Tony Patterson for vocals on his solo albums, and Hackett plays on them too. I can imagine Tony singing Steve's songs, but as you've already brought up, Steve obviously thinks his own voice is good enough.