Continuing the album threads: see other threads established so far
Here's the next one. Nursery Cryme is obviously something of a significant milestone in being the first album featuring what is regarded by many as the classic line-up. For me, the most immediate and noticeable change comes with the arrival of Collins and his adaptable style of drumming, not to mention his instant presence in the vocals including a lead vocal. For the most part, Hackett seems to be taking some time to settle in but does make an impression with his solo at the end of Salmacis, a performance that helps establish what you might call the 'Genesis sound', or a notable element of it at least - a melodic solo that instead of going for flashiness has a more economical approach with sustained notes, and a sense that (as I find with other, later Hackett solos) the guitar is telling a story, sounding almost like a voice. There's a repeated, two-note phrase towards the end of this solo that has a plaintive edge to it, which I absolutely love. With this shimmering over those slow heavy mellotron chords, I genuinely believe it was the start of a new sound, but of course, no music commentator, and no magazine poll, will ever credit him for this.
The Musical Box is a very significant track for me. So it might initially sound odd to say that I think it's for the most part just okay. There's some dynamic playing and nice vocal work, but it's the closing "She's a lady" section that had such an impact on me. Not at the time - I was only 6 when it came out and wouldn't hear this track until a few years later. But it was that segment that really stayed with me. The gradual build-up of tension, leading to Gabriel's impassioned "touch me!" refrain and then those huge Hammond almost church-like chords - it all still makes my spine tingle. And do you ever get those moments in music when bits that are probably of no significance to most other people really resonate with you? I have one of those in this segment, the line "Casting doubt on all I have to say". I don't know why, I don't really care, all I can say is the way Gabriel sings that line really does it for me.
Two more things about that segment: first, I always assumed it's Banks singing the "...she is a lady" backing lines - the voice has the same precise quality as his speaking voice. It's definitely not Collins. Second, while I like the 2007/8 remasters, the one for this album does something unfortunate in that the DER one had the Hammond chords under the lead guitar line in the closing instrumental bit really huge, with an almost chiming quality to them. But the 08 version rather mutes the Hammond, sadly. Those chords really need to be massive.
I like Seven Stones (suggested elsewhere on the board as being mainly a Banks song?) with its pleasingly doomy atmosphere, and the delicate Harlequin, and have a soft spot for Absent Friends. The remaining two tracks, Hogweed and Harold, don't do much for me. By the way, I always thought it's Gabriel singing Harold. I know his delivery is a bit Collins-like, but it is him, isn't it?