Stranded’s Awesome: Calling All Stations

Little known fact about the band, Genesis, was that after Phil Collins split from them in early to mid 1990s, they did try to make a go with a new lead singer.

I know I have mentioned this before, but Ray Wilson may be the best vocalist Genesis has had…perhaps not the showman that Collins nor Peter Gabriel are, but a wonderful soulful voice that, given the chance, Genesis might have thrived with.

Calling All Stations“, released in 1997, was the one release the band did with Wilson fronting them.  Mike Rutherford (think Mike + the Mechanics) and Tony Banks were, of course, were still in place.  In my opinion, it is quite possibly the best work the band produced since Gabriel’s departure.  This is not to say that the band did not do good work with Collins, but to say that Wilson has a completely different sound from Gabriel and Collins.  Perhaps a better example is that when Phil Collins was doing old songs the band did while Peter Gabriel was frontman, they still tended to sound similar to the originals…Wilson, however, the songs changed.  Not all for the better, mind you, as “Mama” with Wilson just did not work…but songs like “Follow You, Follow Me” or “Domino” had some interesting unique sounds to the originals.  Due to a difference in voice, the songs that Collins had previously done did have to be lowered in key for Wilson…perhaps ironic, but for the 2007-08 reunion tour, the same had to be done even with Collins back on vocals again.

However, I am digressing as this week’s Awesome is about one of my favourite albums, “Calling All Stations” and not about the other tunes he did with them.  This album felt darker than recent material Genesis put out…there was no light hearted tunes such as “Invisible Touch”…nor cute and quirky like “Jesus, He Knows Me”, “I Can’t Dance”, nor “Illegal Alien”.  This felt much more serious in tone.  Especially the final song on the disc called “One Man’s Fool” which sounds eerily about 9-11…ironic considering the song was out four years previous.

The initial song released was Congo:

The album seemed to do some decent sales in Europe, but the band seemed to falter when album and ticket sales fell for the North American part of the tour in support of it.  Unfortunately, in addition, Wilson was unceremoniously released from the band following this…and the music from this wonderful album was ignored during the 2007-08 reunion tour of the band.

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