When I think of the mid to late 90’s era of Britpop, I gravitate towards a select few bands. Sure, I love Oasis, Blur, and Pulp. But my absolute favorite bands from the scene were the ones that were just a bit more slightly off kilter. Suede, Strangelove, My Life Story, and of course…Mansun. A bit glam, a bit prog, a bit Britpop – Mansun took those disparate elements and made them all their own. I remember driving to the Princeton Record Exchange in Princeton, NJ (of course) to buy any release I could get my hands on. Each EP had quality b-sides that were the equal of their album counterparts. In fact, I think there are more non album singles & b-sides than total album tracks. After 3 studio albums & multiple singles / EP’s, the band called it a day. A posthumous box set was issued in 2004 comprising the 4th album sessions along with assorted b-sides & rarities. Singer Paul Draper participated in one-off collaborations with artists from a variety of genres in the intervening years, but really announced his return to music with his work with The Anchoress in 2014. Now we have the 1st Paul Draper solo EP, fittingly titled EP One.
Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores lesser known tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.
These days most people remember Genesis for the radio friendly songs of the 80’s and very early 90’s (and probably think a few Phil Collins solo tracks are Genesis). Those in the know might proclaim their love of the early 70’s era of Genesis – boldly stating that Peter Gabriel is the only singer for Genesis that they admire. I tend to appreciate both eras for what they were but definitely have more love for the Peter Gabriel era. An interesting fact is that prior to becoming prog superstars, Genesis was basically a Bee Gees influenced pop rock band. This lasted for all of one album and a few non album songs. My favorite track from this era is “That’s Me”, released in early 1968 as the flip side of the single “The Silent Sun”. The track features an impassioned vocal delivery by an 18-year-old Englishman named Peter Gabriel. Rounding out the band is Anthony Philips on guitar, Tony Banks on keyboards, Michael Rutherford on bass & guitar, and John Silver on drums (Phil Collins didn’t appear on a Genesis record until 1971 with the release of their 3rd record, Nursery Cryme). Gabriel’s vocals have a weight far beyond his years and the music provides a mysterious Rock ‘n’ Roll backdrop. Go ahead and play the track embedded at the bottom of this short piece and find yourself amazed as an 18-year-old Peter Gabriel belts out these key lyrics:
They told me things about me that I didn’t know
But I could tell they’ve told me lies
And it really goes to show
That everyone was wrong
And they don’t understand my ways
But it’s not me that’s going wrong, it’s them