drawing of young peter gabriel

Introduction

Looking through my collection of old press cutting I find I have enough on Peter Gabriel to give him a page of his own. Of course, musically he is one of my favourites, and the earlier the better as far as I am concerned.

First we have a concert review from what I assume was the PG1 - Car tour.
Next a review of the PG1 album.
Finally another review, this time of PG3 - Melt.



The angel Gabriel



ROCK/MARK KIDEL


WHEN PETER GABRIEL closed his British tour at the Bristol Hippodrome last Sunday night, the audience contained far more than the usual rock concert sprinkling of starry-eyed and panting girls. Undoubtedly one of the most exciting solo super-stars performing today, Gabriel, with his naughty-boyish good looks, is a curious and unique amalgam of the wholesome and the sinister. Behind the sweet, angelic facade lurks a more unsettling persona, a midnight rambler of the unconscious: whereas Mick Jagger communicates undiluted anger and sexuality, Gabriel's combination of innocence and suggested sin is more subtle, less decadent, and, in the end, more disturbing.

  When he sang with Genesis, whom he left two years ago, Peter Gabriel made his name as a pioneer of rock theatre, but in his present flawlessly constructed and well paced show, the emphasis has shifted from extravagantly costumed roles to the presentation of Gabriel himself in a series of contrasting moods, from the almost naive joy of "Solsbury Hill" to the creepy malevolence of "Moribund the Burgermeister."

Whether he is creeping across the stage in sensual slow motion, or prancing about exuberantly, he is always the unquestionable centre of attention. The ultra- professional stage management of all the effects - technical, dramatic and musical - may preclude the rough-and-ready spontaneity of mainstream rock 'n' roll, but it is to Gabriel's credit that he succeeds, where so many others have ponderously failed, in combining an almost operatic approach to rock with plenty of fire and guts, much of it provided by a highly versatile group of American backing musicians. The magic only failed once: the Kinks oldie "All Day And All Of The Night," a relic of. the primal rock era, was not able to survive the grand operatic treatment.

  The audience's mounting ecstasy reached a peak when Peter Gabriel bravely took a walk through the circle and stalls, while continuing to sing. Like a campaigning politician, he shook the loving hands that reached out to /ouch him. The star had come down to earth: rows of quietly hysterical girls watched with tears in their eyes. The fantasy hero was, for a few seconds, within their reach.


Records

Peter Gabriel: Peter Gabriel

Charisma CDS 4006. 3.50

After all the controversy about how much, more or less, Genesis owed to Gabriel, this had to be good-and it is: a great solo album. However, a lot springs from the production and, above all, the orchestrations, rather than Gabriel's voice and songs. He switches from barber-shop pastiche, through blues moods, to grandiose symphonics to display his range. Imagination, surprise, adventure mark the tracks. Among the helpers is the London Symphony Orchestra. D.J.

Burlesque: Acupuncture

Arista ARTY 151. 3-25

The appeal of a comedy band relying on audience response is difficult to capture on record. Burlesque have tried with an album culled from 'live' performances. Listening to the boys chanting "Lana Turner" isn't exactly side-splitting, but they have been hailed as equals to other satirical bands like Supercharge. I find their campy pastiche as depressing as Sailor or Deaf School. Yet they can play, as evinced by Hymie Blows It, an attacking instrumental which shows solid musicianship. C.W.

Pink Floyd: Animals

Harvest SHVL 815. 3.60

Apart from the ill-tempered and sulky lyrics comparing stock middle-class targets (businessmen, Mary Whitehouse) with various beasts including sheep, pigs and dogs, the attraction of Floyd's first since Wish You Were Here lies in their use of space, measured beats and long, sombre delineation of simple themes. Their art is in the sensitive deployment of tape loops, sonorous bass drum beats, menacing keyboard chords and angry guitar slashes. C.W.

Weather Report: Heavy Weather

CBS 81775. 3.39

The best album yet by this immensely inventive band of electric virtuosos, especially Joe Zawinul (keyboards) and Jaco Pastorious (bass). Music, really, beyond category; jazz-rock seems a !imp description of their drive, their attractive melodies, infinite variations and tone colours. Listen to the happy, dancing theme of Pastorious's Birdland to gauge the quality. D.J.

Jack Bruce: How's Tricks

RSO Super 2394 180. $.3.25

Another step, another new band for Bruce- this time a foursome, including Tony Hymas on keyboards. Very good, too. It's tight, it's eclectic, at times it's beautiful. Most important, perhaps, Bruce's voice comes over with dynamic clarity; yes, you actually hear the words. His bass is as strong and round-toned as ever, and the whole band seems to sum up his 17 years of movement through the jazz and rock fields. D.J.


Reviews by Chris Welch and Derek Jewell.


JAZZ AND POP CHOICE



DEREK JEWELL


Peter Gabriel Charisma CDS 4019 4.99

AN outstanding month, with many good albums of all styles. With so much already written about McCartney's gem, Gabriel comes first - and I must later use shorthand for other fine records.

  Echoing his recent triumphant concerts, and viewed in the cold home light of night, Gabriel's new collection still sounds like a popular masterpiece. First, the quality of his songs, tunefully and lyrically. He has a gift for instantly catchy musical phrases, like the "jeux sans frontieres" hook-line of "Games Without Frontiers" or the chorus of "Biko." His verses work at several levels, as in "Games" (warring and Eddie Waring combined) or "Family Snapshots," a terrifying pun for a song about JFK's assassin.

  Second, sudden drama - an ability to create, instant joy, unease, fear or lamentation. The last-named quality is in "Biko," a moving elegy for a South African martyr. Such stories he writes, in concentrated popular verse:

When I try to sleep at night
I can only dream in red
The outside world is black and white
With only one colour red.

  Third, the superb arrange - ments "Biko" has African chanting mixed with mournful synthesisers and bagpipes. A sinister drum-beat sets  the "Intruder" tone. The whistling on "Games" contrasts vividly with the deathly undertones of the words. And his voice - from counter-tenor to rasping rock - is perfect. A record to treasure. If only they'd print the words, which matter, less unreadably.

PAUL McCARTNEY McCartney II. Parlophone PCTC 258 5.40

IT'S being bought already, massively. It deserves to be. As with Gabriel, a certainty for one of this year's best - perhaps the record of the year. Ballads like "Waterfalls," "Summer's Day Song" and "One of These Days" which line up on the "Yesterday''/'' Michelle" shelf. Nice blues, too; quirky adventures in "Temporary Secretary"  and "Darkroom "; and instrumentals of interest. All by Paul, homemade - sung, produced, engineered and composed by him.

CLEO LAINE - JAMES GALWAY Sometimes When we Touch RCA RL 25296 5.49.

OBVIOUS instant MOR best- seller.  Great  singer,  great flautist, mostly great songs, especially Hoagy Carmichael's "Skylark." Beautiful arrangements by John Dankworth.

AVERAGE WHITE BAND Shine RCA XL 15123 4.99

POSSIBLY the best soft soul- rock band today, with smooth harmonies, great listening or disco beat, and songs as com- pellingly singable as "Let's Go Round Again." They almost sound black (the challenging joke in the band's name) yet they're from Scotland!



MARTYN SUTTON


JOAN ARMATRADING, Me, Myself, I, A & M/AMLH 64809 4.99

SHE comes from Birmingham but she sings with the skill of a black jazz singer from Chicago. She is also aa accomplished guitarist, a fine composer, and this is her best album yet. The dishes she serves up are very varied - pop, jazz, reggae, rock. The title track is witty and compelling. "I Need You" is a haunting ballad enhanced by shimmering strings, and "When you Kisses Me" is an irresistibly jaunty rocker. But the evocative "All the Way from America," with its infectious hook, is the highlight; surely it must be released as a single? Like every other song on this excellent album, it is sung with passion and precision.

THE BEAT, I Just Can't Stop It, GO FEET/ARISTA, Beat 001 5.00

THE Beat are the most impres- sive of the multi-racial bands who are currently dominating the singles chart. They are more intelligent and more innovative than their contemporaries, and although reggae, punk and ska flow through their musical veins they have a sound of their own. "Hands off, She's Mine" and the ingenious "Mirror in the Bathroom" are included, but listen out also for "Click Click"and "Jackpot." It might take a few plays to realise that the lilting "Stand Down Margaret" is an indictment of Margaret Thatcher, but listen hard. Underneath that joyous good - time feel, this band are as politically-orientated as anybody else. They just make sweeter sounds. The bass lines are marvellous, the throaty sax is superb. The Beat are going to be a major band in the Eighties.

ELTON JOHN. 21 at 33 Rocket HISPD 126 5.65.

AFTER a disastrous foray into disco with his last album, Elton John now has his platform soled feet firmly back on familiar ground. Writing credits are shared with Gary Osborne and others, but the best tracks have been written with John's old partner, Bernie Taupin. The chillingly eloquent drug song, "White Lady White Powder," as as good as anything they have written together and the driving, gospel-tinged "Chasing the Crown" is almost as impressive. The best of the Osborne numbers is the catchy "Little Jeannie" which comes complete with clever brass fills and an unforgettable chorus.