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Great B-sides: Twilight Alehouse by Genesis

Genesis Foxtrot

B-sides are a relatively rare commodity for progressive rock bands. They often refused to stoop to the level of those pop proletarians, issuing singles. Additionally, if they had spare song fragments lying around, they could simply incorporate them into epic side-long suites. ‘Supper’s Ready’, which closed Genesis‘ 1972 album Foxtrot, was a bunch of shorter songs juxtaposed into one twenty minute piece.

‘Twilight Alehouse’ was recorded during the sessions for Foxtrot, although the band had been playing it live since 1970. It eventually surfaced as the b-side to ‘I Know What I Like in Your Wardrobe’, a single from 1973’s Selling England by the Pound.

Rather than a half-baked idea, it’s a fully formed Genesis song from their prime. It would arguably have been the weakest song on Foxtrot, but only because Foxtrot is a career highlight. ‘Twilight Alehouse’ bears the trademarks from the group’s progressive era – Peter Gabriel’s husky vocals and flute, Phil Collins’ virtuoso drumming, and Tony Banks’ dominant organ. Steve Hackett’s guitar is more prominent than usual, especially in the mellow opening section, where his rhythm playing is mixed louder than usual.

Because it’s a b-side, it’s hard to find information on who wrote the lyrics, which is always an interesting question for early Genesis – Gabriel was generally the strongest lyricist, but it’s not immediately obvious who penned these words. It’s an unusual lyric, almost like a love paean to wine from an alcoholic.

And here’s a live version of the song:

Is it really true what they’re saying
Are you really sure there’s nobody come for me
When I’m walking home there is no-one
Once there was a house, full of laughter – so warm
Trying to pretend there is someone
Someone who will care when I need it

I will now receive my comfort, conjured by the magic power of wine
Just a drink, I’ll get that drink, and I’m feeling good
Just a drink, I’ll get that drink, and I’m feeling fine
Just a drink to take my sorrow
Just a drink and you can blast tomorrow
Just a drink to make me feel like a man again
Now I’m down

When I walk outside, there is nowhere
Children follow me, with their laughter – so cold…
Casting just a glance at the churchyard
Casting just a glance, at my painted female friend.

Now I’m on my way, I am falling
Got to find some ‘elp, ooh I will need that now

So I will receive my comfort, conjured by the magic power of wine
Just a drink, I’ll get that drink, and I’m feeling good
Just a drink, I’ll get that drink, and I’m feeling fine
Just a drink to take my sorrow
Just a drink and you can blast tomorrow
Just a drink to make me feel like a man again

Now I’m down…I will now receive my comfort, conjured by the magic power of wine
Just a drink, I’ll get that drink, and I’m feeling good
Just a drink, I’ll get that drink, and I’m feeling fine
Just a drink to take my sorrow
Just a drink and you can blast tomorrow, now…

19 thoughts on “Great B-sides: Twilight Alehouse by Genesis Leave a comment

  1. I could hear this on ‘Foxtrot. I listen to so much Genesis back in this time. You can really hear that it’s from that era. Hear ‘The Knife’ in it plus a few more (Hey it’s the same band CB). I really like Gabriel’s vocals. I’ll be doing a take on ‘Foxtrot’ soon. I lived in that record a long time. They were a good band for me. Again good choice. It’s amazing how much jazz I hear in this music when I revisit it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been listening to the early 1980s Genesis albums on your recommendation lately – they are a bit less pop and a bit more progressive than I was expecting. Enjoying them so far.

      Like

      • I found that the more time I spent with their music the more I liked them. I think the first more accessible song that they did was ‘More Fool Me’ and funny how it was Collins on vocals.
        After ‘Selling England’ and ‘Live’ I will do ‘Foxtrot’ and ‘Lamb” I have to cut it off or I won’t get to a bunch of other records i really like.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes I like that one also. I was thinking more the Gabriel era. But ‘Trick’ would probably sneak in there. I hate picking faves because there so much to like in most the stuff I listen to. But off the cuff ‘Trick’ is a really good record. The boys could more than stand on their own without Pete. Good gauge for me is it’s the post Gabriel I listened to the most.

          Liked by 1 person

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