Against all odds, Phil Collins made a strong start to his tenure as Genesis’ lead vocalist. Recorded after Peter Gabriel left to pursue a solo career, 1976’s A Trick of the Tail was an impressive record. Collins couldn’t replicate Gabriel’s weirdness and theatricality. But his voice was similar and he successfully fronted a strong set of songs like ‘Dance on a Volcano’ and ‘Squonk’.
Genesis’ second album as a quartet, Wind & Wuthering, was less artistically successful. Pieces like ‘Eleventh Earl of Mar’ and ‘Blood on the Rooftops’ measured up to past triumphs. Mike Rutherford’s ‘Your Own Special Way’ pointed the way forward with its simpler structure and pop hooks. But Wind & Wuthering is inconsistent, weighed down by lesser pieces like Banks’ lengthy messianic tale ‘One for the Vine’ and a surfeit of uneventful instrumentals.
1977’s Spot The Pigeon EP, comprising of three Wind & Wuthering outtakes, might not sound like an appealing prospect. Listening to three outtakes from an uneven record sounds like hard work. But it’s actually fascinating – the two upbeat pieces on the first side wouldn’t have fit onto Wind & Wuthering but showcase a different angle of the band. In particular ‘Match of the Day’ features oddly detached lyrics about football (“So put on your hat and scarf/Have a drink, have a larf'”) and a surprisingly upbeat arrangement.
The real gem from Spot the Pigeon, though, is buried on the b-side. ‘Inside and Out’ is a beautiful seven minute piece that bears all the classic Genesis hallmarks. Layers of 12-string acoustic guitars shimmer in unison, anchoring lovely harmonies and a pretty tune. ‘Inside and Out’ is a gentle song that’s well suited to the slightly tentative vocals of Phil Collins in the mid-1970s. It’s a two-part composition – the first part about a man falsely imprisoned for rape, and the second part about his release. Keyboard player Tony Banks features in a great synth solo in the instrumental ‘Out’ section.
‘Inside and Out’ hasn’t been forgotten – it was included in the Genesis Archive 2: 1976–1992 box-set. Guitarist Steve Hackett featured the song with his Genesis Revisited project. Hackett remains adamant that it should have featured on Wind & Wuthering, and its presence would have helped to shore up a disappointing record.
Wind & Wuthering marked a dead-end for Genesis – Hackett left before 1978’s …And Then There Were Three, and the remaining three members gradually streamlined their sound and headed for pop domination in the 1980s.