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Phil Collins: Reissues

An open-and-shut case.

A year after introducing himself to the non-Genesis speaking world as a singer/songwriter, Phil Collins was back with 1982’s Hello, I Must Be Going (810). This time he brought his drum kit with him to replace the synthesised beats of Face Value.

He also brought the Earth Wind & Fire horn section and a more belligerent attitude on songs like the drum-driven I Don’t Care Anymore where his voice becomes so unhinged he obviously does care, the dark, echoey Do You Know, Do You Care and the spiky It Don’t Matter To Me.

He also steps outside the box with the harsh rocker Like China (even better on the live bonus disc), the hot jazz instrumental The West Side, the seedy, voyeuristic Thru These Walls and the bouncy cover of You Can’t Hurry Love. The eight-track recording has a directional focus that gets lost in most 80s lush 64-track mixes.

Fast forward to 1996 and Dance Into The Light (410) is Collins’ first album after leaving Genesis but his voice had become ubiquitous to the point of overkill. That’s no longer true of course, but apart from the joyously addictive title track, too many songs remain derivative; Wear My Hat (Paul Simon’s You Can Call Me Al), Lorenzo (Peter Gabriel), Oughta Know By Now (Genesis), That’s What You Said and It’s In Your Eyes (Beatles) – and the African rhythms remain oddly stilted. Then there’s the final incongruous cover of The Times They Are A-Changing. Indeed they did.

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.