Steve Hackett - The Charisma Years 1975-1983 album review

Ten-LP vinyl box set of former Genesis guitarist’s work.

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If you fancy owning the oeuvre of The First Genesis Man To Release A Solo Album on vinyl, in one handy box, this is your lucky month. The Charisma Years includes Steve Hackett’s six studio albums with Please Don’t Touch (1978) and Spectral Mornings (1979) having been mixed in 5.1 surround sound by (surprise!) Steven Wilson from the original multitrack tapes.

The remaining albums – debut Voyage Of The Acolyte (1975), Defector (1980), Cured (1981) and Highly Strung (1983) – have been newly remastered from the original master tapes. You also get several live recordings from 1979 and 1981, and a 12-inch live EP featuring Hackett’s band performing Genesis’ I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) recorded at Oxford New Theatre.

The first 100 to purchase this weighty collection (all 180g vinyl, natch) also get a signed A3 poster. Don’t laugh. Although Hackett, who left the band in 1977, may not have the cuddly affability of Phil Collins or the cerebral allure of Peter Gabriel, he remains many people’s favourite Genesis man.

And you can hear why here, from the intricate guitar-tistry of that none-more-prog debut album’s opener Ace Of Wands, through the daft diversity of Please Don’t Touch which ranges from soul balladry (Hoping Love Will Last is sung by Randy Crawford) to, well, Carry On Up The Vicarage, and the more commercial pastures of Spectral Mornings and subsequent 80s output. Hackett had too many ideas for Genesis. These albums are where he put them.