54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2002
With the tribal beat intro to the opening track, "Moribund The Bergermeister," the incredibly talented Peter Gabriel made his introduction to the music world as a solo artist. After leaving the band Genesis in 1975, partially due to exhaustion, and partially to spend more time with his family, among other reasons, Peter Gabriel took a couple of years off from the music business before roaring back in 1977 with his very first solo album. Simply called "Peter Gabriel" (or "Car" or "Rainy Windshield"---see cover art), it's an excellent debut from a musical genius with a long, fruitful solo career ahead of him. This is the album that features Gabriel's first signature tune, "Solsbury Hill," partially about his departure from Genesis (certainly the second verse, featuring "I was feeling part of the scenery/I walked out of the machinery", directly addresses it). It also features the lovely "Here Comes The Flood," another Gabriel staple, as well as the humorous barbershop-quartet number, "Excuse Me," the grand cocktail-jazz piece, "Waiting For The Big One," another fine ballad in the form of "Humdrum," and the great orchestral rocker, "Down The Dolce Vita." Gabriel's singing & songwriting is world class, and the sound, especially on this new remastered edition, is excellent.Peter Gabriel already made a name for himself as the lead singer for Genesis, and God bless him for his amazing years with the band. But with his 1977 debut solo album, it was time for Gabriel to spread his wings and forge his own musical path. Boy, did he ever. :-)
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 1999
Forget all of the Peter Gabriel you've heard before and start a clean slate with his first solo project. The comical tracks "Moribund The Burgermeister" and "Excuse Me" not only convey utter absudity in their lyrics, but the music itself needs no words to make you giggle. "Solsbury Hill" stands with few others (like Pink Floyd's "Money") in making waves in the charts while having a 7-beat pattern instead of your standard 4- or 8-beat patterns. What makes "Waiting For The Big One" unique is that it ends several times. After a little over 2 minutes, when you hear a resounding ending chord, you would not expect the song to last another 5 minutes. "Humdrum" begins timidly, turns into a polka, and then suddenly assumes an extremely majestic tone with very strong drums: all of this in about 3 minutes! "Modern Love" comes as close to "standard" rock ala Bon Jovi as Gabriel gets for a few more years. "Slowburn" is a musical chameleon: you never know which musical color you will hear from one line of lyrics to another. "Here Comes The Flood" is the emotional highlight of the album. Intensity is present throughout regardless of the volume at any given second. But far and away, the musical highlight has to be "Down The Dolce Vita," which beautifully blends the worlds of classical music and rock-& roll. The presence of The London Symphony Orchestra will surprise the first-time listener. It is featured for nearly an entire minute before the band comes in. The interweaving of the band and symphony are excellent throughout. The fake ending that leads to an alhemiolic interlude (a six-beat pattern in the temple blocks playing against a seven-beat pattern in the triangle) capped by a guitar solo that reminds you that you are in the same song, leads to one last minute of the most brilliant recording you may hear. The band and symphony do not intertwine, but become one in a massive wall of sound that could only be made better by a sudden ending instead of a fade. This album is totally satisfying throughout.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2001
Gabriel left Genesis in early 1975. He went somewhat into seclusion for about a year and then spent the best part of the next year putting together one of the best debuts of the late 70's. I don't know how well it did in Britain, but in the States it hit very well in some markets and went virtualy unheard in others. Classic early Peter is in abundance here. With songs like "Solsbury Hill", "Modern Love", "Humdrum", "Slowburn", "Down The Dolc'e Vita" and the majesty of "Here Comes The Flood", it's really hard to understand why this didn't become a mega platinum hit. It's a very differnt sound from the almost punkish sounds that came from his next two albums. This album is much more guitar based with lots of orchestral keyboards as well as the London Symphony on Dolc'e Vita. It certainly rocks at times. The guitar work features two Detroit legends: Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner, who blistered their way through Lou Reed's "Rock & Roll Animal" along with their work with Alice Cooper. Hunter also worked with Mitch Ryder and Wagner led The Frost, which was a very popular band in Detroit and throught the midwest at the tail end of the 60's. Also featured on guitar is Robert Fripp of King Crimson. His playing here is much more in the background. It's pretty much Steve Hunter throughout. Fripp plays a banjo on "Excuse Me", strums blues chords on "Waiting For The Big One" and there's no mistaking his acoustic classical picking on "Humdrum".
Another intresting thing about this album is the quirky percussion. A percussionist I never heard of prior or since named Jim Maelin does a really fine job. Bass guitar viruoso, Tony Levin is also here, begining a working partnership with Gabriel that continues a quarter of a century later. Bob Ezrin's production is great, though Gabriel's vocals are hard to understand on a couple of tracks. The production is certainly better than what Robert Fripp did on PG 2.
In conclusion, this is a must have for anyone who enjoys the work of Peter Gabriel. He has certainly had one of the most distiguished carreers in Rock, even if he hasn't always made hits. Why his first two releases have been dropped by Geffen astonishes me.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2005
At a first listen, it might sound like Peter Gabriel simply took a bunch of different songs he'd had cooking in his head, and decided to release them all on the same album, regardless of whether or not they had anything in common. What other way could there be to explain the musical diversity on this album, both between songs and in the songs themselves? But the second time you listen to this, hopefully you'll realize, as I did, that Gabriel only pretends not to know what he's doing.
As this is Gabriel's first album after leaving Genesis (which had been a genius progressive rock group under his influence), it's as if he decided to take a musical journey, testing the creative waters now that he was a solo artist, and had complete creative control. And he uses that control in some interesting ways. The end result is an album that is more engaging than his second solo album, but less solid and coherent than his third.
There really isn't a song on here that I dislike. Gabriel, through his exploration, runs the gamut from folk (Solsbury Hill), pop rock (Modern Love), cheesy retro barbershop (Excuse Me), epic symphonic hard rock (Down the Dulca Vita), and what could best be described as Broadway showtunes on acid (Slowburn). Some songs work better than others, but the way the album is sequenced (for example, following an edgy rock number like Modern Love with something more silly, like Excuse Me) keeps the listener engaged, and marveling at what Gabriel could possibly be thinking. It's also interesting the way he changes direction within the songs themselves. Humdrum almost seems to go through three phases: we start with only a low-key piano and Gabriel singing, then shift into something that almost sounds like bistro-jazz, then we end with something that sounds more epic, with a sweeping synthesizer overscoring the rest of the music. This song also provides an excellent display of Gabriel's vocal range: he starts soft, then shifts into a higher pitch, then finishes in a lower, almost grumble. For me, though, the stand-out tracks are the following:
-Moribund the Burgermeister. Some might find it bizarre that he starts the album out with such a bizarre number. But those that know Gabriel from his days with Genesis won't find it bizarre at all. Gabriel's penchant for being delightfully weird shines through in the tale he weaves, a tale that is both morose and lighthearted, just what you'd expect from him. Here again, he also displays the diversity of his vocal range, from soaring high notes to a deep, bass rumble.
-Waiting For the Big One. Gabriel's love of shifting direction especially holds true for this one. It's almost as if he was writing two songs in one. We start with a delightful 40s cocktail jazz-rock motif, then the song seems to stop suddenly, and we hear a guitar piece with a bit more edge to it. Then we go back to what we were hearing before. We go back to this guitar number again a few times, and at the climax of the song, it's accompanied by a small choir. It may not seem like it, but this is definitely one of the more accomplished tracks on the album.
-Here Comes the Flood. This is a beautiful closing song, and if one listens to both the musical undertones and the somber tones with which Gabriel sings, it almost serves as a prelude to the music Gabriel would go on to write for much of his solo career.
Overall, we're left with an album that's more disjointed than the rest of Gabriel's solo work, but in the style of the former Genesis frontman, it's magnificently disjointed. Gabriel invites the listener along on a musical exploration, and if one is prepared to listen to the album on those terms, one will see it as brilliant.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2002
Of all the new Peter Gabriel reissues, this is probably the most essential, if only because the original CD sounds pretty bad. The remastered version sounds so much better, and you don't have to turn the volume up to deafening levels to hear the details.
That said, this is also a damn good album, despite being something of a transition between Genesis and Gabriel's solo career. (None of the socially-conscious, global concerns that start to come in at about the 3rd LP.) In fact, it may be my favorite Gabriel LP, although Security is right up there. "Humdrum" and "Here Comes the Flood" are among the most emotionally-moving songs he's ever written. It also gets points for featuring the guitar work of Robert Fripp, but with better songwriting (and a more timeless sound) than the Fripp-produced 2nd LP.
If you haven't heard it in awhile, go get it and enjoy the memories. If you've never heard it, for God's sake, go educate yourself. ;-)
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The last album Peter Gabriel recorded with Genesis was the mammoth and highly ambitious The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. After that album he left the band to pursue a solo career. He took about a year and a half off and released his self-titled debut in 1977. The album is definitely scaled down compared to Lamb, but of no less quality. The album's signature track is the elegant "Solsbury Hill" which has an understated string section that lifts the song along with a beautiful guitar melody. Orchestral sounds permeate the album especially on the powerful "Down The Dolce Vita". The album's closer "Here Comes The Flood" is a great track and sets the tone for subsequent work by Mr. Gabriel. A stirring and strong debut from a complex and intriguing artist.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2006
Peter Gabriel had been part of Prog. Band Genesis since they were founded in the 60's til he decided to pursue a solo career in 1975. This was his first solo project called just "Peter Gabriel" like his upcoming 3 albums also would. But cause of the cover art made by the exellent Storm Thorgerson (Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin) most fans knows it as "Car". There was no doubt that Gabriel wanted out of Genesis. As the brain and leadsinger he had alot of control over the band, but he felt like he could be creative enough while in the band, hence "Car" is a very diverse project with some songs that will remind you of Genesis, but also jazz, country sounding songs and some ballads. How can such diffrent songs make one 5 star album you may think?. The reason is simple. A fantastic artist exploring his musical skills are recording personal and innovative music he always wanted but couldn't. For the first time, Peter Gabriel is in full control of what he's doing and the result is fascintaing.
"Moribund the Burgermeister" on the surface sounds like a sequal of Genesis, it's a big majestic song about Middle Ages epidemics and backed by the London Symphony Orchestra. Listen closely to the sounds of this song and others, they are perfecly recorded. Second song and first single "Solsbury Hill" is perhaps the most autobiographical. Solsbury Hill is a very high place located in Bath, England where Gabriel often would go for walks, as the song starts "Climbing Up on Solsbury Hill/ I could See the City Light/ Wind was blowing, time stood still/ Eagle flew out of the night". You get the impression that Gabriel was very stressed at the time and wanted to spend time by himself thinking, so he went to this particular place where he could be alone and think about his life and take important decisions about the future. Maybe there was a voice inside of his head or god showing up, either way he took the decision. To leave Genesis and go solo. The whole song is pretty simple based on a accoustic riff throughput the song, which may sound odd coming from a Prog Rock legend, but "Solsbury Hill" is still one of his greatest compositions.
"Modern Love" was his secod single and didn't work on the charts at all, however it's an exellent song. Perhaps infleunced by Bruce Springsteen with it's basic riff driven rock song with alot of power and empathy. "Excuse Me" is perhaps the oddest songs of all here. It's sounds like a comedic parody suitable for a Frank Zappa album. It's very slow and somewhat jazzy, it was co-written by Martin Hall, one of a few songs that Gabriel didn't write himself. "Humdrum" is a ballad, very beautiful with great arrangements. It's about dissapearing. "Slowburn" is a typical Prog Rock feauting Robert Fripp on guitar, it has both slow and fast parts, it's a song that old Genesis fans will enjoy. Next song "Waiting For the Big One" is also Prog rock and it is very jazzy and not so accessable. It clocks over 7 minutes and got a wonderful guitar solo towards the end, believe it's Fripp again. "Down The Dolce Vita" also got help from the London Symphony Orchestra. If we go just by sound, this is the best song of the album. It's majestic and very colourful. It starts with the orhestra, almost like a film score and with fast guitar riffs but towards the mid it get's stripped down in slow pace and a strange percussion is used, almost like Fusion Jazz. This song is really worthwile. The closer is called "Here Comes the Food" and is a power ballad. It's based on a dream that Peter had where people could read each others mind, and those that were honest and sincere will get the apreciation they deserve while the false lyers will get exposed for who they truly are. Roger Fripp's guitar solo is magnificient here. Wish it had been longer. However, Fripp recorded his own version of the song with Gabriel once again on vocals for his album "Exposure".
Overall, Peter Gabriel's debut album is nothing short of excellent. It really captures who he is and how he want to sound like. It's quite diverse but still got alot of the Prog. Rock influences from Genesis. If you want to listen to something diffrent and well produced here is a album you should take a look at. No filler, or overproductions just a very good album with 9 songs that will get your attention. Start your Peter Gabriel collection right here.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2006
well - let's give a bit of historical perspective (second hand, of course):
Gabriel becomes Rael in the immense "Lamb" opera - replete with costume changes, too many lyrics to write to too much complex and dense music. This was Genesis' "Tommy" and a foreshadowning to Floyd's "Wall". An extremely dense musical and lyrical opus, when they were all age of 24 (Collins was 23 - ok let's take a moment: HE DRUMMED THE APOCALYPSE IN 9/8 AT AGE 21!!! (thanks - needs to be acknowledged).
Back to our history lesson: William Friedkin, fresh off "The Exorcist" and the "French Connection" wants to make a movie of the "Lamb" - Gabriel, the rock star undergoes training, dance, etc. in anticipation of his starring role in a major Hollywood picture. Intervening, however, come family matters: Gabriel's wife, Jill, has a difficult pregnancy with their first child, during which, I am given to understand, both nearly died.
Exeunt: Rock star ambitions, movie star ambitions and Genesis.
What evolves is a stripped down, poignant, and aggressive brilliance on Gabriel's own terms. Genesis would go on to make great albums, "Trick of the Tail", "Wind and Wuthering" and their best post-Gabriel album, "Duke". But Peter Gabriel announced with this album that he was going on a different track from Wagenerian/Rachmaninoff inspired prog, and that anything would ultimately go, and everything was on the table musically: He absorbs Tony Levin's barbershop chops in "Excuse Me", re-iterates Genesis "bits' and dynamics in "Here Comes the Flood" and stakes out new territory in "Solsbury Hill" and "Modern Love". Despite selling out to AT&T by allowing cheap commericals to use "Solsbury", this has been my favorite song since I first heard it in 1977, and the song I have in my will to be played at my funeral. It's about taking stock, stopping to smell the roses, and moving on on one's own terms. A timeless message. It never gets old. Neither does the rest of this album. Buy it and drink it in.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 1998
At (then) 27, Peter Gabriel has shown with this record that he needed to leave Genesis in order to express completely his own creativity (a warning that was shown in Genesis' "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway). As a consequence, we have this eclectic album, which shows Gabriel triying to look for a style to be comfortable with. From the Genesis-like "Moribund The Burgermeister", to the psychedelic beauty of "Here Comes The Flood", passing through the Paul-McCartney-like "Solsbury Hill", the 'Bolero' of "Humdrum" or the bluesy "Waiting for the Big One", this great album shows the develop of one of the most creative songwriters of our time.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2010
Former Genesis lead singer Peter Gabriel released his first self-titled solo album (since nicknamed Car) in February of 1977 originally on Charisma Records in most territories apart from the US and Canada where it was released on Atlantic Records' subsidary label Atco.
After Gabriel finally left Genesis in 1975, he took the rest of 1975 off be with his wife Jill and their first born daughter (whom miraculously survived a traumatic birth in 1974). Then in 1976, Peter went back to work teaming up with Alice Cooper and KISS producer Bob Ezrin to record his first solo album.
Helping Peter (who wrote, sang on all tracks and played keyboards and flute) on the album were noted Bob Ezrin session musicians at the time whom were drummer Allan Schwartzberg and guitarists Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner (who played on Alice Cooper's albums at the time), bass player Tony Levin (whom would become Peter's long serving bass player after this album) plus keyboard player Larry Fast on synthesizers and King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp.
We open with the lyrically bizarre but excellent "Moribund the Burgermeister". This song sounds like Gabriel's old band Genesis in some parts but proved that he would be a force to be reckoned with on his own. Next is the album's biggest hit which was "Solsbury Hill". The track conjures Gabriel's feelings about leaving Genesis and moving on. Next is the rocker "Modern Love" which was the other single from the album and who can forget the video with Peter wearing a fencing helmet and acting out on one of those treadmills. Next is "Excuse Me" which starts out with a barbershop quartet before it turns into a classic and funny vaudeville song. The first half closes with "Humdrum" which is a nice atmospheric track.
The album's second half starts with the rocker "Slowburn" which is another great track with some great guitar work from Steve Hunter. The same can be said for the following track "Waiting For the Big One". The track is seen as a bluesy track but a great song. Next is the orchestral rocker "Down the Dolce Vita" which sounds like something musically that Alice Cooper was producing at the time (not surprisingly as Bob Ezrin was Alice's main producer and the musicians from Alice's albums in the mid-1970s are Peter's backing band here). The album closes with the beautiful ballad "Here Comes the Flood" which is one of Gabriel's best songs and Dick Hunter's guitar solo here is phenomenal.
Peter Gabriel's first solo album reached #38 on the US charts and proved that he could survive outside of Genesis.
In 2002, Geffen Records re-released the album in a digitally remastered CD version and has the original artwork plus lyrics, photos and full credits. In 2010, Peter's own Real World Records re-released the 2002 remaster in a digipak sleeve but glad to see the Peter Gabriel catalog on CD once again!