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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
176
Nursery Cryme
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on February 18, 2010
Nursery Cryme - Genesis (3.56 stars)
Original Release: 11/26/1971

Songs:

The Musical Box (4 stars)
The story behind this song and the lyrics are so distant from one another that it requires some imagination to connect the two. To appreciate this song you must find out the story from the album liner or some other source. Also, I have heard that the onstage performance that accompanies this song live probably aids very much in making meaning of these lyrics. I will probably want to find a youtube video of a live performance of this song sometime and watch it. The song starts after a murder (the "nursery cryme") has occurred. The music is calm, even sedate but its tone inhabits somewhere in the vicinity of a quiet madness. Very gradually the melodic themes pick up more intensity for a time and then relax again. There are extended instrumental sections and an aggressive fanfare on guitar and organ which coincides with part of the stories' drama where the concentrated passion of a lifetime is released. The song comes to a conclusion with a more joyful energy that detracts a little from the mythic horror of the rest of the song and even ends on a kind of a joyful, "happy" note. This song requires a lot of work to get its full value but if you meet it half-way it is rewarding.

For Absent Friends (3 stars)
After the horrors of the previous song I tend to see shadows of the former song in this seemingly innocent one where a girl is seen passing by alone. Also the song mentions that once there was four but now only two into which I find myself thinking of the couple and their murdered son and institutionalized daughter. It is as likely that this song has no relationship to the former and is simply a stark contrast with the former placed for maximum effect. Quiet, layered guitar and gentle vocals relax the mood nicely.

The Return of the Giant Hogweed (3 stars)
Intentionally silly song anthropomorphizing an exotic that has taken over the British landscape. Guitar and organ play a semi-comical war march to the lyrics. There is an instrumental section called "The Dance of the Giant Hogweed" which I imagine abstracts the work of the ill-tempered weed to bring their plot to "fruition". The venomous oath of the Hogweed is finally sung and an ominous guitar and organ and mellotron passage announces the chaos of war thereby concludes the song. To me the lyrical joke runs on a bit long in this long but entertaining song.

Seven Stones (4 stars)
Cases of individuals following their hunches or suspicions or intuitions are presented in the guise of the wise old man's stories. But the wise old man turns a trick in the end. A sometimes awkward rhythm section underlies this simpler composition. But the lyrics and the mellotron pump in mystery and passion to bring to this song a timeless mysticism.

Harold the Barrel (3 stars)
Clever dark comedy about a man who is living out the last unbearable moments of his life before taking the plunge from a tall building. Presented in a play format the protagonist is obviously surrounded by a society who seems insanely unprepared to rescue him. The instruments play an upbeat, light tone until the very end where profoundly sad piano chords escort poor Harold into the next world.

Harlequin (3 stars)
I'm not able to make sense of the lyrics; they seem to describe a scene and to explain something... Otherwise the instruments play in a straight-forward, syncopated way. The song has a quiet baroque feel with gentle harmonies and delicate sounds the never escape their calm demeanor.

The Fountain of Salmacis (5 stars)
This song compellingly tells a story that could be right out of Ovid's _Metamorphoses_ lending the ancient story a beautiful soundtrack. The pace never lets up as various musical ideas play out in time with the tale. In the moment of transformation the supernatural transformation is uniquely represented instrumentally but seemlessly with the song's overall flow. Instrumental sections keep the story moving without lyrics and lyrical sections progress elegantly and imaginatively. After making a full circuit the song returns to its original theme before moving into a glorious coda. Although this coda also aims at a "happy ending" it has a better fit to the song overall and features a sumptuous guitar passage that has a beauty all its own. One of the first great progressive rock songs.

Album:

In some ways this album, which has been referred to as a transitional album in many reviews, spells out a transition within the order of its songs. "The Musical Box" seems to harken back to the bitter darkness of _Trespass_. The middle songs reveal the humor and more straight-forward song style that would be present going forward. The dialogue of voices in some songs would also make very significant (in the history of classic prog rock) appearances later. "The Fountain of Salmacis" would tie the musical complexity of _Trespass_ back into this Genesis' greater song compositional skills and be a bar set for later highly instrumentally imaginative rock. In some ways the hard rock edge of _Trespass'_ "The Knife" is more present here as if that last song on the previous album anticipated this one. As with Jethro Tull's work during this same time period I find that my overall rating of the album declines slightly even as I can see a progression in the band's compositional abilities. But for all the great prog bands the next few years would be a sort of climax time of progressive rock as the greats of the genre seemed to peak more or less together in their ability to produce timeless music.

MP3 recommendation:

Nursery Rhymes (4.25 stars)
1. The Musical Box (4 stars)
2. Seven Stones (4 stars)
3. The Fountain of Salmacis (5 stars)
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on August 10, 2003
While Trespass was an important album, Nursery Cryme was the first Genesis album on which the band fully realized the magical potential of the sum of the parts.
NC is a quantum leap from Trespass and the springboard into the majesty of Foxtrot. I still remember the sheer thrill of being a Genesis fan at this time, this being before they started on the highway to mega stardom. Even the fan club communications came in hand-written envelopes, often stamped with hearts and flowers and words such as 'LOVE'. Alas, I can't remember the names of the original UK fan club women, but they did a superb job.
Everything from the haunting Paul Whitehead cover to the lyrically and musically intriguing songs - all of them - make this a landmark album in progressive rock and therefore in the career of the mighty Genesis. Even though they may have technically surpassed NC, it still remains the album for which I have the most affection.
Favorite track? Hmmm, either The Musical Box, Seven Stones or The Fountain of Salmacis, but then Hogweed is a unique masterpiece in itself. A classic album with absolutely no dud tracks, and highly recommended.
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on May 18, 2012
I have read some other reviews where the Genesis remixes sound compressed (US non-lossless versions DTS, DD and CD it burns me that we (US) keep getting passed over for the lossless recordings). I am sorry to write that the European SACD version sounds compressed as well. I cant recommend this SACD but I do recommend the Japan version of Foxtrot which has far better sound on both the SACD and DTS version.
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on October 15, 2010
Genesis' third album Nursery Cryme was released in November of 1971.
By this point, lead singer Peter Gabriel, keyboard player Tony Banks and bass player Mike Rutherford were going through the motions as they lost original guitarist Anthony Phillips and went through drummers as drummer John Mayhew also quit.
The three surviving members of Genesis held auditions for a new drummer and guitarist and settled on then 20 year olds Phil Collins and Steve Hackett (who joined a few months after collins joined). The former also brought some needed humor and a singing voice to off-set Gabriel's theatrics and the latter a superb guitar style.
With a lineup they could be happy with, Genesis went to Trident Studios in London to work on Nursery Cryme, how would the album be, read on.
We begin with the ten minute epic "The Musical Box" which is the reason for buying this album. The beginning is wonderful enough. The overdubbing of 12-strings from Hackett, Banks and Rutherford is quasi-Victorian in its feel with some haunting electric guitar fills from Hackett and joined by Gabriel and Collins' voices and Gabriel's flute. Then it suddenly shifts to an explosive hard rock tune, dominated by the killer soloing of Hackett's guitar and the killer percussion of Collins. Every time I hear this song, I still get a shiver down the spine. The last two minutes of the song are like a religious experience. The virtuoso feel of Banks' organ, cymbal-heavy drumming from Collins, Rutherford's 12-string playing, Gabriel's repeated shouting of the word "now!" and the way Hackett's guitar suddenly bursts from the back to the foreground make for a glorious climax which you don't hear anymore. Next we have "For Absent Friends" which marked the vocal debut of Phil Collins whom would become a key member to this exciting band over the next 25 years. We then end the first half with another epic "The Return of the Giant Hogweed" which tells a haunting but light-hearted tale which is a great song and has an awesome intro with Hackett's guitar and Banks' organ playing a haunting riff.
The next song is "The Seven Stones" which kicks off the second half and is a good tune but not as superb as the first two epics on the album. Next is the comedic "Harold the Barrel" which shows the band were starting to become more light-hearted thanks to Collins' presence. "Harlequin" is next and is the calm before the album's final storm. The final storm is the nearly 8 minute epic entitled "The Fountain of Salmacis" which is a great way to end the album. It starts with Banks' organ and mellotron haunting playing then joined by that awesome bass riff from Rutherford and vocals from Gabriel and guitar from Hackett and drums from Collins. It starts at medium pace then we go fast for the middle section then goes back to the medium pace of most of song then ends slow and majestic. The highlight is the instrumental that occurs about three and a half minutes in. And the way it ends contains some of the most balanced musicianship on the album.
The album may not have sold but who cares about sales, Nursery Cryme is still a classic today despite being recorded in 1971.
In November of 2008, Rhino/Atlantic re-released the album as a CD/DVD set. The album was painstakingly remixed by engineer Nick Davis in stereo for excellent sound (in a similar manner to what was done to The Who catalog in the 1990s). The new mixes are AMAZING and I hear things in the new mixes that I have not ever heard before. The DVD was in 5.1 and had an excellent slide show with the album and interviews with band members. In March, 2009, Virgin/EMI re-released the 2008 mix of the album as a single CD set.
This new mix of Nursery Cryme is recommended!
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on November 22, 2015
I bought my daughter this for her birthday. She is a Genesis fan and really likes this CD.
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on September 16, 2017
if you like Progressive rock its a buy
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on January 28, 2014
GENESIS HAPPENS TO BE ONE OF MY FAVORITE BANDS,ANDS STILL IS.EVEN THOUGH I LOVE THEIR MUSIC STILL TODAY,I REALLY LIKED THEIR EARLIER WORK W/PETER GABRIEL.THIS RECORDING SHOWS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW GOOD THIS BAND IS
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on July 23, 2016
What is there to say? I had this record many years ago and decided to buy the disc and experience it all over again. Now I remember why I have always loved Genesis! If you like classic Genesis with Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett then you HAVE to have this disc!
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on January 31, 2017
This one along with The lamb lies down on Broadway and Selling England by the Pound the best Genesis Studio Albums { love the original Genesis with Peter Gabriel}
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on December 6, 2016
Compared to the original copy the re-master brings out instruments i've never heard before. It arrived quickly...Great job guys...
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