“Hot on the ears” – Ray Wilson and Stiltskin, the Live album. Review by Mark Kenyon.
I have recently heard the latest release by Ray Wilson, in this case a live album recorded during a gig on the Stiltskin tour that Ray and the band did in the autumn of 2006. The live album contains mostly Stiltskin tracks old and new, with a few of Ray’s solo numbers and some from Ray’s band CUT thrown in for good measure.
It seems Ray finally shrugged off the urge to record Genesis songs during this tour. The album contains 16 tracks of which some are passive and you could listen to them late at night, mean while there are others that are really loud and aggressive and might end up with you getting a visit from an angry neighbour.
It is a strange live album in places, having heard it you’d expect there to be a missed beat or a slipped note, yet the album is note perfect which can only serve to compliment the level of musicianship on stage,
The audience is mixed low on the album generally, when you compare Ray’s previous live albums. Of course the band are suited to the material played here and they faithfully back Ray at every twist and turn even in the ‘hell for leather’ moments, with some new faces that where not present on Ray’s previous tour.
The choice of material is ideal as it portrays Ray and the band in a different land and finally shakes off the “Ex Genesis member” tag that Ray was in danger of becoming. In fact if Ray and the band choose these numbers on the upcoming UK tour I certainly look forward to the show, my favourites are currently Constantly Reminded, Gypsy, Lemon Yellow Sun, Taking Time, She, Inside, Wake Up Your Mind and Fame, which appear on this album along with Sunshine and Butterflies, Sarah, Fly High, Another Day, Adolescent Breakdown, Some Of All My Fears, Footsteps, Ghost.
Quite a few of the tracks sound better live than they did on the Studio release of She the latest Stiltskin album, Fame is one of them with its bone chilling observation at the Pop Idol/Fame Academy/X Factor generation. She was of course played earlier in the year on a different tour equally as well, and Taking Time just gets better with each outing.
Inside is a stage classic which Ray and his band obviously enjoy playing, and I doubt Ray would be allowed to leave out of any set list by any real fan.
Although the album paints a rather bleak picture, and there is little sign of joyful or humorous numbers perhaps Airport Song could have lifted the mood within the album but then it wouldn’t have fitted in with the rest of the set, this album is the kind of thing the younger generation in the USA/UK are listening to along the lines of Disturbed, Slipknot, Trivium etc and thus may one day end up with Ray gigging in the USA.
- Sunshine and butterflies,
- Fly high,
- Constantly reminded,
- Another day,
- Lemon yellow sun,
- Taking time,
- Adolescent breakdown,
- Some of all my fears,
- Wake up Your mind,
I like this album because it is different and Ray dispenses with any Genesis material which in this case is refreshing. There is nothing to flash or vulgar on here either, In that I mean no 20 minute solo’s or enough profanities to make you think the band have tourettes syndrome just good wholesome but modern ROCK or is that pronounced RAWK?
For further information about Ray Wilson and Stiltskin please visit ww.raywilson.co.uk