Please Don't Touch

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Please Don't Touch!
Please Don't Touch.jpg
Studio album by Steve Hackett
Released May 1978
Recorded November 1977–February 1978
Studio Cherokee Studios, Kingsway and Record Plant, De Lane Lea Studios
Genre Progressive rock, art rock
Length 38:35
Label Charisma (UK)
Chrysalis (US)
Producer Steve Hackett, John Acock
Steve Hackett chronology
Voyage of the Acolyte
(1975)Voyage of the Acolyte1975
Please Don't Touch!
(1978)
Spectral Mornings
(1979)Spectral Mornings1979
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]

Please Don't Touch! is the second solo album by English guitarist Steve Hackett, and his first after leaving Genesis in 1977.

The album featured several guests including R&B singer Randy Crawford on "Hoping Love Will Last", American folk icon Richie Havens on two songs, the drummer and vocalist for the progressive rock band Kansas (Phil Ehart and Steve Walsh respectively),[2] Frank Zappa alumnus Tom Fowler, Genesis concert drummer Chester Thompson (also a Zappa alumnus), and Van der Graaf Generator violinist Graham Smith.

This was also Hackett's first album to feature his pioneering use of the Roland GR-500 Guitar Synthesizer.[citation needed]

In 2005, Please Don't Touch! was remastered and re-released by Hackett's Camino Records label. The new edition features updated liner notes and three bonus tracks.

Background[edit]

Please Don't Touch! was the first solo album that Hackett released after leaving Genesis during the mixing of the 1977 live album Seconds Out.

Hackett had previously released a solo album, Voyage of the Acolyte, while still a member of Genesis, but he was frustrated by the collaborative process of Genesis which left much of his creative work unreleased. He insisted that more of his material be included on their next album. Of the four songs he brought to the writing sessions, only one, "Blood on the Rooftops", was worked on and included on their next album. He wrote a song, "Please Don't Touch", that Genesis rehearsed but ended up setting aside, partly because the other members of the band did not want to use it. He also wrote a second song, "Hoping Love Will Last", that he felt was appropriate only for a female singer, which was something that the band could not use. A third song, "Inside and Out", was left off the album, but found its way to the EP Spot the Pigeon alongside two other songs written by other members that were also left off the album. Eventually, the track Wot Gorilla? was decided on as the last track on the first side of Wind and Wuthering, and this decision sealed Hackett's decision to leave Genesis. Hackett quit Genesis and began to record the album Please Don't Touch, using the rejected Genesis song as the title track.[3]

Songs[edit]

Side one[edit]

"Narnia" is based on the children's book "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis. Singer Steve Walsh and drummer Phil Ehart of the American rock band Kansas appear on the song. According to Hackett in the liner notes of the 2005 re-release, "Narnia" had been considered as a possible single. "Unfortunately," Hackett stated, "we weren't allowed to release the version featuring Steve on vocals as his record company objected. No-one at Charisma felt the alternative version [a version with vocalist John Perry and a bonus track on the 2005 remaster] was strong enough to release as a single without Steve's contribution."

"Carry On Up the Vicarage" is a musical tribute to Agatha Christie. It features vocals from Hackett himself. The vocals during most of the song consist of a double line of an artificially high pitched voice and an artificially low pitched one. Hackett has often used similar distorting effects on his vocals in his solo career. The liner notes indicate that the pipe organ that can be heard on the song is the "Robert Morton pipe organ, since destroyed by fire at the Record Plant." Parts of Please Don't Touch were recorded at the Record Plant's location in Los Angeles; it is known that the location's Studio C was destroyed by fire in early 1978. No information about this organ appears to be available; it is not listed in Robert Morton's opus list.[4]

"Racing in A" also features Steve Walsh on vocals. The song is electric for most of its duration, but the last 1:15 is a classical guitar piece which decreases in pace throughout, finishing on a relaxing note.

"Kim" consists of Steve Hackett on classical guitar with his brother John on flute. The piece was largely inspired by Erik Satie's "Gymnopédie No 1".

"How Can I?" is the last track on side one of the original vinyl. It is a slow song which features Richie Havens on vocals.

Side two[edit]

Side two of the vinyl consists of a suite of songs which flow directly into each other. It begins with "Hoping Love Will Last" with Randy Crawford on vocals. It has a heavy R&B/soul influence but with some classical style guitar parts as well as atmospheric sections featuring synthesisers. The second of these sections segues into the following track.

"Land of a Thousand Autumns" is an atmospheric instrumental track which contains references to the main theme of the title track. A sudden drum fill leads into the next track.

"Please Don't Touch" itself is an instrumental track with many time signature changes that features prominent use of Hackett's Roland GR-500 Guitar Synthesiser. The track was originally offered by Hackett to Genesis for Wind and Wuthering, but was rejected by the rest of the band. This rejection contributed to Hackett's eventual decision to leave Genesis in 1977. The track was written as a variation on the main theme heard in the Wind and Wuthering track "Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers...".[5] This theme was also eventually incorporated into the song "Hackett to Bits", which was included on the 1985 GTR album featuring Yes guitarist Steve Howe. Owing to the Genesis connection, Hackett included a re-recording of "Please Don't Touch" in his 2012 album Genesis Revisited II.

"Please Don't Touch" abruptly transitions into "The Voice of Necam". This track also features references to the "Please Don't Touch" theme at the beginning, but in the middle it becomes more of an ambient piece of voice drones. NECAM was one of the first mixing console automation systems, developed by the mixing console's manufacturer, AMS Neve; the acronym stood for "Neve Computer Assisted Mixdown". To produce the vocal chords, Hackett and others in the studio sang different notes onto tracks of a multitrack tape, and then made a loop of the tape, in a technique similar to that used by 10cc in the song I'm Not in Love a few years earlier. Each track was fed back to a separate input on the mixing console, and the NECAM system was programmed to "play" chords and melodies by moving the console faders.[6] The last 1:20 of the track is a classical guitar piece backed by the aforementioned computerised chords.

"Icarus Ascending" is the last track on the album and is sung by Richie Havens.

Artwork[edit]

The cover was designed by the artist Kim Poor, as were many of Hackett's album covers. It shows a Victorian couple being attacked by automata in a toy shop. This became the inspiration for a scene in Blade Runner, where the character Rick Deckard (played by Harrison Ford) is attacked in a flat full of replicant toys.[7]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Steve Hackett.

  1. "Narnia" – 4:05
  2. "Carry On Up the Vicarage" – 3:11
  3. "Racing in A" – 5:07
  4. "Kim" – 2:13
  5. "How Can I?" – 4:38
  6. "Hoping Love Will Last" – 4:23 – feat. Randy Crawford
  7. "Land of a Thousand Autumns" – 1:38
  8. "Please Don't Touch" – 3:39
  9. "The Voice of Necam" – 3:11
  10. "Icarus Ascending" – 6:27

2005 remaster bonus tracks[edit]

  1. "Narnia" (John Perry vocal) – 3:36
  2. "Land of 1000 Autumns / Please Don't Touch (live)" – 7:53
  3. "Narnia" (Alternate version w/Steve Walsh vocal) – 4:30

Notes[edit]

  • The original CD release had two seconds of silence between "Land of a Thousand Autumns" and "Please Don't Touch." This was a mistake that was corrected on the remastered version.

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Connolly, D. "Please Don't Touch! – Steve Hackett | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  2. ^ "Interview: Phil Ehart (Kansas) – Hit Channel". Hit-channel.com. 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2016-07-09. 
  3. ^ Collins, Phil; Banks, Tony; Gabriel, Peter; Mike Rutheford; Steve Hackett (2007). Genesis: Chapter and Verse. Macmillan. pp. 183, 186. ISBN 0312379560. 
  4. ^ "Opus List – The Robert Morton Organ Company". Robertmorton.org. Retrieved 2016-07-09. 
  5. ^ "Genesis Revisited and Remembered". hackettsongs.com. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  6. ^ "Rock Legacy: Steve Hackett". Rock-legacy.blogspot.com. 2011-11-15. Retrieved 2016-07-09. 
  7. ^ "Please Don't Touch by Kim Poor". Kim Poor Jewellery. Retrieved 6 June 2014.