Steve Hackett

Bay of Kings

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AllMusic Review by Robin Platts

Since his days with Genesis, Steve Hackett had showcased his classical guitar skills on solo pieces like "Horizons." He had a strong affinity for such material and usually included one solo guitar piece on his own albums. By 1980-1981, Hackett had amassed enough material to release an entire album of his classical work and pitched the idea to his label Charisma. The record company felt such a release wouldn't prove commercially viable -- they saw Hackett as a "rock" artist -- but the guitarist believed strongly in the project. To this end, he began recording tracks for it on his own time and with his own money. Even after the success of Hackett's 1982 album Highly Strung and its hit single, "Cell 151," Charisma still vetoed the idea. So Hackett left the label and took his project to a smaller one called Lamborghini, who released the album under the title Bay of Kings in 1983. It turned out to be one of the guitarist's strongest efforts ever, truly a labor of love, and sold in respectable quantities. Hackett had taken great care recording his guitar, and his efforts shine throughout this gorgeous-sounding album. The beautiful guitar work was complemented in places by strings and flute (the latter played by Steve's brother John). There are remakes of two of Steve's earlier pieces, "Horizons" (from the Genesis album Foxtrot) and "Kim" (from Hackett's Please Don't Touch LP), both of which improved on the originals.

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