Friday, 3 January 2014

The Archivist: Anthony Phillips - The Geese & The Ghost

As you all know by now, I'm a Son Of Prog. As a SOP, I am a fan of Genesis. They have had several incarnations over the years since their formation from Charterhouse many moons ago back in 1967.
Anthony Phillips was the very first of the Genesis guitarists. He is a brilliant musician and gave very early Genesis a lovely pastoral side to their music. Very similar to what Steve Hackett brought to the table after Anthony left the band following the release of their second album Trespass. But Anthony didn't have the attack of Steve and his music remains very gentle and accomplished. The legend has it that Anthony was crippled by stage fright and with Genesis becoming more popular and theatrical in performances he could not stand the upset of live performances. So in 1970, Ant decided to leave Genesis.

although his influence is still felt on the following album Nursery Cryme, where two tracks, The Musical Box & The Fountain of Salmacis are based on two Ant instrumental pieces.
Following his departure from Genesis, Ant then on to study classical music and composing. Concentrating on classical and 12 string guitar, although he can also play the piano.
Then in 1977, he released his first solo album and what I can only describe as one of the loveliest albums I have ever heard. The Geese and the Ghost.
The album features Genesis members Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins. Ant had always been close to Mike Rutherford and they wrote music together from 1973. This is one of their earliest recordings from 1973 but which didn't make it on to the Geese & The Ghost album initially but was included in the two disc reissue.
The Geese & The Ghost contains songs and longer instrumental pieces. It opens with Wind Tales
 And closes with Collections and Sleepfall
Phil Collins contributed lead vocals on two songs - the second one being the beautiful God If I Saw Her Now
If you are interested in Prog Rock - there is an excellent series that comes out on Youtube by Darren Lock where he talks about new, old & reissued Prog rock releases. He's a normal fan who just likes talking Prog. Track him down. Here's his review of The Geese & The Ghost as an example.
From this initial first solo album, Ant went on to release further solo albums. His third, called Sides, released in 1979 contained a beautiful song about one of my favourite books by my favourite author, Bleak House by Charles Dickens. I got to play this one on my one and only radio broadcast back in 1983.
When Sides was first released, initial copies came with a free album called Private Parts & Pieces. These were initially deemed as non commercial pieces of music that Ant did not consider fitted in with his conventional solo albums. But they are beautiful pieces of music. Ant's record company are in the process of reissuing all these albums, a lot of which were pretty hard to come by and are well worth the investment if you find yourself enjoying his music.
Ant also collaborates with other musicians such as the composer Andrew Skeet
Ant is now up to Private Parts & Pieces XI and has released 26 solo albums. So there is so much music to investigate and enjoy.
and if you like the cover, it's the work of Peter Cross. Check him out too.

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