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Anthony Phillips - Private Parts & Pieces CD (album) cover


Anthony Phillips


Symphonic Prog

3.31 | 99 ratings

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4 stars I believe many PA pundits would agree that Anthony Phillips is a rather unique prog icon, whose legend includes genius, stage fright, seclusion and incredible timidity, yet is one of the most prolific artists in genre (not that far from TDream, Hawkwind or Rick Wakeman!) . Upon leaving his gig with Genesis (his playing on Trespass is timeless), he recorded one of the most venerated debuts ever in The Geese and the Ghost, a magical mystery tour of Prog that lives on today. In between the tepid soft-rock of 'Wise After the Event' and before the similar 'Sides', Ant embarked on the first of a massive series of enthralling acoustic music, branded ever-amusingly as "Private Parts and Pieces" with future albums having an added sub-title. And thus began a multi-decade long adventure, each one unique and original.

Firstly, I must mention the cover art, as this is one of my all-time favorite works from prolific Phillips contributor Peter Cross, a style that combines pastoral with an obvious Breughel influence. The pieces are humorously anecdote music is by definition very English, a massive folk tendency that is kept minimal with only acoustic, mostly 12 string guitar as well as some 'lumbering' harmonium as well as an occasional electric sizzle. There are some eye-opening private parts such as "Lullaby", "Harmonium in the Dust", "Tregenna Afternoons" as well as some all-out guitar exercises pieces that defy quality, delving into the strange like "Tibetan Yak Music" . There are also some old-fashioned tidbits like "Stranger", a bonus track that is from 1969 and it is heavily vocalized as well as bizarrely surprising. "Reaper" was written for Macbeth in 1970 and constitutes a quirky acoustic workout that was intended for a banquet scene. "Autumnal" whips out the solo piano, in a piece that is 'impressionistic without being too derivative of Debussy'. Then you have the marathon "Flamingo" a whopping 11minute acoustic guitar extravaganza intended as a first movement of a proposed 12 string concerto. There are some terrific riffs here, hints of Spain in the air, extremely enticing and savvy. According to Ant's notes, "Seven Long Years" is 'a love song for a vanished ballerina', brittle vocals and elegant piano.

Finally, the liner notes for "Silver Song" are enigmatic. 'This was written as a farewell to drummer John Silver. Ironically, it was later recorded as a putative single by Phil Collins in 1973 ?though never released. Countless attempts to recreate the magic that Phil applied to the song having failed, I've decided to include my own demo version. There is categorically no chance that the Phil version will ever be released.'

It remains a breakthrough and thus pioneering album that does not get enough praise anywhere because it is perceived as tranquil and lackadaisical by the "rock" boys. Relax, Chill, peace whatever. I still say its definitely 4.5 TV sets

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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