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Anthony Phillips

Symphonic Prog

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5 stars This is to me not only the finest of Anthony Phillip's works, and I have nearly all of them and enjoy them all, but one of the best prog rock albums period. The comparisons to some of Genesis's work is understandable, but I think it really stands a bit apart from those significantly as well. 'Pastoral' is an adjective that comes easily to mind, very well crafted pieces, and Ant's guitar work is exceptional throughout; he obviously gives careful consideration to every bar. I'd highly recommend this to any prog rock fan.
Report this review (#25915)
Posted Friday, January 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars along with Rutherford's Smallscreep's Day & Hackett's Voyage? this is a GENESIS fan must have... well, to tell the absolute truth, the only thing that says it's not a Genesis album is the cover but I didn't get fooled by that... I know Genesis and here they're quite in good shape...
Report this review (#25916)
Posted Friday, March 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the first album from ex-Genesis member Anthony Phillips. It has a delicate and graceful acoustic medieval style: it has similitudes with the Genesis' "Trespass" and "Nursery Cryme" albums, except the miscellaneous string instruments here are more subtle and refined. Mike Rutherford helps Anthony Phillips by playing miscellaneous guitars and bass parts. There are many peaceful & emotional woodwind and brass instruments parts. Phil Collins sings very well on the delicate "Which way the wind blows" and "God if I saw her now". The epic "Henry: portraits from Tudor times" is less catchy, loaded, melodic and fluid than the other tracks: it still remains a good track, full of gentle and delicate acoustic guitars.

The other side is much better, more loaded and rhythmic: a beautiful suite a la Genesis' "Trespass", containing TONS of guitars, woodwind & brass instruments, piano and subtly floating mellotron, organ, harmonium and modern keyboards: it must be uninterruptedly listened in order to fully appreciate the GRACE and DELICATENESS involved; mostly, it is peaceful, ethereal, celestial, addictive, melodic, rhythmic and catchy. This side is easily comparable to the best of the Genesis' albums; it has the grace of Camel's "Snow goose" and the delicateness of Genesis's "Trespass" and the mellow moments of "Selling England by the pound"; there are EXCELLENT orchestration parts provided by the Send Barns Orchestra. "Collections" starts with a delightful piano, followed by excellent moving orchestra + lead vocals. The last track, "Stepfall: the geese fly West", is ABSOLUTELY OUTSTANDING: gracefully & densely floating keyboards and wind instruments gradually intensify from a delicate piano melody, in a crescendo movement.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Report this review (#25923)
Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars ANTHONY PHILLIPS was little more than a footnote to the great career of GENESIS; that is until he released "The Geese & The Ghost" in 1977. Blending orchestral and acoustic instruments, PHILLIPS' debut album had a grace and grandeur unseen since the days of "Trespass" and "Nursery Cryme". Featuring the participation of MIKE RUTHERFORD, PHIL COLLINS (on vocals), JOHN HACKETT, JACK LANCASTER and others, it was ANTHONY's money shot, and he made it pay off in a big way by delivering the best music of his life. In a sense, ANTHONY has become a victim of his own success, since subsequent albums have fallen invariably short of "Geese"'s goals, but that's a discussion for another day. If you enjoyed the pastoral prog rock of early GENESIS, more wonders await you. There is, for example, the story of "Henry: Portraits of Tudor Times", in which the players from the Age of Chivalry walk again. There are songs featuring PHIL COLLINS ("Which Way The Wind Blows", "God If I Saw Her Now") that match "More Fool Me" for beauty. There is the stirring title track, "The Geese And The Ghost", with its gentle agility sure to delight GENESIS fans who thought the realms of magic lost to the late '70s. To put this into perspective, there are only a handful of albums to my mind that will delight core followers the way "The Geese & The Ghost" does. For GENESIS followers, Voyage of the Acolyte becomes the reference point (though that was a deliberately darker work). For YES fans, JON ANDERSON's Olias of Sunhillow or RICK WAKEMAN's "Six Wives of Henry VIII" yield as much pleasure. Some of "Geese"'s credit must go to MIKE RUTHERFORD as well, who appears alongside PHILLIPS throughout and shares his affection for acoustic adornment. In a sense, "Geese" also stands as RUTHERFORD's best solo album outside of GENESIS. Listening to this album in "Spring or Summer", when the scent of a world in bloom wafts gently through the window screens, is to be in concert with life itself. If you don't own this yet and have played "Foxtrot" down to nubby grooves, do yourself a favor and grab this golden goose.
Report this review (#25917)
Posted Monday, May 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Most of the reviews on this album are very accurate. Yes there are definite Genesis similarities especially to songs like ' Dusk' ' More fool me' and ' Vision of angels'. I would not put it in the same league as Voyage of the Acolyte though by Hackett, that is a masterpiece on it's own merits. Phil Collins on the vocals is superb and the main suite ' Henry: Portrait from Tudor times' is classic
Report this review (#25919)
Posted Thursday, September 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Some have said that this, the first solo output by founding member/ex-guitarist of Genesis is a testimony to the underappreciated contribution of Anthony Phillips on Genesis' "Trespass" Lp of 1970. Others have compared the melodies and feel of "The Geese and the Ghost" to the contemporary outputs by Genesis (1976's "A Trick of the Tail" and 1977's "Wind and Wuthering"). Perhaps the Genesis comparisons are only strengthened by the fact that Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins both appear on Phillip's record. But other than their presence and Phillips' former membership, there's not a lot on "The Geese and the Ghost" that reminds me of Genesis at all, 1970 or 76 or ever! It's classically-tinged baroque guitarwork with some prog sensibilities thrown in. A beautiful thing to listen to, but much as one admires classical music...most songs lack a rock punch or even drums for that matter. The musicianship is exceptional. After leaving Genesis in 1970, Phillips studied and continues to teach classical music theory. All sorts of instruments were utilized, especially impressive in that the album was recorded on a barge! Phil Collins' vocals are heartfelt and subtle, and the reformed writing team of Phillips and Rutherford clearly enjoyed the 12- string guitar interplay. So, the LP is "progressive" in its merging of symphonic compositions with a bit of folk and a lil rock. But the result is so far different than anything in the Genesis catalog that i don't think it's essential for fans of that band.
Report this review (#25920)
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars A wonderful first outing for this Genesis founder and escapee. ANT teams up with old mate MIKE RUTHERFORD and borrows vox from the recently auditioned PHIL COLLINS. The result is magic. This is not mainstream Prog music, but it is the finest prog/orchestral/baroque/folk record out there! (try to find that heading in your local music store!) Phil's two tracks are perfect. "Henry: Portrait of Tudor Times" is an epic score, coming in at only 12:11. Perfectly condensed, tight, picturesque - PHILLIPS does in 12 minutes what takes some artists an entire CD to convey. "Sleepfall: The geese Fly West" is pure beauty. If it doesn't move you, don't panic, it simply means that you don't have a soul! This is a one-of-a-kind album. They don't make'em like this before, or after. I will buy this title for anyone who smashes their "Susudio" CD in the lobby of a Virgin MegaStore.
Report this review (#25921)
Posted Wednesday, February 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I recently purchased the cd of this, as I bought the original on vinyl when it came out, and, not possessing a record player any more, have been unable to listen to it for a long time now. On hearing it again, it confirms my opinion that this is probably Phillip's strongest effort. For those who like gentle, pastoral, contemplative music, full of acoustic guitars and soft melodies, this is for you. For those who like biting guitars, loud vocals and complicated compositions, this won't interest you. Without a doubt, this is the closest Phillips got to sounding like his Genesis pals, for the majority of this was composed with his old songwritng partner, Mike Rutherford, who also plays guitars here, and a surprising plethora of other instruments too. With Phil Collins singing two songs here, we do have a certain Genesis feel on the album. But this is sparser than his old band's albums. (Interesting fact here, Steve Hackett's debut masterpiece, "Voyage Of The Acolyte", also has Rutherford and Collins guesting on it. Makes you wonder if Tony Banks suffered from bad B.O. He never seems to appear with any of his colleagues on anything, does he?) Anyway, highlights here include "Which Way The Wind Blows", sung by Collins, which would sit nicely on the "Trespass" album, "Henry: Portraits From Tudor Times", which is an eight piece suite, quite short, but excellent, totally instrumental, with nice guitar and woodwind. "The Geese And The Ghost Parts 1 & 2" is also a highlight, the sporadic, short appearance of drums on this opus being all the more remarkable as it would appear that Phillips (and also Rutherford!) played these! (Wonder what Collins thought of that?) However, 99% of the album is drumless, so it didn't require a great technician to supply the odd thump, or crash of cymbal. "Sleepfall: The Geese Fly West" is a lovely piano piece, reminding us all that Phillips is also an expert on keyboards too. (Interesting speculation here. Suppose, instead of Phillips leaving the band in '70, Banks had left instead. Would Phillips have turned to the keyboard, allowing Hackett to still join? Fascinating conjecture, don't you think?) On the cd, there is a bonus track, "Master Of Time (Demo)". Unfortunately, this doesn't show off Phillips' voice in any great light, but the guitar work is very atmospheric here, especially at the end. (Last interesting fact! Did you know that, in the early days of Genesis, it was a toss up who was going to be the singer in the band. It was between Gabriel and Phillips. [I kid you not!] Methinks the right man won!) This is an excellent addition to any collection, and if you are into relaxing, intelligent music, skillfully played, you should have this.
Report this review (#25922)
Posted Friday, February 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars #77: 1977. This has one of my favourite album covers (my ex-avatar, now someone else's). And it almost COULD be among my favourite albums too, but... no. It's very gentle, comes close to chamber music and Early Music - it's partly about olde time England many centuries ago - but I find its structure too feeble, almost spineless in a way, which is why I can't give it 5*. Side One begins with a quiet mini-overture and is followed by a tender slow song sung by Phil Collins. Then an instrumental 6-part 'Henry - Portraits from Tudor Times' where the quietness is cut by sudden louder sections descripting battle. And then another tender song dueted by Collins and Viv McAuliffe. One thing is sure: one has to concentrate to this album completely, otherwise it sinks into background only to disturb here and there. I have it as a scratchy vinyl: even the scratches are about to steal the show at times.

Side Two works better. Again a mini-overture (0:46), then the very fine 2-part title track instrumental (15:40) which has the beauty but also a more solid progressive structure. Ant sings 'Collections' in his creaking frail voice (another minus); the song changes directly into the lovely, and again very gentle, epilogue 'Sleepfall: The Geese Fly West'. So, if you want to forget the hurries and worries of modern life and have a quiet place without any interruptions, a cottage with a fireplace perhaps, and you generally enjoy quieter classical music like Bach played on a piano or a guitar, Anthony Phillips is your "rock" musician!

When it comes to Genesis comparisons, think of songs like 'Dusk', 'Entangled' or 'Blood on the Rooftops', or take only the discreet instrumental basis of them and add some flute, oboe, cello... and a little Collins vocals here and there. Actually Steve Hackett has a similar pastoral side in his output too. But "puts me off to sleep" is a big possibility if you expect too much Genesis-sort of prog rock.

Report this review (#43398)
Posted Friday, August 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is kind of like TRESPASS without the thumping bass and drums. Interestingly, though not in GENESIS during Ant's time, PHIL COLLINS supplies very fine vocals on two tracks (I wish Phillips would have let him lay down a few drum tracks as well. Not a lot! Just a little is enough). This was ANT'S first solo run. He had to make it count - and he did. I can't help but think that some of these songs would have ended up as full-blown GENESIS numbers had he stayed on. Regardless, this work does not suffer in any way by the absence of his former bandmates. His main writing partner MIKE RUTHERFORD co-wrote much of the material and plays on a few tracks. Still, it's pure PHILLIPS; intricate, & beautiful. With each listen I hear something I hadn't noticed before. Only a genius could have thought of this stuff and then brought it to life so wonderfully. AP is in the pantheon of Prog guitarists! That said, I wish I could hear a re-mastered version of this. Sound quality and technology has changed so much since 1977. Also, Ant's collaboration with artist PETER CROSS for his album covers produced the greatest music packaging ever. You ALMOST don't have to listen to the record. If you simply studied the cover over and over again you could call yourself a fan of AP's music. It'd be like reading the Cliff Notes. The CD's size does not do Peter Cross's work justice. Don't cheat yourself though, the real treat is the audible. The visual merely adds another dimension to it.
Report this review (#44575)
Posted Sunday, August 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album was released in 1977, a very difficult year for prog rock as you all know. The record is not affected by this fact at all, it's an exemple of brilliant music, beautifully played. In my opinion it's Anthony Phillips best work, very close to Trespass or Nursey Crime. A pastoral work. "The Geese..." won't only appeal to old Genesis fans, it goes beyond their sound and has its own personality. There are certain pieces in this album ("Fanfare", "Lute's Chorus" or "Misty Battlements"...) that are pure classical , timeless music. "God If I Saw Her Now" is one of the most beautiful love songs I've ever heard. And what can I say about the cover? Well, not much, just look at it closely and you'll know what I mean.
Report this review (#44842)
Posted Tuesday, August 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars About two years ago, I didn't even know who was Ant!(Ithoght Steve Hackett was the guitarist in GENESIS from the beginning!). Well, after I got to know about his existance, I researched information of his solo career, and read some reviews on his albums, and I got interested.I tried to look for his albums at music stores, but I couldn't find ANY of them.But, one day I found THE GEESE & THE GHOST.It was the last one in the store, and probably the last one in the whole country!I couldn't loose this chance, so I bought it.It's amazing. The opener is WIND_TALES: A 1-minute piece featuring amazing orchestra arrangements. WHICH WAY THE WIND BLOWS is one of the best featurig Phil Collins on vocal, and has an amazing guitar work and piano(in the end).HENRY;PORTRAITS FROM TUDOR TIMES is one of the highlights.It Features "Fanfare" which is a great opener for this piece, "Lutes chourus" with a soft acustic guitar and a flute, delivering a tremendous sound in just 1 minute! The melody of "Misty Battlements" is the same as "Death of a knight" and has a very powerful guitar work by Phillips and Rutherford.The best part on this piece is "Henry goes to war" which features a powerful fast tempo guitar, some flutes, percussion(by both, Ant and Mike) and synthessiser (by Ant)as well.The last part "Triunfant return" is a mix between the 2 first parts, with a very powerful organ sound, mixed with a tremendous guitar and chorus.GOD IF I SAW HER NOW,has a very good acustic guitar work, and vocals by PHIL(again) and VIV MCAULIFFE, it's a good song. CHINESE MUSHROOM CLOUD is a very good song and it just lasts 46 seconds! THE GEESE AND THE GHOST parts1 &2 are both amazing with the most complex guitar work by Ant & Mike.It also features Ant's amazing Keyboard playing.In the end of part2 Ant knocks out an electric guitar solo which sounds amazing.COLLECTIONS is the first song sung by Ant and he also plays piano (as well as in the next two tracks).After the wonderful SLEEPFALL:THE GEESE FLY WEST, comest MASTER OF TIME which is one of the best songs here.Ant sings on it and David Thomas plays guitar.It's a wonderful closing song.THis is a wonderful album.Any Phillips' fan should have it. FIVE STARS!!!!!!
Report this review (#46048)
Posted Thursday, September 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This solo debut by ex-Genesis guitarist Anthony Phillips will easily suitable for those who like "Trespass" and, to some extent, "Nursery Cryme". Remember "Dusk", "Visions of Angels", or "For Absent Friends"?

Released almost seven years after he left Genesis, here Phillips explores more of medieval folk elements found on both albums. If the result sounds more like Genesis in its early stage, probably it's because of the appearances of both Mike Rutherford and, mostly, Phil Collins, who do a lot of the singing.

Content-wise, this is not an easy album. It demands patience -- and persistence attempt. The first tough test for every listeners, if it has to be mentioned, is "Henry: Portraits from Tudor Times". This 12-plus-minute six-part epic surely will be a kind of a maze to those who don't have patience -- they tend to be lost. But if we listen to it watchfully, embrace every tune and feel deeply the movements from synthesizer- generated fanfares to beautiful classical guitar passages, into parts with soaring electric guitar, flute, oboe... and so on, the experience will be rewarding.

Considering the fact that Phillips have just returned after quite a long time absence, this album surely is a great achievement -- though there are weaknesses in several parts of its compositions. This is a good album that is definitely a must for Genesis fans.

Report this review (#52189)
Posted Tuesday, October 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars THE GEESE AND THE GHOST is the most recent addition to my ever growing Progressive collection. I started with Pink Floyd and then Yes, and then Genesis. And then God said, let there be ANTHONY. And it was so. And then God heard Anthony, and God knew that it was good. This record must have taken months, if not years to record and produce. It would probably be too expensive to do today. Phillips uses full orchestration, layers and layers of guitars, a choir, a church organ, and lots of other fine musicians. Though one wonders why - Anthony is credited for playing 19 instruments. The standout track on this hour-long record is "Henry; Portraits from Tudor Times" Part 4, "The Triumphant Return" is moving beyond words. Turn your speakers up to 11 when you play this. It will alert the paparazzi!
Report this review (#67469)
Posted Monday, January 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars After departing from Genesis almost seven years earlier in 1970, Anthony Phillips released his first solo record, "The Geese and the Ghost, in 1977, although Phillips wasn't the first member of the band to release a solo album (that honor goes to Steve Hackett, who beat Phillips to the punch, by releasing "Voyage of the Acolyte", in 1975). Upon the initial listening of "TG&TG", it would appear the lengthy "sabbatical" Phillips took would cause his musical skills to suffer from a case of "rustitis", but that's far from the truth. On the contrary, the lengthy absence helped him mature his craft, making "Geese..." perhaps one of the most underrated works in all of progressive rock. In practical hindsight, this is a work rich in progressive undertones, with classical influences dominating most of the selections. One listen to the title suites: "The Geese and the Ghost, Parts 1 & 2", will confirm this fact. Joining Phillips on this breathtaking journey, are Genesis mates Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins, whose vocal performances on "Which Way The Wind Blows?" and on "God If I Saw Her Now" are among the best of his career. Speaking of another above-mentioned (ex)-Genesis member, Steve Hackett, whose brother John makes an important contribution to "TG&TG" on flute. Another breathtaking contribution worthy of mention, is Anthony Phillips' vocal performance on another of the few vocal tracks, that being the melancholic "Collections", including the bonus track that closes the CD, the acoustic-driven "Master of Time (Demo Version)". Including the Genesis and solo albums "Wind & Wuthering" and Mike Rutherford's 1980 release "Smallcreep's Day" (on which Phillips guests), "The Geese and the Ghost" is the last true progressive masterwork on which both Collins and Rutherford would have the pleasure of recording before they (along with Tony Banks) would take Genesis in a different musical direction, and not 100% for the better on future releases - 1978's "...And Then There Were Three..." notwithstanding. Since "Geese..." is such a lush and complex work of art, it may take a few listens to grasp all its eccentricities. Catch this "Geese" (or "Goose") soon, before it migrates south, permanently! Oh, and this particular one is THE perfect companion with Steve Hackett's "Spectral Mornings", making both titles as must-haves for your Genesis library.
Report this review (#69077)
Posted Saturday, February 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Goodness! I hadn't heard this work for many years. I owned it on record but never made the switch to CD. Well, this past weekend I changed that and picked up a CD copy of this album. What a treat! This is so pastoral and wonderful. Anthony Phillips shows the depth of his musical genius. This has all the ingredients of a classic album, except, perhaps, the production quality. It's not bad, it just could be better. But everything else, the musicianship, the melodies, the songs, are top-notch. There is some beautiful double 12-string guitar play with Mike Rutherford. Phil Collins also puts in two of his best vocal performances - ever! A real trip down memory lane for me. It is also a trip back in history to a more un-cluttered, peaceful existence. 4.5 stars!
Report this review (#71235)
Posted Monday, March 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars As a huge fan of the middle Genesis years, I was pleasantly surprised, and a little puzzled, to find that two of THE BEST vocal tracks Phil Collins ever laid down are on this album by erstwhile Genesis guitarist, ANTHONY PHILLIPS. Which Way the Wind Blows, and God If I Saw Her Now are as good as Collins ever sounded. Think of the song Ripples, only subtler, and more beautiful, IMHO. I am embarrassed to admit that it was Collins who drew me to this album, but alas, that provided me the gateway into this very sophisticated and wonderful work. It's too bad that Phillips and Phil didn't get to work with each other in Genesis. They make a formidible pair! A must have for fans of Genesis, Phil Collins, and early King Crimson. 4.5 stars!
Report this review (#71815)
Posted Monday, March 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Have you ever been bowled over by understatement? If not, you haven't heard TGTG! Dont get me wrong, this is not a "boring" album! It is simply one of the finest works of folk/orchestral prog ever produced. There are some quite loud, stirring parts as well (Triumphant Return, to name just one), but on the whole, it is the grand beauty and peacefulness of this recording that makes it stand out as a "must have" in the Prog body of work. Anthony adds layers and layers of exquisite guitar to give his music un-paralleled depth and intricacy. I suppose I must also make mention that MIKE RUTHERFORD and PHIL COLLINS appear on this album. No question - they are a great addition, but really this is ANTHONY PHILLIPS at HIS finest. He also employs the talents of 15+ additioinal musicians (mostly string and woodwind.) I often think of early GENESIS as a two-sided coin. On the one side you have the driving vocals and wonderfully thoughtful, funny, and esoteric lyrics of PETER GABRIEL. The other side of the coin is the deft musical complexity and progressive sensibilites of ANTHONY PHILLIPS. The pairing of the two charted a whole new course for music, and sadly, lasted too briefly. But their influence on GENESIS and so many others is evident even today. TGTG is the best of the AP side of that coin. I can't believe it's soon to mark its 30th anniversary. This will certainly be around in another 30 years.
Report this review (#87318)
Posted Tuesday, August 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
3 stars I remember very well when this first solo album by ex-Genesis guitarist Anthony Phillips (he left the band because of 'stage-fright') was released in 1977. Since at about two years I was a Genesis freak and embraced everything that had to do with Genesis. I have to admit that my expectations were a bit too high so I was disappointed about the very mellow, often subdued atmospheres, it lacks 'some action'. But on the other hand, as an objective reviewer I have to say that this is a wonderful album with compositions that sound delicate, graceful and warm, embellished with an array of instruments, from a harmonium, flutes, violin, cello and oboe to a hecklephone, Cor Anglais and assorted percusion like cymbales and tympani. Among the many musicians that joined Anthony on The Geese And The Ghost are Phil Collins and Steve Hackett his brother John who later joined Steve Hackett in his band. If you take a look at the dreamy cover then you realise what a perfect visual translation this is from the music on this fine, very elaborate and pleasant sounding album.

Report this review (#87320)
Posted Tuesday, August 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars 10/10 Masterpiece

Ok, here we have one of the truly great underrated masters of guitar and melody making a debut masterpiece to stun fans worldwide. The Geese & The Ghost is a melodic feast of beauty and passion that should be heard by everyone! Anthony Phillips carries his old Trespass sound with him and brings forth some amazing stuff here. From the beautiful Cross cover artwork to "The Geese Fly West" this entire journey is unspeakable. This has to be experienced and become a sentimental masterpiece for each and every person fortunate enough to enjoy it. My favorites include "God If I Saw Her Now", "Collections" and "Sleepfall: The Geese Fly West", and the entire Henry story which could have probably been a massive album in and of itself if Ant had decided to drag it out!

Well, this is perfection, and this album may spark your interest in the overall greatness that is Anthony Phillips entire catalogue. If you are an early Genesis fan please give this a shot!

Report this review (#144338)
Posted Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars For those of you out there who thought Steve Hackett was the be all and end all of Genesis guitarists.....

Once upon a time, there was an unassuming young gentleman named Anthony Phillips who was Genesis' original guitarist. As talented and as brilliant a player as he was, the stage was not his place. Crippling stage fright caused him to leave Genesis after the Trespass record. He spent seven years away from the industry before releasing his first solo record, The Geese and the Ghost. This recording shows the clarity and beauty of his twelve string play. He is also an extremely talented multi-instrumentalist. It is a mellow, folky record with some more intense moments. Classical influences abound. Listening to this recording, the Genesis fan must hear his impact on the development of their sound. He is supported on this recording by other Genesis alumni, Rutherford and Collins, and interestingly, by Steve Hackett's brother John on flute! Proggers and Genesis fans less familiar with or unfamiliar with his work don't know what they're missing.

Report this review (#152035)
Posted Wednesday, November 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator

Former Genesis guitarist Anthony Phillips solo debut sounds very much like early Genesis and why shouldn´t it. After all the man played on Trespass. If you enjoy his work on that album chances are you will enjoy this one too.

There are a lot of prominent guest on the album: Phil Collins sings on Which Way the Wind Blows and God if I saw Her Now, John Hackett plays flute and Michael Rutherford plays acoustic, classic & electric guitars, basses, organ, drums, timbales, bells, glockenspiel, cymbals. It works really well and of course it strenghtens the Genesis connection.

The music is best described this way: Take the mellow acoustic twelve string guitar parts from the early Genesis albums and add some bells and chimes. This is very gentle and mellow music. Very beautiful. There is almost no drums on the album, but strangely enough it´s rythmically acceptable anyway. I love the very Genesis like Which Way the Wind Blows and The geese and the ghost suite. Very nice music indeed.

Why will I only give this 3 stars when I find it so beautiful ? Well I think the album lacks because it´s not diverse enough. Even though I love the beautiful acoustic parts, I like them because they are parts in songs. I don´t neccesarely think a whole song in this style is exciting. I might be a bit conservative here, but I miss a bit of bite. It´s a little too pretty.

To Genesis fans this is a must though, and I do enjoy the album, it´s just not music I will listen to very often.

Report this review (#158718)
Posted Wednesday, January 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars This album has been on my "to get" list for a long time, but since it was out of print I didn't hold out much hope of ever getting it. That is until it was recently re-issued.Thankyou ! Anthony Phillips was of course one of the founding members of GENESIS and their lead guitarist. His fear of performing on stage led to his leaving the band, and as Tony Banks once said, it was the closest the band ever came to breaking up. Ant played his last show with GENESIS in July of 1970. Within ten days of that time he had composed three of the tracks that are on this album. So why then did it take seven years for this record to be released ? While this is without a doubt Anthony Phillip's project, it can't be under-estimated the important and huge role that Mike Rutherford had in this project. He co-wrote well over half the album with Ant, and part of the reason for the un-ending delays were that Phillips had to keep waiting for Rutherford to get some free time. Consider that Mike was either touring, writing or recording with GENESIS, which didn't leave him much time for Ant did it ? Was it worth the seven year wait ? You bet it was. The adjective I keep reading again and again to describe the music on this album is "beautiful". This record could also be described as pastoral, gentle and acoustic music. Much like the mellow pieces on GENESIS' "Trespass" album, which shouldn't be too surprising considering Ant started to write these songs the same year "Trespass" was released in 1970. The music is very lush with a vast array of instruments too numerous to even think about listing.

"Wind-Tales" is a one minute intro track of orchestral sounds played backwards. "Which Way The Wind Blows" is so intricte and delicate as Phil Collins sings tenderly. Beautiful and moving. It becomes fuller 3 minutes in as bass and strummed guitar are added. "Henry:Portraits From Tudor Times" is a 14 minute instrumental that's divided into seven sections. I prefer this one more than the longer title track. I'm not even going to describe this one, it's beyond beautiful and words seem to have little meaning compared to what I hear when I listen to it. I like the fact there is some aggressive guitar in it at times. And my favourite part is from 11 minutes to 12 minutes. "God If I Saw Her Now" is Phil Collins at his best on vocals. Another heartbreaking song for me. The words and the music just melt me. Viv McCauliffe sings female vocals on this track as well. John Hackett's flute play 2 minutes in is breathtaking. So is Phillip's acoustic guitar work. My God. "Chinese Mushroom Cloud" is less then a minute of acoustic guitar and cello. Amazing !

"The Geese And The Ghost, Part I, Part II" is almost 16 minutes of beautiful progressive music. Dual guitars to end the song from Rutherford and Phillips. "Collections" features Ant on vocals with piano and strings. It's ok. "Sleepfall : The Geese Fly West" features piano, flutes and aboe. In the liner notes they quote actress Rosanna Arquette who heard this album when it was released. She recently listened to it again and had these words to say. "The Geese And The Ghost takes me back personally to a time when I had total freedom and could at the drop of a hat get on a plane to London or Paris which I did frequently just because I felt like it. I guess this record reminds me of that time when I was free of responsibility and it brought me back to a time in my life when I listened to Genesis daily." She also says this about this music "When you made music for the sake of music rather than a single or hit record. It's a whole experience, not just a chapter but the book read cover to cover." I wanted to quote her mainly because I have albums that also take me back to a time in my life when I felt so free and alive. Never been on a plane though. Haha.

Not a masterpiece in my opinion but a solid 4 star record that deserves to be in every GENESIS fans collection.

Report this review (#178126)
Posted Thursday, July 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Anthony Phillips...What an excellent artist...Phillips was the original guitarist of GENESIS,contributing in their debut album and the legendary ''Trespass''.After his departure from the band almost nothing had been heard for him until in 1977 he came back releasing his first solo album ''The geese and the ghost'' with a great cover and even greater musicianship...

Phillips' acoustic guitar work dominates the whole album but he and his collaborators use also a banch of classical music related instruments giving the whole effort a symphonic feel...The two epics of the album.''Henry...'' and the eponymous ''The geese...'' are entirely instrumental,simply stunning and quite similar...Everything is unfolded around the acoustic and electric guitar play of Phillips and with the help of piano,Mellotron,flutes,cello (and the list of instruments never ends) the tracks get a smooth symphonic yet very dramatic touch...Phil Collins appears in a couple of songs (''Which way...'' and ''God if i saw'') transforming them with his magical voice into great prog ballads...Phillips himself also sings in the most emotional and thrilling track of the album,''Collections'',with has an intense classical music flavor...

After all these years of Phillips' absence from the musical scene the logical question is: Does this album sound any like GENESIS?...Fortunately the answer is more than positive...Phillips continues the work he left unfinished in ''Trespass'' as this effort sounds a lot like the physical step after ''Trespass''...4 solid stars,this album is a must have for any prog collection and especially for old GENESIS fans!

Report this review (#182880)
Posted Friday, September 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Portraits from Tudor times

The career of Anthony Phillips is rather strange. He played on Genesis two first albums in 1969 and 1970 and then he didn't release anything until this first solo album in 1977. It thus took him a very long time to prepare this album. This is ironic since it was just between 1970 and 1977 that progressive Rock was at its peak in both quality and popularity. Phillips was there early on, but he still kind of missed the Prog boat!

The present album is largely an acoustic and instrumental affair with a folky and medieval sound. Even if Phillips were never in Genesis at the same time as Phil Collins, the latter is invited here to sing lead vocals on a couple of songs here. Mike Rutherford also lends a hand as well as Steve Hackett's brother John on flutes. With so many people associated with Genesis you might expect this to sound like Genesis, but that is a bit too hasty an assumption. There surely are passages that sound quite a bit like Genesis in their most mellow moments, but overall this is an entirely different beast. The Geese And The Ghost is a very soft and mellow album with absolutely no sign of Rock as such. The pace is almost entirely slow and contemplative.

The first track is a rather pointless, very brief sound-scape that fades in and out rather than flows into the next track. It thus does not function very well as an introduction. Which Way The Wind Blows is sung by Phil Collins and as such sounds like a mellow Genesis song. But had this song been on, say, Wind And Wuthering it would have stood out as the weakest track. Phil sings on one other track as well, but that one is a duet with a female vocalist and as such sounds much less like a Genesis number. Phillips himself also sings on a few passages but the album is mostly instrumental.

I'm not particularly impressed by this album at all, but it is a good listen

Report this review (#203823)
Posted Friday, February 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a great album with intricate guitars and beautiful flutes. It an album of medieval qualities and lovely harmonies. The guitars speak throughout the album they tell us story's of triumphant battles and tales of sorrow. This album really gives the listener a vast array of feelings throughout the 50 minutes. Anthony Phillips really produced a phenomenal work of art with this 1977 album. He incorporated the use of 12, 6 string acoustic and Classical guitars. Phil Collins helped out with the vocals on "Which way the wind blows" and "God, if I saw her now" he also contributed on the drums throughout the album. This is a very folksy sounding album with obvious classical influences and beautiful guitar melodies. He tops it of with some deep, but fitting lyrics on "Collections" (sung by Ant). This is a really great Symphonic Folk album and I highly recommend it to all Genesis fans and 12 string lovers. I give it 4 stars for a job well done!
Report this review (#212628)
Posted Monday, April 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars "ANTHONY PHILLIPS" is remembered mostly for his short career in GENESIS, sadly due to the fact that he was replaced by a genius like STEVE HACKRTT. people tend to overlook his contribution with the "Charterhouse School" band, but what is worst, few pay attention to his solid career as a soloist, maybe not as successful as STEVE'S, but also in a superlative level, and quite prolific .

Ant's debut "The Geese and the Ghost" still has strong connection with early GENESIS (remember he was a clue member on Trespass), combining the delicacy of his peculiar guitar with the mystery of songs like "Dusk" or "White Mountain", something that is enhanced with the participation of PHIL COLLINS and MIKE RUTHERFORD.

But Ant doesn't restrain himself to one instrument, he proves the world his abilities as multi- instrumentalist, playing acoustic, classic & electric guitars, basses, dulcimer guitar, bouzouki, piano, organ, synthesizers, Mellotron, harmonium, etc, and even sings in "Collections", but lets stop talking about the artist and lets go to the album.

"The Geese and the Ghost" starts with the short orchestral introduction called "Wind Tales" a track that fulfils it's purpose of placing the listener in mood, because in 1 minute you can hardly do more.

"Which Way the Wind Blows" has too main characteristics, the first one is the surprising selection of Phil Collins in the vocals (I always thought that because of the close friendship, the chosen vocalist would had been Peter Gabriel), but Phil is really outstanding, very few times I heard him singing with such a feeling and variations, he gives one of his best performances, The second highlight is the amazing work done by Ant in the guitar, as a skilled craftsman works with the clay, "Phillips" creates a wonderful sound crafted with amazing skills, a very beautiful song.

What has always surprise me is the inclusion of the pompous and bright "Henry Portrait of Tudor Times" in a pastoral album as "The Geese an the Ghost", but my question is answered in a few second, despite the strong and vibrant moments, the main quality of the song is in the delicate guitars.

Of course there are strong sections like in "Part IV. Henry Goes to War" in which the similarities between his style and Steve Hackett's can be appreciated (Hey even John Hackett plays in the album), the final section of his fourth par sounds incredibly similar to Trespass.

But this multi part epic presents us different styles, moods and atmospheres, all linked together with dexterity, the highlight of the album.

"God if I Saw Her Now" brings PHIL COLLINS back to the microphone, the soft and sweet ballad but this time making team with the beautiful voice of "Viv McAuliffe", maybe too romantic and soft for my taste, but Anthony's work on the guitar and John Hackett in the flute are just amazing.

"Chinese Mushroom Cloud" blends the strength of the introduction wit the delicate work so typical of ANTHONY PHILLIPS, the melody is well elaborate but contagious, again "Trespass" comes to my ears, but less aggressive and mysterious, with an outstanding orchestration and arrangements, again a very interesting song.

"The Geese and the Ghost" is a two part epic, read somewhere that it's inspired in Paul Gallico's "The Snow Goose", but I couldn't verify. In the first part of the song PHILLIPS has a pastoral approach so common in early GENESIS, but unlike the famous band in which the lyrics have a special place, Ant places all the emphasis in the music, please pay special attention to the organ.

The second part is much more vibrant and powerful, absolutely reminiscent of "Trespass" with perfect arrangements and orchestration, unlike along most off he album we find some radical changes and a more elaborate structure, a good change after the soft first part. The closing section is absolutely breathtaking.

Collections is probably the weakest song of the album from a structural perspective, this doesn't mean it's a bad song, because the melody is absolutely beautiful and the piano performance is magnificent, but probably this biggest attraction of this song is to listen Ant singing, and does a pretty decent job.

"Sleepfall: The Geese Flies West" is another a carefully orchestrated song in which Anthony demonstrates his weakness for the beautiful melodies, maybe a bit too soft, but never lost my interest.

"Master of Time (Demo) is an excellent bonus track, but as usual I will only write about the album in it's original format.

I just wish ANTHONY PHILLIPS sometime receives the credit he deserves, as a great songwriter and better guitarist, maybe it won't happen, but at least I will recognize his quality.

Won't say the "The Geese and the Ghost" is a perfect masterpiece, it has a few weaker moments, but I dare anybody to deny that it's a great addition for any Prog Rock collection, so 4 stars is my rating.

Report this review (#239777)
Posted Thursday, September 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Subtle. Bucolic. Crystalline. Pastoral. Mediaeval. There is not much I can say while waxing romantic over "The Geese and the Ghost" that hasn't already been said by other reviewers here. I guess what most stands out for me when revisiting Ant's first album is the stunning clarity of every single instrument in the recording mixes. Amazing! No other "prog" LP that I know assembles such a seamlessly integrated ensemblature of instruments; neither does any "prog" recording that I have ever heard imbue one, whether intentionally or not--and oh so effortlessly--with the feeling that one is being surrounded by, communing with--even entraining with--Nature herself. Also, Peter Cross's artwork is among the most interesting, humorous album work ever created. I remember purchasing each Anthony Phillips album with almost as much anticipation for Peter Cross's artwork as the music--that and wanting to find out what Ralph Bernascone was up to lately--which says a lot since Ant's music has always been among my favourites. Curiously, despite Ant's talent, penchant, and proclivity for piano/keyboards, I've never quite been able to think of him as anything other than a guitarist. Apologies, Ant! More Tibetan Yak Music! A Five Stars Masterpiece.
Report this review (#242493)
Posted Friday, October 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars My goodness! Have I been waiting to get the CD version of this masterpiece, a very long delay tainted with despair and agony, fearing that the majestic beauty of the Peter Cross artwork (the first of a prolonged future collaboration) and the splendor of the music inside will somehow be a disappointment. If I ever come across another reprint matching his marvel by Voiceprint, I will inform everyone I know! Magical work done here, far beyond he call of duty as every detail has been addressed and pushed to include an extra CD loaded with additional material, demos, reprises, unreleased pieces, lengthy bios etc?.This debut remains a timeless classic , much adored by progfans worldwide , a gentle diversion that has unlimited appeal even after 33 years of existence, recorded at the same time as Genesis was launching the Lamb on Gabriel's last stand , band members like Mike Rutherford being free due to a sliced Hackett hand (allegedly crushing a wine glass at a reception) that put everything on a temporary pause and Phil Collins being remembered here mostly as lead vocalist and not as drummer, his first full sortie as singer and the stepping stone towards a controversial yet highly successful future career.

The first CD reproduces the original vinyl album, with the same wondrous sequence of 12 string acoustic-led musical histories, such as the achingly poignant Collins' take on "Which Way the Wind Blows" and the highly progressive 7 part masterpiece suite "Henry: Portraits of Tudor Times", where Anthony Phillips true talents came to the fore: a stellar acoustic guitarist, a colorful keyboardist, a deft composer of very English pastoral prog, seasoned with heady doses of oboe, cor anglais , mellotron, violins and cellos, a dash of his usual eclectic electric guitar tossed in for occasional effect. No other conventional rock artist has managed to create such a lovely sound and Ant certainly laid down the foundation of an unparalleled original style that remains such to this day. The vocal collaboration on "God if I Saw Her Now" between Uncle Phil and Viv McCauliffe is perhaps the finest prog male-female duet ever recorded, a sensually fragile interface that is both crushingly gorgeous and infinitely fragile. "Chinese Mushroom Cloud" has an ominous title but clearly defines the specific route 46 second route that Phillips will enjoy in his future career: unprecedented surprise! Then we have the title track, another 15 minute + suite of incomparable savvy, dual 12 string guitars tingling, ringing, jangling and prancing in tight euphoria, a form of crystalline prog that few have dared and no one has succeeded with quite like Ant. When the flutes, reeds and pianos add to the orchestrations, we are in the presence of sheer instrumental magic, easily on par with the canonic Genesis masterpieces that are consecrated as eternal prog monuments. When halfway in the glorious main theme kicks in, your ears will tell you that your are in prog heaven, somewhere between the Musical Box and the Cinema Show , which proves the depth of Phillips's legacy within Genesis even after his post-Trespass departure from the band. Simply magnificent piece of classical-tinged prog, period! "Collections" is a brief affair where Ant takes his tender voice into a personal realm that will be oft repeated in his nascent career. "Sleepfall: The Geese fly West" puts a final touch to this opus, a sincere orchestral piece that parallels the previous cut's lyricism and curtsies with modest elegance and grace. The second CD is a true pleasure to behold, a rich collection of pieces that wholly encompass the true musical character of this unique artist, perhaps the most natural prog icon ever, the polar antipode of the corporate formula that once poisoned the mainstream progressive universe. Again Voiceprint is to be warmly applauded for not skimping on the fans patience and thirst for exceptionality, delving deep into the finest details. The exceptional demo of "Master of Time" features friends David Thomas and Ronnie Gunn is a case in point , a 7 minute affair that could have made the album grade but was set aside because of time limitations (hence the title I guess!). Also included are all the basic raw tracks for the original disc, plus a couple of versions of Silver Song to boot, all wondrously pure exaltations of a man's craft and an artist's vision. As good as the original album was, the long awaited CD release has been well worth the wait, a consecration of one of the finest debut recording by a prog solo artist, certainly on par with Hackett's Voyage of the Acolyte, Squire's Fish out of Water or Hillage's Fish Rising. At the risk of repeating myself, the artwork is splendidly revamped and lovingly kept within the pastoral framework of the original package. Few albums come as highly recommended from this reviewer, a prog lighthouse bravely glowing in the dense fog of contemporary music. 5 fowl phantoms

Report this review (#242850)
Posted Sunday, October 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Anthony Phillips faded away after leaving Genesis in 1972. In the meantime, he studied music, learned how to read and write and orchestrate. He stayed good friends with Mike Rutherford, and they got together to try to make a debut album for Anthony. It took a long time to get together (Mike still being in Genesis and touring) but the reward was this album, one of the most beautiful and uncompromised albums by any Genesis band member.

Unlike the next couple of albums where Anthony flirted with pure songwriting (and excelled) or later albums where he goes for pure instrumental atmosphere (and again excelled) he goes for a early Genesis feel. There are lots of intertwined 12 string acoustic guitars here, along with a wide variety of acoustic stringed instruments. The music is very gentle, very love, and easy to get lost in, which is the primary joy of this album. Besides a few great performances by Phil Collins, most of this album is instrumental. While this bothers some, I find it great, because we can listen to the nuances of Anthony and Mike's acoustic playing, which is probably at its peak. Pianos, organs, oboes, and violins all contribute to a sound that is lovely to fall asleep to, read to, write to, or meditate to. Though the music is dynamic, it has a feel of ambient in that regard. This is not an album to rock out to, or to get pumped up to while listening. It's not for everybody. But for those who want to relax and enjoy some great music, it makes for good listening.

Report this review (#243648)
Posted Thursday, October 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As good as the lovely artwork anticipates...

Trespass is my favorite Genesis album in large part due to the spirit Ant Phillips brought to the band. It was as much about the friendships of these young men and their coming of age as it was about his musical accomplishment, which was of course formidable. As great as Genesis was, they lost something when Ant stepped away for health reasons. I can sympathize completely as I've always been uncomfortable playing even the small gigs we used to get, I can't imagine the pressure of a touring group---takes a special kind of constitution. Many feel the resulting replacement by Steve Hackett made Genesis better but I've never bought that---it made them different but I'm not sure it made them better. I would have loved to hear what Nursery Cryme would have sounded like with Phillips. In any case, the material on Geese began around and shortly after the time Ant left Genesis in 1970. The years in between were spent writing, recording, taking classes, and getting in as much time with partner Mike Rutherford as he could...obviously Mike was a busy guy. Then, after finishing this project over years of painstaking work, the record company decided it was not commercial enough and refused to release it. Another year passed without a suitor and Ant was already moving on to other things when American label Passport agreed to release it, and so the project became reality in the spring of 1977.

The Geese and the Ghost is not however Trespass-part 2 as it lacks the great voice of Peter Gabriel and the rock power of Genesis. Then again it isn't trying to compete, this is not a rock album by any stretch. The album is built around two 15-minute suites with a few shorter tracks and interludes surrounding them. As mentioned the music is the near literal translation of the fantastic artwork featuring stories and imagery of castles, maidens, and period countrysides. There are few examples of bucolic themed acoustic bliss that quite match what Phillips has done here, but the famous "Principe di un Giorno" album by the Italian band Celeste may come the closest in some ways. Perhaps the English artist Willowglass' first album is another although that one does rock a bit more as I recall. Here soft, incredibly sharp and clean acoustic guitars are layered and adorned with other stringed instruments along with all manner of lush adornments: flutes, recorders, bells, glocks, oboe, cellos, and of course keyboards. Often the mellotrons will be rising and floating in the background with strummed acoustic guitar in one track and lead acoustic in another, occasionally there will be some piano or organ. All of the tracks concentrate on pleasing melody and mostly a soothing experience, even if some of the themes deal with pain. Phil Collins contributes some vocals as does the late Viv McCauliffe who has the voice of an angel. But I most appreciate Ant's modest vocals on the closing track "Collections" as it brings his essence to the work more than Collins voice which one associates with Genesis hits. This is a gorgeous pastoral near-masterpiece that will thrill anyone who loves that kind of mellow prog with acoustic guitars and mellotron. It's an album I appreciate much more than "Voyage of the Acolyte" and much more than post-Gabriel Genesis, with the exception perhaps of Wind and Wuthering.

Report this review (#259493)
Posted Tuesday, January 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars The Geese and the Ghost definitely has its moments which prove the artistic potential and subtlety of the author. But when I first got in touch with the album, its pictorial expression, its reflective and past revoking titles, with a bunch of talented musicians and instruments, I was expecting something close to Genesis' Trespass, Nursery Cryme, even Foxtrot. Unfortunately, instead of a masterpiece, I experienced a big disappointment. This album is more like a working material, as a musical framework for a good symphonic prog rock album (with more vocals, keyboards and drums of course) than an album with its own direction and identity. The biggest paradox is the fact that probably the most impressive track on the album (Virgin edition) is the bonus Master of Time. Good as dispensable background music.
Report this review (#260150)
Posted Saturday, January 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Essential listening for Genesis fans. An object lesson in acoustic twelve-string playing, often by Anthony Phillips and Mike Rutherford together, and adorned with many other features.

To be honest I'm not too enamoured of the original A-side. The fake mediaevalism of the fourteen- minute "Henry: Portraits from Tudor Times" (an instrumental piece) is sandwiched between two briefer songs with vocals by Phil Collins. The songs themselves (strongly reminiscent of acoustic early Genesis) are pleasant enough, although they verge on the sentimental. But "Henry" can only be called fifty percent succesful. Its more lyrical passages, with loads of twelve string, are charming, but its opening fanfare and closing hymn sound terribly naive and its battle scene fails to pack a punch. I can't get rid of the impression that Steve Hackett is much better at expressing drama in music.

The B-side, on the other hand, is a different story. If the entire album were like this, I'd gladly award it four or perhaps even five stars. The title track is another extended piece, nearly sixteen minutes, and this time there's never a dull moment. Phillips does what he's really good at: creating dreamlike, mainly acoustic, neo-impressionist music, and as he doesn't try to force a narrative on us this time, the music simply flows and carries the listener along. The contributions by oboe, cor anglais and cello players are all delightful. I also love the brief song "Collections", with vocal by Phillips himself, and "Sleepfall", the utterly romantic instrumental that concludes the album.

Don't hesitate to get a copy of the two-disc Voiceprint re-release from 2008. This comes with a highly informative, well-designed twenty page booklet, and the original album now sounds clearer than ever: those gorgeous twelve string guitars really pour out of the speakers! The second disc is filled mainly with demos and basic tracks, but all Genesis fans will be cheered by the four minute "Silver Song", written in 1969 as a farewell to John Silver (Genesis' original drummer) but not recorded until 1973. It features Anthony Phillips, Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins, and believe me - it's a thing of great beauty. Sort of like an honorary Genesis song!

Report this review (#262013)
Posted Friday, January 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Genesis ex-guitarist (and founding member) debut solo album. Phillips plays different strings, keyboards and even sings, Phil Collins and Mike Rutheford participated in some compositions as well.

This album is very atmospheric, a bit melancholic, predominantly strings based. With very strong medieval music influence, and some early Genesis moments in it as well. Mostly instrumental, down tempo, it builds fragile and beautiful atmosphere of ancient worlds. Very tasteful, it associates for me with knights and castles more, than with England's seventies.

I am not a big fun of symphonic prog, and Genesis as well, but this album is in big part what I like in early Genesis: possibly a bit out of this world, acoustic dreamy melancholic beauty.

Very competent album, should attract early Genesis fans and everyone with love to modern versions of medieval music.

Three and half really.

Report this review (#278933)
Posted Thursday, April 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars After a six years hiatus after his departure from "Genesis", Antony came back with his first solo album. Well, not quite a solo album. His old "Genesis" friend, Mike Rutherford gave him a giant support on this album (he plays a lot of instruments).

Another well known musician also appears on this "Geese & The Ghost": John Hackett (Steve's young brother). Last but not least, Phil Collins sings on two tracks as well. They never recorded under the "Genesis" umbrella though (Antony left after "Trespass" and Phil joined for "Nursery Cryme").

One of my favorite songs from this debut album is the wonderful "Which Way the Wind Blows". It reminds me a lot the atmosphere of "Voyage Of The Acolyte" (Steve Hackett) or "A Trick Of The Tail" (Ripples"). Vocals from Phil are of course linked to this perception.

The whole work is very gentle and peaceful. There are lots of very nice acoustic guitar parts available. It is maybe too soft but so sweet?For those who were in love with the pastoral aspects from "Trespass" (like me), I can only recommend this work. It is full of delicacy all the way through.

The long "Henry Portraits from Tudor Times" also combines some folkish and medieval tendencies and provides some break within so much sweetness.

I quite like this album. Four stars.

Report this review (#312081)
Posted Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars It's a shame that, as a long-time listener of GENESIS and a fan of their Gabriel-era albums in my teens, I only recently discovered Phillips' solo debut. He was always like a mystery man from the first two, usually neglected, LP records of the band; the guy who was replaced by Steve Hackett for the recording of "Nursery Cryme" and about whom nobody knew much. However, since "Trespass" was always one of my favorite GENESIS records, it is a surprise that I have not earlier dig out the solo work of a man who was behind those pleasant sounds of that album.

A pastoral, almost a folktale sound of his acoustic guitars (especially his signature 12-string) and other exotic string instruments (dulcimer, bouzouki...) is what immediately connects "Trespass" with "The Geese". But not only that! The multi-instrumentalist Phillips was joined by another multi-instrumentalist from the GENESIS alumni, Mike Rutherford, and this album is actually a work of this duet. They started making and composing tracks that were to become "The Geese and the Ghost" early on, since 1969, but due to Mike's obligations to the group the work was stretched out over years until its final release in 1977. Still, the spirit of early GENESIS (especially a pastoral feel of "Trespass") is omnipresent.

At the time when the mainline progressive rock was loosing its power and creativity faced by the ongoing punk revolution in popular music, "The Geese" brought back and re-affirmed a typical "symphonic rock" style of the album: invocation of medieval, pastoral themes and historical figures ("Henry: Portraits From Tudor Times"); idyllic romanticism and fairytale lyrics, arranged with multi-part compositions, long instrumental passages and changes of tempo and volume typical of a symphonic orchestra. As a result, this album might stand face to face with other classic albums of this genre that characterized the early seventies "progressiveness".

Phil Collins contributed nicely as a lead singer in two gentle ballads - "Which Way the Wind Blows" and "God If I Saw Her Now" (the latter featuring sweet Viv McCauliffe's coupling), thus making a sound similar to the concurrent GENESIS "Tail and Wurthering" works. Along with Hackett's debut "Voyage of the Acolyte" (his brother John is featured here on flute!), "The Geese and the Ghost" presents a sort of extension to the GENESIS "middle period" - a quartet minus Gabriel.

And in many aspects it beats both "Wind" and "Trick"!


P.A. RATING: 5/5

Report this review (#339541)
Posted Wednesday, December 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars It had been six years since Anthony Phillips had left the Genesis.After several complications in the production and recording company, he finally released his album "The Geese and the Ghost"in spring 1977.

This album is beautiful and wonderful.This are the right words to describe.There a pastoral atmosphere so intense ... the sound is relaxing and melodic influences of the vast knowledge of classical music acquired by Phillips.The musicality of this album I immediately refers to the albums "Trespass"and "Nursery Crime" from Genesis (the climate of folk songs like "Dusk" or "For Absent Friends" can be felt here) and, of course, the classic "Si On Avait Besoin D'une Cinqui'me Saison "from Harmonium.

Each song has its special touch and its beauty, but the title track ... is simply splendid.One of my favorite tracks of ever.The oboe, acoustic guitar, each instrument in harmony to produce one of the most beautiful music of progressive rock .

4.5 stars, believe me!

Report this review (#423297)
Posted Saturday, March 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars I have to confess that initially I have bought this vinyl just because of the nice sleeve design. I knew that Phillips was a former Genesis and in addition Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford are present in this album, so I had an idea of what I should have expected. But looking at the names on the cover's back there was the former Renaissance Viv McAuliffe to make me curious enough to spend the actual equivalent of 10$.

There's a 1 minute introduction featuring a technique that Ant will use a lot of times (maybe too much) in his following albums: tapes played backward and without any satanic message...we are gentlemen!

The first real song features Phil Collins at vocals and is one of the few songs on which I like his voice that's something I usually can't stand with. "Which Way The Wind Blows" is able to evocate an English country landscape even to a non-British as me.

That's just a song, but the following "Henry - Portraits from Tudor's time" despite its 12 minutes is quite an epic. Opened by a sort of fanfare it goes acoustic and the overdubbed (I suppose) guitars sound like deadly bells....well this is more or less what's arguable from the subtracks titles: "Fanfare", "Lute's chorus" and so on. The good is that each part of the suite is able to transmit exactly the meaning of its title.

Viv McAuliffe in a duet with Phil Collins closes the A side. "God If I Saw Her Now" is just an acoustic love song, but it's completely immerse in the medieval and fantastic atmosphere created by the previous track.

The B side is opened by another short (46 secs) instrumental intro, then the long title track gives us another touch of old England. It passes from acoustic and classic guitar to church organ and back several times. A great instrumental but the frequent pauses between sections make it a patchwork of short pieces instead of a suite.

A piano piece allows Ant to show his skill on this instrument. It's the only track on which Anthony sings, too. The closer is led by piano, too. The chords progression is similar to the closer of the A side.

3.5 stars but is a so good debut that I round it to 4, also because it's still the best solo album released by Phillips, at least between the ones which I have bought.

Report this review (#443064)
Posted Thursday, May 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars What would have happened had Ant Phillips not left Genesis? THE GEESE AND THE GHOST is the partial answer.

Sure, it features the ex-guitarist of one of our favourite prog bands, but Mike Rutherford and (to an extent) Phil Collins make their appearances here as well. So what I'm saying is that this first try for Phillips has correlations with the first five-odd songs of TRESPASS. Keep in mind when reading that TRESPASS is an album that I've never taken to heart.

Songs like ''Which Way the Wind Blows'' and ''God If I Saw Her Now'' articulate the more delicate facets of what Genesis was when Phillips was in the band, but to a guy interested in a bit more pump to his music, I can't help but drift off during pieces like this. Oddly enough, the segue ''Chinese Mushroom Cloud'' is a stroke of beauty in less than one minute.

The more progressive rock fan has their eyes set on the two extended suite pieces. The ''Henry'' suite can strike comparisons with the rest of the folkier sounding tracks from the album with a little more Medieval fanfare. Somehow, I was never convinced by this track. On the other side of the coin, the title track continues the beauty set by the segue track preceding it, yet beautifully crafted and drawn out. It even has percussion which is noteworthy considering how scarce it is here.

The obvious recommendation is to the fans of the album TRESPASS, as this album has similarities to that with more guitar focus. Those who like a bit of a driving beat or a bouncy feel to the music won't care to much for this. A solid, beautiful effort nevertheless.

Report this review (#463025)
Posted Thursday, June 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Anthony Philips - The Geese and the Ghost

At last, another symphonic prog release to tickle my fancy. Hands down, this is my subgenre of choice (me and everyone else on the site, naturally!) Anthony Phillips' Genesis heritage is immediately apparent ? he has embraced his past rather than working to move away from it, and the material from the very beginning would sit comfortably alongside Trespass, or Selling England by the Pound. Yes, I know, Philips was out of the band by the latter. But listen and you'll see what I mean. His singing even sounds a little like Peter Gabriel.

This is a true prog album. It has long bits (two multi-part epics) and short bits (the pretty little guitar interjection of 'chinese mushroom cloud'), and lots of pretty twiddly complex guitar playing. The instrumentation is beautiful and varied, and the lyrics poetic and intellectual. For those that have bought the 2008 2CD reissue version, a brief note should be made about the second disc, containing as it does a rough demo cut of 'master of time'; a truly excellent song, leaving one longing for a properly mastered version by Phillips. Big Big Train (more on THEM at a later date!!!) have created an outstanding cover version on their recent demo, which gives some idea of how this song could eventually have been left to sound.

That this bears comparison with his the work of his former band is a sign of the quality of the release. Classic genesis is one of progressive rock's most holy of grails, and to be allowed to stand in competition with it and emerge head held high is no mean feat. Ultimately, it does fall a little short of the two albums mentioned earlier, but not by as a big a margin as one would assume. This is an album deserving of a spot in ANY record collection. Put out of your heads any idea of this being simply a nice curiosity to follow the post-genesis career of an early retiree from that band, this is an exceptional album in its own right.

4.5/5, but rounded down to 4 here.

Report this review (#493824)
Posted Sunday, July 31, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the first solo release by former Genesis guitarist Phillips, some six years following his departure from the band owing to severe stage fright. In Armando Gallo's definitive biography of the band, he cites this album as being the reason why he ached at the fact that Phillips had left his favourite band. That is, in my opinion, mightily unfair to Steve Hackett, who made a tremendous contribution in a unique fashion. However, you can see why Gallo made the comment, because this is, undoubtedly, a magnificent piece of work, one that makes you wonder why vast commercial success has eluded this incredibly talented man.

There is, of course, a very strong Genesis connection at play here. Mike Rutherford contributes both musically and in production, whilst Phil Collins gives lie to all those who think he cannot sing by appearing on two beautifully performed tracks, and John Hackett, Steve's brother, also contributes with his distinctive and perfect flutes.

This album embodies, to me, just about the perfect combination of pastoral, symphonic, classical English progressive rock. Without a shadow of a doubt, the quite incredible Henry: Portraits from Tudor Times was a direct influence on much of the medieval themes that Ritchie Blackmore was to develop with the excellent Blackmore's Night, and if you are an admirer of that type of folk prog, you will find yourself falling deeply in love with this fourteen minute opus. Proof positive that you do not need raging guitars or swirling keyboards in order to create a symphonic, pastoral masterpiece. Just combine a virtuoso guitarist and, in a move that surprised many, also an extremely talented multi instrumentalist, with a strong sense of classical music, and a host of classical and talented musicians, and you get just about the perfect suite. Quiet and melodic, it never once fails to excite or move the listener.

The two Collins contributions are really quite brilliant. Which Way The Wind Blows is the first and is quite achingly beautiful. You leave this track wishing that Collins & Phillips had done far more work together.

The second is God If I Saw Her Now, a duet with the late, great, Viv McAuliffe, and if there has been a better male/female vocal collaboration this side of 1800, then I would like to know what it was. Gentle, but exhilarating in its mellowness, your heart aches with the vocals and lyrics with the sense of love lost, never to return. Combine this with just about the finest exhibition of acoustic guitar and flute, and you have just about the perfect love song.

About the only criticism I can offer is the almost criminal brevity that Chinese Mushroom Cloud has to offer. A dark and extremely foreboding instrumental piece that evokes said catastrophe, quite why he left it short of a minute long is rather beyond me. This leads into the two part title track, which is wondrous. Almost deceptively simple, this track is, perhaps, the one which reminds you most strongly of the Trespass connection, certainly in some of the darker acoustic guitar passages, and the sparse, but effective, electric guitar bursts, merged with Phillips' surprisingly adept use of the mellotron, and this at a time when it was virtually a capital crime to utilise this instrument in the wake of all things punk. To prove Phillips' worth as a composer, it sounds as fresh in 2011 as it did in 1977, perhaps more than Trespass does now (although I am a big fan of that LP). The orchestration utilised, in particular woodwind, fully enhances the experience, and the second part brings us some more experimental sounds that would have been interesting in the Genesis context.

Phillips himself sings the rather lovely Collections. I would never state that he has the strongest voice, but, strangely, his voice does tend to suit his own compositions (in the main, there are exceptions in the catalogue), and this gentle vocal over piano and swirling flutes can bring no cause for complaint.

The album closes with the orchestral piece Sleepfall: The Geese Fly West, and, if you close your eyes, you can see them do so as the music concludes in a marvellous display of classical symphonic music.

Anthony Phillips' solo career has been a long one now, and he has released some exceptional works. This was the first, and it remains one of the finest albums released by any artist listed on this site. An album which will appeal to all of those who appreciate the finer, classical, side of symphonic prog, this is a work which every single discerning lover of class music should own in their collection.

Five stars - a masterpiece of progressive rock music. This review is, by the way, of the original vinyl release, but there is now a two CD version for sale with "extras". Get it. You won't be disappointed.

Report this review (#511918)
Posted Tuesday, August 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is an album reflecting some of the finer tenets of the music coming from the progressive music scenes of England during the 1970s. It is an album built around gentle melodious symphonic accompaniment framing the virtuosic acoustic guitar skills of Anthony Phillips and Michael Rutherford, as well as vocal contributions from Phil Collins. The work is frequently pastoral in nature drawing on the medeaval and baroque influences of traditional English folk balladry as well as the more modern sounds of the synthesizers and rock instrumentation contemporary to Symphonic Progressive Rock. Fans of early Genesis, Camel, Yes, Gentle Giant, as well as the more eclectic leanings of Pentangle, Gryphon and Fairport Convention will find this album to be a rare gem. The album opens with the track "Wind- Tales" an instrumental piece. Gentle mellifluous volume swells swirl about the listener replete with phantasmagorical notes played in reverse. The piece is short and quickly ascends to a climactic apex before softly drawing down to its conclusion. This piece is an important bookend to the album setting a distinctive overall color to the thematic qualities that the music will continue to explore throughout the albums duration. As the final notes draw to their conclusion we immediately segue into the swelling bell like tones of an electric guitar run into a soft delay. Phil Collins makes his vocal debut on this second track of the album "Which Way the Wind Blows". This track bears some of the hallmarks of Collins' later work with Genesis, particularly the more gentle tracks from the album Trick of the Tail. "Ripples" and "Entangled" both come to mind. A 12 string guitar plays the main progression whilst electric guitars duet counterpointed melodies beneath and synthesizer flourishes contribute to the atmospheric feel of the tune. The next arrangement is perhaps the penultimate work of the album, a medley of decidedly medeaval flavored acoustic and symphonic arrangements reflecting the times of King Henry. The first section is a short piece entitled "Fanfare" and is a triumphant proclamation sounded on a brass ensemble and a strummed acoustic accompaniment. This quickly segues into part two "Lutes Chorus". Soft flute lines are played over an arpeggiated guitar duet. An interesting piece of trivia is that this is in fact John Hackett on flute, brother of Steve Hackett of Genesis fame. Part three "Misty Battlements" opens with the chords of a 12 string guitar slowly building into a rolling soundscape before falling before thunderous strains of part four "Henry goes to War". This section is very dramatic and does much to impart the crashing sensations of a military engagement. Martial drum rolls and the booming calls of cymbal crashes echo the sounds of cannon fire and the climactic struggle of men at war. A final electric guitar flourish sounds the end of the struggle and the opening strains of part five "Death of a Knight" reprise the initial themes of the piece. Twelve string and classical guitars play the funeral dirge and the piece draws towards conclusion with the epic sounds of a vocal chorus reprising the opening melodic themes. With part six "Triumphant Return" this epic draws to a conclusion. The next track "God if I saw Her Now" returns us to the sounds of the earlier vocal work on the album. Again gentle electric guitar melodies accompany Phil Collins and the dulcet tones of Viv McCauliffe whose work would later be featured on the Camel album "I Can See Your House from Here". This is a short and sentimental work that serves to break up two of the longer instrumental stretches of the album and is again very similar to songs that Phil Collins would sing in his later career as Genesis' front man. "Chinese Mushroom Cloud" opens with a slowly reverberating musical theme that builds around a harmonic 12 string guitar arpeggio before collapsing back into itself much as its title suggests. This is a preview of a theme to be reprised later within the albums second large instrumental work, "The Geese and the Ghost" parts one and two respectively. "The Geese and the Ghost, part one" opens with a slightly whimsical acoustic flourish. There is a hint of tragedy to this intro, a feeling of perhaps gentle regret before the music begins to scale up in slightly in tempo and feel. A natural harmonic sounds and again the soft sounds of Phillips' acoustic accompaniment sketches a picture of tender memory. This piece evokes a considered portrait of times past, loves lost, youth in repose, etc. It is a hazy reminder of the distant days of summer and the golden days of times gone by. As it reaches its transcendental conclusion a swelling synthesizer fades us into the reprised theme from "Chinese Mushroom Cloud". Played with vigor and multiple harmonized 12 string and acoustic guitars "The Geese and the Ghost, part two" is a rollicking romp carried forward by its intricately picked acoustic arrangements, and staccato string accompaniments. Underlying this all is still the gentle feelings of regret from part one, however this is tempered by the vibrant strumming of tempestuous 12 string guitars and riffing harmonized electric guitars. This piece is clearly one of Phillips' finest works and definitely a testament to his ability both as a player and composer. "Collections" is a poetic look at life's reflections. It is perhaps a snapshot of many of the themes of the album encapsulated in the words of the artist. Phillips lyrics speak to both the tragedy and the comedy of life, and perhaps most importantly the understanding of the worlds beauty in all its forms. As the album draws to a close with the opening piano trills of "Sleepfall- The Geese Fly West" we are reminded of the overall pastoral and beautiful feel of this album in its entirety. This is a gentle song and serves as the appropriate bookend to the opening track "Wind- Tales"

To me this album is a work of wonder. An artist at the height of their abilities crafting a truly wondrous piece of music that both defies convention and invites the listener to experience something beyond the traditional constrains of contemporary "pop/rock" music. Phillips' "The Geese and the Ghost" is something of a portrait of the sensibility of the entire Progressive Rock music movement of 1970s England. Intelligent romantic young men seeking to create something more profound and lasting than mere radio hits. There is a naivete and innocence to this album and it is that which truly draws the listener in. This music will speak to a deeper feeling within the human experience than much that was written before or since its inception. I highly recommend it.

Report this review (#516453)
Posted Tuesday, September 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Three years in the making, this first solo album by Anthony Phillips was made in close collaboration with Mike Rutherford, and features Phil Collins' vocals on a couple of tracks, and consequently is very much in keeping with Phillips' work in Genesis. Most particularly, all the features of the Trespass sound - the acoustic guitar focus, the medieval flourishes, and the occasional outbursts of more raucous and frightening noises amidst the otherwise peaceful musical landscape - are all present and correct.

Whilst at points it borders on being overly twee, by and large it's a more than acceptable return to the music world on the part of Phillips, ending a six-year drought and establishing him as a viable solo artist at a time when few prog acts aside from the established old hands were making any headway at all. Of course, the Genesis connection must have helped, but I suspect it wouldn't have been enough to save the album had it been a disappointment.

As it stands, it seems to have been successful enough to snag an ongoing solo career for Phillips whilst not quite being successful enough to avoid him second-guessing this approach on subsequent releases - witness how the poppier Wise After The Event came out in conjunction with the more similar Private Parts and Pieces. For my money, I think Geese neatly illustrates how Genesis was such a delicate balancing act of talents; on Trespass, Phillips musical ideas needed to make room for those of Tony Banks and Peter Gabriel, with even the Phillips & Rutherford penned pieces needing to include spaces for the other two to show their stuff, whereas here the show is more or less all Phillips all the time. Whilst his medieval introvert guitar act is distinctive and individual, I find it hard going without something else to add flavour - a something else Banks and Gabriel added on Trespass but which is absent here.

Report this review (#552202)
Posted Tuesday, October 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is actually the first album I got in anyway related to Genesis and didn't even know Anthony Phillips was a founding member when I first heard him on Last.FM. The first song I heard, Master of Time, simply blew me away, and it wasn't even included on the original release of the album and was just a bonus track on a later re-release. It was a simple and beautiful song, driven by classical guitar and Ant's soft gorgeous vocals. I then decided to invest in the rest of The Geese and the Ghost and it was well worth it. Though originally it was to be a collaboration With Mike Rutherford his conflicts with Genesis, had him reduced to guest status, his presence however can be felt throughout and adds depth to the record. It has a very melancholic feel and is largely string driven but also features piano and lots of nice oboe. The main attractions of the album will be the two epics Henry: Portraits From Tudor Times and the title track, and also the two songs sung by Phil Collins, Which Way the Wind Blows and the beautiful duet God If I Saw Her Now. The album starts off with the short, instrumental, and pleasant introduction Wind Tales. It then goes into Which way the Wind Blows, another gorgeous piece with Phil Collins in lead vocals which in my opinion sounding the best in his career, especially on the later song God If I Saw Her Now. Ant and Mike also in top form here. It then goes into the 14 minute Henry: Portraits From Tudor times. It starts with what I imagine would be played when the king entered the grand hall. Then onto a nice reflective lute section that goes on for about 4 minutes. It then picks up as Henry goes to war, having a tad of a waltz feel with the chords being played here. The song then concludes with a grand sounding organ and a choir in the background. After that is the beautiful God If I Saw Her Now, a duet between Collins and female vocalist Viv McCauliffe. Their voice blend together quite well and Collins delivers my favorite vocal performance of his entire career. Steve Hackett's little brother John also does the flute on this track (and later ones) doing quite well, his solo in the middle of the song is haunting. Then comes the short and powerful instrumental Chinese Mushroom Cloud making a nice segue into the second long song, the the nearly 16 minute title track. The song stars off very pretty, with a bit whimsy making me feel like I'm in a magical forest. It Then pickups, adding Rutherford's bass, then mellowing back down but adding some synth in the background soon replaced by oboe adding to the whimsy. After the end of part of 1 it picks up being very reminiscent of Trespass, it really makes you see what Ant added to the group. It goes on sounding a lot like Musical Box which was originally written by Ant. After that it goes into a melancholic piece with more oboe. The rest of the song sounding very reminiscent of Trespass but no to say unoriginal, Mike and Ant's 12 strings sounding great together here. Concluding with the odd addition of electric guitar, though it still sounds great. Collections is another romantic melancholic piece with vocals done by Ant and more of John Hackett's flute can be heard here though pushed to the background. It finally concludes with Sleepfall: The Geese Fly West. The song features Ant's gorgeous piano work, a few strings, and the oboe I love so much. It brings a fitting conclusion to a masterpiece written by Phillips that is one of my all time favorites that I wholeheartedly recommend to any prog fan.
Report this review (#623164)
Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
Italian Prog Specialist
2 stars Much like what you might deduce from the album cover, Anthony Phillips delivers a pastoral set of songs in bright and pleasant colours on The Geese and the Ghost. Some of the naiveté in the scene and the brush-strokes of the cover reflect the music quite admirably, even though there is room for a lot more subtlety and delicacy than one is led to expect.

Comparisons to early Genesis seems to be plentiful, and rightly so. That subdued elegance and understated melodic beauty can be found all over The Geese and the Ghost. You hear it all the time in gentle but agile strummed and picked guitar, which comes across as near serenade-like, or perhaps as the sounds of a long-gone lutist. A sense of mysterious wonder and chivalrous courts as well as familiar folk-inflicted melodies from all instruments (but perhaps most notably the different flutes and guitar) moves the album effectively into a classical/mediaeval/Renaissance mash-up folk-symphony. And that is where it stays, for most part. It certainly lacks a lot of the oomph you find in early Genesis and, more importantly, its dynamic range, both instrumentally and vocally. The main exception to this rule is the suite Henry: Portraits from Tudor Times. Sadly, it feels a bit contrived, with its musical shifts and changes lacking effective segues, motivation and sometimes even backing in the underlying music. Many of them come across as a bit hollow and unmotivated.

The rest of the compositions comfortably, almost lazily, float on for the most part, witch granted is pleasant enough, but there is a tendency for it all to sink into the background, an unintended loss of power to hold on to and affect the listener. Being dominantly acoustic, the atmosphere is often airy and warm (infused by silken organ, Mellotron and harmonium), with smooth and pleasant textures being just as important as the melodies. If you listen closely and intently, however, you might be surprised by the affluence of instruments that rise out of these soothing meanderings; half an orchestra, pleasant percussion and tried-and-tested rock and prog mainstays. When used in the best possible way, they come across as a bubbling cauldron of sounds, creating a wonderful, diverse and subtle life in the music. Unfortunately, there is a tendency to overemphasize tenderness and a will to keep the soundscape clean, rendering it a bit bloodless and flat from time to time, if ever so pretty.

Never trying to be overtly intellectual or experimental as an album, and full of sweet melodic appeal, it still manages to fumble when it comes to stirring up real emotions in this reviewer. It is just altogether too fleeting, too fey, and too ingratiating. At the same time there is unmistakable beauty, elegance and skill to be found; just not enough to counterbalance the flaws.

2 stars.


Report this review (#646610)
Posted Monday, March 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
3 stars I think it´s about time to write a review on Genesis original lead guitarrrist´s debut solo album. I had this disc a few years ago and I remember I didn´t like it at all. Pehaps my expectations were too high since I heard a lot o praising for this album. Or maybe my early copy didn´t have a good sound. Whatever the reason, I decided to get the new, remastered, double CD edition of The Geese And The Ghost instead of my old one. And I can say I changed my mind about this work.

Another reviewer wrote that Phillip´s first solo efford was a kind of Genesis Trespass without the other band members. Well, not so much so, but in fairness you get a lot of the guitar playing from that album and that´s a compliment. There are a few gentle vocals on three tracks (two done by Phil Collins), but mostly this is an instrumental record. A mix of classical and folk influences, with a little bit of rock and jazz bits here and there. If you´re into that kind of music, then you´ll surely love this album. There are several very good moments, but expect few electric guitar interventions and even fewer bursts of energy: there is almost no drums or notable keyboards passages. Genesis Michael Rutherford plays here but you´ll hardly notice him. In general it is Phillip´s guitar and several types of subtle string and woodwind instruments parts.

Highlghts are the title track and the gentle Collections (nive vocal by Ant Phillip himself). The new remastered edition has a brighter, better sound as far as I can recall. The second CD is basicly a colection of demos and alternative versions of the songs of the original album, with a couple of tunes that I believe were intenteded for this CD or written around the time but didn´t make it to the final cut. Nice, but definitly only recommended for the hardcore fans and collectors. The exception is the beautiful Master Of Time, a really great track that I don´t understand why it wasn´t on The Geese And The Ghost.

All in all, a nice, gentle disc, with several subtle colors and sounds. Nothing really fantastic (I was really expecting something more rocking), but good anyway, specially for early Genesis fans like me. 3 stars.

Report this review (#650935)
Posted Thursday, March 8, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is like a cross between classical music, medieval folk, pastoral music and prog rock. It is exceptionally well done. Anthony is joined here by many, not least of whom are Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins on a few tracks and Steve Hackett's brother (John) on flutes. Had Steve Hackett himself not have cut his hand with glass I'm sure he would have been along for the ride. I do wonder how Gabriel wasn't here on at least some of the vocals given his and Phillip's friendship. I also wonder why Banks wasn't here in some form but perhaps he was at home steaming quietly. This album is for people who appreciate good, fine, intricate music and for those with a classical music bent. Those who enjoy the Genesis "Trespass" album should find much to enjoy herein. I love the bonus track "Master of Time" on the Virgin release and it is interesting to compare this to Big Big Train's version. 5 stars for a very very good work of music.
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Posted Saturday, April 20, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars There's a saying that you prepare for your first album or novel your entire life. While Anthony 'Ant' Phillips had released two albums with Genesis in 1969 and 1970, The Geese and the Ghost is his first solo work and took the better part of a decade to complete. Originally envisioned as joint project with former bandmate and schoolmate Mike Rutherford, the album had to be delayed due to Rutherford's touring and composing duties while Phillips was also occupied with studying classical guitar, which only allowed for sporadic recording sessions. Thus, while the album had its genesis (pun intended) back in 1969, with a lengthy 12-string guitar duet which eventually became the title track, it was mostly recorded in 1974 and 1975. However, it wasn't completed until 1976 and not released until 1977. By then, Phillips wrote a few more tracks and released The Geese and The Ghost as his first solo album.

Rutherford is listed as a co-composer on the two longest tracks and the short interlude Chinese Mushroom Cloud, which is actually reprised in the title track. Phillips and Rutherford play various guitars and keyboard instruments, but it is their 12-string acoustic guitar work that really shines. Genesis drummer Phil Collins sings on two of the songs. John Hackett, younger brother of Genesis' guitarist Steve Hackett, plays flute on a few tracks. Ant's brother Rob contributes oboe.

Wind-Tales is a very short orchestral instrumental that sets the album's pastoral mood. The album includes some guest musicians contributing classical instruments such as cello, oboe, cor anglais, flute, recorder, and violin, but they are not credited for this track, so I assume it's just Ant playing it on Mellotron.

Which Way the Wind Blows is sung by Phil Collins and he does excellent job, imbuing the lyrics with just enough emotion. Interestingly, Phillips revealed that he played electric guitar in the style of classic guitar on this track. Ant also plays Mellotron at the track's end.

Henry - Portraits from Tudor Times is the album's highlight for me. It is one of the album's two epics that Phillips co-wrote with Rutherford. It is an instrumental multi-part song that aurally depicts Henry VII's incursions in France due to French support of Perkin Warbeck as pretender to the English throne. The fact the several themes are reprised adds to the track's cohesiveness. The Henry Goes to War section is the album's most aggressive and Ant even rips a few electric guitar licks. The Lutes Chorus reprise was cut from the original album, but restored in the 2CD reissue.

God If I Saw Her Now is a duet between Vivienne McAuliffe and Phil Collins dealing with the male character reminiscing about his unrequited love for another girl. Phillip's introductory guitar passage reminds me of Bach's Prelude in C Major from the Well-Tempered Clavier.

Chinese Mushroom Cloud is a short and ominous instrumental is reprised in the middle of the title track, so I'm not sure why it's listed separately as a standalone track.

The title track is another lengthy instrumental. The focus is on the acoustic 12-strings, but it also contains a bit of more traditional rock instrumentation, such as electric guitar, bass guitar and drums. The song's title derives from two ARP Pro Soloist synth effects that are fairly buried in the mix. The geese honking effect is encountered at 4:40 and 13:20 and the ghost at 4:55 and 13:40. Part two starts at the 8 minute mark and includes a reprise of the Chinese Mushroom Cloud melody at 8:10. Part II is livelier than Part I.

Collections is a piano ballad played and sung by Phillips. It features lush orchestration, but according to the album credits, only John Hackett is featured of the guest musicians, which implies the orchestral accompaniment is mostly provided by Ant on the Mellotron.

Sleepfall: The Geese Fly West is a melancholy tune played on piano with flute, oboe and Mellotron accompaniment. The geese synth effect is featured here, as well.

The CD reissue includes a bonus CD, the bulk of which consists of demo/basic tracks for all the proper songs on the album (i.e. all except for Wind Tales and Chinese Mushroom Cloud). However, there are two previously unreleased Phillips songs included as well. The first is Master of Time, sung by Phillips, which was intended for the album. The other is Silver Song, a song written by Phillips and Rutherford as a farewell to former Genesis drummer John Silver. There is an instrumental demo version and a vocal version, featuring Phil Collins' singing and drumming. The vocal version was intended to be released as a single in 1973, but was never released by Charisma Records. It's a catchy and enjoyable song, though I find it somewhat ironic that Phil is the one singing of missing a drummer whose role in Genesis he occupied at the time.

The album also has beautiful cover art that suits the music perfectly and references several songs: medieval imagery (Henry: Portraits from Tudor Times), the sunset (Which Way the Wind Blows), a ghostly apparition (The Geese and the Ghost), geese (The Geese and the Ghost and Sleepfall: The Geese Fly West). The back cover's armored goose makes me smile every time I see it.

I recommend The Geese and the Ghost to fans of early Genesis and of acoustic guitar music, such as performed by Gordon Giltrap and Blackmore's Night.

Report this review (#1487806)
Posted Tuesday, November 17, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars Review Nº 95

In those times, almost all members and ex-members of Genesis released solo albums. Mike Rutherford released "Smallcreep's Day" in 1980, Phil Collins "Face Value" in 1981, Steve Hackett "Voyage Of The Acolyte" in 1975, Peter Gabriel "Peter Gabriel (1 ? "Car")" in 1977, Tony Banks "A Curious Feeling" in 1979 and Anthony Phillips "The Geese And The Ghost" in 1977.

However, all these albums are very different musical proposals. "Face Value" is a non- progressive album totally guided for the pop sound with the usual quality of the hand of Collins. "Peter Gabriel (1 ? "Car")" is almost a progressive album with many other musical influences, a real crossover album. "Smallcreep's Day" is a half-progressive album, with the A side progressive and the B side guided for the pop sound. "A Curious Feeling" is, for me, in contrary to most of the views of my colleagues on this site, is an album almost progressive with its sound very close to Genesis, with some other less progressive tracks. "The Geese And The Ghost" is an album totally progressive that it sounds very close to the sound of Genesis on "Trespass", more acoustic and with clear influences from the Middle Age music, with the usual quality of Phillips. "Voyage Of The Acolyte" is another truly progressive album with the sound very close to the golden era of Genesis, "Nursery Crime", "Foxtrot" and "Selling England By The Pound", more experimental and also very close to what would be the solo works of Hackett, in the future.

Like most ensuing albums of Phillips "The Geese And The Ghost" didn't become a hit. What is most curious about this album is that not even various stickers that pointed out the very close musical collaboration with his Genesis' colleagues could change that, and unfortunately, even many Genesis fans ignored the album for a long time. It was quite a surprise because all Genesis' references are present on it. Most of the songs were written while Phillips was still in Genesis or shortly after his departure, and so, their concepts and music pick up where "Trespass" left off. Had it been released two years earlier and it would probably have gotten the real attention that it truly hardly deserves.

On "The Geese And The Ghost", largely instrumental and largely acoustic, Phillips takes the English pastoral countryside feel for the music that he helped develop, with the two other boys from Genesis, and makes a work of breathtaking beauty. It's deliberately an atmospheric and a largely instrumental album in an orchestral Baroque style. Phillips had began composing the album in 1969 and has recorded a demo with his band mate, Rutherford. Following his departure from Genesis in 1970, advised to quit for health reasons by his doctor after the recordings of the band's second album "Trespass", he continued to write and shape the medieval themed music until he finished it only in 1976.

"The Geese And The Ghost" was, in a certain way, a Phillips and Rutherford duo project. The album was completed in 1976, but didn't find its way until Phillips unearthed the project in 1977. Considered by many to be among Phillip's finest moments as a solo artist, it has some elements and instrumental pieces that could almost fit seamlessly on Genesis' albums like "Nursery Cryme" or "Foxtrot". But it still manages to be a distinctly Phillips' work. So, you have a very telling collection of music almost outlining what Genesis may would have been like, if he had not left the group. Of course, the fact that Rutherford makes an appearance and Collins provides some vocals certainly doesn't hurt the comparison of this effort and the early works of his former band. Probably, if Phillips hadn't left Genesis, they wouldn't have been half a successful as they were, but they would have also made some beautiful music along the way.

Conclusion: "The Geese And The Ghost" is like "Voyage Of The Acolyte", in many ways, almost a lost Genesis album, especially because it features Collins and Rutherford and also because it has many similarities with the musical sound of "Trespass" of Genesis. Part of the songs recorded on this album, in fact, seem to have been derived from musical pieces composed together in Genesis' early days, even because as I mentioned earlier, Rutherford also shares the composition credits with Phillips, on the major parts of the album. "The Geese And The Ghost" is a beautiful acoustic classic album clearly influenced by the medieval music and where its music flows together as a continuous piece of music. It's also a real trip back into the journey of time. Phillips' guitar work is exceptional, Collins on vocals is superb and John Hackett on flute is absolutely delightful. "The Geese And The Ghost" came to be a real reference of a wonderful classic piece of music from the 70's that all Genesis' fans must have. It also marks the beginning of the journey of Phillips in his extensive and solid musical career as a solo artist. Sincerely, I only just wish that Phillips receives the credits as a great songwriter and a great guitarist, that the general quality of his works really deserve. It's true that it isn't a masterpiece but it's, for sure, an essential album in any serious progressive musical collection.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#1642105)
Posted Sunday, November 13, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars The debut album by the first Genesis guitarist appeared in 1977: the worst time imaginable for music of such quiet refinement, as any Punk Rock scholar will tell you. But in retrospect it was a welcome anachronism, showing all the delicacy and charm discarded by his erstwhile bandmates, who at the time were busy reinventing themselves as Arena Rock superstars.

Thematically and musically the album was a graceful throwback to those halcyon days when the gentle resonance of Phillips' 12-string guitar defined the embryonic Genesis sound. The longer tracks, including the two-part title suite and the pocket-narrative "Henry: Portraits From Tudor Times", were co-written with Genesis bass player and Charterhouse School pal Michael Rutherford, with disarming results suggesting a more sheltered path the young band might have followed after the "Trespass" album.

Phillips' solo ambitions were modest by comparison, and reflected a pastoral English romanticism way beyond the merely eccentric Genesis archetype. The lush fantasy artwork by Peter Cross, arguably one of the album's stronger selling points, sets the mood with its Anglophile's daydream of olde Albion. And the opening "Wind-Tales" overture actually plays in reverse, drawing the listener backward toward a distant age (the early 1970s) already lost to memory.

That nostalgic impulse, so out of step with changing times, was in fact a virtue in disguise, helping the album survive the populist backlash of Punk on the unassuming strength of music so fragile it almost disappears in mid-performance. The shorter songs in particular seem lighter than air, all but evaporating in their evanescent unplugged simplicity. "God If I Saw Her Now" is a good example: one of the prettiest ballads in the greater Genesis family tree, despite the word 'pretty' being a rank obscenity in 1977.

In no way can such a retrograde curio be considered a lost Progressive masterpiece. That gossamer homemade sound, carefully nurtured over three years of intermittent recording, contrasted too sharply against all the bombast and bloat infecting Prog's higher aspirations in 1977 (both volumes of ELP's "Works" were released the same year, while Pink Floyd was laying down the monolithic foundations of "The Wall"). The album was awkwardly unhip even to some Genesis fans, already accustomed to Dancing on Volcanoes at the time.

Thank goodness, I say. Progressive Rock, even when it doesn't exactly rock, should always run contrary to popular trends. That silver lining didn't help Anthony Phillips when he was struggling to complete the LP and find a distributor, but in its own shy, unassuming manner the album sounds ageless today.

Report this review (#1676656)
Posted Friday, January 6, 2017 | Review Permalink

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