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PRIVATE PARTS & PIECES

Anthony Phillips

Symphonic Prog


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4 stars The first in his Private Parts and Pieces saga, this is one of his very best recordings, containing a strong collection of well crafted pieces and presenting some of his best acoustci playing. I'd put this behind only Geese and PP&P 2 in his body of work.

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Send comments to Gonghobbit (BETA) | Report this review (#25942)
Posted Sunday, January 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is his first acoustic guitar parts album. Pure acoustic guitar, and some good piano parts too (beauty and the beast, seven long years). There are beautiful vocals really suited for the genre. Very mellow, intimate and relaxing. Thanks for all the good sobriety here. The compositions are good, and you can hear Anthony slide his hand on the strings. Some track are really gentle acoustic guitar (tibetan yak-music, tregenna afternoons), others are louder acoustic guitar (reaper, flamingo). "Harmonium" in the dust in a beautiful loud floating harmonium through electric guitar solos

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#25939)
Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars On "Private Parts & Pieces", ANTHONY PHILLIPS stakes his claim as a regressive (versus progressive) artist, returning to the days when the sweet, wan trails of madrigals stirred in the countryside air. His first two albums were, in retrospect, ambitious attempts to live up to his legacy as the original guitarist from GENESIS. Here, PHILLIPS retreats from the workaday world and emerges with music that better reflects his peculiar tastes and talents. At the time, the idea of recording uncluttered instrumentals for acoustic guitar and piano hardly seemed sustainable across an album, let alone a long series of them. And yet "Private Parts & Pieces" proved to be oddly appealing, in a sense paving the way for new age artists like GEORGE WINSTON and MICHAEL HEDGES. "The Geese & The Ghost" did use the same antiquated guitar passages, but PP&P is far more transparent in sound, a simpler tapestry than the exotic, action-packed adventures portrayed in his first release. Where the first album followed a specific story, these ten songs are a series of unrelated scenes that, from a distance, form a single picture of pastoral beauty. GENESIS fans will find echoes of "Trespass" in this collection, from "Field of Eternity" (which claims to recycle parts of an unrecorded GENESIS song) to "Flamingo." Of course, selling this album on the merits of GENESIS is antithetical to its intent; PHILLIPS was sharing his own private muse with the world, winning more than a few converts in the process. He'll never be ready for prime time, as the closing "Seven Long Years" makes painfully clear, but those who have peeked into his musical world wanting no more than a glimpse have sometimes stood enrapt for hours.

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Send comments to daveconn (BETA) | Report this review (#25940)
Posted Monday, May 03, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars a brilliant album from start to end, anthony is much more laid back on this album (as with all his pp&p albums) acoustic 6&12 strings guitars,piano, very minimalistic, but beautiful! This and geese and the ghost are good beginners albums, then jump to Back to the Pavillion and 1984!

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Send comments to zebehnn (BETA) | Report this review (#25943)
Posted Wednesday, October 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
KjsKjs@T-Onli
4 stars A very good Album for listening and dreaming on a sunny or snowy day. If You really listen You will enjoy every song on this-for me- best of the PP&P -Albums. It´s a very romantic Album in the Kind of the Tresspass-romantic -songs. Because of the nice Cover I like my original LP more than my CD.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#25944)
Posted Wednesday, February 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
prog-zilla@ya
5 stars An essential album if you like early Genesis. This is the source of that 12-string guitar sound, and if Anthony remained with the band, some of this music would undoubtedly have ended up on some Genesis albums. Anthony chose to leave, and took that wistfully melodic, romantic, pastoral sound with him, and this collection represents it perfectly. The intricate layering of acoustic guitars is just breathtaking, especially on Tregenna Afternoons - what a shame it was not a Genesis song! The impressionistic Beauty And The Beast makes one think of the rapid arpeggios of Tony Banks. Flamingos is a remarkable piano piece - 11+ minutes long, which shows off Phillips' impressive piano skills. On the composition side, the pieces are all well constructed and combine classical music with folk, but in a way that is unique and original. The delightful artwork of Peter Cross is a bonus, too - a joy too look at, and it fits the atmosphere so well... again it makes me think it would have been perfect on a Genesis album!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#25945)
Posted Tuesday, March 01, 2005 | Review Permalink
hydulia@netsc
4 stars There is not a bad song in here. In fact, each one, is a complete work in itself. As is often the case, ANT play all the instruments on this. Mostly guitar (with some very unusual tunings), and a stand-out piano solo. My favorite tracks are 3-9. That is the best meat in any sandwich!! I particualrly like #3, Tibetan Yak Music, #4, Lullaby - Old Father Time, and the MASSIVE piano song, #9, Autumnal. Play that song on a late Autumn day when the leaves are already off the trees and blowing around the ground, oh, and make sure the sky is grey, and you will definatley know how and why he wrote that. It is a work of art, plain and simple. Love lost, love missed, opportunities gone by - that's what I get out of it. If you've never heard Spanish, or Flamenco guitar palyed on a 12-string, you're in for a real treat. I can't imagine that he didn't end up with bloody fingers after recording this. This is album to be savored.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#71266)
Posted Monday, March 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars A collection of well played, well written pieces with an absolute stand out: ie "Fields of Eternity". It features on my own Favourite - Tunes - Of - All - Time short list. I have also found the sheet music in my local library and have since tried playing it. It is beautiful. But difficult when he returns to the opening theme and then adds long held high notes over the accompaniment. Try listening to the piece while looking at the cover art work. It always makes me weep.

A gem.

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Send comments to flamenco (BETA) | Report this review (#79765)
Posted Tuesday, May 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Two more sides of "Sides"

"Private parts and pieces" was the first of a number of albums released by Anthony Phillips under that title. The LP copy I have is labelled "Special free collector's edition", having been given away in the UK as a bonus disc with the first 5000 copies of the "Sides" album. It has since been made more widely available on CD, with a couple of extra tracks. To maintain the consistency of"Sides", we have a "Home side" and an "Away side" in place of A and B.

The album consists of pieces Phillips recorded by himself using guitar and piano, and as such is almost entirely instrumental. The recordings cover the period from 1972 to 1976, although some of the tracks were composed even before that time. It is probably fair to say that releasing the album as a bonus disc was a good idea, as it is perhaps a little too laid back and eclectic to stand as a bona fide release. That is not to say it is a poor album, there are many beautiful performances to be enjoyed here.

The album opens with "Beauty and the beast", where Phillips performs on 2 pianos and an acoustic guitar, presumably not simultaneously. Phillips accredits "Jeremy Gilbert playing a Chopin Nocturne" as the inspiration for the piece, which is whispy and rather understated. "Field of eternity" is the only track which Phillips does not compose alone, being co-credited to Mike Rutherford. The track is a lengthy 12 string guitar solo which includes part of the incomplete "Flamingo" concerto (see later) and a snippet from an unrecorded Genesis song (which presumably is where Rutherford's credit stems from).

"Tibetan yak-music" is the oddest track on the album. In essence, it is a melody played on a detuned 12 string guitar then processed by Harry Williamson. Interesting but not a piece which demands repeated playing. "Lullaby - Old father time" sees Phillips becoming a one man guitar quartet for a suitably delicate melody.

"Harmonium in the dust" has the alternate title "Harmonious stratosphere". The short recital is an adaptation of a Eustace Grimes composition played out on harmonium. It makes for a pleasant diversion from the solo acoustic guitar, having a bit more depth of sound than the majority of the tracks. "Tregenna afternoons" returns to the sound paintings of the acoustic guitars for another delicately melodic, but rather dull outing.

"Reaper" is a 12 string guitar solo with passing similarities to "Horizons". The piece was originally composed by Phillips in 1970, but not officially recorded by him until 7 years later. The mediaeval feel led to the track being used for a banquet scene Phillips wrote for MacBeth. "Autumnal" find Phillips back at the piano for an onomatopoeic picture of the season.

According to Phillips, "Flamingo" was the first movement of a planned 12 string concerto. The piece has the same feel as some of Steve Hackett's solo acoustic work, being technically impressive, but totally dull. The closing "Seven long years" is a soft, vocal song, which tells a tale of a "Vanished ballerina", an idea which Genesis coincidentally had a few years later when they recorded "Duchess".

In all, this is an album for the Anthony Phillips faithful. Those who enjoy relaxing new age music will also find this album to be a pleasant diversion. For those seeking hints of Genesis, or indeed prog though, the advice would be to look elsewhere in Ant's discography.

The sleeve illustration, for which Peter Cross appears to receive credit, is a wonderful collage of the four seasons in a countryside setting.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#132491)
Posted Friday, August 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ecclectic and even a little esoteric, but so what? I admit that it doesn't necessarily hang together as a proper album, but there sure are some very fine musical selections to be found here. My favorites being Tibetan Yak Music, Tregenna Afternoons, and the powerful and evocative grand piano solo, Autumnal. That song really captures the fury and eventual sad dissipation of the warm, sunny days of summer. My biggest complaint about PP&P is its production quality - something that dogged Genesis in their early years too. For sure this is not ANT's best outing, but it is the first in a very long line of Private Parts & Pieces albums. True to its title, the music is very private and personal, and sometimes you just get pieces of a wonderful song. As such, I usually play this album when I am alone and want to be with my thoughts. It helps me to think and to feel, contrary to what Gerald Bostock asserts. This would make a nice addition to your CD collection.

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Send comments to Mcgraster (BETA) | Report this review (#132515)
Posted Friday, August 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars And with this album an artist finds his niche. Earlier works by Anthony were excellent explorations of acoustic soundscaping, clever and intricate songwriting, and more simplistic and to the point pop songwriting. Phillips did excell in all three albums before this, but he just couldn't seem to find a mass audience. I believe that after the commercial failure of Sides, he simply gave up trying to be a big pop star. Except for a transparent 80's pop album with Invisible Men, Anthony stuck to his own insular, individualistic instrumental work. And that started with this album, a collection of demos, leftovers, experiments, and work recorded simply for his own entertainment. It was a bold album to release: an artist who had cult success, at best, releasing a collection of stuff he had only intended for his own listening experience. It's kind of like the Scoop series by Pete Townshend, but by a much less established artist. However, the Private Parts and Pieces is a lot like Scoop in that it doesn't represent bad work at all: in fact, both series often represent the best work of both artists. By releasing work that Anthony had done for himself, he inadavertanly releases an album that shows off the true ranges of his talent.

On most of this album, Anthony plays the instruments. He varies between guitar and piano, mostly. He plays a wide variety of styles: there are short Chopin sound-alikes and wild flaminco guitar epics. Throughout the album, one really starts to understand where Phillip's muse really lies. It's hard to describe the music on an album like this. It's pretty, memorable, and occasionally even beautiful.

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Send comments to SonicDeath10 (BETA) | Report this review (#243665)
Posted Thursday, October 08, 2009 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This is the first of a long series of album from Anthony (the Private Parts).

It is fully acoustic, and I can't say that this is the best experience I have shared. If I would dare a comparison, I would say that Steve also released quite a few albums of this style, of which none were convincing as far as I am concerned.

Easy Livin related very well the "Genesis" of this album, and I guess that we have to take it only for what it is. Some sort of bonus disc; nothing more I'm afraid.

This exercise doesn't really need a track by track description. There is little to write home about it. Some nice acoustic ballads (like "Old Father Time" which might be a play on words?). This work would have remained totally unknown or transparent if it weren't for the background of the artist. Vocals when present are not precisely exciting either.

Two stars is my rating for this album: I really couldn't feel lots of emotions while listening to it. Maybe during "Reaper"?

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#312134)
Posted Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
3 stars The first of a serie of ten albums (up to now) called private parts and pieces is mainly an acoustic instrumental effort of the former Genesis which is not too distant from the acoustic parts of the debut, but of course it lacks the symphonic parts.

There's a lot of guitar and piano. I can say that the whole album is made of guitar and piano. The ambient is typically Genesis, if you can imagine Genesis without Gabriel, Collins Banks and Rutherford.

If you are looking for a relaxing listen this is a good album. The parts (and pieces) of classical guitar are very nice. "Field Of Eternity" is an example.

Nothing impressive from a technical point of view, but this music is not made for impressing.

Between the many tracks of this album, "Tregenna Afternoons" is the one closer to The Geese and The Ghost. "Stranger" is the first with lyrics, but the only track that I still remember clearly of this album that I wasn't listening to since years is "Reaper". Its open chords on a 12-strings guitar sound very light.

Not an essential album, as almost all the serie, but a good one.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#476019)
Posted Tuesday, July 05, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars When Sides came out, Anthony Phillips chose to sweeten the deal by offering alongside it this collection of recordings that he'd produced over the years as sketches for more filled-out works. Little did he expect that these sparse songs, dominated by acoustic guitar with occasional piano backing, would prove to be enough of a success to support nine sequels in the Private Parts and Pieces series! Achingly beautiful and wonderfully performed - anyone with doubts about Phillips' ability as a guitarist will become a believer after listening to this one - and with a unique yet nostalgic sound that stands apart from the rest of the progressive scene at the time, Private Parts and Pieces is quintessential Phillips. That said, I'd say it'd be more palatable to prog folk afficionados, or at least people who are open to music that's less lush and complex and layered than typical symphonic prog.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#559277)
Posted Saturday, October 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
4 stars I believe many PA pundits would agree that Anthony Phillips is a rather unique prog icon, whose legend includes genius, stage fright, seclusion and incredible timidity, yet is one of the most prolific artists in genre (not that far from TDream, Hawkwind or Rick Wakeman!) . Upon leaving his gig with Genesis (his playing on Trespass is timeless), he recorded one of the most venerated debuts ever in The Geese and the Ghost, a magical mystery tour of Prog that lives on today. In between the tepid soft-rock of 'Wise After the Event' and before the similar 'Sides', Ant embarked on the first of a massive series of enthralling acoustic music, branded ever-amusingly as "Private Parts and Pieces" with future albums having an added sub-title. And thus began a multi-decade long adventure, each one unique and original.

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

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

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

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#614051)
Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
1 stars Keep your private parts to yourself, please!

This first instalment in the long running Private Parts & Pieces-series was initially a free give away that came together with the Sides album in the UK. If I understand it correctly it was a separate release in some other territories at the time, and it has subsequently been given a separate release on CD with a bonus track.

While I'm not a big fan of the Private Parts & Pieces-series (or of Anthony Phillips solo career in general), this first Private Parts & Pieces album is weak even in comparison with other entries in the series. The second Private Parts & Pieces album (subtitled Back To The Pavilion) is, for instance, a much better and interesting album that is closer in style to The Geese And The Ghost.

The present album is frankly dull with endless strumming on acoustic guitars without any memorable melodies. The album is almost completely acoustic, and with the exception of only a couple of tracks (including the CD bonus track, Stranger) also entirely instrumental. The style is probably best described as Classical guitar music with some medieval flavour. Needless to say it has nothing whatever to do with progressive Rock. The music is by no means unpleasant or offensive as such, and it works reasonably well as background music while working. But it is definitely not one for focused listening, it will bore you or at best make you fall asleep.

The few vocal numbers are pleasant enough and the instrumental Reaper includes a memorable opening strongly reminiscent of Gordon Giltrap's playing. The latter number however re-appeared in an electric (and improved) version on Private Parts & Pieces II.

This album should probably have remained a bonus disc as it does not stand very well on its own. I can only recommend it to those who insist on having the complete Private Parts & Pieces series in their collections.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#1134752)
Posted Friday, February 21, 2014 | Review Permalink

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