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Anthony Phillips

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Anthony Phillips The Geese and the Ghost album cover
4.07 | 452 ratings | 54 reviews | 42% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Wind-Tales (1:00)
2. Which Way the Wind Blows (5:56)
3. Henry - Portraits from Tudor Times (12:10) :
- i) Fanfare
- ii) Lute's Chorus
- iii) Misty Battlements
- iv) Henry Goes to War
- v) Death of a Knight
- vi) Triumphant Return
4. God If I Saw Her Now (4:18)
5. Chinese Mushroom Cloud (0:46)
6. The Geese and the Ghost, Pts. 1-2 (15:48)
7. Collections (3:07)
8. Sleepfall - The Geese Fly West (4:38)

Total Time 47:43

Bonus track on 1990 Virgin CD:
9. Master of Time (demo) (7:37)

Bonus CD from double CD reissues:
1. Master of Time (demo) (7:38)
2. Title Inspiration (0:34)
3. The Geese & the Ghost, Pt. 1 (basic track) (7:48)
4. Collections Link (0:42)
5. Which Way the Wind Blows (basic track) (6:28)
6. Silver Song (Geese sessions) (4:25)
7. Henry - Portraits from Tudor Times (basic track) (5:40) :
- i. Fanfare
- ii. Lute's Chorus
- iii. Lute's Chorus Reprise
- iv. Misty Battlements
8. Collections (demo) (4:18)
9. The Geese & the Ghost, Pt. 2 (basic track) (7:33)
10. God If I Saw Her Now (basic track) (4:20)
11. Sleepfall (basic track) (4:26)
12. Silver Song (unreleased single version, 1973) (4:14)

Total Time 58:06

Bonus DVD from 2015 Definitive Edition:
- 5.1 Surround mix of the album

Line-up / Musicians

- Anthony Phillips / acoustic & electric (6- & 12-string) guitars, classical guitar, basses, dulcimer guitar, bouzouki, piano, organ, synthesizers, Mellotron, harmonium, celesta, pin piano, drums, glockenspiel, bells & chimes, timbales, gong, vocals (7), co-producer

- Michael Rutheford / acoustic & electric (6- & 12-string) guitars, classical guitar, basses, organ, drums, timbales, bells, glockenspiel, cymbals, co-producer
- Phil Collins / vocals (2,4)
- Viv McAuliffe / vocals (4)
- John Hackett / flute (4,7,8)
- Wil Sleath / flute, baroque flute, recorders, piccolo
- Jack Lancaster / flutes, Lyricon (8)
- Charlie Martin / cello (5,6)
- Kirk Trevor / cello (5,6)
- Nick Hayley & Friend / violins
- Lazo Momulovich / oboes, cor anglais (3,6)
- Rob Phillips / oboes (6,8)
- Martin Westlake / timpani (3,5,6)
- David Thomas / classical guitar (9)
- Ronnie Gunn / harmonium (9)

Curio (jokes):
- Tom Newman / heckelphone, bulk eraser
- Ralph Bernascone / soloist
- "Send Barns Orchestra" & "Barge Rabble" conducted by Jeremy Gilbert

Releases information

Artwork: Peter Cross

LP Hit & Run - HIT 001 (1977, UK)
LP Passport Records - PP90820 (1977, US)
LP Passport Records - PVC 8905 (1981, US)

CD Passport Records - PVCD 8905 (1988, US)
CD Virgin Records - CDOVD 315 (1990, UK) With a bonus track
CD Virgin Japan - VJCP-2321 (1990, Japan) With a bonus track

2CD Arcāngelo ARC-7227/28 (2007, Japan) Remastered, with bonus CD
2CD Voiceprint - VP432CD (2008, UK) Remastered, with bonus CD

2CD+DVD Esoteric Recordings - ECLEC 32482 (2015, UK) Definitive Edition, remastered, with bonus CD and DVD, containing Surround Sound mix of the album)
DVD-Video section has the following audio tracks:
- DTS 5.1 Surround
- Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
- LPCM Stereo 48 KHz / 24 Bits
DVD-Audio section has the following audio tracks:
- MLP 5.1 Surround 48 KHz / 24 Bits
- MLP Stereo 48 KHz / 24 Bits

Numerous reissues

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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ANTHONY PHILLIPS The Geese and the Ghost ratings distribution

(452 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(42%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

ANTHONY PHILLIPS The Geese and the Ghost reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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

Review by daveconn
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.
Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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
Review by chessman
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.
Review by Matti
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.

Review by kunangkunangku
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.

Review by 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.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator

Former Genesis guitarist Anthony Phillips solo debut sounds very much like early Genesis and why shouldnīt 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 itīs 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 itīs not diverse enough. Even though I love the beautiful acoustic parts, I like them because they are parts in songs. I donīt neccesarely think a whole song in this style is exciting. I might be a bit conservative here, but I miss a bit of bite. Itīs a little too pretty.

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

Review by 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.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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!

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
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

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
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.
Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by fuxi
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!

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by ZowieZiggy
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.

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by Sinusoid
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.

Review by lazland
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.

Review by Warthur
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.

Review by LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.


Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars I think itīs about time to write a review on Genesis original lead guitarrristīs debut solo album. I had this disc a few years ago and I remember I didnīt 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 didnīt 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 Phillipīs 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 thatīs 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 youīre into that kind of music, then youīll 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 youīll hardly notice him. In general it is Phillipīs 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 didnīt 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 donīt understand why it wasnīt 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.

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nš 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*)

Review by Neu!mann
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.

Review by patrickq
4 stars Maybe I'd see things differently if I were more than a casual fan of Gabriel, Collins, and company, but The Geese and the Ghost sure sounds like a Lost Genesis Album to me. Others have pointed out that Anthony Phillips's debut is missing several of the characteristics of a Genesis record: the trademark soaring guitar of Steve Hackett, for example, and Tony Banks's virtuoso keyboard work. There's also the fact that only three of the songs have vocals, that the lyrics don't really sound too much like Genesis, and that there's very little percussion, never mind Phil-Collins-strength drumming.

But I view this as a Lost Genesis Album anyway, for two distinct reasons. First, serious Genesis fans seem to really like this record even though Collins is the primary vocalist and Peter Gabriel is absent completely. That says something to me: despite all that's missing, there's some other element or elements that attract those fans. Secondly, this record sounds like Gabriel-era Genesis - - not just someone mimicking or saluting Gabriel-era Genesis - - all without Gabriel, Banks, Hackett, or producer John Burns.

Of course the fact that Collins sings two songs makes a big difference, but the most significant element is the synergy between Phillips and Genesis bassist-guitarist Mike Rutherford. This pair, who co-wrote the two main pieces here, also perform the guitar duets that dominate The Geese and the Ghost. It may be these largely acoustic guitar orchestrations, which echo parts of "Supper's Ready," "The Cinema Show," and other Genesis songs, that so endear Genesis fans to this album.

Or perhaps it's these pastoral arrangements of serene but pleasant melodies, which, while lilting, never deteriorate into elevator music. Indeed, Phillips neglects to smooth over the occasional melodic edge - - to good effect. Nonetheless, the album has none of the edginess of a Genesis album. Among its other qualities is the superb audio mixing of the instruments, including flutes, oboes, and strings.

The Geese and the Ghost sounds like an album which was made to satisfy the artist, not the audience. It's kind of appropriate that it failed to chart in the UK and just barely nicked the US top 200 album listings. Others have pointed out that the hybrid of progressive folk and symphonic rock offered by Phillips wasn't selling in 1977, but I can't think of any particular time when it would've been a smash hit. The Geese and the Ghost is a Lost Genesis Album almost on purpose.

In summary - - and I don't mean this as faint praise - - What a nice album.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Whatever realm or alternate timeline the music on this record came from, I desperately want to go there. The record cover does a pretty good job of capturing the pastoral beauty and simplicity of life that clearly must be characteristic of the place from where this music came. And while I recogn ... (read more)

Report this review (#2413388) | Posted by ssmarcus | Tuesday, June 16, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars ANTHONY PHILLIPS (born 1951) is best-known as the original guitarist with GENESIS. He appeared on their first two albums "From Genesis to Revelation" (1969) and "Trespass" (1970), but decided to quit the band due to crippling bouts of stage fright when performing live. He took a long hiatus from ... (read more)

Report this review (#2307449) | Posted by Psychedelic Paul | Friday, January 17, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The proverb "First solo album is the best one" that holds for Genesis members' Rutherford, Hackett and Banks can be applied to Collins and Phillips, too. The lyricism, innocence and dreamy atmosphere characterizes the first album by Anthony Phillips, a former member of Genesis. Phillips pr ... (read more)

Report this review (#2242778) | Posted by sgtpepper | Friday, August 9, 2019 | Review Permanlink

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 pro ... (read more)

Report this review (#1487806) | Posted by Replayer | Tuesday, November 17, 2015 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#946918) | Posted by sukmytoe | Saturday, April 20, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#623164) | Posted by Master of Time | Monday, January 30, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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, a ... (read more)

Report this review (#516453) | Posted by Flimbau | Tuesday, September 6, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#493824) | Posted by stranded_starfish | Sunday, July 31, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 past ... (read more)

Report this review (#423297) | Posted by voliveira | Saturday, March 26, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 so ... (read more)

Report this review (#260150) | Posted by Bilkaim | Saturday, January 9, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 st ... (read more)

Report this review (#243648) | Posted by SonicDeath10 | Thursday, October 8, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 througho ... (read more)

Report this review (#212628) | Posted by Canprog | Monday, April 27, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 hi ... (read more)

Report this review (#152035) | Posted by LARKSTONGUE | Wednesday, November 21, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 so ... (read more)

Report this review (#144338) | Posted by The Lost Chord | Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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) ... (read more)

Report this review (#87318) | Posted by Mcgraster | Tuesday, August 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#71815) | Posted by | Monday, March 13, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#71235) | Posted by | Monday, March 6, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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, ... (read more)

Report this review (#69077) | Posted by | Saturday, February 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 take ... (read more)

Report this review (#67469) | Posted by | Monday, January 30, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#46048) | Posted by | Thursday, September 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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