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Anthony Phillips - The Geese And The Ghost CD (album) cover

THE GEESE AND THE GHOST

Anthony Phillips

 

Symphonic Prog

4.04 | 376 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
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 recording music and studied classical music for awhile until 1977 when he embarked on his long and illustrious solo career with the release of "The Geese and the Ghost" album. Three further albums followed at the tail-end of the 1970's:- "Wise After the Event" (1978); "Private Parts & Pieces" (1978); and "Sides" (1979). Altogether, Anthony Phillips has recorded an incredible thirty-one albums, including eleven volumes of "Private Parts & Pieces" and four volumes of "Missing Links", consisting primarily of demos, out-takes, and previously unreleased material from his vast library of music recordings. He still continues to record to this day with his latest album "Strings of Light" released as recently as 2019. Anthony Phillips' first album "The Geese and the Ghost" is notable for including his Genesis bandmates Mike Rutherford on bass and Phil Collins on vocals on a couple of tracks, and Steve Hackett's brother John Hackett on flute. Ant Phillips played all of the guitar and keyboard parts on the album. The 2008 CD reissue included a bonus disc of unused material from the album.

The album opens with the brief prelude "Wind-Tales", featuring a light breeze of keyboards floating past the listener like a zephyr in a mellow wave of calming pastoral sound, which leads us into "Which Way the Wind Blows". This song is a gorgeous slice of melodic prog with the familiar voice of Phil Collins reminding us that this song would have fitted very nicely onto a classic Genesis album, although the music is altogether gentler and mellower than anything Genesis have ever recorded. We're travelling back in time to the royal court of Henry VIII now with "Henry: Portraits from Tudor Times", in the first of two long suites on the album. The six-piece "Henry" suite is a glorious 12-minute-long combination of gentle acoustic passages and marching battle themes and it also features a tremendously rousing chorus for the grand finale. The dynamic contrast between Ant Phillip's gentle acoustic guitar combined with his sonorous outbursts from the almighty keyboards are what really sets this long suite of music alight with passionate and powerful intensity. It's dramatic symphonic music imbued with all of the regal power and magnificent majesty of a King upon his throne. Phil Collins returns to vocal duties in a lovely duet with Vivienne McAuliffe for "God If I Saw Her Now". It's another beautiful piece of gentle melodic prog in an album that's positively overflowing with charming and enchanting English tunes.

Opening Side Two is "Chinese Mushroom Cloud" which sounds just as dramatic and doom-laden as the song title suggests. It's a short prelude featuring the rousing and resonant deep rumble of a cello, conjuring up a portentous and disturbing image of some cataclysmic disaster. This leads us into the two-part suite and title track "The Geese and the Ghost". Running at nearly sixteen minutes long, it's an epic masterpiece, combining orchestral, pastoral folk and proggy themes in a timeless timbre of tuneful melodies, which also includes some rousing grand symphonic keyboard flourishes too for our delectation and delight. We get to hear Anthony Phillip's voice for the first time on "Collections", and a very fine singer he is too. The music is a gorgeous flute and guitar melody floating on a sea of sensational strings. The final piece of music "Sleepfall: The Geese Fly West" is as gentle and peaceful as the gentlest of lullabies and it's a perfect dream-like melody to bring a marvellous and masterful album to a close.

"The Geese and the Ghost" is a timeless album full of reverberant refrains and mellifluous melodies combined together in a magnificent melange of pastoral folk, classical compositions and melodic prog symphonies. It's a superb album that should appeal equally to Genesis fans and non-Genesis fans alike. The music has been described as sounding like a "mixture of Vaughan Williams and Mike Oldfield" which sums it up rather well I think.

Psychedelic Paul | 5/5 |

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