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Anthony Phillips

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Anthony Phillips - The Geese And The Ghost [Passport PP-98020] (1977)

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Anthony Phillips


The Geese And The Ghost

Released: 1977
Label: Passport
Catalog: PP-98020
Genre: Folk Rock, Art Rock

Matrix / Runout (Side A):

Matrix / Runout (Side B):
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Wind - Tales
02 Which Way The Wind Blows

Henry: Portraits From Tudor Times

03 Fanfare
04 Lutes' Chorus
05 Misty Battlements
06 Henry Goes To War
07 Death Of A Knight
08 Triumphant Return
09 God If I Saw Her Now
10 Chinese Mushroom Cloud

The Geese & The Ghost

11 Part 1
12 Part 2

13 Collections
14 Sleepfall: The Geese Fly West
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Album Review

Bruce Eder []

Anthony Phillips' first post-Genesis solo album was an extension of the pseudo-medieval folk elements found on Trespass, the last of his Genesis albums. Much of this recording sounds like a lost Genesis album, understandable since Phil Collins does a lot of the singing, and Michael Rutherford is present on guitar, bass, and keyboards, and also shares composer credits with him on major parts of this album. Portions of the material here, in fact, seem to have been derived from pieces they composed together in Genesis' early days that proved unsuitable for performance on-stage. Thus, The Geese & the Ghost comes off as a sort of throwback, picking up stylistically where Trespass or Nursery Cryme (check out the second part of the title track) left off nearly six years earlier. ''Henry: Portraits from Tudor Times'' can still hold the patient listener's attention, as it moves from bold synthesizer-generated fanfares to intimate classical guitar passages into soaring movements for electric guitar, flute, and oboe no less (there are three flutists here, plus one violinist, two cellists, and a pair of oboists, Bob Phillips and Laza Momulovich, who often get placed very prominently in the mix, probably a first on a rock album) -- but these movements would work better if they weren't quite so repetitive. The 15-minute two-part title track is hopeless -- gorgeous, luscious, languid, and utterly pointless in terms of presenting ideas of any worth or resolving them in any serious way; this is the sort of material that first-year composition students turn in as exercises, but only in the fading glow of the prog rock boom would it see the light of day on a commercial release. It's very arty in an early-'70s manner, midway between early Genesis and Amazing Blondel (note that neither of those groups still existed in their progressive rock incarnations in 1977), without the vibrancy that the former could generate or the impressive musical language or vocalizing of the latter. What Phillips failed to recognize, or couldn't emulate, was the fact that Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, and other bigger-than-footnote prog rock outfits always made sure their music was exciting, as well as pretty and complex. Still, it is pretty, and the CD reissue (which is devoid of instrumental credits) has a demo, ''Master of Time,'' as a bonus. That song, a fey mix of sci-fi and faux-medieval sensibilities, never made the final cut of the album, and the demo runs two minutes too long for its own good, but it is sung by Phillips solo (he doesn't have much of a voice, hardly an octave range to judge from this) in a passionate manner, and is played -- on acoustic and electric guitars, with piano and no classical musicians added -- with some effort at excitement and vibrancy.

Anthony Phillips' Biography

Bruce Eder []

Anthony Phillips was one of the founding members of Genesis, having attended the Charterhouse School in Surrey with Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, and Michael Rutherford. Phillips and Rutherford (who had played together in another band before linking up with Gabriel and Banks), were the principal composing members of Genesis during their formative years, right into their first recording venture on English Decca (''Silent Sun,'' etc.) under the aegis of Jonathan King. Much of Phillips' and Rutherford's music was too subtle and introspective to work for the fledgling band on-stage, and eventually composition became more of a shared effort. By the time the group cut its second album, Trespass, however, Phillips had receded into the background, propelled by a crippling onset of stage fright that forced him out of the lineup following the album's release. His influence, ironically, was felt very strongly on their subsequent breakthrough third album, Nursery Cryme, the title track was the band's first number to attract a wide audience in progressive rock circles for its introduction and opening minute, which used material that Phillips had written and recorded (as a demo) as early as 1969.

Little more was heard from Anthony Phillips until 1977, when he released his first solo album, The Geese and the Ghost, followed by Wise After the Event a year later, and then a collection of early demo recordings, Private Parts and Pieces, also issued in 1978. Phillips has re-emerged periodically, working in a style that is much closer to the classically influenced original Genesis sound than to the work of the current version of the group. He retains a cult of fans, similar in certain respects to Peter Banks of Yes (another guitar player who quit an art-rock band at a critical early juncture in their history), but recording more frequently. He also writes a considerable amount of music for television and movies, and remains a guitarist of supreme skill and confidence, steeped in classical, pre-Baroque, and folk influences, able to record entire albums featuring only his acoustic instrument. Phillips' skills on the keyboard, principally synthesizer and Mellotron, are more limited, and were never exploited within a group context, but his studio recordings reveal a distinctive character to his compositions on those instruments as well.
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