Anthony Phillips is well known for his stint as guitarist for Genesis, until he left the band after 1970’s Trespass due to bouts of stage fright. Steve Hackett was chosen as replacement, and the band carried on, evolving into one of progressive rock‘s greatest outfits. While Genesis were recording such influential albums as Nursery Cryme, Foxtrot and Selling England By The Pound, Phillips seemingly disappeared from music altogether, before surfacing in 1977 with his first solo LP, The Geese & The Ghost. It would be the first in a line of solo efforts, where Phillips’ classical sensibilities meld with Old English folk stylings that gives his music a very British – often pastoral – quality.
Private Parts & Pieces II “Back To The Pavillion,” originally released in 1980, was given a loving reissue by Blueprint and includes the bonus track “Lucy: An Illusion,” a song written by Phillips and Mike Rutherford and not recorded until 1990. Rutherford’s contributions to the record include bass on two tracks. Other notable guest musicians include Mel Collins and drummer Andy McCulloch (ex-King Crimson, ex-Fields, ex-Greenslade). Otherwise, Phillips plays a myriad of guitars and keyboards to bring these compositions together. Phillips’ greatest strength is creating soundscapes that are almost visual in nature, and his playing is never static, developing over the course of a piece much in the style of classical composers such as Ralph Vaughan Williams or Claude Debussy.
“Salmon Leap” and “Electric Reaper,” parts 1 and 3 of “Scottish Suite,” have an early Genesis-like feel; others are very different. “Lindsay” is an intimate, parlor-style piano piece, while “Heavens” is a solemn Moog-driven contemplation. “Spring Meeting” is a delicate guitar journey, featuring Phillips’ nylon-string work and his keen ability for composition and melody. “Romany’s Aria” is a passing breath of effects, preceeding the atmospheric “Chinaman” and classical guitar lullaby “Nocturne.”
Aside from Phillips’ gorgeous music, his albums typically feature very strong artwork, as is the case with PP&P II and Peter Cross’ beautiful design. Highly recommended!
Check out Phillips and Guillermo Cazenave performing “Lights On The Hill,” in this video: