“Readings From The Affectionate Scrapbook” - Unreleased songs from Anthony Phillips’ Archives examined by Alan Hewitt.

As our readers will be aware, there is a vast amount of unreleased material which any musician accumulates over his/her career and Anthony Phillips is no exception. The songs which I will describe here are a few of those which for one reason or another were shelved before they could be properly recorded. By NO means can they be described as “rejects” for many of them are as vital today as when they were written. A couple were performed during the VERY early days of Genesis but were shelved because they were perhaps a bit too pastoral for live performance. Others were recorded, mastered and ready to go but were shelved for less understandable reasons. Before I go any further, I would like to thank Anthony for allowing us access to these recordings and hope that their mention here doesn’t bring back too many memories!

The first song to appear is The Beggar & The Thief, originally written in 1969 while Ant was still in Genesis. It is a lovely acoustic piece, accompanied by, of all things, an accordion because, as Ant told us, the band were not wealthy enough to be able to afford a proper synthesiser at the time! The song is sung by Ant himself and it is surprising how well his voice suit’s the music. It is a typical love song about a beggar haunted by the love of a princess whom he will never know.

Another song which was performed at early Genesis shows was Stranger, also written in 1969. It, like its predecessor, is a mainly acoustic piece played and sung by Ant on the recording we have heard.

Ant had a spell of writing lots of material immediately after he left Genesis, most of it unsuitable for recording (or so he tells us!). One song that did survive was Master Of Time which appeared on the session that Ant did for Radio Clyde in 1978. This song was completely recorded in 1970 and was to have been released on album but never made it. The version which we have heard is a full rendition with Ant playing twelve string guitar and singing. It is a haunting piece about growing old and the desire to recapture lost youth.

The next song that appeared is well know to Genesis collectors for it has been available for quite a while on bootleg albums. The version there is the one taken from the Radio One broadcast at which Phil Collins brought the backing track into the studio and sang along to it. The track is, of course, Silver Song which was initially written in 1969 as a tribute to the Genesis drummer; John Silver. The track was mastered as a single in November 1973 and would have been Phil’s first solo single but it was shelved, which having heard the finished version, is a great shame as it is a beautiful song, sung with great gusto by Phil and featuring the unique twelve string sound created by Ant and Mike Rutherford.

There was also a B side prepared for the single. This was called Only Your Love which has yet to appear anywhere in recorded form apart from the demo and master versions which are in Ant’s possession. Once again it is a lovely song featuring Phil on vocals and Ant and Mike. It is a shame that these songs have to remain under wraps because they are really enjoyable if a little dated now but the songs are a testimony to how advanced both Ant and the other musicians’ music was when they were written.

For those of you who are interested in lyrics, I have reproduced below the lyrics to all of these songs and I hope you find them interesting.

The Beggar & The Thief (1969)

A beggar clad in loincloth stood outside the temple gate
A simple man, some shepherd from the hills
He’d lost his sheep.
Upon his knees he fell as the scribes and priests passed by
His eyes a well of sorrow, deep and fast.
And as he gazed, his thoughts returned to warn him
Down a bridgeway to the past
And in a trance, his ark of dreams set sail…

King of the hills, with my queen by my side.
She was fair as a pearl, her beauty so wild and free.
Those tears she’d shed for me are now dried for she is gone.

Awaking from his vision, bright splendour burned his eyes
A princess in golden coach went by
He knew that face, and as he gazed with wonder he saw the prince reach out
And touch the ruby beauty of her lips, the wine of life.
The beggar blind with madness, cried a name for all to hear
And in the silence of her gaze he spoke:

King of the hills with my queen by my side.
She was fair as a pearl, her beauty so wild and free.
Those tears she’d shed for me are now dried, for she is gone.

Poor fool, soft came the answer.
What is past is but a dream
The snows must melt that spring may be revealed.
Then he replied: I believe the past was real
And I live my life by this: that love once shared now cannot be denied.
Though fail it may. If I could reach you now, what treasures would you bring?
Would they change me from a beggar to a king?
If this could be, let all the world be beggars, begging love from marble kings
Not those who steal the soul of life, then flee
For these are thieves…

Master Of Time (1970)

See, the days grow long
Winter comes upon us like a storm at sea.
And the will to love seems a little thin sometimes.
When those you love are lost beneath the snowfall.

Love and you will live
Said a man who lived in a funny way
So we share a cup with the thirsty faun of life
Who leaves us on the highway without water.

Master Of Time, take me back through the years
Master of Time, let me try once again.,
And I will give more, Oh how I’ll try.
And with this, a new life I’ll buy.

Hush, the marsh duck cries.
Far away she knows that her love will be
And she nestles down, sobbing still she dries her eyes.
Knowing that the world will cry the rest out.

Where did beauty go?
Seek it here, there but it slipped away.
And when they come to lay me down
I will take your memory too.
They’ll know that in my final hour I loved you.

Master of Time, take me back through the years
Master of Time, let me try once again.
And I will give more, Oh how I’ll try.
And with this, a new life I’ll buy… (repeat)

Stranger (1969)

Now that you don’t know me , is it gone, forever past?
Now my rock has crumbled in the stormy winter blast
Now the world is darkening, as I watch the farewell train
The one she spoke within me: strange may I never see you again? (repeat)

Now the wind is asking how a rock so firm can fail?
Now the breeze she murmurs, she rose now to save his fall.
Now the leaves are rustling, do I hear them call a name?
That waits round every corner: strange may I never see you again?

Little girl, liltling lilac
Autumn queen by this quiet brook
Once you lay, breathing softly.
Now I watch, the ashes burn
A stranger who may not return
Rise with the dawn, sailed on the morning tide.
Take this shining acorn
Treasure it, through joy and sorrow
When you’re old, tired and lonely
Open it, a voice will sign, a memory that went drifting by
Upon the tide that swept you from my side.

Now the bells are calling, I must tread the homeward track.
Leave the whispering ripples for the next part I must act.
Though I gave the whole world she remembers not my name.
That star beneath the bright lights,
Strange may I never see you again (repeat twice).

Silver Song (written 1969/recorded 1973)

Dear friend when you are gone, there’ll always be this song.
To remind you of where you once belonged.
Though far you fly away, your face will bless the day
Each tree, each stream, each flower, all beg leave to say:

The sun will shine again
New dawns will rise again
And we’ll be together
Until the very end

Click to enlarge Click to enlarge

Only Your Love (written 1969/recorded 1973)

When all the world lies steeped in tears
And far the fields stand frosted over.
Please take my hand and step with me
Between the glow of the sunset streaming down.

They say that one forgets these things
And through the pain, the sorrow turns to laughter
But all the joy that you bring to me
Means more than my lonely eyes could ever say

Only your love can help me get through
Give me you love, that’s all you can do.

The paleness of the autumn sun
Will be reborn to warm the spring time
Alas, grown old unlike the sun,
She stays forever cold, where once she burned.

Only your love can help me get through
Give me your love, that’s all you can do (Repeat)

Copyright on all lyrics : A Phillips reproduced by kind permission)