"A Career To Date" - Anthony Phillips "Anthology" reviewed in 78 minutes and 29 seconds. Review by Peter Gozzard (in a slightly less biased manner than usual).
Wednesday October 18, 1995 and my copy of this new CD arrives. The sampler, the "Best Of...", "The Introduction To The Music Of...", call it what you like, what do we get for our money? The price, £4.99, is not much more than what you would pay for some CD singles these days.
The first thing you notice is the cover to the booklet: a collage of some of Peter Cross's finest album sleeve artwork, with a mixture of "Private Parts & Pieces" Volumes 1, 2 and 6 to name but three. Closer examination will show further characters from even more albums. The back of the booklet has the football table from "Sides", plus more familiar characters! Inside we have confirmation of the future re-issue of the rest of Anthony's back catalogue, all on picture discs, track listings, musician credits and three pages of text: "A Beginner's Guide To The Man, And His Music", in which we have an excellent and concise view written by Alan [thanks, Peter - your cheque is in the post - AH]. The CD tray is in a clear plastic with a black and white photo of Anthony and guitar and keyboards.
The music? Yes, the important bit. Well, we have seventeen tracks which nicely fill the time available on the CD, and the first compilation of Ant's music since "Harvest Of The Heart" (a long since deleted vinyl LP - remember them?). Ask a hundred people to pick the track and you would get a hundred different answers, but I don't think too many people will complain about this selection...
Track one: "The Women Were Watching", from the "mortgage" album "Invisible Men"; a good rock song written with Richard Scott and lyrically concerned with the Falklands War. Track two: "Prelude 84" from "1984" - synth and drum box. Back in 1981 when this album was released, this was nominated as "Single Of The Week" by Record Mirror! Track three: "The Anthem" from "Tarka", three minutes and thirty five seconds of beautiful music; the whole album is a must.
Track four: "Lucy Will" from "Sides", with Mike Giles on drums, John G. Perry on bass, and backing vocals by Dale Newman and Dan Owen, Genesis crew members; a nice low key rock song. Track five: "Tregenna Afternoons", is the first acoustic guitar instrumental. This is Ant in his element: gentle acoustic guitar; images of long hot summers and the countryside. Track six: "Unheard Cry", emotional with Ant's plaintive vocals and acoustic guitar. Tracks seven and eight are both from "Private Parts & Pieces IV"; the first more acoustic guitar and the latter; a favourite with twelve string guitar, synth and drum box.
Track nine takes us back to 1978 and the closing track from "Wise After The Event", "Now What? (Are They Doing To My Little Friends)", a lament for the plight of animal species around the world. Track ten: "Um & Argh", a wry look back at the music business in 1979, also a single - I remember buying it! It should have been in the Top Forty, another from "Sides" with the great line... "This is much too good for the people.." Track eleven has an extract from the opening of "Slow Dance" - flute, strings and guitar. Track twelve: "Tears On A Rainy Day" from "Missing Links Volume Two"; soprano saxophone from Martin Robertson. Ant provides the guitar, synth; and drum machine- a very haunting track.
Track thirteen: "God If I Saw Her, Now" enter Mr. Philip Collins on vocals and Viv McCauliffe. An old favourite from "The Geese & The Ghost". Track fourteen: "Nightmare", and Ant is ably supported by the rhythm section of Giles and Perry, the title speaks for itself! Listening to this now, it reminds me for some reason of Genesis' track, "The Brazilian". Track fifteen: "Last Goodbyes" - Ant and a piano from the most recent "Private Parts & Pieces" album, "New England", which flows nicely into "Collections", this time with piano and Ant singing; the Send Barns "Orchestra" including Robin Phillips on oboe and John Hackett and Jack Lancaster on flutes, taking us nicely into the finale, "Sleepfall: The Geese Fly West". The last two closed "The Geese & The Ghost", where it just about all began.
The idea behind this release is excellent: a nice package for both existing fans and plenty to encourage new support. For those good music lovers, Genesis fans and everybody else who has not listened to Anthony's music before, I strongly recommend that you buy this CD. You will not be disappointed. The downside is that you may spend a fortune buying the rest of the back catalogue!