"Another Catch At The Tables" - The rest of the "Private Parts & Pieces" albums by Anthony Phillips. Review by Alan Hewitt.

This series of albums was to prove to be Ant's mainstay during the 1980's and early 1990's with no less than seven of them appearing during that period.

Private Parts & Pieces IV: A Catch At The Tables - Passport Records 1984/Virgin Records CD 1991/Voiceprint Records CD 1995  
This album was a welcome return to the "mixed bag" format of earlier albums in the series, and comprises a delightful mix of acoustic and electric elements that make it what it is, for me personally, one of the most satisfying albums in the series, especially the truly delightful "Arboretum Suite" and "Eduardo". The CD re-issue initially on Virgin Records, and subsequently on Anthony's new record label, Voiceprint, included the happy additions of "Erotic Strings" which had originally appeared on the long since deleted "Harvest Of The Heart" vinyl compilation, and a track bearing the subtitle of the album, "A Catch At the Tables" both of which are nice additions for Phillips completists.

Passport Records (US only) PVC8919
Virgin Records (CD only) CDOVD320
Voiceprint Records (CD only) BP205CD
Private Parts & Pieces V: Twelve - Passport Records 1984/Virgin Records 1991/Voiceprint Records 1995  
The title of this album may appear to be slightly misleading ,but that is easily remedied if you bear in mind that the "Twelve" of the title refers to the twelve months of the year! This album could almost be described as "classical" and is comprised entirely of acoustic guitar pieces, played in a manner uniquely Anthony's own in describing the character of the twelve months of the year (my personal favourite is February, but I can't think why??!). The feel of this album is rather sparse and it may prove heavy going to fans more used to Anthony's more grandiose efforts, but do persevere with it, because it does reward repeated listenings. The various CD re-issues have wisely, in my opinion, not included any additional material.

Passport Records (US only) PVC8926
Virgin Records (CD only) CDOVD324
Voiceprint Records (CD only) BP206CD
Private Parts & Pieces VI: Ivory Moon - Passport Records 1985/Virgin Records 1991/Voiceprint Records 1995  
Another acoustic album this one, however a different one which illustrates another facet of Anthony's talents, because it is acoustic piano, and not guitar. The album is another one with a rather spartan feel to it and several of the pieces exude a very melancholy feeling. A useful indication of what the, as yet, abortive "Masquerade" project may have sounded like is given by the inclusion here of two pieces from the project on this album, "Tara's Theme" and "Moonfall", although it is probably the inclusion of the original piano demo to the old Genesis track, "Let Us Now Make Love" on the eventual CD re-issue by Virgin Records in 1991 which attracted most attention from the fans.

Passport Records (US only) PVC8946
Virgin Records (CD only) CDOVD325
Voiceprint Records (CD only) BP207CD
Private Parts & Pieces VII: Slow Waves Soft Stars - Passport Records 1987/Virgin Records 1991/Blueprint Records 1995  
This album was quite a change for the series, in fact it can almost be described as a "New Age" album in its conception and content, comprising as it does, a selection of Anthony's finest library pieces... "I had a few synth pieces from the library albums that I had dome and which were almost too kind of dreamy and ethereal..." Or as Anthony said during an American TV promotional programme: " A collection of subversive synthesiser pieces..." This is not the case, however, although the album does showcase Ant's talents for keyboard music. Sandwiched in between these pieces are several more "traditional" Phillips compositions, for acoustic guitar which help make this one of the more satisfying albums in the series from my point of view. Ironically enough, this was the first of his albums to be issued on CD, albeit in limited numbers due to problems with the US record company and copies of either the US CD or vinyl editions are amongst the rarest items in Anthony's catalogue.

Passport Records/Audion (USLP/CD) SYN308/SYNCD308
Virgin Records (CD only) CDOVD326
Blueprint Records (CD only) BP208CD
Private Parts & Pieces VIII: New England - Virgin Venture 1992/Blueprint 1995  
Fans of the series had to wait five years before their patience was rewarded by this album, Anthony's first (and sadly, last) under his contract with Virgin Records. This album is in a different mould to previous outings although Ant's determination to continue the series did give some headaches..."I felt that we were wandering into slightly different territory with 'Sunrise & Seamonsters'... I thought this is slightly dangerous, is this a 'Private Parts & Pieces' album or is this trying to turn into a 'The Geese & The Ghost'...?" The series has spanned most areas of Anthony's activities and this album in one broad sweep managed to sum up all of them including one of his most heartrending songs, "Unheard Cry" as well as several marvellous collaborations with Joji Hirota and Martin Robertson whose talents in the field of percussion and saxophone respectively lend a greater depth to the overall music, making this another must in the series. Once again, Voiceprint wisely decided not to add any music to this one, although there was plenty of suitable material, I can assure you! However, their edition as a picture disc is a nice touch (in fact, the entire series has been issued in this format).

Virgin Venture (CD/cassette only) CDV319/CDVE 319
Blueprint (CD only) BP212CD
Private Parts & Pieces IX: Dragonfly Dreams - Blueprint 4/11/96  
This album is another varied effort, as Anthony himself described it... "It's a mixed bag... we have an engaging pot pourri of engaging and diverting musical interludes..." Unlike its predecessor, however, Anthony has drawn upon a wider spectrum of pieces from a surprisingly long time span including at least one piece "Qango" which dates back from as far as 1980! The album also marks the return of Anthony's partner in crime, Henrique Berro Garcia on several tracks including the delightful "Hills Of Languedoc". Once again, the album embraces most of Anthony's music from six and twelve string guitars to synthesiser and another great example of his skill as a lyricist in the form of the beautiful song "She'll Be Waiting" which still sends shivers up and down my spine when I hear it. The album broke tradition by not having a cover by Ant's friend, Peter Cross and instead, the cover design is by Colin Lucas and is one of the finer designs to grace a series so often graced with superb artwork, both visually and musically!

Blueprint Records (CD only) BP229CD