"Listening to the songs in the attic" - Anthony Phillips' Archive Collection Volume One. Reviewed by Alan Hewitt.
It is still difficult for me to believe that this collection has seen the light of day. Not because of any inferiority in the music; far from it! What is still difficult for me to grasp, is that this entire collection came about after a joking reference to the archives "hidden" in Anthony's attic!
After the discovery in August 1995 of several VERY important recordings including a few that have since emerged on the recently released Genesis box set, the idea of a "thank you" package for the loyal members of Anthony's own fan club - The Pavilion - gradually took shape. This was further augmented by the persistent digging around of my Pavilion cohort Jonathan Dann who undertook further the further researches necessary to bring much of this material to light and indeed to record! Indeed, it was he who delved even deeper into the recesses of Anthony's tape collection and was even responsible for the transfer of much of the material onto DAT format for future posterity.
The resultant collection is a neat little resume of Anthony's career. The project began as a possible cassette-only release for the fan club; but thanks to Jon's persistence and the generosity of Anthony and his record company, Blueprint, it soon grew into a two CD set!
So, what does this collection offer fans old and new that hasn't been heard before? Well, quite a lot actually. Beginning with the inclusion of several of the earliest surviving demos he made with Mike Rutherford, several of which eventually saw the light of day as parts of his first solo album "The Geese & The Ghost" in 1977, especially several early recordings (circa 1969/70) and the delightful "Kiddies' Mix" of the title track itself.
There is also a wider look at his thirty year career including several pieces which I never thought I would hear on record, and personal highlights for me are the long overdue excerpt from "Rule Britannia" and the single mix from 1990's classic "Slow Dance" album which Virgin were too shortsighted to release! Then there is the delightful acoustic recording "Study In G" which has had to wait an unbelievable TWENTY years to be published.
For fans of vintage Genesis there is a gem as well, in the shape of the original instrumental version of "The Musical Box" under its original working title of F#. Unfortunately we could not persuade Anthony to release the rehearsal version of "White Mountain" which is hilarious, I can assure you!
One thing that I have to say about his project is that it was lovingly put together by Anthony and Jonathan who deserve the full credit for their efforts. The booklet and accompanying text are as detailed an introduction to this music as you could ever wish for and include comments from several well-known personages in the Genesis camp and an introduction from someone called Alan Hewitt (now, that name sounds familiar for some reason!). The music is an excellent over view of Anthony's career and is a must for collectors of his music both old and new alike, and with the prospect of a second volume being issued when The Pavilion reaches its tenth anniversary, it might be just as well be a good idea to join his fan club now to ensure that you receive your complimentary copy!
Seriously though, the collection represents a LOT of hard work by several people, and musically is as rewarding as any of Anthony's other albums, although you wouldn't really expect me to say otherwise, now would you?
Track Listing: Back To Pluto/Promenade/Tale This Heart/Besides The Water's Edge/The Geese & The Ghost (Kiddies Mix)/Which Way The Wind Blows/Rowey Song/Lucy Will (Demo)/God, If I Saw Her Now (Demo)/In Memoriam Ad (Demo)/Rule Britannia (Closing Theme)/Exocet (Instrumental Mix)/Study In G/Holy Deadlock (Vocal Mix)/Catch You When You Fall/F# (Demo)/The Geese & The Ghost (Demo)/F#2 (Demo)/Rowey Reprise/Slow Dance (Single Demo)/The Burnt Out Cattle Truck Hits The Road/The Women Were Watching (Instrumental Mix)
Limited edition Bonus CD Track Listing: Kip PJ/Queen Bettine (Demo)/What is The Meaning?(Demo)/Farewell(Demo)/Cradle Song