Anthony Phillips: The Geese & The Ghost (1977)

A brief return to my prog vice... though this owes a lot more to British folk traditions than to prog.

Anthony Phillips was the founding guitarist of Genesis, though he left the band after 1970's Trespass due to illness and stage fright.  His first solo album didn't arrive until some seven years later, but I think it remains his best, and is relatively essential for fans of early Gabriel-era Genesis.

Most of the album highlights Phillips' excellent 12-string guitar work (joined by Genesis' Michael Rutherford), a blend of folk and classical music, with the bulk of the album consisting of a pair of lengthy instrumental suites augmented by piano, strings and woodwinds.  The pieces are quite enticing, particularly the title suite, which sounds like a counterpart to Genesis' first post-Phillips release, Nursery Cryme.

Given Rutherford's participation, Phillips was able to corral Phil Collins to sing a pair of tunes, and they're just lovely.  "Which Way The Wind Blows" is a gorgeous ballad, in most respects a great lost mid-70s Genesis track that wouldn't have sounded out of place on Selling England by the Pound or Trick of the Tail.  And "God If I Saw Her Now" is an striking love song, wonderfully pretty, Collins in a duet with British singer Vivienne McAuliffe.  (Phillips himself sings on one track; and while he's not in the same league as a Collins or Gabriel as a vocalist, I don't mind him; I actually think the follow-up LP, Wise After The Event, on which Phillips sang all the tracks, is quite great.)

Anyway, it's a must for fans of early Genesis, or just anyone who appreciates the pleasant jangle of a classically-trained 12-string guitar player with occasional prog flourishes.

Here's "Which Way The Wind Blows":
 ...and an audio rip of the title track: