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Phillips; Anthony: Private Parts & Pieces I-IV (deluxe box set)

It's impossible to mention Anthony Phillips without uttering the "G word", so let's get it over with and mention that Phillips departed from Genesis some 45 years ago. Since then the guitarist, singer and songwriter has carved out a rather individual and eclectic body of solo and collaborative work, which has been consistently punctuated by his Private Parts & Pieces albums. 1978 seeing the first, and 2012 the most recent. Here Esoteric Records continues what appears to be a Genesis related reissues campaign (recent releases include the Steve Hackett/Steve Howe collaboration GTR and a collecting together of Tony Banks' best work) by bringing the first four Private Parts albums Private Parts & Pieces (1978), PP&P II Back To The Pavilion (1980), PP&P III Antiques (1982) and PP&P IV A Catch At The Tables (1984) into one collection and adding a fifth disc of previously unreleased versions and ideas dating from between 1976 and 1983. The whole set comes in a rather beautiful "clam shell" box, with a mixture of new and from the time liner notes, which even without placing a disc in the player makes for an impressively striking release.

Originally the concept behind the Private Parts and Pieces releases was to give Phillips a way of getting his home recordings on acoustic guitar and piano with only occasion vocals out to his fans, with different levels of success in different territories. Therefore the first in the four re-releases here is possibly the most basic, although don't let that have you thinking this is throwaway fare, for much though lo-fi probably is a fitting description, the pieces themselves are lovingly, if starkly put together. Interestingly "Stranger" dates back to a time when Phillips was still in Genesis, while "Reaper" was intended as an accompaniment to a visual portrayal of the banquet scene in Macbeth. The same ethos goes for Part II, although a more band feel is in evidence on the opening five part "Scottish Suite", which once again stems from a Shakespearean starting point, this time for a pilot for a potential series starring Glenda Jackson the five pieces also featuring a certain Mike Rutherford.

Part III Antiques, however was approached and recorded as an album (rather than a collection of unrelated songs not initially intended to be released together), Phillips teaming up with guitarist Enrique Berro Garcia. The pair duet to great effect throughout and the results are unsurprisingly more cohesive than the two predecessors. However on the other hand it doesn't necessarily remain the most memorable of the bunch, amazing though the playing is, although "Esperansa" and "Otto's Face" do stick in the mind. Part IV reverted to type, a collection of parts and pieces from across the years released for all to hear, and along with the first of the format, may well the best of the box. Standouts show up across the whole disc, but "Lights On The Hill" has proved a fan favourite over the years and it's easy to hear why.

What with the original four discs having been re-released numerous times, in numerous territories and on numerous labels over the years, there have been a conglomeration of bonus tracks attached to these albums and pleasingly they're all slotted into their correct positions on their correct albums (a total of 15). Leaving disc five being 18 pieces of never previously released ideas, takes or variations which compliment the other discs superbly and illustrate that while the whole ethos of these albums has been to let the fans hear the "leftover" material, there's still plenty more in the vaults of real worth.
Beautiful, poised, intricate and restrained are words which ably describe each and every track included in this box set, as they show a musician playing to his strengths. And hats off to Esoteric Records for taking the time to ensure the whole set sounds fantastic, looks amazing and is as interesting to read and look at, as it is to listen to.


Track Listing
DISC ONE:
PRIVATE PARTS & PIECES
01. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
02. FIELD OF ETERNITY
03. TIBETAN YAK MUSIC
04. LULLABY OLD FATHER TIME
05. HARMONIUM IN THE DUST (OR HARMONIOUS STRATOSPHERE)
06. TREGENNA AFTERNOONS
07. STRANGER
08. REAPER
09. AUTUMNAL
10. FLAMINGO
11. SEVEN LONG YEARS
BONUS TRACKS
12. SILVER SONG (DEMO)
13. MOVEMENT IV FROM GUITAR QUINTET


DISC TWO: PRIVATE PARTS & PIECES: BACK TO THE PAVILION
SCOTTISH SUITE:
01. SALMON LEAP
02. PARTING THISTLE
03. ELECTRIC REAPER
04. AMORPHOUS, CADAVEROUS AND NEBULOUS
05. SALMON'S LAST SLEEPWALK
06. LINDSAY
07. K2
08. POSTLUDE: END OF THE SEASON
09. HEAVENS
10. SPRING MEETING
11. ROMANY'S ARIA
12. CHINAMAN
13. NOCTURNE
14. MAGIC GARDEN
15. VON RUNKEL'S YORKER MUSIC
BONUS TRACKS
16. WILL O' THE WISP
17. TREMULOUS
18. I SAW YOU TODAY
19. BACK TO THE PAVILION
20. LUCY: AN ILLUSION


DISC THREE: PRIVATE PARTS & PIECES PART III: ANTIQUES
01. MOTHERFOREST
HURLINGHAM SUITE:
02. (i) IVIED CASTLES
03. (ii) FROSTED WINDOWS
04. (iii) BANDIDO (2:46)
05. (iv) CHURCH BELLS AT SUNSET
06. SUITE IN D MINOR:
i. WHIRLPOOLS
ii. COBBLESTONES
iii. CATACOMBS
07. DANSE NUDE
08. ESPERANSA
09. ELEGY
10. OTTO'S FACE
11. SAND DUNES
12. OLD WIVES TALE
BONUS TRACKS
13. FROSTED WINDOWS (VARIATION I)
14. ESPERANSA (ALTERNATE MIX)
15. BANDIDO (EARLY TAKE)
16. OLD WIVES TALE (TAKE 6)
17. SUITE IN D MINOR (ALTERNATE VERSION)
18. FROSTED WINDOWS (VARIATION II)
19. EL CID


DISC FOUR: PRIVATE PARTS & PIECES IV: A CATCH AT THE TABLES
ARBORETUM SUITE:
01. (i) SET PIECE
02. (ii) OVER THE GATE
03. (iii) FLAPJACK
04. (iv) LIGHTS ON THE HILL
05. EARTH MAN
06. DAWN OVER THE LAKE
07. BOUNCER
08. EDUARDO
09. HEART OF DARKNESS
10. THE SEA AND THE ARMADILLO
11. SISTINE
BONUS TRACKS
12. EROTIC STRINGS
13. A CATCH AT THE TABLES
14. FLAPJACK (SOLO VERSION)
15. THEME FROM OPERATION WHALE


DISC FIVE: PRIVATE PARTS & EXTRA PIECES:
01. SEA PIECE INTRO
02. PRELUDE 3
03. THE PRINCESS WALTZ
04. THE MARIONETTE VIGNETTE
05. DUCHESS OF KEW
06. BIRDSONG LINK
07. OVER THE GATE (ALTERNATE MIX)
08. SEA SKETCHES
09. LINES IN THE SAND
10. STUDY IN D MAJOR
11. MOONSHOOTER PIANO
12. LONG AGO
13. LULLABY OLD FATHER TIME VARIATION
14. THEME FROM SEA PIECE
15. SISTINE (ALTERNATIVE PIANO VERSION)
16. ARMADILLO AIR
17. K2 LINK
18. STILL-BORN LOVE

Added: October 17th 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Private Parts Deluxe at Cherry Red
Hits: 1104
Language: english

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