So beautiful. This is one of the most gorgeous albums I have heard in a subtle, easy-going, yet complex manner. On The Geese and the Ghost, Anthony Phillips takes the English pastoral countryside feel for music that he helped develop with the boys from Genesis and makes a work of breathtaking beauty.
A teaser intro in “Wind – Tales” sounds like some backwards recording of sorts and leads into the lovely “Which Way the Wind Blows.” At the time of this release, Phil Collins was establishing himself as the full time vocalist for Genesis and turns in wonderful performances on this song and “God If I Saw Her Now.” His approach here is more subdued to match the landscape that Phillips paints throughout the recording. Collins is joined on the duet “God If I Saw Her Now” by vocalist Viv McCauliffe. The two of them sound so tender as Phil pines for a lost love to his current love. Normal circumstances aside, it still turns out pretty.
There are two instrumental pieces just below and over fifteen minutes. The first, “Henry: Portraits of Tudor Times” is the least restrained work on the album with incredible 12-string guitars picking and strumming through punches of orchestral instruments conveying a story without words of Henry VII’s war with France in a most personal manner. It comes across very regal sounding and apt for the powerful source material. Title track “The Geese and the Ghost” is a tour-de-force for Phillips and guest 12-stringer Michael Rutherford. Their string playing challenges back and forth on this acoustic delight I found to be great make-out music. I used it a few times back in the 80s as background for a romantic evening and it never failed. Insert smiley face here.
Anthony takes lead vocal for “Collections” and shows himself to be the best vocalist outside of Peter and Phil that Genesis produced. I’ve heard Tony, Mike and Steve sing on various solo recordings and I much prefer Anthony’s voice over theirs. (Tony Banks’ voice is especially horrid) The song leads breathlessly into another instrumental, this one played on piano. It features Phillips taking a break from the acoustic guitar for the last part of the album. Both “Collection” and “Sleepfall: The Geese Fly West” are like one song and end this lovely record just as it should, in a beautiful and heavenly manner.
A 2008 re-master from Voiceprint includes a second disc of demos and an unreleased Phil Collins sung single, well worth getting. The Geese and the Ghost takes the best of the first couple of Genesis albums’ quieter and subtle aspects and improves on them in an astounding way. It’s all so simple and lyrical in its presentation and… So beautiful.
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on March 24th, 2012