Geese Review

A review of the re-issue of The Geese & The Ghost by Mario Giammetti from the April 2008 edition of the Italian music magazine Jam



One single sentence to describe it? The right record at the wrong time. While Johnny Rotten outraged the Queen and made fun of the BBC TV host, the former Genesis member, already deemed a "dinosaur" (though, at 25, younger than many who were recycling themselves through the punk movement), had to suffer a lot before finding a record label willing to listen to his acoustic water-colours, his soft orchestrations, his soft melodies.

Just like casting pearls before swine, in 1977, the era of the iconoclasts. But if only this record had seen the light at the time of its first recordings ('73/'74), who knows which effect it might have caused... Maybe today everybody would put it where it actually deserves to be, i.e. among the ten greatest prog albums of all time. Or maybe not. Too acoustic. Too little rhythm. Too few parts with vocals, and no real guitar solos. No odd time signatures, not even a mellotron. But this record is still a gem of bucolic sensibility, an anthology of sad fragility, as can be understood just looking at the lovely cover art, drawn by Peter Cross.

The tracks, many of which were composed with Mike Rutherford during Phillips' stay with Genesis, are generally built by weaving layers of 12-string guitars, with the valued contribution of flutes, oboe and a small orchestra. Only three are the songs: Which Way the Wind Blows is, to this day, the most intense vocal performance recorded by Phil Collins, who is then also featured in the melancholy God If I Saw Her Now, a duet with female singer Viv MacAuliffe.

Ant's voice can be heard once, at the end of the record, in the sorrowful Collections, whose epilogue, Sleepfall, is so beautiful you need to listen to it repeatedly. In the middle, two splendid instrumental suites: Henry, and the title track.

And if all this was not enough, this new edition comes with a bonus CD that, after some 10 demos and alternate takes, ends with Silver Song, one more track recorded with Rutherford and Collins (vocals and drums), which had to be released as a Phil Collins single in 1973, but was then shelved (for reasons not very clear even today) for some 35 years.

It would be a crime not to buy this new edition!


Special thanks to Mario for kindly supplying this translation of his review.



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