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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'The Living Room Concert [Expanded]'
Artist - Anthony Phillips

For those not in the know, Esoteric Recordings will be releasing the incredible, and remastered and expanded edition of The "Living Room" Concert by original Genesis guitarist and celebrated solo artist and composer Anthony Phillips this July 17th, 2020.

Originally released in May 1995, the album featured highlights of a live solo performance by Phillips which was recorded on March 21st, 1993 as part of the Living Room Concert Series for the US Radio program Echoes; a daily program of contemporary instrumental music.

The show was broadcast on 120 public radio stations in America on 25th June, 1993.

For the performance, Phillips selected a number of acoustic guitar and piano pieces, drawing mainly on tracks originally released on the albums The Geese and The Ghost, Private Parts and Pieces and A Catch at The Tables.

He also included two pieces from New England, the eighth volume in the Private Parts & Pieces series and a solo 12-string version of the first movement of a Guitar Quintet that he had composed in 1976; which had subsequently been scored with parts for strings and wind instruments, Conversation Piece.

1. 'Reaper'
2. 'Which Way the Wind Blows'
3. 'Henry: Portraits from Tudor Times'
4. 'Conversation Piece'
5. 'Flamingo'
6. 'Field of Eternity'
7. 'Sistine'
8. 'Lights on the Hill'
9. 'Last Goodbyes'
10. 'Collections'
11. 'Sleepfall'
12. 'Jaunty Roads'
13. 'Let Us Now Make Love'
14. 'Lucy: An Illusion'

Released back in 1995 as part of Phillips' "Living Room" concert series, which in itself was a quaint tradition that started in folk music circles and had since moved into some of the smaller genres of prog by then, the actual idea was that the musician in question would subsequently perform at the house of a generous (heavily donating) fan.

But because Phillips has always been so, well, for the sake of a more medical term, stage shy, his first foray into these "Living Room" concerts was actually done by not even leaving his very own front room!

Hence, the radio broadcast came directly from Phillips' own living room, which might explain why the recorded results are both low key and very intimate.

Opening with the delicate 'Reaper,' the lush orchestrations of the magnificent 'Which Way the Wind Blows' then bleed seamlessly into the near 12-minute work of music art, the Mike Rutherford co-written 'Henry: Portraits from Tudor Times.'

More of that ye olde vibe come through on 'Conversation Piece' which is itself backed by the jaunty guitar work of 'Flamingo,' the free flowing, ethereal at times 'Field of Eternity,' and then the heart rendering recollections of 'Sistine.'

The original album then rounds out with the thoughtfully stirring 'Lights on the Hill,' the ornate piano work of 'Last Goodbyes,' coming to a close with one of the best tracks (in my humble opinion), the fabulously fable like storytelling of 'Sleepfall.'

Unavailable on CD for many years, The "Living Room" Concert has been remastered and expanded to include three previously unreleased tracks recorded for the original broadcast: 'Jaunty Roads', 'Let Us Now Make Love' and 'Lucy: An Illusion'.

The first of those is the sweet and joyful, albeit short 'Jaunty Roads' which is backed by the seven minute, delicately piano-led 'Let Us Now Make Love,' with the mid-tempo pop prog ballad 'Lucy: An Illusion' rounding out the newly added trio.

Phillips' solo performances on guitar and piano with occasional vocals are simple yet assured here throughout, and his between-song banter is endearingly awkward.

It's unavoidable, however, that Phillips' material - possibly because he's never wanted to be a live performer - is simply not particularly suited to the stage.

In its original studio version, 'Henry: Portraits from Tudor Times' is a marvelous tapestry of interlocking classical guitar filigrees. However, live, it by necessity sounds a bit weedy and much less harmonically inventive, so to speak.

The two solo piano pieces at the end of the album, 'Last Goodbyes' and 'Collections' are more melodically interesting and richer sounding, especially the latter, and so as much as The "Living Room" Concert is clearly for Anthony Phillips fans only, it still remains a quite wonderful musical document, nonetheless.

This Esoteric Recordings edition restores the original artwork and includes new liner notes by Anthony Phillips archivist Jon Dann.

Official Purchase Link