It’s arguably the adaptability of Genesis that has kept them in both critical and popular favour during the last 40 or so years. But the move from the tanglewood prog of the early material, through to Peter Gabriel’s stadium theatre ambitions and then to the pop of the 1980s has had its casualties.
One of the earliest of these was guitarist Anthony Phillips, one of the founder members who left in 1970. Various reasons have been cited, but Phillips himself said he wanted to spend less time touring and more time recording. Well, he’s certainly done that, with more than 30 albums released since 1977.
This epic plethora, an output usually only matched by jazz artists, suggests that if Phillips had continued within the confines of Genesis, he might actually have exploded. Harvest Of The Heart is a collection of Phillips’ best moments, but even in this culled form it’s a five-CD set, and Esoteric have done a superb job with the booklet and packaging.
And what it illustrates is how Phillips’ music has adapted itself over the years, ranging from his lovely guitar playing, gentle and bucolic, to spurts of pop and rock music that have evolved in parallel with his old band’s work (most of whom crop up here from time to time).
This set is obviously one for the Genesis hardcore, but it’s both accessible and enjoyable for the rest of us./o:p