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Anthony Phillips Recording Compendium
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Anthony Phillips Chris White Lettie Maclean Library Songs

Anthony Phillips - Library Songs 2010-2013

feat. Lettie Maclean & Chris White


Most fans think, 1995's She'll Be Waiting is the last song Anthony Phillips recorded. And it is true that it was the last song he sang himself. However, he also resorted to the skills of other singing talents for his songs in earlier years. Since then, there are more than a few who have wished for new songs by and with Ant, but his output remained instrumental...almost! Unnoticed by the public, he produced several songs for the "non-public" world of library music between 2010 and 2013 in collaboration with singer/songwriter Sophia Letitia Maclean - known as Lettie Maclean - and his collaborator Chris White, which were used for TV and advertising productions. That these songs are anything but "leftover" songs is shown by the fact that more than a few people ask about the use of such songs in visual productions to find out the performers of the music used. And finally, some of the songs with Lettie were later reworked and officially released. But most of the remaining material is now commercially available on streaming and download platforms or at least can be listened to as a stream on the publisher's site, which allows us to get a listening impression of these songs.

Chris White, a musician by training and also a singer/songwriter, began his collaboration with Anthony Phillips in 2006. In addition to assisting in the production of Ant's library output, he also appeared as co-composer of some instrumental library tracks from 2007 onwards. And Lettie Maclean had already released two solo albums in 2008 and toured Europe with Peter Murphy (ex-Bauhaus) in 2009. Her enchanting voice flattered the listener's ears for the first time in 2010 on one of Ant's library tracks.....


Frozen Tear

The one-and-a-half-minute track Frozen Tear was released in June 2010 in two versions on the library compilation Essential Electronica by Atmosphere Music (ATMOS CD268). The basis is a piano played very sparingly and melancholically by Ant, in broken chords and dipped in reverb. To this, Lettie improvises a vocal line which, intoned as "Ahh", underlines the mood of the track even without any lyrics. The vocal version is titled Frozen Tear 1 and Ants' solo version Frozen Tear 2.

Frozen Tear 1: amazonUK | YouTube


Simple Beauty

August 2010 sees the release of Orchestral Undercurrents, another Atmosphere Music library compilation (ATMOS CD270) featuring two tracks by Ant and Lettie. Simple Beauty lasts 100 seconds and is carried by wide, two-part vocal lines from Lettie (in an unidentified language) and underpinned by a quiet, orchestral drone chord from Ant - you almost feel transported to a quiet mountain lake in the north with autumnal temperatures and sunshine.

Simple Beauty: amazonUK | YouTube


Suspended Time

Somewhat frostier comes Suspended Time, which spreads an icy mood on the same length with an almost distorted drone sound, underpinned with swelling chord changes and reverberant "Ahh" motif by Lettie, who adjusts pitch and volume towards the end of the growing wall of sound until the abrupt end. An instrumental version is also available on the publisher's site.

Suspended Time: amazonUK | YouTube


Everything Always There

It continues in January 2011 on the Atmosphere compilation The Rhythm Collective (ATMOS CD277) with two 2-minute songs. On the melancholic Everything Always There Ant plays finger picking on classical guitar and Lettie heartwarmingly sings her way through two verses, bridge and another two verses to the conclusion that everything has always been there. The track is also available on the publisher's site instrumental only with Ant. 

Everything Always There: amazonUK | YouTube


Never Let Go

The "perseverance" song Never Let Go is more to the point in terms of arrangement. With Spanish guitars, bass, drums, lots of percussion and even flat bandoneon harmonica there is a lot to discover. And Lettie's snappy vocals can also score with catchy melodies. The publisher's site has besides the instrumental version also a slimmed down vocal version without drums, percussions and bandoneon on offer.

Never Let Go: amazonUK | YouTube


Let Let Go

Nine years later, the song was reworked by Ant and his colleague James Collins: the drums disappear, (new) percussion and violin are added. The now 2:15 long song Let Let Go is finally released commercially as a Lettie single in December 2020 by CherryRed.

Let Let Go: amazonUK | YouTube





Catch A Moment

With the title Summer Songs, the direction of Atmosphere Music's May 2011 compilation (ATMOS 280) is already clear, and no less than four of the songs included come from the Phillips camp. Catch A Moment (2:14) now also features Chris White as co-writer and vocalist. On this dreamy, feel-good number, you can literally feel the pleasant warmth of the sun and immediately think of some insect sounds to go with the upbeat, light arrangement of picking on acoustic guitar, relaxed shaker and tambourine, electric piano, flute, violin and heartwarming backing vocals from Lettie. Chris' unpretentious voice does the rest, and the whistled theme in the middle section is the icing on the cake of the track. On the publisher's site there is even a completely whistled version of the song in the same arrangement, but also, interestingly, a completely different two-and-a-half-minute recording of the track - a "late night campfire" version recorded a lot slower with just two acoustic guitars and vocals orchestrated. Unfortunately, the song was removed from Summer Songs for release on streaming portals, but it's still available for purchase on 7digital.com.


Love Will Shine

Chris and Ant also co-wrote the next song with Lettie called Love Will Shine, which is convincingly intoned by the latter as a heartfelt declaration of love. A guitar arpeggio with three chords forms the complete foundation of the whole 2min song, and Lettie simply sings three different melodies over it, thereby revealing verse, chorus and middle section. Only a glockenspiel and a second guitar are added in support in the chorus. An instrumental version of the track is available on the publisher's site.

Love Will Shine: amazonUK | YouTube


Over And Over Again

This song was also reworked in 2020 by Anthony Phillips and James Collins: a cello was added. The song was then given the title Over And Over Again and, together with Let Let Go, was officially released as a single by Lettie in December of that year.

Over And Over Again: amazonUK | YouTube






Halcyon Days

Continuing with Summer Songs is the 2 ½-minute song Halcyon Days (not to be confused with the track of the same title from Ant's 1991/92 New England sessions). In lilting 6/8 time, the acoustic guitar sets the beaten rhythm as Lettie puts into words a happy-go-lucky moment. Her vocals are relieved by a violin in the middle section. The instrumental version on the publisher's site is limited to Ant's guitar only. An alternate instrumental version with plucked ukulele can also be found there, as well as a version sung in French! Unfortunately, the song has been removed from Summer Songs for release on streaming portals, but it is still available for purchase on 7digital.com.


Halcyon Days (Days To Remember)

But this song was also heavily reworked for an official release. In 2016, Anthony Phillips and James Collins will again produce a version that integrates, among other things, drums, kalimba and various keyboards in the new arrangement and thus gets a full "band sound". As Halcyon Days (Days To Remember) the piece was released in May of the year including animated video as a single by Lettie Maclean..

Halcyon Days (Days To Remember): amazonUK | YouTube


Sunshine Upon Your Shoulder

The last Ant/Lettie song on this compilation is titled Sunshine Upon Your Shoulder and is a little bit more than two minutes long. The instrumental base here is simply played by a very percussive, pizziccato harp-like motif that grooves happily along with echoes. Over this, Lettie's vocal lines exude a lightness and lightheartedness, with a "nana-nana-nana-na" part underscoring the mood. Again, the publisher's site offers an instrumental alternative. Unfortunately, the song has been removed from Summer Songs for release on streaming portals, but it is still available for purchase on 7digital.com.

Sunshine Upon Your Shoulder: YouTube


Sunshine On Your Shoulder

And this song was once again given a hand by Ant and James in 2016. With a fat beat, groovy loops and lots of electronic sounds plus now two-part vocals, the now 3:42 long Sunshine On Your Shoulder becomes a modern pop number that does not have to fear comparisons to contemporary productions. The Lettie Maclean single was released by CherryRed in August 2016.

Sunshine On Your Shoulder: amazonUK | YouTube


Sunny Afternoon

In May 2013 Atmosphere Music released The Summer Soundtrack (ATMOS 312), a compilation with the same concept, which includes three more songs from Phillips. The co-composition Sunny Afternoon with Chris White features the same singer again. This relaxed 2-minute song consists, strictly speaking, of a 2-bar theme plucked on acoustic guitar, initially augmented only by the 2-part sung (and only) verse and fills from a second guitar. A shaker is added, the vocals change to a happy "la-la-la" theme, and more and more stringed instruments, percussion and accordion join in bar by bar, until a country-esque euphoric conclusion. On the publisher's site one supplements with a 1:1 instrumental version, a thinned out version with guitars and shaker only and a version with guitars only. Interesting there is also an instrumental 30sec teaser with flutes and violin, which can only be heard here.

Sunny Afternoon: amazonUK | YouTube


These Days

On the next song, These Days, with a playing length of 2:43, Lettie is again involved as co-writer and vocalist. A rough, restrained played guitar opens and Lettie enjoys the birds chirping in the trees. From the chorus on, two strum guitars euphorically accompany Lettie's joyful, polyphonic "Uaiaiaio" until the rather quiet middle section. Only a tambourine complements the otherwise spartan arrangement. The instrumental version on the publisher's site even does without this percussion element.

These Days: amazonUK | YouTube


You're Unusual

The last number, You're Unusual, is a sustained ballad of 2 minutes turned into a love song by Lettie. The accompaniment here is limited only to plucked acoustic guitar by Ant, but in a noticeably unusual tuning. The publisher's site surprises here with another, alternative instrumental recording of the piece in a one-and-a-half minute, faster-playing 7/8 time version, in addition to a normal instrumental version!

You're Unusual: amazonUK | YouTube


Bonus Tracks? Besides these 12 vocal tracks with Lettie Maclean and/or Chris White there are three more contributions that should find place here.


In January 2020, on the compilation Results by Spark! (SPK027) a beautiful 30-second duet by Ant and Lettie called Seaside Lullabye was released.

Seaside Lullabye: amazonUK | YouTube







Also released in 2020, Late Night City Grooves, a library album by Ant's colleague James Collins, came out in March on Felt Music (FML1011), featuring the three-minute LA Nights, a track that also lists Ant and Lettie as co-writers and is sung by the latter. Quite different from the singer/songwriter songs, this track goes in the direction of electronic chill-out. There are also two instrumental versions on the publisher's site.

LA Nights: amazonUK | YouTube


Finally, a Ant Phillips / Chris White collaboration is mentioned, which was released in March 2011 on the library compilation Little Pictures, Big Ideas by Bruton/APM (BIGS-0019). With the almost 2-minute tracks Mediterranean Summer and Sunshine Love Song we get mediterranean summer feeling with typical flamenco guitars and portuguese vocals. It is the same song with alternative lyrics, sung by a lady who is unfortunately not mentioned by name here (It's not Lettie).

Mediterranean Summer: amazonUK | YouTube
Sunshine Love Song: amazonUK | YouTube


All in all

Anthony Phillips' music with vocals might be for some a long-missed facet of his work. This is what makes the songs here, which were actually created exclusively for library purposes and thus not commercially released, so interesting. Ant has proven a lucky hand with the selection of his comrades-in-arms, because the combination of those involved has worked wonderfully for the purpose of writing and recording together. And it would simply be too much of a pity if these results of the collaboration with singers were to gather dust in anonymous, virtual music libraries in waiting mode until they could be "exploited". With the existing material, a nice (mini-)album could be made, which might also manage to attract new customers to Ant's music, or even to rekindle lost listeners who had lost interest in his instrumental output. At least, thanks to a change of thinking in the library industry, we can listen to, if not buy, such pieces.


Chris White started his own business in 2014 with Loft8 Productions and now produces music for TV and advertising clients on his own - more information is available on his website.

Lettie Maclean has released other solo albums in the meantime. The new album Endless Climb with producer David Baron will be released on November 11, 2022. For more information, visit her website.


Author: Steffen Gerlach


Links:
Anthony Phillips Recording Compendium - Website-Special
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