First broadcast May 30, 2008

In Memoriam: U. Utah (Bruce) Phillips

10 p.m. to Midnight Host: Steve Winters

“The Golden Voice of the Great Southwest” is now silent, succumbing to congestive heart failure on May 23 at 73 in Nevada City, Calif., his home for the past 21 years.

Bruce Phillips wore so many labels well: itinerant folksinger, storyteller par excellence, social activist, labor historian, railroad tramp, hobo, peace activist, anarchist and iconoclast, Wobbly, human being extraordinaire, a man of the people. In terms of his artistry, songwriting and storytelling, he was a polished, consummate performer who enjoyed a 38-year career and exerted a strong influence on the folk music community. His last appearance here in Connecticut was in March 2007 at the Sounding Board in West Hartford, where he played to a standing-room-only house with many people turned away.

Rather than borrowing from all his recorded works for this program, I relied heavily on his 4-CD set, Starlight On The Rails: A Songbook (AK Press/Daemon Records) because of his spoken introductions to the songs, which illuminate the music and the man. In a few weeks, we’ll present another show devoted to Phillips’ music as offered by other performers.

I could write reams about the man, but others have done it so well. See www.utahphillips.org

The “Uter” used to say at his concerts, “I don’t need fame and I don’t need power and I don’t need wealth. I’m in need of friends, which I have found in abundance.” He certainly did.

  • Artist, "Title", Album, Label

  • Utah Phillips, “Cannonball Blues”, Good Though!, Philo

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  • Utah Phillips, “Intro/The Telling Takes Me Home”, Starlight On The Rails: A Songbook, AK Press

  • Utah Phillips, “Going Away Intro”, Starlight On The Rails: A Songbook, AK Press

  • Utah Phillips, “Going Away”, Good Though!, Philo

  • Utah Phillips, “Intro/Frisco Road”, “Intro/Queen Of The Rails”, “Intro/Old Buddy Goodnight”, Starlight On The Rails: A Songbook, AK Press

  • Utah Phillips, “Wabash Cannonball Intro”, Starlight On The Rails: A Songbook, AK Press

  • Utah Phillips, “Wabash Cannonball/Tolono”, Good Though!, Philo

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  • Utah Phillips, “Hallelujah I’m A Bum”, Legends Of Folk, Red House

  • Utah Phillips, “Moose Turd Pie”, Good Though!, Philo

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  • Kate Brislin & Jody Stecher, “Intro/Orphan Train”, “Intro/The Miners Lullaby”, Starlight On The Rails: A Songbook, AK Press

  • Rosalie Sorrels, “Intro/I Think Of You”, Utah Phillips, Starlight On The Rails: A Songbook, AK Press

  • Finest Kind, “Intro/The Faded Roses Of December”, Starlight On The Rails: A Songbook, AK Press

  • Kate Wolf, “Intro/Aces Straights & Flushes”, Starlight On The Rails: A Songbook, AK Press

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  • Utah Phillips, Touch Me, Here With You, Legends Of Folk, Red House