Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bruce "Utah" Phillips

This may not exactly be old-time but it's Utah Phillips so it's in the old folk-tale/songster tradition. This is a radio Interview done in Spokane on the KXBX-FM radio station. I am not sure exactly what year it took place, but it is on cassette so it's fairly old I'm assuming. Here are the notes that came with the audio cassette:

Bruce "Utah" Phillips tells his own story best:
"I am six-foot-two, well preserved, have a steady gaze, firm hand, and very regular teeth. Our family moved from Cleveland, Ohio, in 1947 and settled in Utah where I lived till late 1969. Briefly, I have washed dishes in Yellowstone, worked building a hospital on the Navajo Reservation, been to Korea and back, tramped and boomed the western freights, worked as a printer, warehouseman and archivist, assisted in the management of a house for migrants and bums, done a stretch as a neighborhood organizer, joined the Industrial Workers of the World and, in 1968, I ran either for or from the U.S. Senate on the Peace and Freedom ticket. 
I won.
". . . After the political campaign [Utah] became very different to live in. So I took me and several thousand songs I didn't make up and a hundred  or so that I did and went East to see if I couldn't make enough money to stay alive and pay off some old debts."
"I don't really have a great voice . . . Mostly I guess my voice sounds like the places I've been and the people I've stayed with. I sing songs about trains, coal mines, Unions, factories, working people, lazy people, the old and new West, bums, politicians, and the different things that happen to you when you're in love. And I tell stories and try to get people laughing and singing together. You know, most of the songs I sing really belong to those people -- they just don't know it yet. That's what I do."


Starlight on the Road, Wooden Shoe Press.

Good, Though, Philo no. 1004
El Capitan, Philo no. 1016
All Used Up, Philo no. 1050
We Have Fed You All for a Thousand Years, Oral Tradition, Vancouver, B.C.
Silly Songs and Modern Lullabies, Sierra Records