[thechat] U. Utah Phillips, 73

Erika ekm at seastorm.com
Sun May 25 15:09:36 CDT 2008

I thought he was, like, 100 and would never die.

I saw him perform in 1991 at Humboldt State University and was totally 
moved.  He had this long grey beard and he was so engaging, with a 
performance/storytelling style like Arlo Guthrie (or vice versa) who I 
saw about the same time, but way more radically political.  I remember a 
lot of that performance, his stories about his parents, Mother Jones, 
(getting kicked out of Utah)... and his thoughts on pacifism and war. I 
was in my early 20s, still, and he really gave me a lot to chew on, 
mentally.  I bought one of his cassettes that day and learned a lot of 
the old socialist organizing songs, and hobo songs, from it.  Then, in 
the mid-late 90s he was living in Nevada City (and I was still in 
Humboldt Co) and I didn't have a TV; I listened regularly to his radio 
show on the free radio station, KBOO.  Utah Phillips was a true purveyor 
of American oral tradition in the spirit of Pete Seger and Woody 
Guthrie.  I had to love his spirit, and his voice.  One of the last old 
school folk singers.


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