Sunday, May 25, 2008

Utah Phillips has died

From Marvin Granger comes word that Bruce "Utah" Phillips, a noted Wobbly and folksinger, died in his sleep last night. Says Marvin, "I learned the meaning of 'oral tradition' largely from his stories of American labor history; that 'truth' is not a accurate account of facts so much as personal human experiences that are felt as much as known."

Among other things, Phillips hosted the public radio program "Loafers' Glory." Phillips also served as an inspiration for Butte troubadour Mark Ross, who occasionally has played in Billings. Utah Phillips also played here a couple of years ago. I missed the concert, but I am reliably informed (OK, Ed Kemmick told me) that Phillips went to the Mustangs game afterward and won the 50-50 raffle. A blessed man.

UPDATE: NPR had a nice tribute to Phillips on Thursday, including a couple of renditions of "Hallelujah, I'm a bum" and a short collection of favorite Phillips aphorisms. My favorite went approximately this way: Children, when adults say that you are our most important natural resource, watch out. Look at what they did with all the other natural resources.


pjfinn said...

Damn. Hadn't heard. Thanks for posting it. There sure aren't many like him left.

Anonymous said...

I just heard the news and am deeply saddened. May his oral tradition, and his rich recordings live on. He will be missed.