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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Shawn Phillips - Contribution / Second Contribution (1970 us, brilliant psychedelic progressive folk with remarkable falsetto, 2009 BGO remaster)

Shawn Phillips shares with Tim Buckley and Van Morrison the passion for black music and a constant innovation in vocal techniques.

Texas-born, Phillips began his career as a folk-singer in California, where he recorded his early albums Favourite Things - I'm a Loner (Columbia, 1965), that included only three original compositions, and First Impressions (Columbia, 1966), which was a little bolder but basically also in the tradition of the New York folksinger. After living in England and Paris, Phillips settled in Italy. Sessions with Steve Winwood, Chris Wood and Jim Capaldi of the Traffic yielded the material for Contribution (A&M, 1970), a much more original work. 

First of all, the material was entirely composed by Phillips. Second, it included three lengthy songs (L Ballad, Withered Roses, Screamer For Phlyses) that looked more like jams. Third, Phillips mixed folk, rock, psychedelia, jazz, classical and Indian music. The opening Man Hole Covered Wagon was the only conventional song. Withered Roses was closer to a raga than to a ballad. L Ballade was virtually a classical sonata.

The pieces on Second Contribution (1970) were even more abstract, free-form, disjointed. Phillips was no longer restrained in his innovative use of the guitar and the sitar, and was even self-indulgent in his display of his three-octave vocal range. Orchestral arrangements by Paul Buckmaster enhanced the magic. The impressionistic power of Steel Eyes, The Ballad Of Casey Deiss (vibraphone, horns), Song For Sagittarians and She Was Waitin' For Her Mother was unique. 
by Piero Scaruffi 

Original Vinyl Album Liner Notes
The Shawn Phillips music. Kaleidoscopic and organic. Flowing. Living for a time. Incorporating every musical style from Bulgarian to quarter tone to African. But going its own way. Fulfilling one of the prerequisites of art -- It doesn't leave you feeling quite the same.
"If I had to describe my music in a few words, I would say it's about freedom -- the frequency of intensity that any individual being feels in a moment of unselfish experience."
"I'm trying to take a musical sound heard by the ear -- and then take the sound which continues from the ear to the mind -- and try and paraphrase that sound through electronics."
"I believe every bit of the music I play is within each individual already."
"My music is an attempt to move the inner self, in each individual who listens to it. I've tried to cover the beauty and the ugliness."
"It takes a musician to translate it from the mind into the mechanical."
"I want everyone who hears my music to experience the sadness, perplexity, the great thoughts, the grave thoughts, the joy, the freedom, the fullness of the experiences I've had, which in turn, were expressed to create the music."
"Some of my music tries to create a crisis in the mind of the individual who listens to it, and leave it to him to resolve it ... it requires both intellectual and emotional response -- the two tied together."
"In Mexico with Donovan -- my music began to come out. I threw off all the crap and I played with twice the energy and drive I ever had before. It was funny. I just suddenly came into harmony with all things."
"I'm in Italy standing on the outside looking in. But I'm not in a hermitage."
"No -- not a hermitage. But right in the middle of everything that's happening."
"It's all created for people."
"As my self arrived at harmony -- I don't like the word spiritual, but I guess that's what it is -- my music arrived there too. When I recorded the album, I told the musicians: I'm a man. I've created this much. You're men. I want you to put what you feel to it." 

1. Man Hole Covered Wagon - 4:34
2. L Ballade - 6:47
3. Not Quite Nonsense - 1:45
4. No Question - 3:37
5. Withered Roses - 8:18
6. For JFK RFK & MLK - 4:54
7. Lovely Lady - 4:56
8. Screamer for Phlyses - 6:09
Second Contribution
9. She Was Waiting for Her Mother at the Station in Torino ... - 4:54
10. Keep On - 3:21
11. Sleepwalker - 1:32
12. Song for Mr. C - 3:49
13. Ballad of Casey Deiss - 6:12
14. Song for Sagittarians - 3:43
15. Lookin' Up Lookin' Down - 3:55
16. Remedial Interruption - 1:56
17. Whazz At - 1:56
18. Schmaltz Waltz - 1:44
19. F Sharp Splendor (Paul Buckmaster) - 0:36
20. Steel Eyes - 4:18
All titles written by Shawn Phillips except where noted.

*Paul Buckmaster - Keyboards
*Jim Capaldi - Drums
*Candy John Carr - Drums
*Jimmy Coff - Percussion
*Adrian Gaye - Guitar
*Remi Kabaka - Percussion
*Chris Mercer - Saxophone
*Mox - Harmonica
*Shawn Phillips - Guitar, Sitar, Vocals
*Peter Robinson - Percussion, Keyboards
*Mick Weaver - Keyboards
*Steve Winwood - Keyboards
*Chris Wood - Wind
Second Contribution
*Paul Buckmaster - Keyboards, Orchestral Arrangements
*Harvey Burns - Guitar
*Anello Capuano - Guitar
*Jim Cregan - Guitar
*Barry Dean - Bass, Guitar
*Ann Odell - Keyboards
*Brian Odgers - Bass
*Shawn Phillips - Guitar, Sitar, Vocals
*Peter Robinson - Percussion, Keyboards
*Bruce Rowland - Drums
*Jerry Salisbury - Horn

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  1. Yes!! Thank you Marios! Just a few days ago I asked the Rockasteria community about some Shawn Phillips records. It's a shame that such a great artist has been so underrated over the years. "The best kept secret in the music business" described it the late rock impresario Bill Graham. How true this is, it is really difficult to find his albums. If you want I could forward the album "Collaboration" (1971). A masterpiece which I would be happy to share with the community.

  2. I see on his website that he has had a new lp each of the last three years - there are a couple of 1 minute clips for each which sound interesting. Have you any more info on these? Probably not any links out there. Would love to hear more.

  3. The password, please.

    Thanks a lot.


  4. Thank you very much for familiarity with such a wonderful group !!!