Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Shawn Phillips

This song comes from our distant past. I have always thought of this as one of the best love songs I ever heard. My lady has brown eyes, but still. Second Contribution by Shawn Phillips was one of those albums you grew up with in South Africa, along with Cold Fact by Rodriguez. Both of these guys seemed to have been huge in SA, but just about nowhere else. I remember borrowing this album along with Very 'eavy Very 'umble by Uriah Heep from my cousin Vivianne. I immediately taped them and soon knew every single note and word. I somehow stumbled across Steel Eyes by Shawn Phillips on YouTube. This video, appropriately, comes from a live festival in South Africa in 1994. What is completely remarkable is that the audience, knows the music so well that they don't clap during the long pauses.


Camille said...

Why he wouldn't be well known in the US is beyond me. This is a beautiful song. I never heard of him or this song prior to your blog and I wish I had. You are right, his audience knows it well.

BobA said...

It is unfortunate that so few folks here in the USA know about Shawn Phillips. I have 2nd Contribution and used to listen to it quite a bit in high school. But it's not something you heard very often even on the most progressive radio stations.

The Babujanies said...

Early nineties; rehearsing with my band Hall of Souls when Selwyn, Lianne, and various others arrive with a stranger in tow. “We’ve brought someone to watch you play. We found him busking on 3rd Street” Next thing we’re introduced to Shawn Philips who sits down and watches us play 4 or 5 songs. He loves our music. He then plays a couple of old favorites for us. We tell him about his popularity in South Africa and he says that he’s always noticed that the royalty checks from South Africa were strangely elevated. Within the year, Shawn Philips tours South Africa and at the shows, he relays the story of the South Africans he met in LA who were indirectly responsible for him being there. Cool huh?