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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eat the Apple
On the inner cover is a picture of a hand offering a green apple. Whether the apple symbolizes temptation or affinity with the Beatles' era music, this is such a delicious CD that we do well to eat the apple. From the opening of "How to Quit" Sam's guitar and Carla Azar's drums pound out a simple rhythms that shimmer & glow. My favorite track is "All Night" with its...
Published on October 9, 2004 by Lee Armstrong

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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as Fan Dance
Fan Dance was a change of pace from Sam's earlier CD's but it was still a good CD. The earlier CDs had much brilliance marked throughout, I listen to them today and ask how this musician can be so overlooked? But I am not sure why she is taking the Fan Dance style so far? The music is so stripped down, it begins to lack luster. Certainly there are some good songs...
Published on May 13, 2005 by SteveMor


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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eat the Apple, October 9, 2004
By 
This review is from: A Boot & A Shoe (Audio CD)
On the inner cover is a picture of a hand offering a green apple. Whether the apple symbolizes temptation or affinity with the Beatles' era music, this is such a delicious CD that we do well to eat the apple. From the opening of "How to Quit" Sam's guitar and Carla Azar's drums pound out a simple rhythms that shimmer & glow. My favorite track is "All Night" with its eastern European rhythms that take two drummers and Sam's hushed vocal allure, "Sleepless questions & some sly suggestions that I could fly if I could only fall; I've been wanting to touch you since we met." "Open the World" seems like an off-kilter romance with music that keeps trying to fit together mirroring the awkwardness of emotion reflected in the lyric, "You caught me wanting & the shame in my eyes was so inductive that it magnetized us pulling down my need." "Red Silk Five" is deceptively simple, but entirely addictive. Phillips' songs are short, the longest clocking in an eyelash over 4 minutes, with two songs under 2 minutes, yet the time is fully embodied and hardly seems short. "Draw Man" has a lighthearted soft melodic shuffle with a terrific lyric, "It's too much trouble to impress you; My lies are never big enough; I use the truth to cover up where you're looking." Another wonderfully addictive song sounds like it could be the cabaret soundtrack for Sartre's "No Exit" about a love triangle where each loves the next. "If I Could Write" has the most instrumentation with Patrick Warren's string arrangement on this lighthearted melody that crosscuts with a complex lyric, "Desire's the element that I can't fight, dream is the arm of God." "Hole in My Pocket" conveys such yearning with Sam's understated vocals. The CD concludes with a somewhat pessimistic message that help is coming "One Day Late." Phillips' melodies, lyrics, vocals and T-Bone Burnett's superb production make "A Boot & A Shoe" one of the year's best accomplishments. Bravo!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wry, sly and knowing, October 25, 2004
This review is from: A Boot & A Shoe (Audio CD)
The second time I put this CD on the stereo, I felt as if I had already heard it a hundred times. There is something about the melodies and the lyrics of Sam Phillips that makes the songs irresistibly catchy.

They're not catchy in a bubble-gum pop way, however. The songs catch me right in the gut. There is a part of me that responds wholeheartedly to a vision like that of Sam Phillips; a world which is wry, sly and knowing. This is music that is written to appeal to adults and people who think like adults.

The friend who recommended the album to me said it was "old-timey," but the more I listen, the more I think that's completely the wrong way to describe it. She uses old-time instrumentation that recalls jug bands, string quartets and lonely young women in walk-up apartments with acoustic guitars. But those voicings are assembled in a modern way.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars open the world, June 21, 2004
By 
omnipop (Albany NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Boot & A Shoe (Audio CD)
This record is yet another brilliant piece of work from Sam. It does require a few listens to really kick in, but once it does, it just won't let go.
The virgin era albums were more full blown, Technicolor productions. This and "Fan Dance" are more black and white in approach,( there are some who don't like black and white, so sorry) but to say that they are unadorned is simply not true. Half of this album has beautiful string arrangements; there's some pretty great drumming going on, heck the first song has a doubletracked vocal on it. For those who feel it's one long song, listen again.
I always thought that the best things about Sam are her songs and her voice. The melodies are memorable, tuneful. Nobody writes more economically than Sam; why write three verses when two will do? I didn't notice any " cosmic whining" in the lyrics. You can read into it any way you like; I think Sam likes to leave things open to interpretation, leave some mystery there. As for her singing, she is a great vocalist, making the most of what she has.
Some have complained about the length. Well, Revolver and Pet Sounds are short albums too. This record doesn't need to be any longer than it is. It feels complete to me.
In some ways, this and "Fan Dance" are the best work Sam has done. The Virgin era owed a lot sonically to the Beatles. I think these records are unique.No one is quite working in the same territory. I think that is why Sam has fallen in between the cracks, there is no easy categorization to her approach, and there never was.
There are many rich rewards to be found here. This is a great album. Open the world and listen.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Addictive, Sultry, and Sophisticated, April 16, 2005
This review is from: A Boot & A Shoe (Audio CD)
I first became interested in Sam Phillips after hearing the track "Reflecting Light" in an episode of Gilmore Girls (her music plays in nearly every episode of the show, usually as small snippits and cues between scenes). From the moment I put the album in my stereo, I was hooked.

Unlike most music heard on the radio today, there is no filler in Phillip's music. It goes straight to the good stuff, the minute you put the CD on, with no unneccessary beats and hooks to weigh you down. The music is deep and heavy, but it somehow rolls lightly and flows smoothly, in an acoustic-melodic-alternative-indie-rock way. Some tracks are love songs, some are stories of life and loss, but none are sappy.

The album was near-perfect, but I did feel that it was too short. There are 13 songs, a fairly good total, but less than 40 minutes of music in all. Some of the songs are similar, too; while a few tracks are completely unique, and they all have distinct ryhtms and messages, they do tend to flow into each other.

Despite this, the CD is great--it's one that will never be outdated or lose it's value.

"A Boot and A Shoe" is a "quality over quantity" CD for those listeners who are tired of bubble-gum pop and want something more sophisticated and original, but still want to hear something fun and modern.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sam finds melancolic bliss with her "Boot & A Shoe", April 28, 2004
This review is from: A Boot & A Shoe (Audio CD)
Sam Phillips, as stated many times before, could be one of the most underrated singer-songwriters ever to make record of their craft. After her Virgin years of courting mainstream success (the closest catch being the excellent "Martinis & Bikinis" record and her almost-hit "I Need Love") left a bitter taste in her mouth, Phillips took another segue in her already puzzling career - she and producer/husband T-Bone Burnett stripped the gloss, unplugged and made her masterpiece, 2001's "Fan Dance". It's intimate production value and sweeping torch songs brought Sam to the forefront, leaving nothing but the necessities: that sensuous voice, those perfect pop melodies and her trademark - the intelligent, often cynical dark humor of her lyrics.
But whereas "Fan Dance" was bristling and anxious in this naked skin, projecting a noir-ish paranoia to it, "A Boot And A Shoe" practically revels in the simplicity...paranoia gives way to melancoly, melancoly gives way to hope. And, judging by the lyrics in this fraternal twin of "Fan Dance", melancoly and hope is all our Sam has in the wake of her recent self-professed "failure at love" with Mr. Burnett. Songs waft and wane from hopelessness to reckless abandon like a woman looking at the world anew. As stated in the swoon-worthy "Reflecting Light": "Now that I've worn out the world, I'm on my knees in fascination."
Which is not to say this album is a major departure for Phillips... all the necessities are here: peppy pop confections to stay in your head for days ("All Night", "Infiltration"), devastatingly beautiful ballads ("I Dreamed I Stopped Dreaming"), a heaping helpful of mystery and intrigue ("Red Silk 5", "Drawman") and of course that biting lyrical cynicism.. "Help is coming one day late", coos Phillips on "One Day Late", but she paints her cynicism in pastels as opposed to the basic colors of "Fan Dance", letting the melancoly pull you in to an almost rapturous effect...until you begin to notice that like Phillips, you need to get through the sadness and cynicism to feel the hope. "There always has been good like stars you don't see in the day sky" she continues on "One Day Late," only affirming this journey.

It's important to note that "A Boot & A Shoe" is a much more percussive record than "Fan Dance" - often the drums are mixed to provide a "boom and bash" umph that was somewhat missing in the previous record. A few of the songs are augmented by the silky strings of the Section Quartet, another seemingly calculated distance from the dark tone Van Dyke Parks's orchestration in "Fan Dance" songs such as "Wasting My Time". But that's the point to "A Boot & A Shoe": where "Fan Dance" was soft, this one is hard, where it was dark, this one is light - and, more importantly, where "Fan Dance" was atmospheric and spiritual, this album has it's feet firmly planted in reality, with the occasional jump to another plane...in essence it is the perfect bookend and a brilliant record, even if it lacks a bit of the character and artifice that made "Fan Dance" her masterwork.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant album, April 28, 2007
By 
Frank Arricale (Bensalem, PA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Boot & A Shoe (Audio CD)
This is not just a good album--it's a truly great album that can hold its own against the best pop/rock albums of the past four decades. By turns witty and heartbreaking, it's an album by an adult for adults, filled with beautiful melodies and insightful, soulful lyrics about life, love, and loss. The sparse, almost demo-like, arrangements, often supplemented by the creative use of string quartet, are perfect in creating a moody, intimate feel that manages to blend elements of (among other things) 1930s German expressionism with 1960s British pop. The result is stunning. "How to Quit," "All Night," "Open the World," "Reflecting Light," "I Wanted to Be Alone," "One Day Late"--they're all classics. In fact, there isn't a single weak song on the album. This is a collection of gems, the work of an appallingly underrated artist in peak form.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Phase III, October 16, 2004
This review is from: A Boot & A Shoe (Audio CD)
Following the phases of Leslie/Sam Phillips' career has been interesting to watch. Phase I had her as a contemporary Christian singer, Phase II was the conception of "Sam" following her Beatlesque muse and now Phase III has Sam still with her muse, but also integrating her appreciation for torch music into her work...and as always, it is well done.

What I have always apprecaited about her work is her focus on her craft as a poet and songwriter and she NEVER disappoints. Musically, like "Fan Dance", this album is a very intimate stripped down album, focused around Sam on her guitar and amazing drums and percussion.

"If I Could Write" is probably my favorite composition on this set ("IF I could write, I'd set all the words free to follow you...Tell you wonnder, tell you secrets and solitude"...what a line!). It's hard to pick favorites, but other noteables to me are: "All Night", "Open The World", "Hole In My Pocket" and the spooky "I Wanted To Be Alone".

...And as always when you reach the end of the CD, you will be wondering: "What is she going to do next?"...
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yet Another Exceptional Release from Sam Phillips, May 3, 2004
By 
Batmanbrb "batmansbrb" (Seymour, IN United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Boot & A Shoe (Audio CD)
Wow, Sam Phillips NEVER ceases to amaze me!! While it took me a while to get into "Fan Dance", mainly because I loved her Virgin Records sound so much and "Fan" was such a shock to my ears, I came out of it later knowing that it was one of her best releases and that "Five Colors" and "Wasting my Time" was two of my all-time favorite Sam Phillips songs. I received two sample songs of this new release, "How to Quit" and "All Night" and I loved them immediately and couldn't wait to get this release. Well, I finally have it and man, it is phenominal! It's in the same vein as "Fan Dance" and "The Turning", but it's more upbeat than "Fan Dance". This entire CD is a masterpiece of acoustical music, intelligent lyrics, and percussion. While I love every song on here, I find myself really enjoying "How to Quit", "All Night", "Red Silk Five", "I Dreamed I stopped Dreaming", "Draw Man", "Love Changes Everything", "If I Could Write", and the funny, but true song "(Help is Coming) One Day Late". Sam's voice is in fabulous condition (possibly the best of her career) and the instrumentation is still minimal, but very intricate. I have to say I really enjoy all the percussion sounds in this release that weren't there in "Fan Dance". It takes a tremendous talent to make intricate music work and Sam is very confident in her writing and music abilities and it shows. This release really begins to draw you in after several listens and you find yourself so hooked on it that you don't want to stop listening to it. As soon as the CD finishes, you immediately start it over again and again.
Sam Phillips was my favorite female artist back in the late 80's with "The Turning" and all these years forward and even today, she is still my favorite female artist and she has yet to let me down. If you like intelligent lyrics and artistic music, this is your release!! I can't praise it enough!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing songs that stay with you for days, January 16, 2005
By 
This review is from: A Boot & A Shoe (Audio CD)
This truely amzing album is one of those that when you listen to it for the first time, you don't immediately love it, but for some reason you are kinda drawn to it and listen to it over and over again. The more times you listened to it, the more you like it. It is a mixture of many genres, the most obvious is probably blues. It has beautiful ballads like "If I could write" and more beat-oriented songs like "All night". Whatever the kind of song, they're all aranged beautifully and will stay with you, coming back to mind even after days.

All in all one of the best albums I've listened to in 2004, I can only recommend it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of her best, September 16, 2009
This review is from: A Boot & A Shoe (Audio CD)
Sam Phillips is an artist in every sense of the word. There is tremendous depth in the lyrics she writes. I love the stripped down music... not overproduced, not overdone. I loved Sam's Indescribable Wow cd but this CD shows growth, maturity and true artistry. I find this album inspiring... I long to express myself through art after listening. And I have been listening to all of Sam Phillips' music for the last 6 months or so... I can't get enough.
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A Boot & A Shoe
A Boot & A Shoe by Sam Phillips (Audio CD - 2004)
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