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Comment: Back of case artwork shows moderate bending / wrinkling (possibly from light water damage). This is the only reason for the ranking of Good. Replacement double CD case with back of case artwork, booklet / front cover insert, and both discs mostly in very good condition. Case was replaced due to cracking and/or heavy wear. Replacement case may show very little, if any, shelf wear. This wear may include very light scratches and/or light imperfections. Back cover art insert, as previously mentioned, shows moderate bending / wrinkling (possibly from light water damage). Booklet / front cover insert shows some wear from use which includes some bending. Mild wear to disc surfaces which may include: top of disc mild wear / light imperfections. Readable surface may show some very light to light scratches and/or some mild smudging.
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Singing Through the Hard Times: A Tribute to Utah Phillips Import

4.9 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Review

"Not only does Singing Through the Hard Times pay tribute to the life and work of Utah Phillips, it also, by default, pays due tribute to the accomplishments and struggles of the working class, labor unions, and those who dedicate their lives to community service and social justice. These 39 songs present a history of working people, and would serve as an excellent introduction for folks just discovering that realm of American history through music." -- About.com, February 2009

"Utah Phillips, who died last year at age 73, and Ani DiFranco weren't quite the odd couple that their pictures suggest. Phillips' traditional folk music was as politically conscious as DiFranco's contemporary folk-punk. Of the familiar names on this loving collection, released on DiFranco's Righteous Babe label, Emmylou Harris and Mary Black harmonize beautifully on "Green Rolling Hills of West Virginia." A quavering-voiced Pete Seeger picks his way through "Or Else (One-A These Days)," pondering a future where every vote counts and the Navy has to hold a bake sale to build a battleship. But most of the 36 cuts (one-third of them brand new) serve as introductions to lesser-known but worthy wanderers of the folk trails, such as Gordon Bok and Rosalie Sorrels. Phillips, bearded and burly, was a rugged and thoughtful fellow, curious about the world, and we have to find more like him." -- Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, NY, February 27, 2009
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 24, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Righteous Babe
  • ASIN: B001O54TFC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #206,039 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Bruce Phillips became known to me back in the late 1960's when I became friends with a New Jersey folk singer and newsman named Jim Labig. Jim has been dead quite awhile, but in his mostly amateur singing career he put out one record for a Vermont label. He was a friend of Utah's, and asked him to contribute the liner notes. Mr. Phillips turned in the funniest version of liner notes I have ever seen on an LP or in a CD booklet in my life. Reading that piece made me want to meet him and I got my chance at the 1969 Philly Folk Festival. If memory serves, he played before a small audience on a Sunday afternoon in a farm field, right after Jean Ritchie. I do not recall what songs Utah chose, but I have never forgotten his guitar, with "I.W.W." taped or painted on it, for Industrial Workers of the World, a.k.a. The Wobblies, one of the more radical labor unions ever created, and by that time, one with a tiny membership compared to most. Utah was known as a left-leaning social justice kind of guy, a fine storyteller, and better at writing songs than performing them. On this tribute two-CD set, you will find a variety of performers, a few famous, a few with "authentic" vocal talent rather than smooth, and a range of songs that reflect Utah's interests. He was anti-war, sometimes anti-clergy, occasionally anti-capitalism, anti-authoritarian, and anti-urban renewal projects which chased out the hoboes and down-and-outers and free spirits from city streets. While these songs are often interesting and clever, and less dated than I expected, his love songs, whether about people or places, are the ones I think will endure. Some of his early songs were championed by the likes of Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, John Denver and other artists with mass popularity.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
...he came like wind, like rain. He came like an old time biblical prophet, all white-bearded, all flannel-shirted, all denim-panted, all work booted, came out of the heartland like so many prophets in the American land, spreading the common word, the word that has been around for a long time but was in need of updating and in need of some righteous gentle anger, to a new age, an age that knew not of old time struggles in this land, the old boss and worker struggles, the old downtrodden struggles, that dotted our common history. He spoke in a manly voice, a deep voice, no shame, although perhaps out of fashion in a world that sought quietude, sought quietude when action was the order of the day.

You could see him sing and tell his off-the-cuff stories in all the big little clubs, the quaint coffeehouses after they fell out of fashion, places like Club Passim, The Sparrow, Mickey's, The Viking , The Joe Hill House out in the valleys of Utah, and above all second home base Café Lena out there in the foothills of the Adirondacks, out in Saratoga, where he and Rosalie Sorrels lit up the joint (the place, not what you think, come on now) for many years. You could see him too, and here is where he was kindred, out there in the public square fighting the good fight, fighting against the multiple angers of the day, fighting, struggling any place or time a brother was down on his luck, or a sister was in need. Some of the things he spoke of were, well, weird, weird to a chastened world, some too was old time Wobblie out of fashion stuff too when moral suasion fell flat against moloch in a rigged-up world but all who took the time to think could see a kindred in that wandering old- time troubadour.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I first saw Utah Phillips at the Smithsonian Festival in the early 70's. As a former Wobbly I always appreciated him, but I thought of him as more of a story-teller than a singer. 35 years later, I was stumbling down the dirt track which serves as the main street of the Kate Wolf Festival in Mendocino County and heard a woman singing from one of the smaller stages. Part of one line - "starlight on the rails" -- stopped me in my tracks and I moved in closer to listen to the singer and the entire song. The singer was the great Rosalie Sorrels who knew Utah from the 1950's in Salt Lake City and was the first to record his songs. She remained the best interpreter of Utah's work for the remainder of her career and has left a number of CD's of the two of them performing. He also performed and recorded with Ani DiFranco. After Utah died, she made a tribute album which I strongly recommend -- "Strangers in Another Country: Songs of Bruce 'Utah' Phillips". This summer at Kate Wolf we were pleased to see Utah Phillips son Brendan on stage playing the saw. I'm not familiar with most of the artists on this tribute album, but the songs are unforgettable and I recommend it as a great introduction to the work of a master songwriter.
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Format: Audio CD
"Singing Through the Hard Times" has been nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Traditional Folk Album. That nomination is well deserved. 29 songs, all but three written by Utah are sung by a variety of artists, some very famous, some known regionally, and some completely unknown to the general public, who collectively represent the many voices of American folk music. This tribute CD is a labor of love, and it shows in both the song selection and the voices of the singers. As others have noted already in their reviews, Utah was a songwriter of the people. Love songs. Labor songs. Hobo songs. Train songs. Social commentary. Simple, pithy, passionate and compassionate.

I don't get tired of listening to this CD. And the more I listen, the more I sing along.
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