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"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
The project itself started as a way to help Utah through his own hard times. Last year, folksinger Dan Schatz spoke with fellow musicians Kendall and Jacqui Morse at a musicians' gathering about putting together a CD to help Phillips defray medical expenses. Phillips had been ill for some time when the project began, and died in May of 2008. "It was a blow to lose Utah," said Schatz. "It gave the project a wistful feeling, knowing that he would never hear the final result of so much love, or hold the CDs in his own hands. We do know that he was very pleased and excited about what was going on. It meant a lot to him that his songs would continue to live for years to come."
Utah himself once said, "Kids don't have a little brother working in the coal mine; they don't have a little sister coughing her lungs out in the looms of the big mill towns of the Northeast. Why? Because we organized; we broke the back of the sweatshops in this country; we have child labor laws. Those were not benevolent gifts from enlightened management. They were fought for, they were bled for, they were died for by working people, by people like us. Kids ought to know that. That's why I sing these songs. That's why I tell these stories. No root, no fruit!"See all Editorial Reviews
"Green Rolling Hills of West Virginia" (Emmylou) is required listening for every Mountaineer, present or past...Published 5 months ago by E-Ohio
Great songs, every one. This is a wonderful testament to the power of the singer and his songs. Utah Phillips is the modern version of Woody Guthrie, the voice of common working... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Glen Larum
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. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Michael Everett
Some great songs that, for me, bring an understading of the hard times of the depression and laborers opressed by corporations in the past.Published on March 18, 2013 by D. F. Keese
This album has nearly everything Bruce ever recorded on it. it's a great anthology of his life also. Read morePublished on November 7, 2010 by Edwin Z. Smith
What a genius, I keep finding out that songs that I've loved for years were composed by Phillips.
This collection has some truly great renditions, very few duds. Read more
I have heard Utah live every place I lived, from Colorado to Alaska to Kansas to Pennsylvania. My kids grew up on his music and the picture of he and I taken in Denver several... Read morePublished on December 28, 2009 by Big John