The Best of Shawn Phillips – The A&M Years (1992) and The Millenium Collection (2005)

The Best of Shawn Phillips - A&M Years and Millennium Collection
Listen and buy on Amazon: A&M Years | Millennium

  1.  We
  2.  The Ballad of Casey Deiss
  3.  Victoria Emmanuele
  4.  Bright White
  5.  ‘L’ Ballad
  6.  Early Morning Hours
  7.  I Took A Walk
  8.  Early In the Night
  10.  Hey Miss Lonely
  11.  Do You Wonder
  12.  Moonshine
  13.  Breakthrough
  14.  Troof
  15.  Song For Northern Ireland
  16.  Mr. President

CD A&M Years: A&M 31454 0016 2
CD Millennium: Universal 0249829289 (Canada only)


2 responses

27 02 2009
Bob Garcia


Shawn Phillips contradicts the accepted image of a rock musician many times over, and not just in his insistence on using the whole of the English language from archaic or poetic forms to slang. During his recorded history with A&M, from 1970-1977, Phillips has never played the rock and roll game with exactly accepted rules. A prolific writer, Phillips has composed poetry, fairy tales, and even two ballets. He has continually worked outside of mainstream rock, in a variety of musical forms — from his early symphonic, fully-orchestrated musical tone poems, to his much later rock / jazz musical configuration with scat, be-bop and croon vocalizing. This “Best Of” is a compilation of some of Phillips’ finest work — drawn from Second Contribution, Collaboration, Faces, Bright White, Furthermore, Do You Wonder and Rumplestiltskin’s Resolve. In addition, Shawn has recorded one special new track for this album entitled “Early In The Night”. Speaking of the current album Phillips writes: “In the public eye, I have been known almost exclusively as a singer-songwriter. This image has tended to limit the number of instrumental pieces I have composed over the years and wished to place on albums. As you listen to this compilation — please bear in mind that there has never been any written music for the studio musicians, apart from orchestra charts when it was utilized. Today, as in the past, it seems that almost anyone who puts on a cowboy hat or an attitude, or has played an instrument for two or three years can be designated as a musician. All of the people who have played on my albums are musicians who have dedicated the majority of their lives to music.”

27 02 2009
Shawn Phillips

Attention, all record reviewers and music critics! Do not under any circumstances attempt to label, classify or categorize the songs on this album!!! Just enjoy them. Life is not simple! It is an intricate series of moments and rhythms that we flow through from our births to our deaths. Our lives are very much like pieces of music, and we all have our chosen “things to do”. And most of us do them to the best of our capabilities. I have chosen to be a musician.

I discovered early in life that I had what I consider the greatest gift any individual can be given. The ability to create music. Not rock and roll, but music. My first encounter with the way that music affects us came while sitting under the piano as my mother played “Malaguena”. Instant spacecase. At 6 years old I got my first guitar. My grandmother would listen to classical music on the radio and my grandfather would listen to country. My father was a successful author and we traveled all over the world. By the time I was 15 years old I had absorbed many different cultures and their musical influences. Upon returning to Texas, there was blues and country which never really took root in me. As I evolved musically, I realized that the purpose of music was to entertain, enlighten and heal.

Once, when asked by a very famous Texas blues musician, “Hey man, you come from Texas. How come you got so far away from the roots?” I replied, “because there’s a whole tree above the ground.” He walked away muttering to himself. I will be the first to admit that I am a musical snob. I absolutely abhor predictability in music and lyrics. If a piece of music is predictable, it will never touch me or move me. There is no edge. At every songwriting seminar I have attended today, they teach you the business of writing songs — not the craft. All the music I have created has come through me via a state of pure unadulterated joy. The sheer joy of the awareness of perception and consciousness. I cannot, to this day, read or write a single note of music. Yet today, I am creating complex classical music that is the purest expression of that joy. This is the only way that I know how to create.

I would prefer to do an album of brand new material. But, unfortunately, my new songs are not considered market compatible. I can’t write music because it is fashionable or because it might become popular. I hope it will become popular and much of what I have done became well known. I am thankful for the chance that I was given to share my joy with others. Today, much of what passes for music seems to me to lack any sense of joy. There is no attempt to enlighten or fulfill. Most of it is like Chinese food; an hour later you want more. I have found it very difficult to create or flourish in this kind of environment. I will not cater to the lowest common denominator. The desire of the music business is to reach the largest number of people with the least amount of effort. The fact is, over 60% of this young mass market cannot even point out the country of France on a world map. Apart from a few individuals of integrity, the music business, in general, is helping to perpetuate this abysmal situation. Because this is the way they maximize their profits. It is also one of the reasons the greatest country in the world is second rate and declining rapidly, and will continue to do so. I will not have a hand in it.

All these songs were written quite a few years ago, including “Early In The Night”. I have chosen the ones that reflect what is happening today in our lives and the world. I hope you enjoy it. I wish you health, love and clarity.

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