Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hello, it’s been awhile.

After dad died I spent a lot time trying to figure out what to do next. For awhile I thought I might just carry on my normal life and talk to folks about dad when they asked. But that’s not really me. I also pondered the idea of a book, not about dad and his life but instead about the two of us and getting back together after being apart for so many years but some of those chapters are still being written. Instead I came to the realization that I have to figure out away to keep dad’s work out there and among the people. Not being much of a singer or musician myself I made the decision to break new ground and branch out into the unknown. Over the last few months I have been playing dad’s old road worn Guild and with the help and encouragement of some great friends begun working on a tribute show for dad. My plan, thanks to Tom May is to try it out this February in Portland at Winterfolk. Winterfolk is one out the trips dad and I looked forward to the most every year. It will be nice after a short absence to be back in Portland and hang out with everyone at Sisters. I hope to see some of you there.

We’ll see how it goes I really don’t know what to expect I just know I have to try it.

Now about the song we started a few months back. It’s mostly finished. I say mostly because It’s the first version, no rewrites, I leave up to anyone who wants to change it as they see fit to do so.

The verse about the light being on at the top og the stairs comes from the first few days after dads death. The first day he lay in a state of rest so folks that wanted to could say good bye. There was a small floor lamp by his bedroom door that was on so folks could find their way up the stairs. The next day when the mortuary came and did what they do I saw that the light had been turned off. It’s funny how the smallest of things can be so sad, I mean it’s just a light. I turned it back on because, know matter were we may find ourselves it's always comforting to know that when we need it the most ,some where there's a light on to show us the way back home.


Far away on the Western slope

where the golden waters once roared.

On the darkest of nights she lay alone

and softly whispers these few words.

The lights on at the top of the stairs

rest your head my sweet love and linger no more.

Jungle angles sing your refrain.

and I’ll miss like the dry earth misses the rain.

Fire burns at the end of the yard

the stewbum stares Into the flame.

Lonely and cold with no place to go

he softly whispers these few words.

Your life was boom, your life was bust.

Your life was filled with the wanderlust.

You tramped the world with a worn out heart

but now old friend it’s time we part.

High on a hill in a house built by greed

he dusts off a forgotten old friend.

No longer bound by want and lust

he plays up an old gentle tune.

Oh how your songs they sing to me.

Your words set me free.

I’ll pick up my hammer and nail

on your wooden ship I’ll set sail.

Over the plains the Rattler rolls.

With a tug of the chain the whistle it blows.

Through a wide open door Chico sings aboard

shakes out the dust and offer a few words.

We know not what lay over the hill

might be some wobblies or a scissorbill.

But I tell you this my old friend

we’ll be coupling cars at our journeys end.

Down where the black oak

shades your grave from the searing sun.

I wipe away the last few tears and

whisper these few words.

Lord I know, how I know

how hard it is to let go.

You faced your end with courage and grace

and I will forever remember your

tender face.

The lights on at the top of the stairs

rest your head my sweet love and linger no more.

Jungle angles sing your refrain.

and I’ll miss like the dry earth misses the rain.

See ya in Portland



Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Duncan or other Phillips supporters, this is Nate Carlisle at The Salt Lake Tribune. Please call me at 801-257-8794 at your first chance. The FBI has released a file on Bruce and I want to speak with you about it. -- Nate

Anonymous said...

Well Duncan How did the show go??? Keith Bednar

Grossters said...

I just learned of Bruce Phillips' death and wanted to post a remembrance. I met him at a recording session at Bill Shubart's barn turned into a recording studio - Philo Records - in North Ferrisburg, VT. It was sometime in the first half of the 1970s. I was there with my friend Martin Grosswendt, and my girlfriend Glenda and her daughter, Gretchen. Gretchen was about 3 a the time, and asked to sit on Bruce's lap. He grudgingly boosted her up and grumbled, "how do I know if you're housebroke or not." It was a classic moment, and one I remember over 30 years later.

Bruce Phillips was a character who won't be forgotten.

~David Grossman, Walla Walla, WA

Anonymous said...

I watched the news tonight 12/30/08, They had the most memorable people of 2008 that have passed on. They failed to mention Bruce "Utah" Phillips. He had more class then most of them put together. I know he would not care about such dribble. In my book he should be on the top of any list. A true person that gave a damn about the future of the country and its people. Not just lip service mind ya. Utah Phillips gets my vote!! Keith Bednar

Mr Econ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr Econ said...

I enjoyed the shit out of your Dad. Frankly it is kind of surreal just talking to his boy. I'm a fellow Utahn, a mormon, a former wino, an agricultural economist, and the grandson of a Korea vet and hobo. Everything about your dad hit home in one way or another with me. He's proof that God has a sense of humor. If you're ever in Dixie, send me a message. I'd be proud to have you as a guest.