Café Mouffe: Utah Phillips

With the indulgence of the proprietor, Café Mouffe opens early this week for my birthday. Utah Phillips has been on my mind since his death in May. America lost a national treasure with his passing. Utah was an ardent, union organizer and raconteur of tall tales, and he wrote more songs than I ever realized. I’ve been singing a lot of them when working in the garden over the last few weeks.

I was fortunate to see several Utah Phillips shows in the 70s when Yellow Springs folk singer Pop Wagner toured with him. The performance clips featured here, recorded at the 2007 Strawberry Folk Festival in California, do a good job of capturing his uniqueblend of story and song. One blends into the other through eight segments:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Thanks to VeniceArtists for documenting this show, which may have been one of Utah’s last.The Midnight Special put together a fine Utah Phillips tribute on WFMT-Chicago on May 31 (broadcast nationally on June 27). The audio is no longer available, but you can see the playlist.

Encore: You have to hear Moose Turd Pie. Every devotee of camp cooking needs to know it by heart.

Café Mouffe has slipped into an irregular schedule for summer. Look for it on Friday afternoons or some enchanted evening. Please drop by for a listen and a chat. Sometimes the embedded videos don’t work here due to bandwidth constraints, but you’ll always find links to video sources in the notes. Try them. If you’re curious about the Mouffe, here’s the original idea behind it’s creation.

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