Sunday, June 16, 2013

Shawn Phillips: "The best kept secret in the music business."

I had no idea who this guy was or is.  But his is a fascinating story in the annals of recorded music.  Here is what I found out:  Shawn Phillips (born February 3, 1943, Fort Worth, Texas, USA) is a folk-rock musician, primarily influential in the 1960s and 1970s.  Phillips has recorded twenty albums and worked with musicians including Donovan, Paul Buckmaster, (Elton John's masterful stringed instrument arranger), J. Peter Robinson (more on him below), Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Bernie Taupin, and many others.  Above is his record album called Bright White, from 1973.  The Texas-born singer-songwriter was described as "The best kept secret in the music business" by the late rock impresario Bill Graham.  In the 1960s Phillips worked as a session player on several Donovan albums including Fairytale, Sunshine Superman, and Mellow Yellow, performed at the Isle of Wight festival, sang on "Lovely Rita" by the Beatles, and was cast to play the lead in the original production of Jesus Christ Superstar (he had to withdraw due to his heavy recording and touring schedule).  In February 1969 Phillips wrote and performed, with The Djinn, the music for the controversial Jane Arden play Vagina Rex and the Gas Oven at the Arts Laboratory on Drury Lane.  Phillips worked the folk music scene in Los Angeles, New York's Greenwich Village, and London.  In 1967, Phillips moved to Positano, Italy, where he remained throughout the 1970s, recording the albums Contribution, Second Contribution, Collaboration, and Faces'.

I then had to look up who J. Peter Robinson is.  So..."John Peter Robinson (born 16 September 1945, in Fulmer, Buckinghamshire) is an English composer who studied piano and composition at the Royal Academy of Music and enjoyed a successful career as a session keyboardist throughout the 1970s, working with artists such as Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford, Shawn Phillips, Quatermass, Carly Simon, Bryan Ferry, Stealers Wheel, Andrew Lloyd-Webber and others. He made his film music debut as a solo composer in 1985, scoring a number of successful films including Bates Motel, Wayne's World, Encino ManNightmare Cafe, Wes Craven's New Nightmare, Highlander III: The Sorcerer (also known as Highlander: The Final Dimension ), Return of the Living Dead Part II, Vampire in Brooklyn (also directed by Wes Craven), The World's Fastest Indian, The Bank Job, Cocktail and 1989 Blind Fury.  He also composed some music for the English version of Godzilla 2000.  He, in addition, composed the music for the movie The Wizard, the John Schlesinger-directed horror film The Believers, as well as two songs from the film Shelter, and music in dozens of episodes of the TV series Charmed.  As a successful pop arranger, he has collaborated with Eric Clapton, Manhattan Transfer, Al Jarreau and Melissa Etheridge."

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