SHAWN PHILLIPS – Bright White – (A&M) – 1973

Shawn Phillips - Bright White

I'm tired.

I've just spent the day painting – house painting.

Painting is probably the easiest of the trades…

Err, wait, I know a few house painters so I probably should qualify that.

It's the easiest of the trades in that if you fuck it up it will still be, more or less, OK. You can't say that about carpentry, plumbing electrical, bricklaying, welding, etc.

But, painting has it's own special punishment …. it is extremely dull, back breaking, neck aching work.

I don't think I could do it day in, day out.

Right now I need to unwind and let the body get back to it's normal state.

A glass of red and Shawn Phillips will do the trick.

Sometimes a glass of red helps with the listening of Shawn.

Don't get me wrong, as I have said I'm a convert to his music .

Read my other comments on him on this blog.

I have said this though:

Phillips tended to be associated with "hippie music" and I tended to avoid hippie music in my youth. And even now I cringe at the term and the thought.  The trouble is that to label Phillips as purely "hippie" would be unfair.

Sure, this album may be more "hippie" than some of the others but what Phillips was really was a cosmic psychedelic singer songwriter.

"Progressive folk" is another label you could throw at him …

I have also said this:

I should say most of Phillips albums are "gentle" with voice and instrumentation creating a otherworldly vibe ….

And this album is also "otherworldly" with jazz touches and some extreme vocal gymnastics. Phillips loves his vocals but they can be a little naff (in that 70s "prog rock" way) at times. There are also regular references to kings, castles, prophetic events, fantasy, folklore, pastoralism, and other worlds, amongst the instrumental wizardry, classical music references and lack of choruses.

In fact it's a slippery slope from the joys of Shawn Phillips to the ridiculous pretentiousness of Prog rock.

But Shawn keeps it on the good side of the equation …. though, only just on this album.

I always find it surprising that he is Texan born but then again so are Devendra Banhart and Roky Erikson who at various times are not dissimilar to Phillips.

This has been described as one of his most accessible albums. If that is the case then it does not surprise me that the average punter doesn't know who he is.

Tracks (best in italics)

  • Bright White – a catchy tune with perceptive lyrics, meaty horns and orchestrations. Think early 70s Ray Davies and The Kinks covered by 70s era Vegas Elvis.
  • Salty Tears – I have no idea what this song is about but it's catchy with a little funk thrown in.

 Salty tears from a lady with electric knees
 Seven years I've been smoking that anti-freeze
 Silly fears and I never even held the keys
 Won't you please take another look
 Are you going to the marketplace
 Read another book
 Learn the rules of the human race
 Try to learn to cook
 'Cause there isn't time to see the face
 Wrapped in silk and lace

  • All The Kings And Castles – If Tenacious D did an unplgged it may sound a little like this.
  • Victoria Emmanuele – bouncy but again in Tenacious D territory.
  • Planned "O" – this song is so quiet and gentle it almost doesn't exist. But there is a real delight in Phillips view of human history as a form of planned obsolescence.
  • Lasting Peace Of Mind – Hmmmm …
  • Technotronic Lad – some squeaky guitars on this don't really help
  • Dream Queen – Some deja vu here – I think late 70s era Pink Floyd may have dipped into the Phillips songbook.
  • It's A Beautiful Morning – Phillips sounds like he is having fu here with the false start and the jaunt
  • Lady Of The Blue Rose – very, very gentle.

And …

There are not enough catchy songs but Phillips can make anything listenable …. I'm keeping it.
Chart Action

1974 #72



Bright White
mp3 attached

Shawn Phillips – Bright White

Lady Of The Blue Rose




  • Again Phillips has surrounded himself with session talent – Shawn Phillips – Vocals, Acoustic Guitars, Electric Guitars, Synthesizers / Lee Sklar – Bass / Chuck Rainey – Bass/ Russell Kunkel – Drums / Barrington York DeSouza – Drums / Danny Kortchmar – Guitar / Tony Walmsley – Electric Guitar / Sneaky” Pete Kleinow – Steel Guitar / Larry Carlton – Acoustic Guitar / Craig Doerge – Clavinet / William Smith – Organ / Peter Robinson – Keyboards / Chuck Findley – Brass / Jim Horn – Horns, Recorder / Jim Price – Horns / Bobby Keyes – Horns / Pastrami Bros. – Percussion
  • Produced by Jonathon Weston with the help of Robert Appere and recorded in Hollywood, with orchestral arrangements by Peter Robinson and Paul Buckmaster.




About Franko

Hi, I'm just a person with a love of music, a lot of records and some spare time. My opinions are comments not reviews and are mine so don't be offended if I have slighted your favourite artist. I have listened to a lot of music and I don't pretend to be impartial. You can contact me on though I would rather you left a comment. I also sell music at Cheers
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