Saturday, May 24, 2008

Bruce U. Utah Phillips has Died

Well, crap. Just got an email from Chris Chandler, and the truly special American folk god hero hobo storyteller human Utah Phillips has passed away.

In a matter of a few minutes Anne Feeney phoned me from an airport in Houston. Al Grierson's "Lonely Deadhead Box-Car" was playing on Random on my iPod. After our conversation, I went to check my email. Jim Page was singing "Anna Mae." I had an email from Jim. I have pasted it below. As I read it Utah sang "All Used Up." As I responded to Jim's Email Arlo Guthrie sang "Hobo's Lullaby."

In the night of May 23, 2008, Bruce Duncan Phillips died in great peace, asleep in his bed in Nevada City, California, with his wife Joanna by his side.

Amazingly, at the very same instant that the scholar Bruce Phillips finally discovered his angle of repose, U. Utah Phillips flagged a westbound freight train. Yes, a mighty fast rattler, on a long west-bound track. He needed no ticket, he was welcomed on board.

The immediate family and neighbors of Bruce Phillips, along with any Wobblies who happen to be passing through, are gathering in Nevada City to do all the things that must be done. Please give them the quiet respect they so need right now.

But you can wave "So Long!" to Utah when that train moves west. Hey, hear the whistle? He's passing by right now!

Here's to the tear in my eye and a whisky soon raised to a good kind man with a huge kind heart with a song to sing and a story to tell and a friend to all who wanted and needed a friend. So long. So long.


1 comment:

Bpaul said...

Now that's one serious loss.

I'll raise a glass to him tonight, he was one of a kind, truly.