From Amy Goodman at Democracy Now! comes this:
“Utah” Phillips died this week at the age of 73. He was a musician, labor organizer, peace activist and co-founder of his local homeless shelter. He also was an archivist, a historian and a traveler, playing guitar and singing almost forgotten songs of the dispossessed and the downtrodden, and keeping alive the memory of labor heroes like Emma Goldman, Joe Hill and the Industrial Workers of the World, “the Wobblies,” in a society that too soon forgets.
Born Bruce Duncan Phillips on May 15, 1935, in Cleveland, by his midteens he was riding the rails. He told me of those days in an interview in 2004. By then, he was slowed down by congestive heart failure. His long, white beard flowed over his bow tie, plaid shirt and vest. We sat in a cramped attic of a pirate radio station that was frequently raided by federal authorities. In the early days, he met old-timers, “old, old alcoholics who could only shovel gravel. But they knew songs.”
I saw him in concert with Rosalie Sorrels way back, way back in one of the rooms upstairs in the BSU Sub. Saw Nanci Griffith there as well. Democracy Now provided an hour of Utah Phillips ‘in his own words’ on Tuesday.
The ‘body ballot’
And always – just himself . . . ‘the yahoo in the oval orifice.’