12/7/14

Shawn Phillips - Transcendence (1978)



A re-up of this splendid and underrated album. Catch it here. The new Shawn Phillips site is here. Lyrics from the album there.

Somewhere between Donovan and Marvin Gaye but with something/anything of Zappa meets Todd Rundgren, was (and is still) Shawn Phillips. This LP, that can be considered as his dawn one, is for me his masterpiece. Terrible that such a gem was so overlooked and forgotten. It contains some of the most moving of his songs and more largely, of the rock history. He might have been suddenly under a divine influence since his previous efforts were at best uneven. But here, he touches something essential in music, helped by the superb orchestral arrangements of Michael Kamen (with a Barry Ryan flavor sometimes). Among the whole setlist, "American Child", "Implications", "Lament" and "Motes of Dust" are fave of mine and are not far each time I listen to them (at least once a year) to draw tears from my old and tired eyes. So, it seems unavoidable for me to post this LP here since it really belongs to the long list of forgotten ones. I hope to help it to be back in everyone's memory. In streaming, 2 totally opposed climaxes. But both wonderful.



American Child. I was born in Fort Worth, Texas with a silver spoon / The war was rollin,' and the deaths were tollin' and Crosby crooned / The year was '43, I started learnin' how to be and I was on my way / Partisans in Italy were fighting Mussolini's team and making hay / Then another two years of people shedding tears and it had all begun / This bludgeon of insanity, power into vanity, to make the sun / I started comprehending the beginning of the ending of the human race / Now all I want to do is stop the follow-through I want to save my face / 'Cause I'm an American child on a nuclear pile / I been pampered, I been hampered, now I'm slandered, yeah! / Children of the twenty-first haven't got sense enough to raise their minds / Too busy gettin' crazy, or learnin' to be lazy, or tryin' to find / A way of bein' funny so to make a lot of money off another man's spine / Capitalist prigs and communist pigs, well you are all so fine / Always hypocritical, I think you're hypothetical, I will not climb / Cannot get in here, can't get out of there and there is no more time / And like the man said it's a pity he is dead, that all the world's a stage / So if you want to keep it for the next performance, you had better rage / Now I got a feelin' that what we're really needin' is a lot of love / And the little man to say he can, regardless of the master plan or velvet glove / Stand up his integrity, and fight the things that he can see are oh so wrong / There is a good solution, and it's not a revolution, and it won't take long / Let loose that want to fight go slobber through the night with their neutron bombs / There is more creation in the face of devastation, there are just more slums / And if you want utopia, you cannot have myopia, it must be clear / And a little isolation, so to prop a falling nation, from its only fear.

Implications. She brought me love like no one else has ever / Brought me through these many years / She made me sound and took me 'round in ever upward swirling chandeliers / At the pain of an ending is like a cauldron seething in fire / For no one else could ever take me higher The roses sent were never meant as offerings of peace for all the tears / Nor solace for the years alone / I cannot bring myself to voice my fears / Oh, but life you are sacred, you are the only the we bear / You are adamant implication that we care / The winds of life have brought me strife, I must face up to what / I think is real, and if she wants to go to him I will not hold her back from what she feels / Ah the love gives me courage, it stops the pain and heals me inside / My very soul is a thing I cannot hide / The windows in her eyes are dark / The stars are never there as they appeared and gone is all the joy for me / She's found another man and I am here / Ah the pain of an ending is like a cauldron seething fire / For no one else could ever take me higher / In the sky to the blue of God's eye where the winds begin to blow / And the earth is brown and green and gold / With the universe above and I must not lose my love / No I must not lose my love again.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

No comments yet, so I have to do what a man must do...
I heard Shawn on the radio back in the seventies and immediately fell in love. I bought every record I could find (mostly cut out and cheap), and up to Transcendence, there's not a weak one. Rumours have it that he recorded the bulk of his early material in one gigantic session just to spread it over 4 or 5 LPs.
The one song that really makes me shiver whenever I here it is "Today" from "Rumplestiltskin's Resolve". Check this one out, if you can!
Thanks for posting, may be someone gets turned on too....

dk said...

Thx for the comment. I got and know every Shwan Phillips album so of course I know "Today". Transcendence has my favor but there are other albums (or half albums sometimes) that are great too. The story about the one session for 4 or 5 LP derives from the fact that actually he did one session for 2 albums and a half (Contribution, Second Contribution and Faces) but certainly not more than that.
dk

PATRICK said...


Hello

I love this music from a very long time.
Unfortunately the link doesn't work.
Id it possible to do something ?
many thanks

Pat

dkelvin said...

Yes, I'll do it soon
dk

PATRICK said...


Many many thanks for the re up

Pat

Martin said...

The streaming tracks are twice the same.
Nice to hear about this album here;I used to listen to it some 35 years ago...His last LP for a major label,as far as I know...

Anonymous said...

Thank You so much! I looked for this album for many years, vinyl, but in the end I gave up. Now finally I can listen it. You believe it or not, I am an Italian fan of Shawn; I listened Second Contribution for the first time over 35 years ago. The other day I was watching the European Championships in figure skating, and suddenly I hear that one of the competitors decided to use the song "Keep On" for their performance. So here I am, doing research on the web and, by chance, I discover your blog! Again many thanks.
For sure, Phillips would have deserved a much greater fame, but his music dwells in the hearts of many.

Fabio

Mario L. said...

Haven't heard that one in years-thanks!

I'm hoping to find his BBC Sessions album some day,which seems to be unavailable for some times now...

dkelvin said...

Yhx to everyone above to have taken the time to leave a comment. I read them of course and appreciate. I'll try to find the BBC sessions
dk