The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #111474 Message #2348246
Posted By: karen k
24-May-08 - 02:04 PM
Thread Name: Obit: Utah Phillips (1935-2008)
Subject: RE: Obit: Utah Phillips 5/15/35-5/24/08
I am saddened by Utah's passing. Having seen him at least a dozen times and had him stay at my home a couple of times I can say that I knew him. I enjoyed him every time I saw him. I remember one workshop I went to at the Four College Festival in Massacusetts around 84 or 85. Utah did a 3 hour workshop on riding the rails. He only sang 3 or 4 songs. The rest of the workshop was stories from his days on the trains. Fascinating. Best workshop I ever went to. How I wish I'd had a taperecorder that day.
The other thing I loved about Utah is how he would scour the local papers wherever he was singing. Then he would refer to local happenings, humorous or otherwise during his sets. One I particularly remember was about a terrible circus fire in Hartford, CT July 6 1944. 168 died. The event became known as "The Day the Clowns Cried". One little girl, "Little Miss 1565", was not identified. This touched Utah very deeply. A few years ago I was able to send him articles that told that the child was finally identified and a headstone with her name on it placed on her grave. He was very glad to hear of this.
My thoughts go out to his family. He was an amazing human being. The world has lost a wonderful man. He will live on through his songs.