Utah Phillips

Starlight on the Rails: A Songbook

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Utah Phillips has become an American folk institution -- or is that an anti-institution? A former union organizer, he might not be well known in the greater scheme of music, but he's certainly worth this four-CD, 61-track box set. What makes it especially fascinating is the fact that each of the cuts is accompanied by Phillips' reflections on the pieces, whether performed by him or others. He's as much a raconteur and philosopher as songwriter. With its mix of live, studio, and unreleased performances, it justifies calling itself definitive, whether on the topical "Talking N.P.R. Blues," which excoriates not only the corporatization on public radio, but also the attitudes of the FCC. He can be funny, he can be serious, but whatever tack he takes, he makes his point concisely and effectively. He's lived a hobo's life, been there and done that, a symbol of America that's fast disappearing, a time where the ideas of Mark Twain helped define a growing nation. He's known the drifters, the characters, the politicians. Some he's liked, some he's loathed. But along the way he's lived and acted for his conscience and written some fine songs, such as "Yellow Ribbon" and the title cut. For anyone who's a fan of his work, this is a must-have purchase. But even for those less familiar with his canon, it's a vital peek into America as it was, and in some small corner, still is. Hopefully he'll be around for many years to come, remaining an inspiration to a younger generation of troubadours, celebrating people and loudly criticizing what needs to be criticized.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 3:23 SpotifyAmazon
2 1:42 SpotifyAmazon
3 2:35 SpotifyAmazon
4 1:47 SpotifyAmazon
5 2:19 SpotifyAmazon
6 1:29 SpotifyAmazon
7 2:19 SpotifyAmazon
8 1:14 SpotifyAmazon
9 4:19 SpotifyAmazon
10 1:23 SpotifyAmazon
11 2:35 SpotifyAmazon
12 2:54 SpotifyAmazon
13 4:52 SpotifyAmazon
14 1:54 SpotifyAmazon
15 1:57 SpotifyAmazon
16 1:14 SpotifyAmazon
17 3:05 SpotifyAmazon
18 1:24 SpotifyAmazon
19 2:15 SpotifyAmazon
20 1:18 SpotifyAmazon
21 3:55 SpotifyAmazon
22 0:33 SpotifyAmazon
23 2:32 SpotifyAmazon
24 1:23 SpotifyAmazon
25 2:24 SpotifyAmazon
26 1:23 SpotifyAmazon
27 1:49 SpotifyAmazon
28 2:18 SpotifyAmazon
29 1:16 SpotifyAmazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 1:29 SpotifyAmazon
2 2:53 SpotifyAmazon
3 1:13 SpotifyAmazon
4 2:04 SpotifyAmazon
5 3:51 SpotifyAmazon
6 2:43 SpotifyAmazon
7 0:55 SpotifyAmazon
8 1:21 SpotifyAmazon
9 1:32 SpotifyAmazon
10 2:37 SpotifyAmazon
11 1:00 SpotifyAmazon
12 2:45 SpotifyAmazon
13 1:29 SpotifyAmazon
14 3:19 SpotifyAmazon
15 1:34 SpotifyAmazon
16 3:07 Amazon
17 1:04 SpotifyAmazon
18 1:30 SpotifyAmazon
19 0:43 SpotifyAmazon
20 2:08 SpotifyAmazon
21 0:33 SpotifyAmazon
22 2:15 SpotifyAmazon
23 2:19 SpotifyAmazon
24 2:15 SpotifyAmazon
25 1:33 SpotifyAmazon
26 1:57 SpotifyAmazon
27 1:14 SpotifyAmazon
28 2:00 SpotifyAmazon
29 1:33 SpotifyAmazon
30 2:28 SpotifyAmazon
31 3:07 SpotifyAmazon
32 0:52 SpotifyAmazon
33 2:28 SpotifyAmazon
34 2:38 SpotifyAmazon

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 0:41
2 2:11 SpotifyAmazon
3 3:48 Spotify
4 1:39 SpotifyAmazon
5 4:55 Spotify
6 0:50 SpotifyAmazon
7 5:41 Spotify
8 0:59 SpotifyAmazon
9 2:55 Spotify
10 1:41 SpotifyAmazon
11 4:37 SpotifyAmazon
12 1:38 SpotifyAmazon
13 3:11 SpotifyAmazon
14 0:54 SpotifyAmazon
15 4:55 Spotify
16 0:23 SpotifyAmazon
17 4:33 SpotifyAmazon
18 1:35 SpotifyAmazon
19 4:18 Spotify
20 0:59 SpotifyAmazon
21
feat: Mark Ross
2:18 Spotify
22 1:19 SpotifyAmazon
23
feat: Kuddie
3:23 SpotifyAmazon
24 2:09 SpotifyAmazon
25 4:29 Spotify
26 1:04 SpotifyAmazon
27
feat: Finest Kind
4:06 SpotifyAmazon
28 1:23 SpotifyAmazon
29
feat: Kate Wolf
3:12 SpotifyAmazon

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:29 SpotifyAmazon
2 4:02 SpotifyAmazon
3 1:34 SpotifyAmazon
4 2:20 SpotifyAmazon
5 2:13 SpotifyAmazon
6 2:44 SpotifyAmazon
7 1:31 SpotifyAmazon
8 1:44 SpotifyAmazon
9 2:45 SpotifyAmazon
10 2:32 SpotifyAmazon
11 2:19 SpotifyAmazon
12 2:53 SpotifyAmazon
13 1:14 SpotifyAmazon
14 3:38 SpotifyAmazon
15 1:08 SpotifyAmazon
16 2:12 SpotifyAmazon
17 3:27 SpotifyAmazon
18 2:24 SpotifyAmazon
19 4:57 SpotifyAmazon
20 2:12 SpotifyAmazon
21 1:11 SpotifyAmazon
22 1:47 SpotifyAmazon
23 1:51 SpotifyAmazon
24 1:41 SpotifyAmazon
25 3:30 SpotifyAmazon
26 1:25 SpotifyAmazon
27 1:08 SpotifyAmazon
28 1:52 SpotifyAmazon
29 1:05 SpotifyAmazon
30 3:00 SpotifyAmazon
31 1:48 SpotifyAmazon
32 3:03 SpotifyAmazon
blue highlight denotes track pick