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Shawn Phillips - Contribution CD (album) cover


Shawn Phillips


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3.86 | 3 ratings

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4 stars With Steve Winwood on keyboards, Jim Capaldi on drums, Chris Wood on saxophone and flute, Shawn Phillips can afford to debut as a songwriter (he signes all songs) with Traffic as musical support ensemble. Paul Buckmaster and John Peter Robinson (Quatermass), also on keyboards, will become his main collaborators from the next album.

Side A, first song: "Man Hole Covered Wagon" (4:34), the beginning is folk, acoustic, with delightful melody, and typically folk, then comes a rhythmic progression, the piece is enriched with blues tones, comes a piano almost boogie, a guitar almost contry: this is a manifesto song of the hybrid music signed Shawn Phillips. There comes a sound orgasm, accentuated by the vocalizations of his voice, which give spectacle on the acute notes. Rating 8+.

"L Ballade" (6:47), also based on a folk melody on guitar, is an acoustic song, with classical tones, with instruments in the background giving acid-folk tones. Rating 8. After this acoustic and austere song, Phillips, to change mood, switch to a musical's piece.

"Not Quite Nonsense" (1:45) is a typical pop song, very nice, swing and vaudeville. Rating 6.

"No Question" (3:37) is still an acoustic folk track, hypnotic, with a final progression. Rating 7.5/8.

End of Side A.

"Withered Roses (8:18)" opens Side B. The beginning is a typical Indian raga, then it becomes folk, with acoustic guitar played in a very gritty way; well arranged, with piano in the background; only defect: it's too long: Exceeding the last two minutes. Rating 7,5/8.

"For J.F.K. R.F.K. & M.L.K. (4:54)". Exuberant song, with folk melody and piano, reminiscent of a traditional and singing that recall Cat Stevens. Rating 7,5.

"Lovely Lady (4:56)" acosutic ballad, without percussions, with a doubled voice, doubled acoustic guitar, it's a fast- paced acid-folk, which at the end of the verses becomes taller as a musical tone, touching Space-Rock. Rating 7,5/8.

"Screamer For Phlyses" (6:09) is another folk-rock ballad, this time with the drums to hold the rhythm, with piano and electric guitar in the background, with the high notes of the singing going towards the psychedelia. Rating 7,5.

With "Contribution" Phillips starts his trilogy, that continues with "Second Contribution" and "Collaboration". Here, Shawn Phillips' music is still predominantly folk: he mainly uses his splendid voice and acoustic guitar, played in a very rhythmic and hypnotic way, but he embellishes his tracks with moments of space-rock and psychedelia, acid- rock, musical, Classic music and Indian Raga. Side A is better than Side B but, anyway, quality is still high. The music, in this Lp, recalls Donovan, Strawbs but this anomalous folk also recalls the solo works of Syd Barrett. It's prog folk, most of the time, with some classical passage and some space-rock moment and with high-class lyrics and singing.

Medium quality of the songs (without the third track): 7,76. Rating album: 8+. Four Stars.

jamesbaldwin | 4/5 |


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