MICHAEL DOHERTY'S MUSIC LOG

Bill Phillippe is a singer, guitarist and songwriter based in San Francisco. Inspired by his love of delta blues, he released his first solo album, Ghosts, a year and a half ago. That album contains some classic blues tunes like “Come On In My Kitchen” and “Death Letter,” as well as some original compositions. He has now followed that up with a new CD, Parade, which features almost entirely original material.

This is bluesy folk, with some jazzy elements as well, giving it a very cool, laid-back sound and vibe, like a late night or early morning in New Orleans, when most people have gone to bed or passed out, but there are still things to be said, things to be felt and expressed for those strange denizens of pre-dawn dealings, that half-light of farewells and possibilities. And it’s not just jazzy because of the presence of the clarinet, but its willingness – or eagerness – to play a bit with form (like on “Everything I Have Is Grey”), sometimes going in unexpected directions. Ah, who knows just what the day will bring? And before that, the question is, “If I should lose my mind tonight, would you love me anyway?”

Parade opens with “Blues Come Callin’ (Home),” a seriously cool tune with the bass having a strong presence. The clarinet acts like a voice perhaps doing the calling. I’m certainly ready to answer its call, as it sounds inviting, rising up from the streets like a possible angel among derelicts. Bill Phillippe’s vocal approach is like one singing almost to himself, not needing to belt out the lyrics, but knowing his voice will reach those it needs to, those it can reach within this environment. And he finds support by some nice touches on accordion. That’s followed by “Proper Street,” which contains a reference to Duke Ellington’s “Prelude To A Kiss” in the lines “I need you always exactly like this/I play the prelude to a kiss.” Duke Ellington is one of only two songwriters that Bill Phillippe turns to for covers on this CD. He does a version of Ellington’s “Solitude,” combining it with a song of his own titled “A Kinder Voice.” He performs “Solitude” as a guitar piece, without the lyrics by Eddie DeLange and Irving Mills.

A song that grabs me each time I listen to this disc is “14th Street,” with its line “Please find me” reminding me of the Leonard Cohen poem that goes “Marita/Please find me/I am almost 30.” And I love the clarinet here. Both it and the accordion provide a kind of uplifting feel which we need. And check out that bass line. “As you wave goodbye/Memories refuse, refuse to fade/My penance, this solitary space.” Another favorite of mine is “Parade,” the CD’s title track. It has such a wonderful vibe. I particularly like the way the bass and accordion work together. “We danced round and round/And the circus band played.” I also really love “Red Beret,” which has a playful and cool tone and attitude. Ah, every girl, a song.

Perhaps Tom Waits will cross your mind once or twice while listening to Bill Phillippe. Clearly, Bill embraces this, as he actually ends the album with a cover of Tom Waits’ “Take It With Me,” a song from the Mule Variations album. Bill makes it a slow kind of waltz, with the clarinet taking a lead spot at the beginning before the vocals come in. It’s a really good rendition.

Reflections in Blues

Parade 

Somewhat a blend of old-time jazz, blues and a bit of that haunting sound that many associate with the deepest parts of the swamp, where the lines between reality and folklore get blurred, Parade is one of those things that I have a hard time finding words to describe. All I know for certain is that I really enjoyed it.

After years of exploring and playing deep New Orleans funk, he took this music in the direction of blues from an equally deep place in the Delta. With this, his second solo album, he explores yet another avenue...equally as mysterious and intriguing. It can certainly be said that Phillippe does not fit into any established genre easily. I hear what might be considered elements of Celtic music, old sea shanties, gypsy caravans, jug bands, and so much more.

This release brings Tom Waits to mind. A superb musician and master wordsmith, armed with a voice that is haunting, to say the very least...and backed by Ivor Holloway on clarinet, Swen Hendrickson on bass and Glenn Hartman on accordion, Bill Phillippe weaves his tapestry of life, love, loss and all those points in between that make up the parade of life.

This is a man who follows his heart when it comes to his music, and, that dedication has serve him well. Regardless of what label you might want to put on his music, it is not only unique, it is GOOD. Powerful, passionate and easy on the ear, both Parade and his previous release, Ghosts, are things that I feel would be appealing to young and old alike, a rare quality in this day and age. This is not your average performer to be sure.

Like Picasso with his paints and brushes, Phillippe paints vivid pictures with his music and lyrics. If you are in the market for something that is out of the ordinary, not your run of the mill blues/Americana, this might be just what you're looking for. - Bill Wilson

Minor 7th Online Music Reviews

PARADE -"If young Tom Waits grew up in the Mississippi Delta, developed a fascination for the New Orleans vibe as well as the classic bluesmen from the region, he may have evolved into present-day Bill Phillippe as he emerges on his most recent CD, Parade. Perhaps not, but it's interesting to note that the creaky-voiced guitarist closes his 11-track collection with a Waits composition, "Take It With Me." It's really the only track not penned by Phillippe here, and his arrangement makes it feel as it could be one of his own. Phillippe employs the fine work of clarinetist Ivor Holloway, bassist Sten Hendrickson and accordionist Glenn Hartman to create a moody, reflective atmosphere as he shares his take on life's unending parade. Phillippe, based in San Francisco, covered New Orleans funk for 10 years with his band before turning his musical explorations toward acoustic blues in 2012. That journey resulted in a CD, Ghosts. Part 2 of that journey has emerged as Parade. One hopes there's room for a trilogy in Phillippe's sojourn."

Don and Sheryl's bluesblog

"Bill Phillippe broke big onto the scene with his 2015 all-acoustic affair, “Ghosts,” detailing his journey thru the De”lta a few years back to study the music, myths, and truths of that storied region. His latest release continues that exploratory theme, and is entitled “Parade,” This one is also all -acoustic, with Bill on vocals and guitar, Ivor Holloway on clarinet, Swen Hendrickson on upright bass, and Glenn Hartman on accordion. Of the eleven cuts, there are two covers that fit perfectly within the context of the originals that Bill uses to convey his message of “life is indeed a Parade,” and “no dream of life is spared” from it. As we listened, we likened this music to a unique joining of Delta blues with New Orleans-styled sounds, especially with the interplay between the accordion and clarinet. Bill also uses these tunes to relate to life’s many varied experiences. There’s always gonna be some “Blues Come Calling (Home),” so, might as well “punch your ticket and take your seat!” Loneliness is addressed in “If I Should Lose My Mind tonight, will you love me anyway?” The girl in the “Red Beret” who “whispers your name” and “whistles a tune, beckoning me,” to, perhaps, “come along and join the Parade!” And, in the end, nothing compares to that love of a good woman that you’ll “Take It With Me When I’m Gone,” Bill’s touching read of this Tom Waits classic. Bill Phillippe continues to bring a fresh, avant-garde perspective to the blues, using visionary instrumentation to convey the message that life is a “Parade,” so let’s all embrace it! Until next time…" Sheryl and Don Crow.

The Morton Report

Parade. "Ghosts can come in many guises, and there are times when their very presence can be a blessing. And other times a curse. Bill Phillippe, one of San Francisco's very finest singer-songwriters, is no stranger to the ethereal beings who haunt that city. Somehow, Phillippe manages to pull their elusiveness down to earth and put them right into his songs. With backing by a clarinet, bass, and accordion, he uses his vocals and guitar to create a sound that lives in the fog and flows out into the bay. No one else right now sounds quite like this, and isn't likely to anytime soon. It's like a cross of the Mississippi Delta with Mississippi Street in Potrero Hill, a unique pairing no doubt, but Bill Phillippe is able to convey that cross-cultural blend to perfection. It's not blues, but it's not big city music either. It's more like a cakewalk into the Castro district, with a detour through the kudzu around Clarksville, ending up atop the Coit Tower watching the fireworks on the Chinese New Year. America's a big melting pot of people, places, and music, and as long as artists like this are around to keep stirring things up everything should work out just fine. "No dream of life is spared this parade," Bill Phillippe says in the first song, "Blues Come Callin' (Home)," so let it begin and keep going."

Blues Bytes

Parade (Arkansas Street Records) finds San Francisco-based singer/songwriter/guitarist Bill Phillippe working through a set of 11 tunes that reflect on love, life, and loss. Phillippe’s debut, Ghosts, was a solo effort that mixed his original songs with stunning recreations of pre-war blues classics. On his follow-up, Phillippe expands his sound a bit, adding Swen Hendrickson’s upright bass, Ivor Holloway’s clarinet, and Glenn Hartman’s accordion, which gives these tracks a haunting, yet beautiful quality. Standout tracks include “Blues Come Calling (Home),” a cool track that sounds almost like a duet between Phillippe’s somber vocal and the mournful clarinet, the folkish “Proper Sorrow,” the amusing “If I Should Lose My Mind,” the haunting “Everything I Have Is Grey,” the lilting title track, “Little Zion,” which ventures in a jazz direction, and the playful “Red Beret.” Phillippe also includes a couple of covers, using the instrumental of the Duke Elliington piece, “Solitude,” to segue into his own “A Kinder Voice,” and closing the disc with a reading of Tom Waits’ “Take It With Me.” Actually, listeners may be reminded of Waits’ musical style while listening to Parade, in the way that Phillippe approaches the blues. He’s not bound by traditions or norms, choosing to add musical elements in ways not usually heard (or even thought of) by most blues fans. It’s an approach that works wonders and deserves to be heard.

Flying Shoes

PARADE - San Francisco based singer and guitarist Bill’s previous set was a solo outing called “Ghosts”, aptly enough – he has a sparse, ethereal and haunting sound which continues onto the follow-up, even though here he has enlisted the musical support of clarinettist Ivor Holloway, bassist Swen Hendrickson and accordionist Glenn Hartman.

Belying the cover photos of a celebratory parade, the album has a very downbeat, and frequently melancholy sound, with echoes of 20s and 30s blues and jazz in places: Duke Ellington’s ‘Solitude’ is one of two covers; the other is Tom Waits’ ‘Take It With Me’. The title track and ‘Red Beret’ are the nearest this set gets to happy – and that’s not too close!

My first impression was that this is one for all the vintage Leonard Cohen fans, and repeated listening hasn’t really changed that.

Zicazine - French Online Magazine

Tout droit venu de San Francisco, le guitariste, chanteur et songwriter Bill Phillippe nous propose déjà le successeur de son premier album, « Ghosts », unanimement salué par la presse américaine mais aussi européenne et déclaré deuxième meilleur album de blues acoustique de l’année en 2015. Reprenant la recette qui avait été la sienne la première fois, Bill Phillippe reste dans la tradition de l’acoustique et des jug bands pour proposer « Parade » tout en incorporant à sa musique une clarinette tenue par Ivor Holloway et un accordéon porté par Glenn Hartman, les basses restant le privilège de Swen Hendrickson. Détenteur d’un son d’une pureté exemplaire, l’artiste s’attache ici encore à nous raconter des histoires qui lui tiennent à cœur et nous offre des compositions qui n’auraient certainement pas fait tache dans des répertoires comme ceux de Paul Simon, de Neil Young voire même de Cat Stevens, trouvant à chaque instant le très juste équilibre entre folk et blues pour nous offrir des titres qui restent toujours à la même hauteur sans pour autant être lisses ou dépourvus de relief. On se laissera bercer par « Proper Sorrow », « If I Should Lose My Mind », « Everything I Have Is Grey » ou encore « Little Zion » et on se complaira dans la paix de l’esprit qu’inspire une musique ponctuée par des sujets où il est question d’amour, d’absences et plus largement de tout ce qui fait que le quotidien d’un individu lambda peut souvent avoir un caractère unique. Vous y ajoutez un emprunt à Duke Ellington et un autre à Tom Waits pour fignoler l’ouvrage et voilà de quoi être prêt à assister à la « Parade » !

The Rocker

Parade

Arkansas Street Records

Off to California for some old time acoustic blues with a hint of jazz. Because that is what Bill Phillippe is dishing up on this here record. It’s a strange one as all the songs sound like they’ve been plucked from a time machine, and brought to life in the modern world. Strange, because with the exception of a Duke Ellington tune and a Tom Waits one, these are all originals from Mr Phillippe. And it’s really rather good, as it takes a sidestep into a world inhabited by clarinets, accordions and dimly lit, illegal after hours clubs. Which is to say, it’s an incredibly atmospheric piece of work. Mr Phillippe has an idiosyncratic voice, but ably assisted by Ivor Holloway on clarinet, Swen Hendrickson on bass and Glenn Hartman on accordion, he readily transports you into another time and place. A round of applause for everyone involved.

Rootstime

“ Stripped down and straight to the heart… “ Singer-songwriter / gitarist Bill Philippe leeft al twee decennia in de baai van San Francisco, CA, waar hij regelmatig lokaal in bars, cafés en clubs optreedt. Na tien jaar met zijn band ‘The Brothers Goldman’ zijn weg zoekend doorheen de funk van New Orléans en drie albums later (“Ascended Masters of the Order of the Tantric FOnk” – 2003 / “FOnk” - 2008 / “FOnkOlOgy” - 2011) is Phillippe in 2012, terug naar de roots van de Delta Blues gekeerd. Solo en op zoek naar de geest van Blind Willie Johnson, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson en Mississippi John Hurt, componeerde hij hiervoor “GhOsts” (2014) en recent “Parade” (2016). “Parade” is Bill Phillippe’s nieuwe solo album met vooral eigen werk. Enkel Duke Ellington en Tom Waits brachten hem even in verwarring. De verhalen die Phillippe brengt zijn verhalen over liefde, verlies, verdriet en andere alledaagse dingen. Opnieuw is de prachtige (retro) hoes van Summer Porter. Het is zijn tweede solo album, maar Phillippe doet het niet meer helemaal alleen. Hij kreeg de hulp van Ivor Holloway (klarinet), Swen Hendrickson (staande bas) en Glenn Hartman (accordeon). Al direct vanaf de opener ”Blues Come Calling Me (Home)” hoor je blues anno jaren ’20 en ’30 echoën en wordt je ondergedomeld in de melancholie van toen. In ”Proper Sorrow” klinkt het verdriet heel gemeend en ”14th Street” lijkt wel een wandeling. In ”If I Should Lose My Mind” zijn de accordeon van Glenn Hartman en de clarinet van Ivor Holloway er heel nadrukkelijk en Duke Ellington’s ”Solitude / A Kinder Voice” klinkt als poëzie. In de titel song ”Parade” klinkt Phillippe opgelucht. ”Little Zion” klinkt hallucinerend en ”Red Beret” bevrijdend. Tom Waits’ ”Take It With Me” is afscheid nemen met een tas vol warme herinneringen... “In a land there's a town And in that town there's A house And in that house There's a woman And in that woman There's a hart I love I'm gonna take it With me when I go I'm gonna take it With me when I go” Met zijn album “Parade” zet Bill Phillippe een volgende stap. Een stap verder dan de conventionele grenzen van de akoestische blues muziek. Hij doet het niet meer alleen (wat hem en zijn muziek siert), maar een klarinet, accordeon en een staande bas helpen hem een unieke, vaak wat melancholische sfeer creëren, die er nodig is om in deze parade te kunnen opgaan. “ Bill Phillippe is taking the next step. A clarinet, an accordion and an upright bass help him creating an unique, often somewhat melancholic atmosphere, which is needed to let this parade succeed... “ Eric Schuurmans

The Rock Doctor

PARADE Bill Phillipe (Arkansas Street) ***

"It’s the 2nd album for this San Francisco-based guitarist and songwriter. By stretching the conventional boundaries of acoustic blues and jug bands with the use of accordion, clarinet and stand up bass, Phillippe has created a haunting sound that feels like it’s from another time and place, and it’s a trip.

These are original songs, BP’s tales of love, loss and our journey through the ‘parade’ of experience that makes up a life, and as such this disc is an intimate-feeling experience. Reflections In Blue praises his previous album, Ghosts, calling him a “Singer/ songwriter, bluesman, folksinger, gospel singer and storyteller extraordinaire. Phillipe’s work is a very diverse blending of styles for a sound that has a lot of that somewhat haunting sound that is common in the Mississippi delta”, and I repeat those words here because they get to the very heart of who this guy is as an artist. Each song on Parade is an intimate experience, sometimes uncomfortably so. T

his isn’t toe-tappin’ get down on a Saturday night kind of music, more like a collection of sad and haunting vignettes that occasionally leave you gasping and wondering “how does this poor bastard get through the day?” Most of these tracks are original, except Tom Waits’s Take It With Me and a melodic quote from Duke Ellington’s Solitude combined with the song A Kinder Voice. The tunes have a sparse, vintage feel, and as a singer Phillippe kind of reminds me of Steve Earle just a little bit- not a bad thing at all.

For me, Parade will always be an album with a specific mission, something to throw on when I’m feeling kind of down and in the mood to think about the big picture, where I’ve been, and where I might like to go in the time I have left. Far from depressing I find that thought comforting, and suspect that others who listen to Parade might feel the same. Not a disc for every day to be sure, but there will be times when nothing else will do.

ESSENTIALS: Proper Sorrow, Solitude/A Kinder Voice, Tonight"

Blues Blast Magazine

"Bill Phillippe offers up an outstanding serving of traditional country blues in this tastefully conceived CD,"

San Francisco singer/guitarist Bill Phillippe offers up an outstanding serving of traditional country blues in this tastefully conceived CD, which fluidly reinterprets songs in the public domain and mixes them with first-generation blues hits as well as a few originals to produce one cohesive musical package. Phillippe settled in the Bay area about 20 years ago after a long stint in Chicago and achieved regional popularity with a band that played New Orleans-style funk. His overwhelming interest in early artists – including Mississippi John Hurt, Robert Johnson and others — brought about a career change. About, ten years ago, he abandoned the band setting, embarking work as a solo acoustic artist, and he hasn’t looked back. Phillippe borrows heavily from the repertoire of his personal favorite, Blind Willie Johnson, for much of this disc, but delivers all of the tunes here in his own guitar stylings and with an attack that makes each tune his own. First up is a new take on the Robert Johnson classic, “Come On In My Kitchen.” Phillippe’s pace is deliberate and unforced as he urges his lady inside on a rainy day. His vocal delivery is strong, slightly nasally and maintains the feel of his elders. Three original tunes follow. “Father’s Lament” is a sweet song of comfort delivered from the end point of a dad’s life. “Wedded Heart” and “Broken Cup” are a pair of love songs softly delivered from different perspectives. The singer follows with a haunting version of Blind Willie’s 1928 classic, “Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning,” before two more originals — “Tightrope,” a pensive look at romance, and “Big Bill’s Dream,” a reverie about freedom delivered through the eyes of bluesman and freedom fighter Big Bill Broonzy. Most of the remaining numbers on Ghost rely or refer to Johnson’s catalog. A version of “Motherless Children,” first recorded in 1927, precedes the Phillippe-penned “The Ballad Of Blind Willie” before versions of two more Johnson tunes, “God Don’t Never Change” and “In My Time Of Dying,” which proved to be a hit for Led Zeppelin. Reinterpretations of Son House’s “Death Letter” and Blind Willie’s 1933 recording, “You’re Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond,” conclude the set. Respectful to the original artists but original throughout, Ghosts should appeal to anyone who loves acoustic blues. Phillippe’s delivery is always respectful to the medium and never forced, his music powerful in its subtlety. Available through CDBaby.

Reflections In Blue

The information that was included with this disc lists Bill Phillippe as being from the San Francisco Bay area. After living with the recording for several day nearly non-stop, I still find that fact to be a bit hard to believe. Of the thirteen tunes on the disc, it is about equally divided between those tunes written by Phillippe and those in the public domain and arranged by Phillippe. This guy is an exceptional guitarist and a better than average wordsmith. Ghosts features the artist alone with guitar in hand, singing what he knows and loves. This album is interesting and beautiful on so many levels. Singer/songwriter, bluesman, folksinger, gospel singer and storyteller extraordinaire, Phillippe's work is a very diverse blending of styles for a sound that has a lot of that somewhat haunting sound that is common in the Mississippi delta. Like the travelling minstrel of old, he sings songs not only from his wells of experience but those tunes he has found himself relating to over the years. For the past twenty years he has been playing throughout the San Francisco Bay area, honing his skills the entire time. Ghosts is the work of a man with a deep love for the music of the 1920's and the Mississippi delta, and he plays it well. Rather than simply emulate the work of the masters, Phillippe breaks it down, reinterprets it and essentially makes it his own. Easy to listen to he weaves a tapestry in words and music, painting pictures that will stay with the audience long after the show is finished. If you are a fan of the work done during the folk era, when the Blues Masters were brought out of retirement and reintroduced to a young and hungry audience, this might be just the thing you are looking for. I found it to be relaxing, entertaining and easy to listen to. As for putting a label on it...I'll leave that for those considered experts in the field. I liked it and think that given a chance, you might just feel the same. There are ample samples listed in the links. Check it out for yourself.

Smokey Mountain Blues Society

Here’s a real gem for you acoustic Delta Blues lovers. Bill Phillippe has a new CD out called “Ghosts” with tons of great old classics, done in a new style. Keeping the classic one-man fingerstyle picking made popular by such luminaries as Robert Johnson, Blind Willie Johnson, Son House, John Hurt, and others, Bill gives us a view into the past. This San Francisco based acoustic fingerpicker does his best on this one. With 13 cuts it is a great listen, and new ideas for you players. Taking his time, and loving his music Bill plays some great stuff here. From gospel tunes, original pieces, and traditional arrangements Bill offers up a full plate of fine old and new classics. Check him out at www.BillPhillippeMusic.com If you are a finger picker, or lover of that music, this is a great new CD to add to your collection. His fresh ideas, and takes on the old classics ring with a love of yesteryear, and a love of keeping it alive today. From Come On In My Kitchen, to Motherless Children, to Death Letter, to the Ballad of Blind Willie, Bill lets the Delta flow from his fingertips. Knee deep in the Delta mud. I’d sure like to sit down and play with him sometime. Who knows? Please check him out. Slow blues in the cool of the evening. One love, blue barry ~ smoky mountain blues society.

Vintage Guitar Magazine

"Stripped down and earthy, his playing is impassioned". 

Blues Matters

"Bill allows time and space to thread it’s way deliciously in between the ephemeral acoustic passages. Recommended!"

Bill has been playing, recording and performing blues based music in one form or another for over thirty year’s now, mainly in and around the San Francisco Bay area. For the last ten year’s though he has focused mainly upon New Orleans Deep Funk; in which time he released three albums; Ascended Masters of the order of the Tantric FOnk, FOnk and FOnkOlOgy. In two thousand and twelve he came full circle and decided to pursue the origins of the music he so loves. He has now produced an album that is a mixture of traditional Delta Blues and New Orleans tunes with varying influences that include such artist as; Willie Johnson, Robert Johnson, and Mississippi John Hurt. The light and deft touch that Bill applies to his acoustic playing infuses each of the renditions with a delicate and almost spectral atmosphere that seeps surreptitiously into your listening brain. This is evident on the first number, Robert Johnson’s tale of Po, Bob’s disturbed soul in Come On In My Kitchen, a bare, sparse and solemn acoustic guitar is matched with Bill’s low and melancholy vocals. Another Robert Johnson number on the album is, In My Time Of Dyin’ here, Bill touchingly and achingly interprets the uplifted spirit and passion of the original. Although, Bill is respectful of the numbers chosen here, he does not submerge his talent and individuality in an effort to create a faithful replication, no, in fact on such numbers as; Motherless Children, The Ballad Of Blind Willie and You’re Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond, there is a definite dash of contemporary feeling emerging through. On Father’s Lament, Bill allows time and space to thread it’s way deliciously in between the ephemeral acoustic passages. Recommended!

Bman's Blues Report

I just received the newest release, Ghosts, from Bill Phillippe and it's quite true to it's form. Opening with Robert Johnson's classic, Come On In My Kitchen, Phillippe uses an arrangement very similar to Johnson's own with simple accompaniment but with to my ear more of an African influenced guitar style. Very interesting. Father's Lament is a quiet acoustic ballad with a beautiful melody. Broken Cup has a nice 3/4 pace and war vocals with clear acoustic support. One of my favorites, Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning, has a modern approach to a classic track. With a much more rudimentary beat and contemporary vocals it has a new appeal to contemporary listeners. Tightrope is a moody ballad with a haunting melody. Big Bill's Dream has an interesting sound with blues like strumming but with subtle hints of western music. Traditional track, Motherless Children, has an entirely different feel with a contemporary feel but with thumb bass and a country blues root. The Ballad Of Blind Willie has a sound of sorrow but with more of a European style of writing, almost like of early sailors. God Don't Never Change has the stern sound of Son House and it's solid single string bass line but with contemporary melodic vocals. In My Time Of Dying has the finger style firmly based in traditional blues again with modern interpretation. Nice job. Son House's own Death Letter gets my closest listen with crisp finger picking and stylistic vocals. Very cool. Wrapping the release is a very nice version of You're Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond. This is the most traditional interpretation of the blues on the release and a cool selection for the final track.

USA Today Online

Playlist: What's Jerry Shriver listening to? Ten intriguing tracks found in the week's listening: Wedded Heart, Bill Phillippe San Francisco-based bluesman Phillippe evokes the spirit of the turn-of-the-century Mississippi Delta musical landscape on the appropriately titled Ghosts.

Blues In Britain

" Phillippe possesses a clean, precise and melodic guitar sound that perfectly complements his laidback and smokey vocals".

Bill Phillippe is a San Francisco based blues artist whose CD release ‘Ghosts’ is an apt title for the haunting blues that populate this impressive set. Phillippe possesses a clean, precise and melodic guitar sound that perfectly complements his laidback and smokey vocals making this a set that you warm too after repeated listenings – discovering beautifully understated phrasings and inflections that at first were hidden beneath the melancholy atmosphere that pervades these recordings. The set is a compelling mix of originals and classic Delta gems - the originals melding seamlessly with the covers.

It is the covers that give the greatest insight into Philippe’s’ talent as he transforms numbers like Robert Johnson’s ‘Come On In my Kitchen’, Fred McDowell’s ‘Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning’ and Blind Willie Johnson’s ‘You’re Gonna Need Somebody On your Bond’, all of which are played as laments, the intensity of the originals being replaced by an intoxicating melancholia. Phillippe’s originals range from the mournful Celtic stylings of ‘Wedded Heart’ to the folksy lament of ‘Broken Cup’ making this set a delightful evocation of timeless acoustic Delta blues. (www.billphillippemusic.com) Mick Rainsford

Midwest Record

A contemporary white boy that thinks he was born in the Delta back in the day does a fine job of keeping the traditional, solo guitar powered blues alive. Hopefully he has a good day job or trust fund so he doesn't have to starve for his art, this cat comes on like the real deal. As long as you like music that colors outside the lines, this is sure to drive you nuts with it's inferred authenticity---even when most of the set card is originals after some Robert Johnson sets the mood. Fine stuff for a real soldier for the blues.

Cashbox Music Reviews

Ghosts is an appopriate name for this new album by Bill Phillippe as it is immersed in the music of the past or the blues of the early 20th century to be more exact. Bill Phillippe has combined a number of original compositions and some traditional blues numbers into an album that would have found a home in the 1920’s Southern Delta. Phillippe keeps it pure and simple as it is just him, his acoustic guitar, and voice. His interpretations of Robert Johnson’s “Come On In My Kitchen” and the traditional “Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning,” “Motherless Children,” “God Don’t Never Give Change,” “In My Time Of Dying,”and “You’re Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond” are all raw and passionate. When you add in such original tunes as the personal “Big Bill’s Dream,” the poignant “Ballad Of Blind Willie,” and “Death Letter;” you have an album that does justice to blues history. Ghosts is the result of 20 years of constant performing in small clubs and lounges, plus developing a guitar style that suits the solo nature of his sound and style. It is an excellent listen for anyone in touch with the heritage of the blues. Rating: ***1/2

RootsTime

For lovers of Mississippi Hurt or Blind Willie Johnson, stripped acoustic fingerpicking blues guitar, this is an absolute "must", highly recommended!

bluesinthenorthwest.com

The opening track of this CD by Bill Phillippe, a cover of Robert Johnson’s ‘Come On In This Kitchen’, is enough to confirm how adept this San Francisco-based singer and guitarist is at the classic Mississippi Delta styled blues. It is close enough to the original to ensure Bill conjures up Po’ Bob’s troubled spirit, yet individual enough to demonstrate that he also has ideas of his own.

Other tracks are reminiscent of the bluesier end of the 60s folk revival, with their ever-so slight tinges of the likes of Woody Guthrie, Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal, and Bill’s treatments of guitar evangelist staples such as ‘Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning’ and ‘God Don’t Never Change’ are certainly convincing. This is an aptly titled solo set – subtle, low-key, slightly spooky, the past intruding into the present and leaving a strong impression…

donandsherylsbluesblog

"you’d swear he grew up in the Mississippi Delta. His latest release is entitled “Ghosts,” and consists of a mix of thirteen originals and covers, that shows how deep his passion runs for the pre-WWII Delta masters."

Bill Phillippe has spent the last twenty years playing and singing throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, altho when one listens to him, you’d swear he grew up in the Mississippi Delta. His latest release is entitled “Ghosts,” and consists of a mix of thirteen originals and covers, that shows how deep his passion runs for the pre-WWII Delta masters. This recording is pure Bill–just his acoustic guitar and vocals, with very sparse arrangements. Bill has a firm grasp on the deft finger-picking styles of those great players of the past, and we enjoyed his stylings on “Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning” and “Come On In My Kitchen.” His originals are in keepng with the works and subject matter of those Delta masters, as well. The struggles of life and death, love and loss, and the eternal flame of hope and redemption act as the common thread that bind these songs together. There are the poignant, somber cuts such as “Motherless Children,” “In My Time Of Dying,” Father’s Lament,” and “Death Letter,” which features some outstanding picking from Bill. Our favorites were “The Ballad Of Blind Willie” and “Big Bill’s Dream,” with its tales of Lady Liberty! Bill Phillippe has kept alive the music of the Delta, and you can almost hear those “Ghosts” haunting throughout this set! Until next time…

Minor 7th

"Phillippe really shines on his own compositions. And I'd love to hear more"

Veteran of the San Francisco Bay music scene for the last twenty years, Bill Phillippe, has released his first solo acoustic album. Ghosts is a collection of 1920s blues and Phillippe's own compositions, plaintive tunes that fit snugly alongside the traditional blues on the album. Phillippe's vocal and guitar playing are understated and pleasing. No pyrotechnics or self-conscious playing here, just straight up musicality. Phillippe also has a knack for writing good songs, as evidenced by tracks like "Father's Lament," an intimate and heartfelt melody and lyric. "Broken Cup" is another keeper. Both bring to mind the music of "Mississippi" John Hurt. Honestly, after several listenings to Ghosts, I could take or leave tracks like Robert Johnson's "Come on in the My Kitchen" or Son House's "Death Letter." Both are good performances, but Phillippe really shines on his own compositions. And I'd love to hear more. © Chip O'Brien

Germany's "Blues News"

"I hear Lightnin' Hopkisn and Mance Lipscomb's montone bass and Junior Kimbroughs Mississippi Juke Joint blues in Phillippe's playing"


French Magazine "Cry of the Coyote"

"A CD not to be missed"

France's "Blues Magazine"

"An album not to be missed", HEART rating (the TOP rating)!