Songs You May Have Missed #223


Utah Phillips: “Moose Turd Pie” (1973)

Bruce U. Utah Phillips combined the folk balladry of Woody Guthrie, the pro-union activism of Pete Seeger and the storytelling gift of Mark Twain. His songs about railroads and hobos were sparsely adorned but always entertaining.

I was exposed to little folk music as a youngster, unless you count my dad’s record collection, which offered the safe, sanitized version: The New Christy Minstrels (who were pointedly lampooned as the “New Main Street Singers” in A Mighty Wind) and the Serendipity Singers (ditto). Not that I have a problem with The New Christy Minstrels, who happen to have recorded my favorite Christmas album of all time.

But true folk music made it into my life in a limited way, so what I heard was bound to carry a lot of weight in my assessment of the genre. I’m grateful to have been exposed, by my oldest brother, to Utah Phillips and to “Moose Turd Pie” in particular. It helped broaden my world a little, even if I had few (or no) friends at the time who cared to have their horizons similarly broadened.

I’d like to think that whatever your musical persuasions you’ll appreciate “Moose Turd Pie.” Give it a taste.

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