The Long Memory & The Bruce "Utah" Phillips Flanger Car

It was late 1968 or maybe early 69'. Only my father and a couple of his friends knew the exact date that my father left Utah. In 68' he had run ran for the U.S. Senate on the Peace & Freedom Party ticket. It was successful only in the fact that he received approximately 5,000 votes. As a result, he was blacklisted and couldn't find work, so he loaded up his green-and-white V.W. micro-bus and set out across the country, a kind of reverse pilgrimage you could say. Many of you might remember hearing him talk about this during one of his many shows.

A few years later he signed with Philo Records and bought an 1890s' era flanger rail car from the Vermont Central Railroad for $500. A track laying party ensued. Then they rented a crane and set the car in its new home on 50' of track across the field from the Philo recording barn. A flanger is similar to a caboose only in appearance.  Flangers were generally converted boxcars that were used to clear the track of snow and ice. (Modern day flangers are still used to clear the tracks of snow in places like Donner Pass, CA). Utah lived in the rail car for several years while recording at Philo. When he was on the road, whether recording or just passing through, fellow artists and friends would stay in the rail car.  Also on the property was “The Barn” as it was called, where my father recorded three record albums: “Good Though,” El Capitan” and “The Telling Takes Me Home” At the time Philo was the premier label for both traditional and contemporary Folk music. Their roster also included Dave van Ronk, Patti Larkin and Nancy Griffith just to name a few. In 1979 Philo was bought out by Rounder Records.


Fast forward to November 2016. I have just pulled over at a rest stop in central Utah when I receive and e-mail informing me that my father’s rail car had been put up for sale! After a couple of conversations, the current owner agreed that it my dad’s former home would make a fine library worthy of “The Golden Voice of the Great Southwest” and, indeed, it should be relocated to Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture


A month later, The Long Memory received its IRS designated 501c3 non-profit tax-exempt status, and the fund-raising campaign to relocate and renovate the Bruce “Utah” Phillips Library began. Please help us to make this happen!

People knew my father in many ways, most as "Utah" some only as Bruce others by his moniker "Bowtie." After his 40 plus years and  two million miles traveling the country the one thing I know for certain is that everybody him in their own way. In fact because of the work by Ani DiFranco, John McCutcheon, David Rovics, Joe Jenks and many, many others, people are still getting to know him.  As his son I'm still getting to know him...I see The Bruce "Utah" Phillips Library as a place for people to gather and visit, a place to get to know my father and his vast body of work. A place for an artist in residence to work, a place to sing and share stories, it's always about the story.

There are many ways to contribute. You can go to our Generosity crowd funding page. You can go to out blog page and share your favorite "Utah" story. You can also contribute by helping us spread the word.     

~Duncan Phillips~

You can make a donation by mail or by clicking on the donation button below.

The Long Memory

P.O. Box 711694

SLC, UT. 84171

Please make checks payable to The Long Memory - All donations are tax-deductible.

Peace & Freedom Party   http://www.peaceandfreedom.org/home/

Vermont Central Railway https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Vermont_Railway

Flanger Rail Car https://www.thelongmemory.com/utahs-caboose/

Flanger https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flanger_(railroad)

Philo Records  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philo_Records_(folk)

Rounder Records http://www.rounder.com/

The Long Memory  https://www.thelongmemory.com/#utahphillips