I have been meaning to write a few words about Phil Wilson for over a year now, and everytime he releases something else, I kick myself for not getting around to doing this. Now, the time has come to pay my dues with the release of a fabulous new single “I Own It” and a superb full length album “God Bless Jim Kennedy” on Slumberland Records (http://www.slumberlandrecords.com/) and the YesBoyIcecream label (http://www.yesboyicecream.com/home.html) who also released the June Brides tribute album a while back (http://www.yesboyicecream.com/ybi01.html).
This is an amazing album which any June Brides or Phil Wilson fan should definitely pick up but will also likely appeal to anyone who enjoys great music. It’s music that comes from the heart and soul and tells the the tale of some real life experiences with style and flair. Phil did a great interview for Pennyblack music here – http://www.pennyblackmusic.co.uk/MagSitePages/Article.aspx?id=5811 – which will give you some more details on the songs and the history of this album – don’t forget to read part 2 of the interview also.
As everyone probably already knows, Phil sang and played in the legendary and influential band The June Brides (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_June_Brides and http://www.junebride.freeserve.co.uk/), who were a band that left their mark on the UK indie music scene and my music taste and inspired many musicians for years to come. Alan McGee was a fan from the start and they often played at his club – The Living Room, with one track documented on the very first album released on Creation Records – Alive In The Living Room (CRE 001). So it is very strange they never signed to Creation, as they in many ways defined the early Creation sound. They did however, record many great tunes for The Pink Label and later In Tape, like “In the Rain”, “Every Conversation”, “I Fall” “Just The Same” etc. etc., that became the blueprint of much of the guitar pop music that was to follow. (If you want to learn more and hear the tunes then pick up the fine 2CD compilation on Cherry Red Records, that was released in 2005 “Every Converstion, The Story of The June Brides and Phil Wilson).
The June Brides and Phil Wilson, with his various solo releases, were a great inspiration to me as a music fan and collector and every release was eagerly awaited and always enjoyed. I even had a friend scour the record shops in England on his vacation looking for some of the missing singles (and they found them). They were a band who never let you down and whose music was always full of excitement and relevance and tunes that would soar high above the crowd.
It would be no small understatement to say that they also were very inspirational to eventually starting up a hobby label and amazingly and very much to my ecstatic reception Phil was there at the start on our very first Pop compilation. Alan McGee had told me that Phil was a fine gentleman, but that was an understatement as Phil was very kind to me a complete stranger alowing us to use alternate versions of one of my favourite songs. His encouraging words about our projects, sent our spirits soaring and Phil agreeing to record a cover of a Television Personalities song for our tribute series (which was on volume 2), was like a dream come true – one of my favourite bands recording a cover of another favourite band – it doesn’t get much better than that.
But it did, and he didn’t stop, he was on a roll, recording a slew of amazing covers, that have now been released on various small labels and are at times hard to track down but well worth the effort. So as the title suggests this post is to help you keep up with Phil by rounding up a bunch of his releases and telling you where you can pick them up.
The first Installment of covers came out in 2008 on the wonderful This Almighty Pop! label and very fittingly called Pop! had featured covers of tracks by The Cure, Felt, The Field Mice and Belle & Sebastian (could you possibly find a better selection of covers anywhere for a Pop covers compilation?) and was perfectly executed in true Phil harmonic style. This is an absolute must for any collection and you can probably pick up a copy here for a reasonable price – Contact the label through this blog – http://woodside-design.blogspot.com/
Up next was the “New Wave” EP on mini CDr on the Edition 59 label (a label that I have spoken of often). This fine collection included covers of songs by The Scars (one of my favourite songs ever “All About You”), The Flys, Torch Song and The Subway Sect. Robert King from the Scars even told me he enjoyed this cover – do you need any further endorsement? Since this is a limited release – it may no longer even be available.
ps – that is Arash from The Painted Word on the cover.
A Slumberland Records double 7? release “Industrial Strength” which highlighted Phil’s love for music and drew from a more diverse palette for inspiration with covers of songs by Kraftwerk, Throbbing Gristle, Faust and the wonderful German band S/T. (This release may still be available here – http://www.slumberlandrecords.com/catalog/show/94)
Another hard to find but equally wonderful and well worth searching out is this 7? release on a Japanese label that is highly influenced by The June Brides that they named their label Every Converstion and fittingly had Phil and Sarandon record versions of this song.
A complete reissue of all three original Phil Wilson singles 10 Miles, Waiting For A Change, and Better Days all on the Edition 59 label have also been recently released. Tracks have also been featured on a Slumberland Records compilation for their 20th anniversay, a split 7? with Bunnygrunt and possibly a few more I’ve missed, so as I said it is hard to keep up with Phil these days, but here’s wishing him the best on his album release – he deserves to be Rich and Famous but he probably would rather not.
Thank You Phil for the inspiration!