Washington Phillips

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Washington Phillips
Washington Phillips.jpg
Background information
Born (1880-01-11)January 11, 1880
Freestone County Texas, USA
Died September 20, 1954(1954-09-20) (aged 74)
Teague, Texas, USA
Genres Gospel
Occupations Musician, songwriter

Washington Phillips (January 11, 1880 – September 20, 1954) was a Texan gospel singer and musician. Phillips died in 1954 in Teague, Texas.

Biography[edit]

Phillips recorded eighteen songs, all between 1927 and 1929 in Dallas, for Columbia Records, though only sixteen survive. Some of his songs amount to highly specific and detailed gospel sermons, featuring Phillips' voice self-accompanied by an instrument that sounds like a fretless zither. This instrument, which has been variously identified as a Dolceola, a Celestaphone, two Celestaphones tuned in octaves attached side-by-side, or a Phonoharp (and also is considered by some to be an instrument entirely home-made by Phillips) creates a unique sound on these recordings that makes them immediately recognizable. Columbia A&R exec Frank B. Walker, who supervised the Phillips sessions said in a 1962 interview that Phillips' instrument was homemade. “Nobody on earth could use it but him,” he said.

Posthumous fame[edit]

Numerous compilations of Washington Phillips' complete recorded work have been released, such as The Key to the Kingdom on Yazoo Records in 2005. His songs have been covered by a variety of artists:

List of recordings[edit]

  • Lift Him Up That's All
  • Paul and Silas in Jail
  • Mother's Last Word to Her Son
  • The Church Needs Good Deacons
  • Jesus Is My Friend
  • A Mother's Last Word to Her Daughter
  • I Had a Good Father and Mother
  • I Am Born to Preach the Gospel
  • Take Your Burden to the Lord and Leave It There
  • Denomination Blues – Part 1
  • Denomination Blues – Part 2
  • What Are They Doing in Heaven Today
  • I've Got the Key to the Kingdom
  • Train Your Child
  • You Can't Stop a Tattler – Part 1
  • You Can't Stop a Tattler – Part 2

See also[edit]

Dolceola

External links[edit]