Sam Phillips – Solid State – Songs from the Long Play

January 01, 1970

(Notable Music)


Up until now, Sam Phillips’ biggest hurdle has been to
distinguish herself from the legendary Sun Records producer who carved his
niche in music history in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Originally known by her given
name, Leslie Phillips, she was given her moniker after releasing some early
Christian albums and before making her transition to pop. Any identity crisis
notwithstanding, she’s released a solid string of solo albums over the past
twenty years or so, and established a respectable reputation in the process. In
recent years, she’s turned to the digital world, offering up five digital only
EPs and a full-length download available only to those who have subscribed to
her Long Play project.


Despite her experimental intentions, Phillips is savvy
enough to know that physical discs still hold sway with many music lovers,
making the aptly named Solid State a
handy catch-up course on Phillips’ recent efforts. And for anyone worried about
why she had slipped from the radar, these 13 songs ought to offer ample
reassurance her seductive skills are still peaked and primed. Phillips’ agile
vocals sweep over these mostly ragtag arrangements and provide the emphasis and
impact that each of these songs demand. Most, like “Magic for Everybody” and
“Throw Yourself Away,” progress through a lope or a sway, but when Phillips
shakes things up – adding clap-along choruses to “Happy Mediums,” a jarring
wallop on “Lever Pulled Down,” an insistent cello to “What It All Means” or a
clunky piano on “Not So Fast,” the music suddenly becomes all the more
startling and suggestive. Even so, it’s that voice that matters, and with songs
like “Tell Her What She Wants To Know” and “So Glad You’re Here,” Phillips’
singing is absolutely sublime.


for Everybody,” “Lever Pulled Down,” “Throw Yourself Away” LEE ZIMMERMAN


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