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Brewer Phillips

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Brewer Phillips was one of the more unique sidemen in Chicago blues history. His guitar playing combined the rhythmic sense of an Eddie Taylor (an early childhood friend and fishing buddy) with the stinging lead work of a Pat Hare. Born on a plantation in Coila, Mississippi, he came under the early tutelage of Memphis Minnie and grew up with the legends of the blues all around him, seeing many of them perform firsthand. After leaving Mississippi, he moved to Memphis, becoming a professional musician and making his first recordings as a member of Bill Harvey's band, along with a session behind pianist Roosevelt Sykes that went unreleased. He was best known for his work as a member of Hound Dog Taylor & the Houserockers; in this trio with no bass player, he alternated between icepick-in-your-ear sheet-metal lead tones produced from his battered Telecaster and comping basslines while simultaneously combining chords, all of it executed with a thumb pick and bare fingers. It was a sound totally rooted in the juke joint sounds of Phillips' Mississippi upbringing and there was simply no equal to it on the blues scene of the day. Following Taylor's death in 1976, Phillips recorded on his own and worked sporadically with J.B. Hutto, Lil Ed, Cub Koda, and others while remaining a largely shadowy figure in Chicago blues circles. He died on August 30, 1999 in Chicago at 74 years of age. ~ All Music Guide


16 November 1924 in Coila, MS

Years Active:

'70s, '80s, '90s