Shawn Phillips Living Contributions: Both Sides

This double-disc set from Shawn Phillips captures two very different live performances. The duality works well for this versatile underground institution, an artist who has been in the liner notes of some of the most important music from the ’60s to today. The first face of Phillips is that of a rock star, with a huge band and an excited crowd. Phillips is jumpy and animated, twanging his way through introductions before getting into the music, with particularly animated renditions of "Radio,” a song that explains why he’s not likeable enough to be on the airwaves anymore, and the solidly rocking "American Child.” The second Phillips is that of a reserved folk artist, playing a solo performance with an almost classically quiet crowd. There’s a hushed, reverent feel to the songs, even those that in another context would be charged with revolutionary fever. The recording can be spotty at times, which can make catching the subtleties of the songwriting difficult, but it’s easy enough to come back for repeat listening to understand them, and Phillips, a bit better. (2Feet)