It’s shocking & sad what little footage exists of “Dickie“ Phillips that shows his unorthodox method of playing the electric guitar. Here is the only clip on YouTube that shows Phillips playing with Tex Williams & the Western Caravan — note how he places the guitar across his lap and presses his fingers firmly downward on the strings in the manner of a pianist:
“the Talking Boogie” Tex Williams & His Western Caravan 195?
[Guitar solo by “Dickie” Phillips begins at the 0:45 mark in the video]
Herb Steiner chimes in via the Steel Guitar Forum on Tex Williams’ musical personnel:
“The steel player in ‘Talkin’ Boogie’ is Wayne Burdick. Singing with Tex is Deuce Spriggens on bass and Jimmy Widener on guitar. Max Fidler is the lead violinist, Ossie Godsen on vibraphone, Warren Penniman on drums, and I don’t recognize the other players. Really good band, y’all. “
I have a (better quality) clip of this same band performing “Tulsa Trot” that features a wonderful and more intricate solo from Dicky Phillips that is really fun to watch — I regret that this performance is not yet available on YouTube.
Sorry – distracted by the vintage vegas architecture
However, Tex Williams did do another live performance of “The Talking Boogie” on TV’s Town Hall Ranch Party with our old friend Joe Maphis, who plays his one-of-a-kind double-neck guitar:
“The Talking Boogie” Tex Williams with Joe Maphis & Western Ranch Party 1958
Phillips’ individualistic approach to playing the instrument, although similar to a Chapman Stick (without the “double tapping“) is somewhat unique — I challenge you to produce a video that shows another guitarist whose playing method duplicates Dickie’s. Text below is excerpt from Phillips’ obituary:
JAMES RICHARD “DICKIE” PHILLIPS, b. August 30, 1920, Beamon, Pettis County, Missouri; d. April 23, 1991, Jackson County, Missouri; m. MARTHA KILLEBREW, ca. 1940, St. Louis, Missouri.
James Richard Phillips was an accomplished musician, playing the fiddle and guitar with many well known bands, such as Spike Jones, Tex Williams and Bob Scobey. He played with Pat Boone’s backup band and appeared on the Arthur Godfrey Show as a regular attraction for several months, both on radio and television.
When he was with the Tex Williams band, he played background music for a number of movies, including several of the Walt Disney animated films. During his youth, he played with a band which appeared in Hawaii and during this time he contracted tuberculosis.