“THE FALL AND FURTHER DECLINE OF THE MIGHTY KING OF LOVE” was produced by Richard Bennett and was recorded & mixed by George Bradfute at the Tone Chapparral, Madison, TN — with additional recording and data wrangling by Prof. Michael Fleming. Joining Phil Lee (vocals/guitar/harmonica) in the studio are Richard Bennett (guitar/washboard/uke), George Bradfute (guitar/fiddles), Dave Roe (bass), Ken Coomer (drums), Jen Gunderman (organ/harmonium), and on backup vocals: The Taryn Engle Singers, Tom Mason (also dobro), Peter Cooper, Kent Agee, Joy Lynn White, David Olney and Chris Wilson.
“THE FALL AND FURTHER DECLINE OF THE MIGHTY KING OF LOVE” features a dozen Phil Lee originals. Phil claims he wrote the song “The Blues In Reverse” “for Slim Harpo, or maybe he wrote it for me…a song about apprehension, the dread of the other foot getting ready to drop”. “All You Need” was written with the late, great Duane Jarvis. “He gave me a leg up in my early days in nashville, on a european tour, hiring me to be the driver, the drummer and opening act. Duane soon came to regret giving one man that much power…it’s different from his version but i don’t think he’d mind so much how it turned out. I really miss old Duane. “I Hated To See You Go” is “a rare co-write with the Barry Goldberg, famous as the piano player w/the Detroit Wheels, The Electric Flag w/ Michael Bloomfield and Buddy Miles — he was the piano player in the band when Dylan went electric at Newport… the song is straight out of the Stax Volt play book…another one-take live cut that turned out just like we meant for it to”. ” The rocker “I Like Everything” is “a simple little tune that harkens back to my early early days in the biz — That would be the mid to late ’60s…it’s a straight ahead ditty with me going on about a person I like. a lot…it’s a good ending song (we don’t want to go, but we GOT to go…).
Phil Lee is a hipster madman — Huck Finn meets Jack Kerouac. Before he settled in to becoming one of the best songwriters in captivity, Phil Lee spent a couple of decades playing drums, driving trucks, dumping motorcycles, hauling equipment, stealing hearts, eluding the authorities and raising Cain. If he were a character in “On The Road” he’d be the guy in the back seat telling Sal and Dean which billboards the Highway Patrol is lurking behind, which diners have the prettiest waitresses, where to find the best pie a la mode in any given two mile stretch of Route 66 and where you can stop and get your hat blocked in an emergency 24 hours a day, no appointment necessary. Or, more likely, he’d be the guy they were barreling down the road to meet for hot coffee and enlightenment. Ask his friend, crony and enabler Richard Bennett. Richard is one of the world’s finest guitar players and producers and he’s worn both hats for all of Phil’s records. He’s been a believer from the start. This is his take on the Mighty King of Love’s mysterious allure: “Phil and I often go for breakfast or lunch together where he’ll make a big show of picking up the check only to arrive at the register to discover he’s left his wallet home. Sometimes you’ll be lured to a cash only joint and he’ll just have a credit card.
The guy can put away more food than anyone I know and remain skinny as a rail. Believe me, there are plenty more reasons to dislike him. Still, Phil Lee’s the sanest person in my life… which doesn’t say much for either of us.” And nobody paid him to say that either.
The album is all the more impressive when you realize there have also been side projects including touring, recording the DVD “Phil Lee Live! At the Purple Onion” with L.A. Johnson the head of Neil Young’s Shakey Pictures production company, touring, contributing songs to and returning to the silver screen as Jimmy Earl in Katharyn Grant’s “The One Who Loves You,” touring, an ultra-secret project with a collaborator-to-be-named-later and touring. Word has it he’s even working on reinventing the Tijuana Bible. All this while keeping true to his unique and singular mission; to write songs that try to make sense out of this world, open some eyes, call out some fools and ring out some hard truths. Yet, admirable as such pursuits may be he’s simply being true to who he is. Phil Lee’s music will make you think and laugh and maybe shed a tear or two but it also provides hours of playtime fun because all of those things are part of the package. He couldn’t do it any other way.
By the time many artists get to their third or fourth album they are down to the material that didn’t make the cut for the first two. It is no mean feat to make four albums that stand on their own each one as good as the last yet also better in some way. It’s a pretty mighty achievement. Yet somehow with “THE FALL AND FURTHER DECLINE OF THE MIGHTY KING OF LOVE” Phil Lee, the pride of Durham, NC/ Nashville, Tennessee – soon to be Cayucos, CA, has pulled it off.
“The Don Rickles of disenfranchised nashtwang strikes again…Lee presents himself as a lovable, if formerly dangerous, rapscallion. Skirting genre boundaries between rock, soul and country…” (Peter Cooper/The Tennessean)
“Irreverent, ragged and beautiful in it’s simplicity…” (Alanna Nash/Country Music Magazine)
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