FOR THE BEST OF PERSONAL MEMOIRS
A PICTURE STORY- by Gypsy Quill
©--2021 Phil Wilkinson, Gypsy Quill/ all story pages/all rights reserved!
*Phil Wilkinson was devastated, especially as a singer/songwriter/musician--after going deaf! It was his passion in life since early childhood. And even though he is legally completely deaf, he still has a minimum trace of nerve hearing only and only in his left ear. But with that, he still composes music and is working on learning to set the sound effectively for him to hear the key change in the musical and vocal arrangements. He is re-training his music ear. Read how he went deaf to a rare condition later in this story.
B.B. Cunningham Jr. : a Beale Street legend. Leader of The Hombres, notably known for the hit single- 'Let It All Hang Out'. Brother of Bill Cunningham, who was the leader of the Box Tops, known for the hit- 'The Letter' and later became the cello player for The Presidents Band at the White House. (More on B.B. later in the story).
Bryan Savage: A flutist/saxophone player for Al Stewart's band--A Shot In The Dark. Played sax on comediant Steve Martin's number one smash hit-- 'KING TUT', Bryan played flute on 'I WONDER' on the Phil Wilkinson's album.
Jerry Peters: Concert pianist for the late 70's Memphis Symphony Orchestra. Played live and some recording for Larry Raspberry B.B. Cunningham and more.
David Bloomfield: The leader of the David Bloomfield Band(blues rock), a favorite in Los Angeles in the 60's.
More on these guests later in the story...
By Gypsy Quill
©--2021 www.gypsyquill.com / Phillip Wilkinson, All rights reserved ®
Phillip Wilkinson of SOLOMAN'S SONG is the same person as Phil Wilkinson the... singer/songwriter/musician/producer/arranger.
From age four on... Phillip Spent much of his childhood living in southeast Louisiana. Beginning in early childhood, He started going by a shorter version of his name and his friends all called him Phil. Phil Wilkinson became his stage name as he quickly... beginning also in his early childhood, developed his musical talents to become a singer/songwriter/musician.
Phil's talent began to surface at 6 when he sang with Tammy Wynette at the Ponchatoula Hay Ride in southeast Louisiana. Visiting with relatives on his mother's side of the family, he discovered he could play his cousin's drum set, while showing him what he wasn't doing. His Uncle a seasoned Smooth Jazz guitar player then...tried him on guitar. "I want you to watch very carefully because I am only going to play this one time. I want to see if you can play it the same way I do." His Uncle Nick said. Surprisingly to all else watching-- he did. "You are going to be a guitar player!" the Uncle assured him with a grin from ear to ear.
There had been a number of guitar players on this side of the family, including his Grandpa and several uncles. His aunt played accordian and there were a number of singers. But the finding of his talent also carried over to surface in school when he began singing in choir in the third grade and continued up through to the 8th. During which time he sometimes played guitar in stage band with the choir. As well. But he sometimes played in the guitar mass. There were two early childhood bands -- he put together around 10 yrs. old. (when he also began writing songs).
Summer of 1970, barely age 14, Phillip spent some time with his father's side of the family. Pictured to the right, they are 1st cousins. Michael--the son of Elsie Wilkinson Robinson, the sister of Randolph Wilkinson, Phillip's father. The picture was taken at his aunt Elsie and Uncle Doodle Robinson's place. Although the 60's were technically over as you can see the hair styles were still in. I think that style was called "frat."
The gist of the story here, is he was born with a music ear, and you will soon see that talent excelled on both sides of his family.
"This was the first time, I was allowed to spend time with my father since I was 5 years old. Almost a decade. At no fault of his. I happened to be very attached to him at 5 and my aggressive trait came out by my push to see him was a lot of why I was finally able to. I had known about the musical talent on my mother's side of the family but was shocked to find out for the first time, about my father's side.
My uncle Norman came to visit me in North Carolina while I was spending the summer with Dad. Uncle Norman played guitar, dobro, sang and wrote songs. I was told a story by a lady who was close to the family and it revealed he had written a number of songs which were stolen by someone who was involved in the music business. And after that he never pursued it again. It is a painful thought and worse, feeling, when that happens and is not unusual. It's just not a common thing spoken about. I my self have had some material stolen too. But Uncle Norman was very good on guitar and I was able to hear my father play guitar with him when he played dobro. I did not even know either of them played music.
My father got me to play guitar for the family members who met at my grandparents in Richmond Virginia. I had been a lead guitar player for some years by then and could play like Jimi Hendrix and more known styles of lead guitar. My Dad was showing me off...and I have to laugh he was very proud of me. But, when I played to the family's content, my Grandfather who was 80 had cancer of the lungs whipped out his instrament, strapped it over his shoulder, and played the meanest banjo I've ever seen. I saw where I got my speedy fingering ability on guitar. He was fast too! I was surprised. My Aunt Bonnie was there and sang some songs while Uncle Norman accompanied her on guitar. Then I was able to talk my Grandmother into playing the antique Steinway Grand piano she had in her living room. She had crippling arthritis in both hands and the pain was unbearable. I didn't think of it as I was excited about the talent on that side. "I will play, but only one piece," she said. That is when I was totally surprised that she played a classical piece by a composer she read sheet music to, and I do not remember the composer's name. But it was the most beautiful piano performance I had ever heard. I of course was standing behind her while listening and watching. I will never forget her tear ridden face and pain stricken expression when she finished and arose to her feet holding her hands crying. It was that painful and I told her how bad I felt that she was in that much pain and played anyway. "I wanted to play for you Phil." she said. To this day I am still touched deeply! My grandparents were the most sweetest people I've ever known. And really the whole family were very respectable people. But that experience was the icing on the cake, in the way of my visit!