Philip Upchurch!

Well tonight I will highlight a Studio Musician.  Now this person is still playing and is a very prolific guitarist and musician.  Now I remember this song in 1961 and just loved it.  Two years later they put words to it and it was a hit again.

Phillip Upchurch

Philip Upchurch
(Phil Upchurch (born 19 July 1941, Chicago, Illinois)

Video:  Phil Upchurch with Booker T and then some Carla Thomas, all great

  1. You Can’t Sit Down Part’s 1 &2/ Boyd 3398/ June 1961/ #29
  2. You Can’t Sit Down (The Dovells)/ May 1963 and reached #3
Philip Upchurch, who played bass guitar, was studio musician before forming his own group in 1961.  He wrote a song called “You Can’t Sit Down” which was recorded on Texas-based Boyd Records.  The song was so long that it was released in two parts.  In the summer of 1961, Part 2 began to get airplay and soon became a national hit.  The driving instrumental became the group’s only major success.

In the spring of 1963, Kal Mann, a writer for Cameo Parkway records in Philadelphia, added lyrics to the song, and the Dovells recorded it.  It became one of their biggest hits.

A prolific guitarist who is comfortable playing blues, soul, R&B, and jazz, Phil Upchurch has been a prominent figure in Chicago music circles since the mid-’50s. He initially did freelance sessions with such musicians as Jerry Butler before becoming house guitarist for Chess. Upchurch’s sensitive, often funky chording, riffs, and licks were heard on numerous releases by such artists as the Dells, Howlin’ Wolf, Gene Chandler, and Muddy Waters. He frequently teamed with drummer Maurice White, who later headed Earth, Wind & Fire. He formed the Phil Upchurch Combo in the early ’60s, and had a hit with the instrumental “You Can’t Sit Down” in 1961. They did some follow-up singles, but none equalled the initial record’s success. Upchurch did several soul-jazz and funk dates for such labels as Sue and Cadet in the mid- and late ’60s. He signed with Blue Thumb in the ’70s and split his time between sessions with the Crusaders and Ben Sidran and making his own albums. Tommy LiPuma produced Darkness, Darkness and Lovin’ Feelin in 1972 and 1973. Upchurch did one LP for Creed Taylor‘s Kudu label in 1975, Upchurch Tennyson, with pianist/vocalist Tennyson Stephens. He returned to studio work, but recorded as a leader for Palladin in 1985, Ichiban in 1991, and Ridgetop in 1995 and 1997.

He remains active as a session musician and bandleader, returning in 1999 with Rhapsody & Blues. Tell the Truth appeared in spring 2001


One response to “Philip Upchurch!

  1. Another great tune. I love the Dovell’s version because of the hand claps!

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