Phil Tanner
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Phil Tanner
Phil Tanner
Phillip Tanner
Born(1862-02-16)16 February 1862
Llangennith, West Gower, Glamorgan, Wales
Died19 February 1950(1950-02-19) (aged 88)
Eventide Home, Penmaen,
South Gower
GenresTraditional folk, lilting, music hall
Singer, weaver, farm labourer, pub host, organiser of folk customs, raconteur

Phil Tanner (16 February 1862 – 19 February 1950) was an important traditional singer of Llangenith in the Gower Peninsula (South Wales). His songs were all in the English language, since the Gower of his youth was still culturally distinct from the rest of Wales, and his style of singing is compared to that of English singers. Renowned locally as "the Gower Nightingale", he reached a national audience in his seventies with recordings for Columbia and the BBC and an appearance on the BBC radio programme In Town Tonight.[1] Shortly before he died, he was featured in an article by John Ormond Thomas for Picture Post,[2] and recorded once again by the BBC. In 1976, he was remembered in a BBC Radio 4 tribute by the Welsh radio broadcaster Wynford Vaughan-Thomas recalling "the voice of the sanest, happiest, kindest eccentric I ever knew, the voice of Phil Tanner, the Gower Nightingale".[3] His recordings have been reissued several times, most notably on the CD The Gower Nightingale,[4] which also includes the Wynford Vaughan-Thomas radio programme. The editor of one reissue, the eminent folklorist Alan Lomax wrote: "When Phil died, England lost her best traditional singer".[5]


  1. ^ Fraser, Doug. Phil Tanner, 1862-1950, in Taplas, the Voice of Folk in Wales February/March 200. Reproduced at Folkwales Online Magazine
  2. ^ Thomas, John Ormond. The Old Singer. Picture Post; March 19, 1947. Reproduced at Folkwales Online Magazine
  3. ^ Vaughan-Thomas, Wynford. Amiable Eccentrics. Programme 4 The Gower Nightingale. Broadcast February 15, 1976 on BBC Radio4. Reproduced on CD The Gower Nightingale (2003)
  4. ^ Phil Tanner The Gower Nightingale. 2003. Veteran VT145CD
  5. ^ Lomax, Alan. Note to Columbia World Library of Folk and Primitive Music. Volume I England. Columbia SL-206 (LP) 1955. Reissued as World Library of Folk and Primitive Music. Volume I England. Rounder CD 1741 (1998)

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