16 February 1862|
Llangennith, West Gower, Glamorgan, Wales
19 February 1950 (aged 88)|
Eventide Home, Penmaen,
|Genres||Traditional 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. Shortly before he died, he was featured in an article by John Ormond Thomas for Picture Post, 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". His recordings have been reissued several times, most notably on the CD The Gower Nightingale, 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".