Category Archives: Vinyl: Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy

You’ve clicked a link into my Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy project. On top of the usual slew of album reviews, for this blog I’ll be reviewing 7″ singles, 12″ singles, EPs, and other one-off Oldham projects-on-vinyl. Go here to see the full list at a glance.

On page 80 of the Licht/Oldham book Will Oldham On Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Oldham offers us these taunting words: “It’s ridiculous. Music writing can be just so ridiculous. And they publish it, trying to steer people towards or away from a record with lies. Positive or negative.”

As one who participates in music writing, I think Oldham is mistaking lies for subjectivity. “Lies” suggests willful deception, which misses the point. He illustrates his complaint by recalling a writer who once described his first album as being ‘fiddle-drenched’ despite there being no fiddles on that album. I beg to differ – if a songwriter can write songs by fictionalizing personal experiences, why should music writing be any different? Music writing aims to send you directly to the source regardless of whether you’ve read a positive or negative review. Don’t trust my judgment. Use your own ears.

My music writing is entirely a thought-dump, my music-drenched psyche splattered across your computer monitor. I could happily write something like “There Is No One What Will Take Care Of You is drowning in fiddles” and give not a damn whether there’s any fiddles on the album. If I heard fiddles, I heard fiddles. Don’t deny me that right. Heed this word – beware: these reviews are full of ridiculous opinions.

Silver Palace, Sea Note Presents Mr. Jews 7”, 2005

A mildly comic, novel, promotional record, this seven incher features Rian Murphy of Drag City Records “interviewing” David Berman on one side and Will Oldham on the other about a rumoured collaboration that fans have been asking for. I know … Continue reading

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((Sounder)) featuring Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Swallowed By The Mist, 7”, 2014

Firstly, I’m not American, so I’m unfamiliar with the brand Volcom, who produce clothing and gear for boardheads, meaning skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing. Of these three, snowboarding is my personal pick of the bunch. Anyway, it’s common knowledge that Will … Continue reading

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Bonnie Prince Billy & Oscar Parsons, The Happy Song/At The Corner Of The Stairs 7”, 2016

This 7” single seemed to come out of nowhere—it was announced with a link to Oscar Parsons’s twitter account whereby he supplied his email address and by writing to him, fans could procure a copy (limited to 300) for a … Continue reading

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Will Oldham/Don Lennon, Caveh Says/Song For Caveh, DVD Boxset & 7”, 2015

The A-side to this 7” is Oldham’s, a song which plays out at the end of the thirty minute film Tripping With Caveh in which Oldham and Caveh head out to a lodge in the country with a small film … Continue reading

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Charles Burns & Killoffer with Will Oldham, In The Garden Of Evil, Book & flexi 7″, 2015

This is at least the third book & music project Oldham’s been involved among his numerous collaborations, the first being Forest Time with photographer Erik Wesselo from 2002, then another in 2012 with artist Ashley Macomber called Afternoon.  For his song “Garden of … Continue reading

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Bonnie “Prince” Billy/Lou Barlow, Beware Your Only Friend/Imagination Blind 7”, 2010

Despite the 2010 release date, both of these tracks were recorded in March/April 2009, live, at Landlocked Music, a record store in Bloomington, Indiana. While this is a standalone 7” record (hence warranting inclusion in this vinyl discography) it was … Continue reading

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Palace, Mountain 12″, 1995

This EP was released in the UK in order to bring together the four tracks from the “West Palm Beach/Gulf Shores” 7″ (1994) and the “The Mountain Low/(End of) Travelling” 7″ from earlier in 1995. Oldham has said that he sees 7” … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & The Cairo Gang, Tip The Glass And Feel The Bottom 10”, 2015  

Another limited edition release of only 300 copies (like the “Sixty Minute Man” and  Will Oldham on Bonnie Prince Billy 10″ releases), this time from the small label, Future Oak Recordings, who tell us that this EP “was recorded by Oldham … Continue reading

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Trembling Bells featuring Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, The Marble Downs LP, 2012

From their Bandcamp page we learn that Trembling Bells “are Alex Neilson’s song-based group who seek to reanimate the psychic landscapes of Great Britain and relocate them to some vague, mythic land where basic human crises are encountered and conquered.” … Continue reading

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Bonnie Prince Billy, On Raglan Road 7″, 2015

This came out of the blue, both literally and metaphorically (half the 500 pressings are blue vinyl) and seems not to have been distributed by any record label at all, but hand-distributed through record shops. Why these songs? Why now? … Continue reading

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Bonnie Stillwatter, The Devil Is People 12”, 2015

This would be the second brewery-related release Oldham’s been associated with in recent times. The previous one was a 10” single released in March 2013, which had the Bonnie Prince covering a doo-wop number from the sixties called “Sixty Minute Man” … Continue reading

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Bonnie Prince Billy/Broeder Dieleman, Gloria/Drie Vragen split 7”, 2015

Released in concord with Record Store Day 2015, this 7” sees Oldham recording a song written by Tonnie “broeder” Dieleman on one side, Tonnie being Dieleman’s first name, and “broeder” meaning “brother.” Meanwhile Brah Dieleman performs a Bonnie Prince Billy … Continue reading

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Bonnie Prince Billy, Mindlessness/Blindlessness 7”, 2015

This single doesn’t represent a whole lot of value for money for fans given that the A-side appears as it is on the Sailor’s Grave album. Means you’re paying seven bucks for a single song, though I suppose in fairness, it was … Continue reading

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Alexis Taylor and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Am I Not A Weaker Soldier? 7″, 2014

This final Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy 7” for 2014 has Oldham performing a song by Alexis Taylor (of the English band Hot Chip) on the A-side while Taylor plays a Palace song from the Arise Therefore album on the B-side. Back … Continue reading

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Doug Paisley feat. Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Until I Find You 7″, 2014

I didn’t think I’d heard of Doug Paisley until I found out about this release—for that matter I hadn’t heard of quite a few artists, some country, some singer-songwriter, until Oldham introduced them to me via some of his 7” … Continue reading

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Bonnie Prince Billy, New Black Rich (Tusks)/Black As Grace 7”, 2014

After the “Quail And Dumplings” 7″ a month or three back, here’s the second single to be released in support of Sailor’s Grave – A Sea Of Tongues. “New Black Rich” was the only new song on that album. Even then, strangely, … Continue reading

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Bonnie Prince Billy, Quail And Dumplings/Pull Your Eyes Out, Molly 7”, 2014  

Seems funny – “Quail and Dumplings” was originally released as the first single off Wolfroy Goes To Town in mp3 and CD format. Three years later this new version is released on vinyl in support of 2014’s Wolfroy redux, Sailor’s … Continue reading

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Bonnie Prince Billy, Barely Regal EP, 2014

An eight song EP of covers, several of which were released in late 2013/early 2014 via iTunes, brings to mind the truly beautiful collection Ask Forgiveness from seven years earlier. This collection is almost as good. Almost I say, because … Continue reading

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Trembling Bells with Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & Muldoon’s Picnic, The Duchess EP, 2012

One of Trembling Bells chief members and/or songwriters is Alex Neilson who Oldham has a longstanding friendship with and who played with him together on the live album Is It The Sea? in 2009. The following year, 2010, Oldham added his … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & The Cairo Gang, We Love Our Hole 7”, 2014  

Seems that Will Oldham got together with guitar slinger pals Emmett Kelly and crew (Wonder Show of the World, 2010) to record a couple of songs for the soundtrack to the surf-flick-homage-flick Spirit of Akasha. I’ve not seen it and … Continue reading

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Trembling Bells with Bonnie Prince Billy, New Trip On The Old Wine 7”, 2014

The Record Store Day BPB release for 2014 was this slightly pointless 7” single which one assumes contains cast-offs from a couple of years earlier when Oldham worked with Trembling Bells on The Duchess EP and The Marble Downs album. I say pointless … Continue reading

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Dawn McCarthy & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Christmas Eve Can Kill You 7”, 2012

This is a welcome return from one of Oldham’s best female collaborators (in terms of voice-blend) if not the best, Dawn McCarthy, she of the beautifully frosty-soft voice, here performing two Everly Brothers songs, a precursor to the soon-to-be-released album … Continue reading

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Oxes ft. Will Oldham / Microkingdom, Strong Enough/I’m On Fire split 7”, 2012

This is a limited edition 7” of … I dunno, 500 copies apparently, though mine is hand numbered 149/1000. This is a first time introduction to both Oxes and Microkingdom for me. Oxes are an instrumental rock band from Maryland. Seems … Continue reading

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Billy F Gibbons / Matt Sweeney & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Oh Well/Storms split 7”, 2012

Yay to Dragcity for releasing this as a single for Bonnie fans who didn’t want to buy A Tribute To Fleetwood Mac earlier in 2012 just to own “Storms” on a physical format. “Storms” comes from Tusk, that great Fleetwood … Continue reading

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Will Oldham on Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Book & 2 x 10”, 2012

So this EP, also known as Now Here’s My Plan (with a different cover) was released in two formats: one as part of a very limited edition (300) double 10” being sold together with hardcover copies of the book Will Oldham … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Hummingbird 10”, 2012

This 10” was put out as an exclusive Record Store day release in 2012, and come to think of it, represents the first BPB release I bought after this project (to review every piece of Oldham vinyl) was started, which … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & Mariee Sioux, Bonnie & Mariee 2 x 7″, 2012

The title of this double 7″ might be lost on anyone born in the last 20 years, but it refers jokingly to “Donny & Marie,” that brother/sister pair of Osmonds who sang soppy love songs to God in the 70s. … Continue reading

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Bonnie Prince Billy, The b-sides for Time To Be Clear 7”, 2012

I think the single itself, “Time To Be Clear” from Wolfroy Goes To Town was released as an itunes only single, or at least as a digital file, and here we get the b-sides exclusively for 7″. For some reason … Continue reading

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Bonnie Prince Billy, Wolfroy Goes To Town, 2011

Wolfroy Goes To Town is the slowest growing of Bonnie Prince Billy (note the disappearance of the inverted apostrophes) albums in his annual run since 1999. I’ve given it a fair few whirls and it really took a long time for … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Haggard Harper Bonnie 7”, 2011

In which Will Oldham asserts himself as country and folk crooning interpreter extraordinaire, adding two more folk or country covers to his collection of 7” releases—his John Martyn, his David Allen Coe, his John Prine, his Graham Nash, his Larry … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & The Phantom Family Halo, The Mindeater 10”, 2011

I’d like to begin this commentary with the statement that this is one of the best pieces of vinyl released in 2011 with Oldham’s name attached. I dig all four of these songs; while they’re hardly pop, they all have … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, There Is No God/God Is Love 10”, 2011

After two collaborative 10” singles in 2011, the first with The Cairo Gang, the second with Matt Sweeney, this time we have one simply by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, though Emmett Kelly of The Cairo Gang plays guitar here, and, well, … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & Matt Sweeney, Must Be Blind b/w Life In Muscle 10”, 2011

The second 10″ single for 2011, this time a return to working with Matt Sweeney of the Superwolf project, though while Sweeney’s guitar sound is recognisable, these songs seem more traditionally structured than those earlier efforts. Both are short at … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & The Cairo Gang, Island Brothers/New Wonder 10”, 2011

2011 seems to have been the advent of the 10” single in Oldham’s world. They would appear with decreasing frequency from here on in: four in 2011, three in 2012 and one more in 2013. Perhaps the songs were getting … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy / Robin Pecknold, Simple Man/Be Yourself split 7”, 2010

These songs were recorded by a small label called Grass Roots for a tribute album to Graham Nash released in 2010 called Be Yourself: Tribute to Graham Nash’s ‘Songs For Beginners’, thus both songs can be found on that Nash album … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & Trembling Bells, New Year’s Eve’s The Loneliest Night Of The Year 7”, 201

Trembling Bells is the vehicle of main woman Lavinia Blackwall along with Alex Neilson, an old friend of Oldham’s, someone who he’d already collaborated with on his live album Is It The Sea?  Trembling Bells are a multi-instrument folk rock band … Continue reading

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Bonnie “Prince” Billy / The Black Swans, Sing Larry Jon Wilson split 7″, 2010

Back in 1997 Will Oldham released a split single (with Rising Shotgun) of songs by ‘country outlaw’ artist David Allen Coe. Larry Jon Wilson might be considered another of these ‘country outlaw’ artists who eschewed commercialism in favour of staying … Continue reading

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Bonnie “Prince” Billy & The Cairo Gang, Midday/You Win 7″, 2010

Rather than make The Wonder Show Of The World a 12 song album, it seems the strategy was to hack off the two songs that fit the least into that collection and release them as a separate 7”. The first, … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & The Cairo Gang, The Wonder Show Of The World, 2010

After the inward-looking Beware with its odd mix of comedy, philosophical meandering and identity-developing in a dark room to a country tune of pedal steel guitars, guimbris, marimbas, mandolins, flutes, saxes, banjos, cornets and accordions, we now get back to … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Beware, 2009

Beware was probably the first Bonnie album I knew I was going to like after only one listen. The cadences and nuances of his voice and song were now firmly etched in my mind, patterns and recognitions and blueprints; perhaps … Continue reading

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Ashley Macomber & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Afternoon Book & 10″, 2012

We learn from the Black Tent Press website and every other site that repeats promotional blurbs, and now from me once more for good measure, that Macomber’s book of paintings are based on an adaptation of Mallarme’s 1865 poem, “l’apres … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, (self-titled), 2013

So Oldham’s tried on a new system of distribution for this album, his first to feature only himself and guitar since 1994’s Days In The Wake. We get this image of a humble relatively unknown singer-songwriter humping his swag of … Continue reading

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The Marquis de Tren and Bonny Billy, Solemns EP, 2013

This would be the second Marquis/Bonny collaboration between Will Oldham and Mick Turner (of the Dirty Three), the first being the Get On Jolly EP released in 2000. There’s a neat yellow flyer that comes with the record giving a … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Sixty Minute Man/Sixty-one 10”, 2013

Ah, I’d planned to work through Oldham’s discography in chronological order but I think a little timeliness in getting copy out would be good, especially for these hard-to-obtain items that the Bonnie-fan exploitation machine keeps churning out every few months. … Continue reading

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Cheyenne Mize and Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Among The Gold, 2009

This is an interesting project. These songs are old, like very old, dating back as far as 1873. The most ‘recent’ one is from 1915. There’s a neat narrative arc running through these songs with the first five mentioning “dreaming” … Continue reading

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Bonny Billy & The Picket Line, Funtown Comedown, 2009

This is the third official Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy live album to be released on vinyl, fourth if you include the CD-only Wilding In The West from 2008. I found Summer In The Southeast virtually unlistenable, Is It The Sea? was … Continue reading

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Soulsavers feat. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Sunrise/You Will Miss Me When I Burn 7”, 2009

Strictly speaking this is not a Will Oldham release—it’s produced by a British outfit known as Soulsavers, an “electronic-rock-gospel duo” according to Discogs. Oldham guest-sings on the A-side and Mark Lanegan on the B-side, “You Will Miss Me When I … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Stay 7″, 2009

Oldham had already collaborated with Susanna Wallumrod earlier in 2009 on their 7” single “Forever And Ever,” doing two cover songs. On this cast-off, Oldham covers two Susanna songs from her album Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos. We’ve got several musicians … Continue reading

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Young Widows / Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Poor Shelter split 7″, 2009

This was released by Temporary Residence in 2009 as the first in a series of four ‘split’ seven inch singles all featuring Young Widows on the A-side. Who they? A noise trio from Louisville, home also to the subject of … Continue reading

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Susanna and Bonny Billy Sing, Forever And Ever 7″, 2009

Susanna is none other than Susanna Wallumrod, a Norwegian singer born in 1979. I’d never heard of her until I came across this record, and I haven’t found any information on how it came about. There’s no label, and it … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Chijimi 10”, 2009

It’s in Will Oldham On Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy that Oldham says this Chijimi record is one of his favourites because of the simplicity of the recording process. Just himself, Emmett Kelly and Cheyenne Mize in a room in his house. … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy with Harem Scarem and Alex Neilson, Is It The Sea? 2008

This is a double live album from a concert in Edinburgh recorded by the BBC and released on heavy duty vinyl. The sound quality is of a very high standard, the drums for example, can be heard in the finest … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Lie Down In The Light, 2008

At first Lie Down In The Light seemed less thematically linked across the course of its eleven songs than most Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy albums. I had thought it more focused on individual songs rather than crafting a specific feel or … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Ask Forgiveness, 2007

I’d had this on my ipod for a couple of years before I got round to playing my vinyl copy, and it was really only during a hiking trip through Switzerland in 2011 that I got fully absorbed in Ask … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Notes For Future Lovers 7″, 2008

This is a rather obscure release limited to 500 copies and released on translucent blue vinyl. The lyrics are taken from poems by John Harmon, a jazz musician from Wisconsin, who plays keyboards. He seems to have been involved in … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Strange Form Of Life 12″, 2007

This is the fourth single to be released from The Letting Go album. Okay, I’ve already written about this song twice—once in my album review and once for the live version on the B-side to the “Bonny 2007” tour release … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Bonny 2007 – John the Baptist 7″, 2007

This 7” contains two tracks recorded live in October 2007 at a concert in California. The A-side is a melding of two separate “John The Baptist” songs, one written by E.C. Ball (1913-1978) an American singer-songwriter, who played country gospel … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, The Letting Go, 2006

I have a sorry history with this album. I bought it in the year of release and despite being aware of all the great reviews, I never seemed to understand what people were raving about. I wasn’t really listening, and … Continue reading

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Tortoise and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, The Brave And The Bold, 2006

So the first album post-Superwolf that I buy, after deciding Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy was the best thing since blue cheese, was this hard-to-love album of covers performed with Chicago ‘post-rock’ outfit Tortoise, a band whose albums I own none of. … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Lay & Love 12”, 2007

Here we have the third single in support of The Letting Go. Seems kind of odd that Oldham rarely releases promo singles and then suddenly four for one album. But they come with a plethora of B-sides so it kinda … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Cold & Wet 12″, 2006

This is the second single from The Letting Go album. Here we’ve got one album track plus two live songs with what seems to be the same band Oldham toured with for the Summer In The Southeast LP. The lead … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Cursed Sleep 12″, 2006

This is the first single released in advance of The Letting Go, one of Oldham’s most consistently melodic albums, although again, he has a collaborator, Dawn McCarthy, and they work some absolute magic together. The songs on this EP are … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Summer In The Southeast, 2005

For me, this is the least likable of Oldham’s three live albums of the noughties. In fact, it’s the least likable Oldham album full stop. The mix isn’t great, although it’s a good opportunity to hear the full electric Bonnie … Continue reading

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Matt Sweeney & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Superwolf, 2005

I walked into Kichijoji’s Disc Union in 2005, the week Superwolf was released, and without knowing anything about it, but not quite being the Bonnie fan I was about to become, bought it on a whim. I went home and … Continue reading

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Songs For The Young At Heart, Puff The Magic Dragon 7″, 2005

In 2005 Stuart Staples and David Boulter decided to get together and produce an album of updated versions of children’s songs. Boulter had just had a son and wanted to play him classic kids’ music which he felt was on … Continue reading

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Bonny/Sweeney, I Gave You b/w Four Screams 7″, 2005

This is the only single released to promote the brilliant Superwolf album. Three facts which suggest that it wasn’t much of a promotional move, however: (1) “I Gave You” is a great song but it’s not the album’s best; (2) … Continue reading

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Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Sings Greatest Palace Music, 2004

According to Oldham, after working with Marty Slayton on Master And Everyone and realizing how it easy it was to work with professional studio musicians, he decided he’d head down to Nashville and make this album, which doesn’t sound like … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, No More Workhorse Blues b/w The Color Of My Dreams 7″, 2004

Here we have the second single in support of Sings Greatest Palace Music. I could add a note here about how much I’ve been enjoying these new versions since I got to know all of the songs through the Palace … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Agnes, Queen Of Sorrow b/w Blokbuster 7″, 2004

This was the first single in support of Sings Greatest Palace Music, the album Oldham recorded using Nashville session musicians to revive his old Palace material. I remember there was a lot of hand wringing in the music press over … Continue reading

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Will Oldham, Seafarers Music, 2004

Seafarers was a documentary made by Jason Massot which “followed four different merchant-marine guys from four different countries who were all in the port of Rotterdam … one of the biggest commercial seaports in the world” (Oldham). These men, a … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Master And Everyone, 2003

This was the first Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy album I purchased, after enjoying a copy of Ease Down The Road that a friend made for me in 2002. I must have bought it in Japan because my CD copy came with … Continue reading

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Will Oldham, We All, Us Three, Will Ride b/w Barcelona 7″, 2002

This isn’t the first time he’s ‘covered himself’ but this is about where Oldham must have started thinking about getting his Palace music heard again, having achieved success as Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. This would culminate with a whole album of … Continue reading

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The Continental OP, Slitch Music 12″, 2002

This is another soundtrack, recorded by Will Oldham and David Pajo—they’d worked together many times before during the Palace years. Pajo’s claim to fame is Slint and Papa M, but he’s had bit parts in too many other bands to … Continue reading

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Amalgamated Sons Of Rest, Amalgamated Sons Of Rest 12″ EP, 2002

The Amalgamated Sons of Rest is a one-off project consisting of Jason Molina (from Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co.), Will Oldham, and Alasdair Roberts (of Appendix Out). The contents herein were recorded in September of 2001. Oldham sings lead … Continue reading

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Bonny Billy / Rainywood, Brother Warrior b/w Cornflower Blue, split 7”, 2002

These two songs are both Kate Wolf covers. Who’s Kate Wolf? You might well ask unless you’re well versed in American country/folk/singer-songwriters of the 70s and 80s, which I’m obviously not, because I’d never heard of her until five minutes … Continue reading

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Will Oldham and Erik Wesselo, Forest Time, Book & 10″, 2002

This is a single song 10” released in the Netherlands; tis an art collaboration with Erik Wesselo, a photographer who provides the 12 photos that appear in the booklet (samples below). Apparently 5000 copies were produced worldwide so it’s not … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Ease Down The Road, 2001

Ease Down The Road, while perfectly enjoyable, has always been my least favourite Will Oldham album, while also being my first. A friend made me a copy on MD back in 2002. Listening to it closely in preparation for this … Continue reading

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The Marquis de Tren and Bonny Billy, Get On Jolly EP, 2000

I’ve just read two reviews of this EP on the internet – the only two I could find after a very quick search – and neither reviewer seemed to realize that the lyrics to Get On Jolly are taken from a … Continue reading

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Rian Murphy & Will Oldham, All Most Heaven EP, 2000

The title itself is language play – shoving ‘all’ in front of ‘most’ is generally considered bad grammar – but that’s nothing once you hear the lyrics. Oldham seems to invent his own language for this collection of songs, which … Continue reading

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Bonnie “Blue” Billy, Little Boy Blue I & II b/w Blue Boy 7″, 2000

These three songs are all covers written some time in the past seventy years by American songwriters, two of whom were born in 1920 Tennessee. I guess Oldham chose them because the song titles are all nearly the same. In … Continue reading

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Will Oldham, Guarapero: Lost Blues 2, 2000

‘Guarapero’ is a colloquial term for “a person who drinks a lot or knows how to drink,” but a ‘guarapero’ can also mean one who makes ‘guarapo’ – an iced drink popular in South America. Guarapero picks up not only … Continue reading

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Will Oldham, Ode Music, 2000

Ode Music is the soundtrack to a film called Ode by Kelly Reichardt released in 1999. It’s about two southern kids who meet at a bridge in order to consummate their forbidden love. At some point, the boy jumps off … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Let’s Start A Family (Blacks) b/w A Whorehouse Is Any House 7″, 1999

This single was released as part of a Subpop promotion called the Subpop Singles Club. It’s great that the Prince was still releasing singles that weren’t related to promoting albums. That wouldn’t eventuate in force until Greatest Palace, Superwolf and … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, I See A Darkness, 1999

When any artist engages with death as his or her subject matter in an instinctual and sensitive manner lyrically, it generally gets lauded as an artistic triumph. This is perhaps one of the reasons why Will Oldham’s first Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy … Continue reading

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Will Oldham / Rising Shotgun, In My Mind b/w Spotlight split 7”, 1997

Both songs on this 7” were written by David Allan Coe, one of the pioneers of the outlaw country genre. Coe spent twenty years in and out of ‘corrective institutions’ before going to Nashville and making a name for himself, … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, One With The Birds b/w Southside Of The World 7″, 1998

Both tracks here embrace a much classier recording dynamic than the Palace material, and this is where we’re really starting to see the birth of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, an artist who says he finally realized that making music did not … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Performs Songs Of Kevin Loyne 7”, 1998

The first thing to note here is that “Loyne” is a typo. It’s meant to be “Coyne.” The record was produced and released in Portugal with three different covers. If we look closely at some of the artists Oldham has … Continue reading

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Black Dissimulation b/w No Such As What I Want 7”, 1998

Around 1996/7, Will Oldham got together with members of the Dirty Three and several other musicians to record an album of new material, which he ultimately ditched. He says that he found it unsatisfying owing to the disjointed and unfocused … Continue reading

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Palace Contribution / Zeni Geva, Big Balls b/w Let There Be Rock split 7”, 1997

In collaboration with a German label called Gasoline Boost, the Chicago record label Skin Graft released a run of AC/DC 7” tribute records in the late 90s. This one is referred to as “Sides 5 and 6” because it was … Continue reading

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Will Oldham, Patience b/w Take However Long You Want 7″, 1997

This 7” signals yet another aesthetic change from the Palace sound, which itself may be bedrocked in the lo-fi country death ballad, but above which, variations on a theme and inconsistency have kept things interesting. Days In The Wake was … Continue reading

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Palace Live, For The Mekons, Et Al. b/w Stable Will 7″, 1996

Here we have a live 7” single. Oldham says he first discovered the Mekons while tripping on LSD in New York, played an album of theirs all night long and became a fan for life. He recorded this song which … Continue reading

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Palace Music, Little Blue Eyes b/w The Spider’s Dude Is Often There 7″, 1996

In 1993 Oldham toured Europe with several other musicians as Palace. They recorded four songs at a Peel session. Two of those were released three years later on this 7” single. Oldham must have written a lot in the early … Continue reading

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Palace, Every Mother’s Son b/w No More Rides 7″, 1996

The A-side is a cover of a Lynyrd Skynyrd song, a band I’ve never listened to. Just took a listen online now to their version of this song, and thought they sounded like early Grateful Dead, a kind of laidback … Continue reading

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Palace, Gezundheit b/w Let The Wires Ring 7″, 1995

After the relatively lush production quality of the last three singles, this 7” drags the aesthetic right back down into lo-fi drear territory. The first ten seconds of “Gezundheit” even sounds like it was recorded on damaged tape, whereas “Let … Continue reading

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Palace Songs, The Mountain b/w (End Of) Travelling 7″, 1995

This is the first Palace single that seems to actually exist for the purpose of promoting an album. “The Mountain” comes from Viva Last Blues, (titled “The Mountain Low”) probably the best of the Palace albums in terms of gold … Continue reading

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Palace, West Palm Beach b/w Gulf Shores 7″, 1994

This was produced by Kramer, a name I associate with those Galaxie 500 records. Oldham has said that he sees 7” singles as a way of experimenting with a sound or style, so that if it ultimately fails, at least … Continue reading

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Palace Songs, O How I Enjoy The Light b/w Marriage 7″, 1994

The first thing you notice about this single is the warmer sound, richer fidelity and sheer complexity of the musicianship, something you don’t hear too often on the early Palace material. The next thing you notice is that the song … Continue reading

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Palace Songs, Horses b/w Stable Will 7″, 1994

One wonders just what it is about horses that had many indie alt artists in the 90s so enthralled. Sure, horses are cool. You can saddle ‘em, mount ‘em and ride ‘em, then spur them on a bit and feed … Continue reading

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Palace, Come In b/w Trudy Dies 7″, 1993

This single, released after There Is No One What Will Take Care Of You (though not on the album) was produced by two members of Royal Trux.  As a ‘single’ it’s not exactly ‘commercial airplay’ stuff  even though the contents … Continue reading

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Palace Brothers, Ohio River Boat Song b/w Drinking Woman 7″, 1993

This was the first release under the Palace name. The lyrics and melody to “Ohio River Boat Song” were lifted wholeheartedly from something called the “Loch Tay Boat Song” in that great custom of appropriating traditionals for your own end. … Continue reading

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