Wednesday, March 22, 2006

palace of earthly delights

This one's a request from Ox...

Palace Brothers - Ohio River Boat Song

It never fails to make the hairs stand on end as it gets louder and faster towards the end - especially when the backing vocals shift from doubling the melody to parched harmonies on the last verse. I get chills just thinking about it!
And her dance is like the gleam,
Of the sunlight on the stream.
And the screeching bluejays seem,
To form her name when screaming.
But my heart is full of woe,
And the tears begin to flow,
As I sing the whole day through.
There did exist a recording of a drunken Domino attempting this 'round a campfire - sadly, it has been lost...

I've already talked at length about the early years of the band - how we switched from being grumpy "pro-sounds-Slint/Fugazi-wannabes" to recording everything at home with our mates. This was the track that made us switch.

We'd recorded in 'proper' studios before (because that was just WHAT YOU DID at the time) but this single and the "There Is No-One What Will Take Care Of You" album that followed made us realise that it was ok to record songs in a rough and ready way, at home, on borrowed equipment, with your mates. And if anything, you'd end up with something with more warmth and personality than you'd get elsewhere.

Now, I'm not calling for a decree outlawing recording studios or a 4-track portastudio in every home. Neither am I calling every 'lo-fi' artist a "true, untarnished genius" (lord knows, I've heard enough early Beat Happening to suggest otherwise...). But the early Palace stuff really opened our minds to a new way of working.

I remember seeing them upstairs at the Narrowboat in Nottingham in 1993/1994. They opened the set with THE. WORST. version of "The Cellar Song" you could ever hope to hear - it was all over the shop, sound was terrible, the violin player was miles away from the tune. Second song kind of passed by in a blur, the third song was a truly majestic version of "Ohio..." and the rest of the gig was amazing. If anyone has any idea about the tracklisting for that gig, I'd love to know what the calypso (kind of) was they played for that second encore...

Palace Brothers - Don't I Look Good Today

This track is from a compilation of Louisville bands, "Louisville Sluggers III", released around the same time by Self-Destruct records, which I'd guess is no longer available.

Buy - There Is No-One What Will Take Care of You
Buy - Lost Blues and Other Songs
Visit - The Royal Stable

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