Will Oldham/Palace/Bonnie Prince Billie: S&D

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God! I completely forgot about the "If I could fuck a mountain..." line! That was CLASSIC. Viva Last Blues is a very special record, I'll say, search that.

Keiko, Wednesday, 19 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I remember seeing him play live around 1994 or so--he did an incredible solo acoustic song that it took me years to figure out was actually Bob Dylan's "New Pony." When I heard Dylan's version, I was surprised that he'd noticed it was actually a good song.

Douglas, Wednesday, 19 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Had a copy of a compilation called Guarapero: Vol 1 (something like that). The live tracks are storming! And there's a nice cover of AC/DC's big balls. The stuff he does with a drum machine isn't so good and I skip it. Its a good collection overall but somehow never got round to getting anything elase by him. Should see him live as well.

Julio Desouza, Wednesday, 19 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

melodious oldham recommendations:
  • lost blues and other songs (singles/rarities comp) - search "lost blues", "marriage", "west palm beach"
  • side 2 of viva last blues
  • "one with the birds", "patience/take however long you want", "little boy blue", "trudy dies" (the 7" version) singles

definitely some melody there for you. check out the peel session of "you have cum in your hair..." which I like better than the original.

i find him interesting because he has a great voice (narrative- wise, but also vocally) uh... is it indie-pride week yet?

gygax! (i forgot my blog password), Wednesday, 19 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Jason Morphew's better, and he's the genuine article. Ever heard of him?

Todd Brandenburg, Friday, 21 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I See a Darkness is top. Saw a show right before that album was released & it was totally brilliant and scary. He's got some excellent songs (O How I enjoy the light & most of the first singles comp., for starters) & the lyrics tend to not fit properly in a fascinating way..
On the other hand I was in a record shop the other day & one of his new discs was on, and I wanted to scream I HATE Will Oldham! he's off key, he can't sing, this song is slow, and boring, and wretched, and only a college kid stopped up with indie guilt and lowered standards would think this was worth a moment of his/her time, and I HATE Will Oldham! argh!
Any artist that draws that kind of reaction is worth investigating, I think.

daria gray, Saturday, 22 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink


Finally, something I can sink my teeth into.

david h(owie), Saturday, 22 June 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
I think we ought to revive this thread, because Will Oldham rules.

I got Arise, Therefore today. PERFECT for my mood.

Ian Johnson (orion), Sunday, 30 November 2003 01:44 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

i am still kind of amazed that "i see a darkness" is ryan pitchfork's favorite record of the 90s.

fiddo centington (dubplatestyle), Sunday, 30 November 2003 01:48 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

i mean, it's good and all...

fiddo centington (dubplatestyle), Sunday, 30 November 2003 01:49 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I like him. Of course, there are many clunkers in the catalog, but, like my all time favorite artist Neil Young, Will experiments and follows his muse, which is more than can be said for 90% of the indie giants whose lives were changed forever by their 1993 discovery of Pet Sounds or whatever.

Colin, you're not alone, I am also a big fan of Arise, Therefore. I think it's one of his most consistent works. I am very much looking forward to his upcoming greatest hits record, which I heard will be re-recordings.

It's hard to explain the mystique, I'm aware of the pretense of it all, but somehow, I find him very talented despite the obviously forced illusions. I think he'd be great to have a beer with. I don't own all of his records but the ones I do have I would not trade. Fair enough?

roger adultery (roger adultery), Sunday, 30 November 2003 02:04 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

can somebody talk about master and everyone?

arjun (arjun), Sunday, 30 November 2003 18:15 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

i cant seem to remember much past the incredibly beautiful first track - i think its possibly too pretty, i dunno.

jed (jed_e_3), Sunday, 30 November 2003 18:41 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

master and everyone is good to sleep to. i listen to it alone but 'ain't you wealthy, aint you wise' is ok with people. the song 'maundering' resonates strongly with me. i just recently saw a movie called 'all the real girls' and there is an alternate version of 'even if love' that is striking. i enjoy mark nevers' detailed production but i could do without the extraneous ambient bits. the room sound is fine. i enjoyed seeing and hearing the songs of master and everyone performed live and differently, as a band. i'm glad there is a "greatest hits" record coming out soon (of re-recorded songs!!) does anyone know the release date?

russ p., Sunday, 30 November 2003 18:56 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Don't know about the release date. I too saw him live this summer and he performed everything by himself with an autoharp and an electric guitar. I was somewhat surprised that he changed the melody to every single song. Does he always do that?

Elliot (Elliot), Sunday, 30 November 2003 19:18 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

changed the melody to every single song

When I saw him, he didn't so much change as flesh out some of the earlier, sparser melodies. A lot of the really meandering/weird stuff from Days In The Wake, for example, was given a nice full band treatment. He also played with solo electric guitar for about 1/3 of the set, the band coming out to rejoin him for the end.

Ian Johnson (orion), Sunday, 30 November 2003 23:49 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

one month passes...
I too saw him live this summer and he performed everything by himself with an autoharp and an electric guitar. I was somewhat surprised that he changed the melody to every single song. Does he always do that?

Further comments... there's a six minute long, full-band version of "No More Workhorse Blues" on this bootleg from Austria I found. Crazy. Parts of it sound spanish, then when the song climax the drums really start to come in. Unrecognizable initially!

Ian Johnson (orion), Wednesday, 14 January 2004 08:54 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

two months pass...
There's an interview, full discography (no values for anything for some reason) and an incredible photo of will in the issue of record collector that came out a couple of weeks ago.

There's also a wonderfully twisted piece written by will in today's guardian.

hmmm (hmmm), Wednesday, 17 March 2004 09:53 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

four months pass...
"a minor place" (??) is so beautiful. especially the drumming--that's amazing drumming, in a very understated way.

(p.s. THANKS NA!!!!!!)

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 28 July 2004 03:13 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

strongo to thread?

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 28 July 2004 03:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

i really want to see oldham record some material with brian and maryrose crook - i missed their new zealand tour together..

chris andrews (fraew), Wednesday, 28 July 2004 03:29 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

yr welcome.

St. Nicholas (Nick A.), Wednesday, 28 July 2004 20:02 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

ease down the road has some great tracks, "careless love" being one of my favorite oldham songs. the album has a bouncy feel, good springtime record

russ p., Wednesday, 28 July 2004 21:23 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I've long been familiar with the early Palace/Oldham albums, but was never really a fan... never heard any of the singles... recently, I bought Lost Blues because I enjoy the Bonnie "Prince" Billy Sings Greatest Palace Music CD, and wanted to hear the original versions of the songs I didn't know... and, my god, what an incredible CD that Lost Blues is. I'm almost embarrassed at how perfectly it hits my early/mid-'90s Drag City sweet spot. "Gulf Shores" is currently my favorite song by anyone.

A question, though: how can I find out who played on/produced the songs, without tracking down the original singles? The big Oldham websites don't seem to have that info. I'd like to know which song(s) were produced by Kramer, Adam & Eve, etc...

morris pavilion (samjeff), Monday, 9 August 2004 20:15 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

the bridge on "just to see my holly home" (??) is so lovely-- i like how it keeps going up and up and up when you'd expect it to cycle back to the beginning. it really has a quality of the ecstatic. so nice.

|a|m|t|r|s|t| (amateurist), Tuesday, 10 August 2004 03:44 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

sorry morris pavilion i dunno where'd you'd get that info. palace releases are notoriously taciturn when it comes to credits (i find this one of the more annoying aspects of his schtick actually).

|a|m|t|r|s|t| (amateurist), Tuesday, 10 August 2004 03:45 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

also what does that guitar part on "lion lair" remind me of (the one that goes up and down the scale pretty straightforwardly)? something about the song's lazy tune reminds me -- pleasantly -- of a lot of half-remembered late 80s/early 90s amerindie records, like maybe the last replacements record, or... crap, i cabn't put my finger on it. any help?

|a|m|t|r|s|t| (amateurist), Tuesday, 10 August 2004 04:10 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

i think happy will oldham is more interesting than monomaniacally depressed will oldham (ok, he was never quite so monochromatic as all that, but...)

there's always been a protean quality to his music, which often goes overlooked largely because of the superhuman insularity of his misterioso hillbilly shtick. people tend to link him with these old balladeer types, which a certain prominent vein of his music does encourage. but i hear--sublimated and reconstituted beautifully in the last 3 records--a whole bunch of less-austere influences (sorry mark) there, like a thousand singer-songwriters and alterindie bands.

|a|m|t|r|s|t| (amateurist), Tuesday, 10 August 2004 05:04 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

i'm talking about the music more than the words, which remain pretty sui generis.

|a|m|t|r|s|t| (amateurist), Tuesday, 10 August 2004 05:05 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

i know this is just a misreading, but i sort of like how i always forget whether "holly" is the name of his girl or an adjective modifying "home."

|a|m|t|r|s|t| (amateurist), Tuesday, 10 August 2004 05:07 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

also i can't think of many songwriters who would risk a song that is: verse. verse. lead-up. chorus. end. full stop. ("raining in darling.") awesome.

|a|m|t|r|s|t| (amateurist), Tuesday, 10 August 2004 05:34 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I can't wait to work my way up to those Bonnie "Prince" Billy albums, now that I'm on an Oldham kick. (I just ordered the "Hope" EP and Guarapero.) I hope I continue to enjoy the new stuff I hear even half as much as I'm enjoying the songs on Lost Blues. (Today's pleasure: the little ascending guitar hook on "O How I Enjoy the Light.")

I don't know why I never really responded to the other Palace albums (though I like some of the songs on "Days in the Wake"). These early singles are just another breed - not just the songs themselves, but the production, the playing, the atmosphere...

morris pavilion (samjeff), Tuesday, 10 August 2004 15:28 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

sorry for overposting. maybe in the year 2041 someone will discover this thread and share my predilection for armchair anaylses of will oldham tunes.

"just to see my holly home" is a very funny song. it's about, i guess, the dark side of the whole "nuclear family" thing--the family has a remarkable closeness, but it comes from denigrating and attacking all others and ultimately locking them and the world out forever. oldham cheerfully places mysogynystic musings next to a kind of idealization of his partner/family. anyway this is a boring exegesis but what makes it work is how oldham finds a peculiar balance b/t silliness and earnestness. the balance wouldn't hold if the song had such an insinuating sound.

|a|m|t|r|s|t| (amateurist), Tuesday, 10 August 2004 16:17 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

i mean to write, if the song didn't have such an insinuating sound.

|a|m|t|r|s|t| (amateurist), Tuesday, 10 August 2004 16:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

the Hope EP was my favorite until this recent split with Brightblack (which I STILL don't even own)

roger adultery (roger adultery), Tuesday, 10 August 2004 16:56 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The "Get On Jolly" EP (with Marquis de Tren) is the greatest thing he ever did. indeed, II-IX from it is one of the most beautiful songs ever written.

jed_ (jed), Tuesday, 10 August 2004 23:30 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

never really got into most of lost blues but the last song (think its the last one anyway) is incredible
also the brute choir

robin (robin), Tuesday, 10 August 2004 23:31 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

the song is actually called II-XV not II-IX


jed_ (jed), Tuesday, 10 August 2004 23:32 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I think I may have given up on the idea that the things I want from music can be found in anything other than that created under the hand and light of Will Oldham. Been getting loads of live things, and each and every time there's an astonishing version of some familiar song. One version of 'You will miss me when I burn' as a ful band just glides as I hoped I could have the first two Mercury Rev do, given time.

matthew james (matthew james), Wednesday, 11 August 2004 00:56 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

is the get on jolly ep instrumental?

|a|m|t|r|s|t| (amateurist), Wednesday, 11 August 2004 01:06 (fourteen years ago) Permalink


gygax! (gygax!), Wednesday, 11 August 2004 01:21 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

i have very much lost track of mr. oldham in the last two years! i think i will pull out days in the wake before i go to bed tonight.

jess, Wednesday, 11 August 2004 01:27 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

how is master and everyone? does it continue in the vein of ease down the road??

|a|m|t|r|s|t| (amateurist), Wednesday, 11 August 2004 01:27 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Master and Everyone is violently boring.

C0L1N B3CK3TT (Colin Beckett), Wednesday, 11 August 2004 01:28 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

col1n did you like ease down the road?

|a|m|t|r|s|t| (amateurist), Wednesday, 11 August 2004 01:28 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

something about oldham really reminds of reggae in a way.

jess, Wednesday, 11 August 2004 01:30 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

the devotional tunes? the scruffy beard? what?

|a|m|t|r|s|t| (amateurist), Wednesday, 11 August 2004 01:31 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I liked Ease Down The Road a lot actually. Master and Everyone is kind-of along the same lines, but it just sounds like a mediocre fake Oldham (Fauxldham? *rimshot*). Have you heard the best-of?

C0L1N B3CK3TT (Colin Beckett), Wednesday, 11 August 2004 01:34 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

no, musically. something about the tempo maybe?

jess, Wednesday, 11 August 2004 01:35 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"madeline mary" off of i see a darkness is pretty much reggae.

gygax! (gygax!), Wednesday, 11 August 2004 01:35 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The letting go remains my favourite to this day

Eris (Ross), Wednesday, 4 April 2018 14:21 (eleven months ago) Permalink

i am not reading that whole thing but THERE IS NO-ONE WHAT WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU is one of my favorite titles of anything ever

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Wednesday, 4 April 2018 14:27 (eleven months ago) Permalink



meaulnes, Thursday, 5 April 2018 11:44 (eleven months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Unlike the rest of Drag City catalog, he is slowly adding his catalog to Spotify week by week. Everything (including singles) up to Viva Last Blues is now available.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Saturday, 21 April 2018 15:21 (ten months ago) Permalink

Aye - just noticed Days in the Wake and Viva Last Blues, too.

The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums (Chinaski), Saturday, 21 April 2018 16:36 (ten months ago) Permalink

Hope and the Mountain ep and a few early singles too, if you search the various Palace pseudonyms.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Saturday, 21 April 2018 16:47 (ten months ago) Permalink

His recent Merle Haggard homage, Best Troubador has been getting quite a lot of replays. Odd how i find it far more rewarding to hear Billy than i do the original material.

bodacious ignoramus, Saturday, 21 April 2018 16:52 (ten months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Arise Therefore, Joya and I See A Darkness have all appeared on Spotify, sometime in the last couple of weeks.

The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums (Chinaski), Wednesday, 9 May 2018 12:53 (ten months ago) Permalink

favorite album: Viva Last Blues (More Brother Rides, New Partner)

favorite song: "For the Mekons et al” from the Hey Drag City comp.

nicky lo-fi, Wednesday, 9 May 2018 13:11 (ten months ago) Permalink

two months pass...



Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 17 July 2018 19:48 (eight months ago) Permalink


an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Tuesday, 17 July 2018 21:05 (eight months ago) Permalink

Gotta say - whatever its "deal" may be, this song grabs me more than his stuff usually does (I've played it 3 or 4 times now).

i’m still stanning (morrisp), Tuesday, 17 July 2018 21:46 (eight months ago) Permalink



𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Tuesday, 17 July 2018 22:03 (eight months ago) Permalink

"Per a press release, the song came about after Oldham and his wife ate THC-laced chocolate-covered blueberries soon after the false missile alert that was sent in Hawaii at the beginning of the year. Oldham wrote the song during that experience, and then repurposed it a few weeks later to help out his friend that was opening a weed shop in California."

i’m still stanning (morrisp), Tuesday, 17 July 2018 22:42 (eight months ago) Permalink

lmao this is GOLD. thanks bill, you are the light of my life.

meaulnes, Wednesday, 18 July 2018 03:22 (eight months ago) Permalink


It’s prime time to pick blueberries n sell them at the local farmers market tbh

Ross, Wednesday, 18 July 2018 03:26 (eight months ago) Permalink

I smell a hit.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 18 July 2018 11:40 (eight months ago) Permalink

It’s his “Margaritaville,” not in a bad way.

... (Eazy), Wednesday, 18 July 2018 12:36 (eight months ago) Permalink

I think it is terrific… I am not a scholar, but I can't think of a song of his that's even remotely uptempo, other than "work hard Play hard." Incidentally, the only thing that recommends the new right wing american character that Sasha Baron Cohen debuted on the new show (somehow he can't do an american accent for shit) is that its eerily reminiscent of Will.

veronica moser, Wednesday, 18 July 2018 13:45 (eight months ago) Permalink

song of the summer

Allen (etaeoe), Wednesday, 18 July 2018 15:17 (eight months ago) Permalink

i love this and indeed blueberries

ogmor, Thursday, 19 July 2018 13:21 (eight months ago) Permalink

I'm fantasising over this coming out 20 years ago and Chris Evans hammering it on the breakfast show, turning him into a one-hit wonder

PaulTMA, Thursday, 19 July 2018 18:10 (eight months ago) Permalink

i know it's Oldham and I'd forgive him pretty much anything but this has got my 'shit whimsy' Geiger clicking like mad.

The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums (Chinaski), Thursday, 19 July 2018 18:53 (eight months ago) Permalink

oldham is one of favorite artists but i ignore probably 70% of the shit he's created

marcos, Thursday, 19 July 2018 18:55 (eight months ago) Permalink

(Side note: hadn't noticed that Superwolf has made it onto Spotify.)

... (Eazy), Thursday, 19 July 2018 20:25 (eight months ago) Permalink

He's been adding a year's worth of output to Spotify every Monday.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Friday, 20 July 2018 00:06 (seven months ago) Permalink

I see a darkness is all time

Legalize dreams (Ross), Friday, 20 July 2018 00:09 (seven months ago) Permalink

this new song would be cornily endearing if BPB was a dad, but I'm pretty sure he isn't a dad

ilxor-com-dog-meat-drawer-7-840-x-600.jpg (unregistered), Friday, 20 July 2018 01:14 (seven months ago) Permalink

"Whipped" has climbed into my BPBPOV

rip van wanko, Friday, 20 July 2018 01:23 (seven months ago) Permalink

He seems like a person who is v. much enjoying life these days.

circa1916, Friday, 20 July 2018 02:26 (seven months ago) Permalink

The chorus of this song reminds me of the beginning of "Katamari On The Rocks"

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 26 July 2018 02:55 (seven months ago) Permalink


Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 26 July 2018 02:56 (seven months ago) Permalink

He seems like a person who is v. much enjoying life these days.

and yes I feel like a stalker

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Thursday, 26 July 2018 03:26 (seven months ago) Permalink

The pics in the 2nd post were in a big NYT feature, so you could relax re: your stalker paranoia!

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 26 July 2018 16:15 (seven months ago) Permalink

i never tire of looking at photos of artists' homes

marcos, Thursday, 26 July 2018 16:40 (seven months ago) Permalink

i never want to look at photos of artists' homes! it feels so invasive and gross to me. every time i have looked i wish i hadn't.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 26 July 2018 17:12 (seven months ago) Permalink

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