|Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy — Wilding In the West (January 29, 2008)|
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy — Wilding In the West (January 29, 2008)
Ξ Australian–only live release from Bonnie Prince Billy (Will Oldham) and his band. Recorded in California, Wilding In The West features passionate versions of classic BPB tunes plus three new tracks. The material on this live set comes largely from 2003’s Master and Everyone and 2006’s The Letting Go, two of his most successful albums to date. The original studio versions may have been quiet slabs of beauty, but the live versions add more confidence and bravado to the performances. 14 tracks including ‘Master & Everyone’, ‘The Letting Go’, ‘No Bad News’, ‘Little Small Song’ and more. Spunk. 2008.
Birth name: William Oldham
Born: January 15, 1970
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Album release: January 29, 2008
Record Label: Spunk
Genre: Folk~Rock, Alternative country
01. O Let It Be 3:37
02. Little Small Song 5:10
03. Then The Letting Go 5:12
04. The Gator 3:35
05. Master & Everyone 4:09
06. No Such As What I Want 3:11
07. Naked Lion 2:15
08. No Bad News 5:00
09. Wai 3:15
10. Three Questions 2:59
11. Weaker Soldier 4:45
12. I Called You Back 5:05
13. Magnificent Billy 2:16
14. Is It The Sea / My Home Is The Sea 9:08
Ξ Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy Primary Artist
Ξ Neil Michael Hagerty Editing, Remixing
Ξ Emmett Kelly Guitar, Vocals
Ξ Dawn McCarthy Composer, Guest Artist, Vocals
Ξ Alexander Neilson Drums, Percussion
Ξ Paul Oldham Engineer, Guest Artist, Vocals
Ξ Aram Stith Guitar (Bass), Vocals
Ξ Matt Sweeney Composer
Ξ Inge Thomson Composer
AllMusic Review by John Bush
Ξ Recorded in California in 2007, Wilding in the West is a live Bonnie “Prince" Billy document, incorporating 14 ragged–but–right songs. His band includes guitarist Emmett Kelly, bassist Aram Stith, drummer Alex Neilson, and keyboard player Azita, plus Dawn McCarthy and Paul Oldham on vocals. The material comes largely from 2003’s Master and Everyone and 2006’s The Letting Go, not so very far away from 2005’s live album Summer in the Southeast (which even has a similar design scheme). Billy is an impassioned performer in a live context, and while the quiet beauty of songs from The Letting Go and Master and Everyone is what made them so powerful in the studio, they’re not without their charms here. Overall, however, this one — an Australian exclusive upon its release in 2008 — is definitely one for the fans.
Review by Andrew Gaerig, FEBRUARY 11 2008 / SCORE: 7.8
Ξ Will Oldham’s (thankfully) crowded discography gained a pair of low–key releases in the past few months: Wai Notes, a set of The Letting Go demos and Wilding in the West, a Japanese/Australian–only live album from Oldham’s 2007 tour that includes at least one “remix” by Royal Trux’s Neil Michael Hagerty. On the heels of November’s Ask Forgiveness EP, these releases risked giving off a “Dear Fans: Thanks, also fuck off” –vibe, but since precisely no one’s child is going Ivy League off of 10,000 copies of Wai Notes it’s probably safe to assume we’re being asked to pony up again in the name of Art.
Ξ Wai Notes comes impeccably wrapped in stamped cardstock, its cover featuring a woman…in a woman suit, the backside boasting a glossy of a hambone Oldham sitting with The Letting Go collaborator Dawn McCarthy. What’s not clear is why these 10 demos weren’t packaged with their parent album instead of the more useful rarities disc Little Lost Blues, now difficult to obtain itself. The fickle nature of the Oldham cult all but assures that had Wai Notes preceded The Letting Go it would’ve been hailed as a return to sonically quaint beginnings; on at least two occasions Oldham sings the wrong lyric and immediately mutters a correction into the margin. And it is worth wondering why Oldham no longer makes records like “The Signifying Wolf”, on which a tiny guitar unravels and exposes horny animal chants.
Ξ But hell: The Letting Go, driven by Nico Muhly’s tempest string arrangements, was the most clearly conceived record of Oldham’s career. Airing the dirty laundry of sleepy–dog ballads like “Then the Letting Go” or “I Called You Back” does them no favors. Hearing Oldham tiptoe his way through “Wai” — his fingers hang over chords, as if he’s trying to remember the changes — is thrilling in a voyeuristic sort of way, but Oldham’s is a catalog that already contains its share of flubbed notes.
Ξ Wilding is harder to pin down but seems more useful. Recorded live in “central coastal California” (no specific venue or date is named), Wilding is pressed by Oldham distributors P–Vine (Japan) and Spunk (Australia), and it’s a bit difficult to sort out: Hagerty’s unexplained “remix” work includes the random and indecipherable “Naked Lion” and, more intriguingly, a cut–up of “Lost Blues” and “God’s Small Song” deft enough to pass as one coherent piece. Ponder also the market that sees “Little Small Song”’s “fuck” intrusively censored but “Naked Lion”’s looped “Yeah shit’s hard” given a pass.
Ξ Wilding’s tenuous cohesion still fares better than 2005’s cobbled–together Summer in the Southeast. No one does loins–as–rock better than Oldham and he accordingly wrestles a set of quiet older tracks to the ground: “O Let It Be” and “Three Questions” are pugnacious, and Oldham has never presided over a moment as turgid as this band’s teetering “Master & Everyone”. Keyboardist Azita tenderly augments deep cut “Weaker Soldier” with barroom piano ambience. McCarthy shows for the Letting Go material, which sees its strings replaced with haughty electric keys and the burly electric guitar of Emmett Kelly.
Ξ Then there’s “Magnificent Billy”, which is either a goof on “Lay and Love” or a live recording spliced with show banter: between harmonies Oldham and McCarthy alternate “Just sayin’ what’s on my mind” and “Bonny Billy!…Bonny Billy!” Right. Everyone is loose, everyone is happy in central coastal California, interjecting and harmonizing and remixing. Clear as mud. Ξ http://pitchfork.com/
Year: / Album: / Released As: / Peak chart positions: / UK Album Chart / US Billboard 200 / US Heatseekers
≡♠≡ 1999 I See a Darkness Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy #151 — —
≡♠≡ 2001 Ease Down the Road Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy #88 — —
≡♠≡ 2003 Master and Everyone Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy #48 — —
≡♠≡ 2004 Sings Greatest Palace Music Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy #63 — —
≡♠≡ 2005 Superwolf Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & Matt Sweeney #114 — —
≡♠≡ 2006 The Brave and the Bold Tortoise & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy #101 — —
≡♠≡ 2006 The Letting Go Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy #70 #194 #8
≡♠≡ 2007 Wai Notes Dawn McCarthy & Bonny Billy — — —
≡♠≡ 2008 Lie Down in the Light Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy #122 — #10
≡♠≡ 2009 Beware Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy #71 #114 #2
≡♠≡ 2010 The Wonder Show of the World Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & The Cairo Gang #170 — #16
≡♠≡ 2011 Wolfroy Goes to Town Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy #150 — —
≡♠≡ 2012 The Marble Downs Trembling Bells & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy — — —
≡♠≡ 2013 What the Brothers Sang Dawn McCarthy & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy — — —
≡♠≡ 2013 Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy — — —
≡♠≡ 2014 Singer’s Grave — A Sea of Tongues Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy — — —
|Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy — Wilding In the West (January 29, 2008)|
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