Viva Last Blues

Before Will Oldham became Bonnie “Prince” Billy towards the end of the 90s, he released albums and singles under many other names, including Palace, Palace Songs, Palace Brothers, Palace Music, and plain old Will Oldham.  As Palace Music, he recorded Viva Last Blues in 1995.  According to Oldham’s new book-length interview with Alan Licht, Oldham was listening to a ton of Stevie Wonder, Sly and the Family Stone, Cat Stevens before recording the album, though its hard to discern the influence of at least the first two musicians in that list.  Oldham always seemed to find a casually excellent group of people to play on his albums; for this one, he roped in his brother on bass and called up the drummer from Massachusetts based lo-fi pioneers, Sebadoh, who randomly agreed to participate.  The whole thing was produced by Steve Albini, whose name carries big weight in 80s underground rock circles.  “New Partner” lopes along, with a straightforward, pretty-yet-ramshackle chorus.

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