bonnie ‘prince’ billy – sings agnes, queen of sorrow

this is what i think people think is the sum total of bonnie ‘prince’ billy – those who won’t give him a shot. it’s, how shall i say, a cliche. country (as opposed to blues) slide guitars, female duet vocalist, reworking of previously beautiful song (eponymous) into something of a caricature.

it sounds like i hate it. i don’t. but if this was what his music was all about, i wouldn’t have touched it with a ten foot barge pole. i could see a barge pole appearing in a song of his actually. agnes was of course from the early palace small album hope, and this rendition came from the sings greatest palace music album which i am yet to come to.

on this “single”, the second song is pussyfooting, a more disturbing take on what perhaps he thinks he would sound like if he tried r&b – a creepy fusion version. there’s a little bit initially of a drum machine sound alike that found on arise, therefore. but this is used to very different effect. much less effective.

it ends on the best note – i’ve heard many versions of (werner’s last blues to) blokbuster over the years (another hope cut), and this is excellent along with almost all others. the low-end melodic strings, still piano, some judiciously employed horns and spare use of the slide make perfect sense, with progressively more amazing crescendos each time the chorus comes ’round. this one song, in all its forms, is the flawed perfection (yes, i think that’s possible) that bonnie is capable of.

all i can say is, props for trying something new and different.

it’s better to be so far off from thee, where i recall you pleasantly, and where i can feel free

[original]

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