various artists – there is no one [tribute to palace brothers]

this is another vinyl entry straight away – one that had to happen now; in fact, it should have been first. though i have many vinyl albums, this was my reason for finally getting a good record player.

it’s a louisville is for lovers tribute to the first palace release way back in 1993, there is no one what will take care of you. the original was covered (briefly) just before christmas, here.

it’s amazing how retelling can change songs from the original that didn’t enamour me into ones that are suddenly more remarkable. and how the person who had first made this music could improve on it. still others are faithful, including a couple of moments when the young singers sound a little like will himself.

it starts with that true likeness to the music (rather than voice), through the ramshackle banjo and simple tambourine percussion (now it all makes sense, john) on the gallery singers’ take of idle hands are the devil’s playthings. it makes you feel as though you’re there in the room with the players. it has always been an immediate song.

perhaps the most affecting cover is cheyenne mize (who’s had benefit of playing with will) doing the cellar song. it is beautiful and ever so appropriate to hear her sing those words. a kind of improvement on the original, actually.

merida by tender mercy is also an understated version that sounds almost more suited to its structure and content than the original. that also goes for king me (one of my favourites from the original) as performed by lydia burrell (a band, not a person). i love these versions.

by far the most gorgeous of the sketches is o lord are you in need from the promo (below), which is different to the version that appears on the album (also lovely, but not as emotionally affecting as in the vid).

it ends, of course, with bonnie, such as he is, singing about “his” brother on o, paul. again, his own slight reinterpretation of a piece of simple music, 20 years old, is stunning and makes me love all that much more.

it’s the authority on which to end. it’s almost frightening to know it has been that long. and yet, it has not felt like one whole generation has passed. people’s children are grown, we are older and feeling it. yet hearing these songs brought forward makes me feel like it was yesterday.

thank you ever so much, john, for bringing this back to us. i’ve spun it, and it was a totally new journey.


4 responses to “various artists – there is no one [tribute to palace brothers]

  1. i think the most amazing part of it, john, must be the proximity to the place that you all inhabit. it’s more than that, not a mere existence or even chance that you are there. what so many louisville bands and musicians have given, not only to their compatriots but so much further afield, makes life so much more than just ‘being’. even this far away from it.

    in reality, while i have an emotional closeness to the music, it will always be a vicarious experience for me that is entirely different in some ways to your appreciation of it. and i think that’s the most remarkable thing about music. we can all have different journeys with it, some that are more ‘real’ than others, by which i mean ‘solid’ rather than ‘imagined’. i don’t know if any are more or less genuine. i can only imagine that being able to perform the songs yourself, in reverence, adds many more dimensions.

    and this comes to why i love your banjo playing on idle hands; the moments when you almost lose it, but the rhythm holds together. it sounds trite, but it carries authenticity that so much other music does not. the original was the same. for many months i had been singing the song to myself as i walked the corridors at work. that’s my ‘use’ of it.

    in reality, my favourite of the early records is still to come, and while i suspect you won’t be able to release another tribute so soon after this one (in a bit over a year), i would love to hear new life in what remain some of my most treasured songs (i won’t say which it is, but it’s probably as transparent as a pane of glass). i secretly wish i could sing them myself…

    • Originally I had thought about doing a Hope/Horses/Days In the Wake 1994 tribute, but thought it would be odd to pick from the middle of a catalog; so either it would have to be the very first or a free for all from the entire catalog. but i suspect you are speaking of Viva Last Blues, another of my all time favs. I guess the truth is that it is near impossible to pick from so many great albums. I also doubt i could press my luck with another BPB tribute so soon. perhaps in another 20 years.. imagine all the music we could pick from then!

    • you are right john, viva it is! when i finally get to the half-way point, in hopefully a few weeks, it will be that which i listen to. i’ve been thinking about it a lot lately for some reason.

  2. It is amazing to think a whole generation has passed since There is no-one what will take care of you came out. It is also, on a personal scale, amazing that it has only been about 3 months since the covers album has come out; so much has happened since both these records materialized in my life.

    Louisville has always been good about honoring our musical history, so it just seemed right to organize a tribute to someone who has done so much for us, and continues to do so (the new BPB self titled is breath taking). It also came along at the right time for me. Since the 10 year mark of Louisville Is for Lovers i returned to school and haven’t had too much time to devote to making records. but as it happens i need it in my life, so the 20 year mark for the first Palace Brothers album came along just when i needed it most; to escape from daily responsibilities in order to work on this project was delightful, and to work with amazing Louisville artists again was an honor.

    My only regret is that I had to return to school without putting in proper time to promoting the album and making sure it’s getting out to everyone who wants one. it is being distributed by Drag City (, and individual mail orders are being done by Guest Room ( just send an email they should get you taken care of.
    As for my own contributions to the album, it was only a coincidence that we ended up as the first track, and perhaps that it was so close to the original. My band was given the job of gap-stop; when doing a compilation of an entire album you don’t want missing tracks and inevitably bands drop out.. so we recorded what ever songs were in danger of not being included. We ended up recording 5 or 6 during the process, as bands missed deadlines, and other bands signed up to replace them. (we released many of these tracks as a FREE EP here: Some of the covers sounded more like the original than others depending on time and talent. I was also just learning to play the banjo, and unfortunately was given the task of playing Idle Hands which has some of the most beautiful banjo playing i’ve ever heard and could not have had hoped to play anywhere near as well as that; so i did the best i could. The immediacy of the sound was authentic; we had one day to learn the song and record it (in the living room), in order to make the deadline. We all worked and slept in my apartment in the Kentucky Mountains, and the neighbor came over and played the tambourine for us.
    As for the version of O Lord that you mentioned that is on the promo vid but not on the album; that is a wonderful version by Joe Manning, Glen Dentinger, and Rachel Grimes. they had missed the deadline and Ben Mundane stepped in and recorded a very nice version for us. but after the tapes were sent off to the record pressing plant, Glen, Joe, and Rachel decided to finish the song anyway. I liked it so much i didn’t want it to go to waste, so we put it on the vid and added it as a bonus track to the small (US only) cassette run of 100 copies. I have also put it up on the website for FREE download here:
    As for the last track on the album, I couldn’t have hoped for a better ending than Will Oldham’s amazing rendition of his own song from a generation ago, in his new moniker Bonnie ‘prince’ Billy. It chills and warms a the same time, and the same way There is no-one What will take care of you did for me 20 years ago as a fresh faced kid having no idea what the next 2 decades had in store for me, or that it would lovingly bring me right back there to the city I needed most.

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