Friday, November 3rd, 2006
Someday I Will Treat You Good
While doing a little cleaning recently, I came across a CD-R that a friend of mine in Richmond, Virginia sent me a number of years ago. It’s a collection of 8-track demos by a local band called Salt Chunk Mary circa 1992/1993 which isn’t especially remarkable in and of itself save for the fact that it was fronted by one Mark Linkous, who would go on to create the singularly sad and beautiful Sparklehorse. Information on the band is nigh impossible to find since they didn’t really do much before morphing into the ‘Horse and they generally predate the internet – however the notes indicate the lineup on the recordings included Mark Linkous, his brother Matt on guitar, Chip Jones on bass and Steve Schick on drums. I also found this fifteen-year old article from the Richmond Times Dispatch that talked to the band about their fledgling project.
There are a few jams and sonic experiments that foreshadow the direction that Linkous would head in the future but most of the songs are solid if unremarkable pieces of rootsy jangle pop and bluesy rock. It’s fascinating to hear Linkous sing with volume and authority, considering how he usually sounds like he’s singing via a transistor radio transmission from the far reaches of the galaxy these days. As I said, if that wasn’t Mark Linkous fronting the band, there’d be really no reason to pay much attention to these songs but as the naked baby photos for one of the more unique and eccentric talents on the musical landscape today, they’re pretty interesting. Somewhere, along the way, Mr Horse took a hard left off the highway and into the ditch and has been wandering the wilds of Appalachia ever since.
And there is one familar tune as four songs in we find an early version of “Someday I Will Treat You Good” from Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot – much cleaner and straightforward in production but not far removed from final product. I’ve posted both versions for you to compare and contrast (and the video as well, if you require visual aids). I’ve also posted a couple of the better tunes from the demos – unfortunately, there was no track listing to go along with the disc so I’m left making up names based on the phrase most often repeated in the chorus. Imprecise, but what can you do.
MP3: Salt Chunk Mary – “Rest Your Worried Mind”
MP3: Salt Chunk Mary – “Take Back Everything”
MP3: Salt Chunk Mary – “Someday I Will Treat You Good”
MP3: Sparklehorse – “Someday I Will Treat You Good”
Video: Sparklehorse – “Someday I Will Treat You Good” (YouTube)
There’s also a tribute album to Sparklehorse in the works where you can almost surely expect another version of “Someday I Will Treat You Good” to turn up. Curated by Slight Record, the lineup of artists who will appear on Sad and Beautiful World is still being kept secret but confirmed are Daniel Johnston and Toronto’s Barzin, whom I just discovered last week.
Primarily the project of Barzin Hosseini though also enlisting talents such as Tony Dekker of Great Lake Swimmers, their slow, sad and spacey country-tinged tunes recall Scotland’s Zephyrs (whose website is down now but hopefully that doesn’t mean anything…) as well as Mojave 3, Low and Red House Painters – in other words, the sort of stuff that I love. I’m a little surprised that I’d never even heard the name before, let alone the music, considering we share an area code but hey – better late than never. Their latest album is My Life In Rooms, released this past Spring domestically and just a couple weeks ago in the US. You can sample a few songs below or stream the whole record via the eCard. Barzin played Toronto last night opening for Stuart Staples and heads out on a European tour later this month.
And to loop back a bit, the Slight Record label is associated with the Slightly Confusing To A Stranger webzine, which currently has a live Sparklehorse track taken from this year’s Austin City Limits festival available to download:
Filter has posted their almost unbearably precious yet somehow still insightful recent cover story on Cat Power online. Of course, I’m fairly sure this interview was conducted pre-breakdown/dry-out so any insights the author claims to have divined from his time with Ms Marshall are probably questionable. She plays the Phoenix November 22.