Wild Mercury Sound

Bruce Palmer, Elliott Smith, Bill Fay

John Mulvey

I got a message the other day from Erin Palmer, encouraging me to go and see Jandek at South By Southwest. Unfortunately, I've had to cancel my trip to Texas, so if anyone sees the Jandek show, please let us know. Erin, it transpires, is the daughter of Bruce Palmer, the giant bassist who drove down to LA with Neil Young in his hearse and went on to join Buffalo Springfield.

Hearing from Erin (whose blog is at droppinthed.blogspot.com, incidentally) reminded me of a great record I haven't played in a while: her father's solo album, "Cycle Is Complete". It's weird, given Palmer's history, that "Cycle Is Complete" isn't better known, but it's a pretty out-there record - kind of long, frayed psychedelic jams that have a striking affinity with some of the looser new free-folk troupes like Sunburned Hand Of The Man. Check it out.

I also picked up an email from Charlie, who runs the terrific Elliott Smith site, Sweet Adeline. I will try and write some more about "New Moon" when I get a chance - I'm aware my post was a bit sketchy. But unfortunately, hardly any watermarked copies of the disc are out there at the moment, so I've had to pass mine on to a reviewer. When I get another, I'll post a follow-up.

I'm actually away from my desk for a day or two, and more importantly, away from my pile of new releases, so Wild Mercury Sound may be rather erratic this week. One old thing I've turned to this weekend is the first album by Bill Fay, especially "Be Not So Fearful" (I can't remember if it's actually on the original pressing, but it's certainly included on the Eclectic CD reissue).

Wilco played that song a few times live, and there's been talk for a while of them backing Fay on his first recordings for decades - though both Bill and Jeff Tweedy seem anxious not to impose on the other, from the conversations I've had with them. I can't recommend Fay's three albums highly enough; I think my colleague Rob Young called him the missing link between Dylan, Nick Drake and Scott Walker, which makes sense to me.


Editor's Letter

Robert Wyatt interviewed: "I'm not a born rebel..."

Today (January 28, 2015), social media reliably informs me that Robert Wyatt is 70, which seems a reasonable justification for reposting this long and, I hope, interesting transcript of an interview I did with him at home in Louth back in 2007, a little before the marvellous “Comicopera” was...