Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Master And Everyone
Drag City DC233
Palace Records PR29
Vinyl, LP, Album
28 Jan 2003
Style:Folk Rock, Acoustic, Alternative Rock
A1 The Way 3:49
A2 Ain't You Wealthy, Ain't You Wise 4:12
A3 Master And Everyone 2:35
A4 Wolf Among Wolves 3:47
A5 Joy And Jubilee 2:45
B1 Maundering 3:05
B2 Lessons From What's Poor 3:41
B3 Even If Love 3:24
B4 Three Questions 3:14
B5 Hard Life 3:34
Artwork By [Blue Jay Drawing] – Joanne Oldham
Artwork By [Layout] – Dan Osburn
Artwork By [Rabbit Drawing] – Sammy Harkham
Bass, Guitar, Backing Vocals – Paul Oldham
Cello – Gary Lee Tussing
Guitar – William Tyler
Guitar, Vocals – Will Oldham
Keyboards [Blowing And Fingering Of Keys] – Tony Crow
Mastered By – Paul Oldham
Photography – Steve Gullick
Recorded By – Mark Nevers
Tambourine – Matt Swanson
Vocals [Woman Singing] – Marty Slayton
Whistle [Whistle Fixer] – John Kelton
Written-By – Will Oldham
Bonnie Prince Billy, in my opinion, is this generation's Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen as far as lyrics go. His lyrics on this album are the type that you may not get right away, but when you do understand what he's talking about, you love the album even more. Every song on this album is fantastic. At first listen, a few tracks seem to stand out more than others (not that any of them are bad), but as this album gets into your heart, you realize that every track is essential to the one behind it and before, therefore creating what I call a great album.
Having long ignored Will Oldham's previous output due mostly to pursuit of music in other genres, but not immune to the seemingly endless stream of effusive critical praise he garners, I finally became overwhelmed with curiosity and decided to purchase one of his Bonnie "Prince" Billy albums. Most reviews of "Master and Everyone" cite "I See a Darkness" as Oldham's definitive artistic statement. Ultimately, I purchased both, and discovered they are very different albums, with very different merits to recommend them.
Having listened to both records several times now, I find myself far more impressed with this latest offering. "I See a Darkness" benefits from inspired contributions from talented collaborators, and the counterpoint Oldham creates between gloomy atmosphere and dark energy is terrific, as are the song structures and lyrics. Yet I believe "Master and Everyone" is a far more mature, intimate and above all else subtle piece of work. Perhaps not enough has been said about the production on this album. The gorgeous cello arrangement that underpins "The Way" serves as a lead for an album's worth of other austere and effective flourishes, including naked tambourine rasps, ghostly organ drones and even a well-placed accordian. These elements and others, together with the rich, sure quality of Oldham's voice, result in a work of tremendous control that is haunting and resonant.
It's been said that a great work of art is defined by how much of it you can remove without sacrificing its intensity. Lilting and refined, "Master and Everyone" is a sonorous study in perfect economy.
Bonnie Prince Billy - Hard Life
The woman singing harmonies is Marty Slayton.
Bonnie Prince Billy - Master and Everyone (Paris, 3 Nov. 2011)
Bonnie Prince Billy - Ain't You Wealthy, Ain't You Wise?
A stirring rendition of this beautiful number from his 2003 release, Master and Everyone, recorded at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland on Wednesday, May 13, 2009.