Artist: Marquis de Tren & Bonnie Billy
Title: Get On Jolly
Format: 12" EP
Label: Palace Records
Catalogue Number: PR24
Year of Release: 2000
A1 2/15 (5:00)
A2 25 (3:08)
A3 81 (3:21)
B1 86 (2:10)
B2 64 (2:52)
B3 66 (5:17)
Released in the same prolific year as the wonderful Bonnie 'Blue' Billy EP, I finally got around to buying a copy of this directly from Drag City at the same time as Lie Down In The Light, the current exchange rate making it the kind of bargain I am physically incapable of passing over.
I confidently stated in the aforementioned EP review that Get On Jolly was 'particularly good'. I'll now own up to the fact that I put that in based solely on another review I'd read, and hadn't actually heard the six tracks on here until review-time came along. I was right though, so all is well.
The Marquis de Tren is Mick Turner of Dirty Three, who I can only assume wanted his own moniker with a hint of nobility about it for this project. He provides the musical backdrops for Will to speak or sing over on these tunes, the words themselves being adapted from Hindu poet Rabindranath Tagora's book Gitanjali.
On four of the tracks (2/15, 25, 86 & 66), the musical backdrops are principally built from effected, looped guitar sounds. 2/15 features some backwards noises, 86 has multi-layered vocals as well. Some also feature accordion. The combination is gentle and meditative, setting a beautiful tone for the poems to sit on. There are obvious links between the lyrics and some of the themes Will Oldham explores in his own songs: "then I touch things I can't touch, I touch parts of you I really can't touch" (2/15); "all my dark desires I denied or I gave to you" (25); and my favourite lines:
What majestic treats do you still have in store for me?
A breath of death, a day of rest and o make me wealthy
And in the arms of your old charms
Let me forever bask
Is that too much to ask?
That is the closing verse to 81, one of the two tracks not to be built on loops, but on a simple repeated riff. 64 is the other, a tune that wouldn't have been out of place on Ease Down The Road, being a tale of a lone girl out with a torch, which the protagonist wants because his "house is all dark and lonesome". "Lend me that light", he repeatedly asks, but never gets it. A thinly veiled metaphor, perhaps, but a wonderful little song, and a highlight from a very interesting and worthwhile collection.