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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 24 June 2017
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VINE VOICEon 3 January 2007
After enjoying Mark Lanegan's latest release Bubblegum I decided to go back to the beginning with his melancholy debut The Winding Sheet. I am very pleased I took the chance on this album as it is a thoroughly enjoyable listen, and one I can see myself consistently listening to in the future.

What Mark did for this solo debut was take his whiskey soaked, emotionally charged voice and lace it with simplistic and mellow acoustic guitars. And it works. His later albums would add more instrumentation and more complex structures, but to me, this is just as good, if not better. It is classic singer/songwriter, singing about longing, lust, happiness and resent.

The album is extremely consistent, something necessary for its stripped down style to keep the attention of the listener. The opener 'Mockingbird' is probably the most layered song on the album, with drums/acoustic and electric guitars/piano thrown into the mix. It's a great opener, and sets up the moody style of the album. The album just continues from there really, my personal highlights include the extremely calming 'Eyes of a Child' in which Lanegan really shines. The title track creates pure emotional toil through Lanegan's crooning, desperate voice. Really powerful stuff. 'Wild Flowers' is another favorite of mine, essentially a very simple track evolving around the most basic of chord progressions and, to be honest, a rather simple vocal melody. But it is just a great listen. And that is the general theme for this album, simple yet effective man and guitar. Enjoy!
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#1 HALL OF FAMEon 7 September 2000
'The Winding Sheet'is the debut lp by the Screaming Trees vocalist, along Dinosaur Jr's Mike Johnson. Recorded in 1989, it is a favourite of Dave Grohl and features his colleagues, Kobain and Novoselic. 'Where did you sleep last night' is the grunge-take on Leadbelly's 'In the Pines'- and has to be heard for Kobain's manic guitar or Lanegan's poweful delivery (and to see where Nirvana got the idea, thus disproving the notion they invented grunge). The title track evokes similar feelings as the acoustic heavens-or hell- of American Music Club's 'Everclear' or REM's 'Automatic for the People'...'Down in the Dark' features Kobain on effective-backing vocals in a great dark popsong- if you liked tuneful Screaming Trees tracks, 'Nearly Lost You' or 'Sworn and Broken' there is much similar here, albeit in a more minimal state...The songs are probably all about drugs or death or the death of love (while on drugs).Whatever...There is a sense of humor-such as on 'Juarez' and an acoustic-ditty to rival Big Star's beautiful 'I'm in love with a girl' in 'I love you little girl'...'Ten feet tall' is like 'Loaded'-era Velvets singing the blues on crack and 'Ugly Sunday', despite its title, is the sound of beauty...This album is for late at night, when its always raining in a Raymond Carver or Denis Johnson world...It could also be proof that Lanegan is the Tom Waits of the Seattle scene...This lp is an important historical document-if you want to know where 'grunge' came from-here is the chance to find out...It wasn't all 'Never Mind'...This one will sound even better in years to come and I personally prefer Lanegan's solostuff to his daytime job in the (admittidly good) Screaming Trees...One of the best albums released on Sub Pop and a dark US-guitar lp, to rival Afghan Whigs 'Black Love' or Mark Eitzel's 'Songs of Love'. Deserves to become as regarded as 'Astral Weeks' in years to come and a definite purchase if you've worn out your copy of 'Nirvana Unplugged'.
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on 6 January 2012
Having foolishly sold my vinyl copy of this excellent recording, I bought this reasonably priced CD as a replacement. Mark Lanegan has, so far, made two truly great albums as a solo artist. And, frankly, it's the first two- 'The Winding Sheet' being my favourite. While there are one or two pretty good tracks on each of his later offerings, none of them offer the same strength of content or fresh originality displayed on the first two albums. If you are unfamiliar with his solo work and are looking for the best example of it- look no further than this, his first, or 'Whiskey For The Holy Ghost', his second. After that, your on your own!
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on 21 April 2004
I don't know how this moody /atmospheric beauty slipped under my radarundiscoverd for so long! I put off buying this many times as I alreadyown Whiskey.. & Field Songs, & thought from the audio clips it sounded toostereotypically 'grunge', ('that' word- I know- but its well understood)for my tastes. Its always been the slightly folked out & country'd upquality of Marks work that I like, but seeing as I love this mans voice,honesty & charm- my curiosity gave in.
Recorded in '89' 5 years before Nirvanas 'Unplugged', WS was Marks firstsolo venture whilst at the time still holding down his job as lead singerfor Seattle band The Screaming Trees. You cant help but draw comparisonsbetween this & Unplugged as they share similar musical & historicalterritory. Both Kurt & Chris are on this album playing lead & bass ontheir first cover of Leadbellys In The Pines/ Where did you sleep lastnight, a heavier darker & more powerfull version than on Unplugged. Therest of the album except for DITDark, is mostly a mellow & introspectiveaffair, with long time collaborator Mike Johnson (ex D.Junior's), gentleacoustic arrangements, lending excuisite warmth & tenderness. I can onlyconclude that this is the 'real deal', the absolute soulfull essence ofwhat that whole 'Seattle sound' /genre was all about, (not that theyactually came from there but you know..) There is nothing in the leastbit contrived about these songs, and the vocal /musical stylings thatlater became a formula for many, appear here with original & heartfeltsincerity. How songs about death/ escape, addiction, desperation & sorrowcan make for such beautifully stirring listening, only Lanegan can know. A complete romantic, not in the obvious hearts & flowers sense, thinkN.Young, Van M, Nick Drake, & the old delta blues singers, Lanegans moreyouthfull voice (still showing signs of that rich Waits- ish baritone),sings moans & cries with a raspy hoarseness that has me mesmerized. Cobain clutching a copy of WS was once quoted as saying "this mans voicecould make anything sound good"..or something to that effect. The 'nofrills' procuction & Marks soulfull vocals / lyrics, result in an intenseintimacy, as if in the room with you. Mark gives 100% of himself & moreon these songs, & shares that aspect of vulnerability, imperfection &fragility, that seems to be at the core of his somewhat 'cathartic' work. All subject matter comes straight from the heart & is deliverd with suchpassion you feel humbled & quietend, spellbound as someone is sharingsome part of thmselves with you so deeply personal. Am I overreacting? Probably, but if you 'connect' with this album, youll know that it wouldbe impossible to talk about it in any unpassionate, impartial impersonalway, coz that would be everything that its not.
If I had to pick a favourite..(& there are too many really), I guess itwould be Winding Sheet. A dark haunting acoustic melody, that has thehairs on my arms standing up, whilst seducing me away into its numbingpsychadellic feedback drenched beauty. It envelopes you like some warmcomforting opiate, ready to lull you away. The vocals are sheer ecstacyas mark sings & cries, "...at night when the dogs from hell come out..roam my house in chains of gold.. the darkness dares my eyes to close...". Cant put into words the effect this song has on me- STIRRING. There arehowever numerous beauties; the tender pretty & minimal Wildflowers, withits strange subtley out of tune - but perfect acoustic guitar. The lushbut sad desperation of Mockingbirds ".. get me out im starting to burn, Icant let go for the life of me.. some hold tight.. some turn.. my wholelife out in front of me.. two mockingbirds makin sense of it"... & I couldgo on.
I am gratefull that I own this (what I regard), as an astonishing seminalpiece of work. It has me alive with emotions that make me hold dear whatit is to be human; full of contradictions, beautiful & ugly, uplifting &sad @ the same time, kinda like life wouldn't yasay?
Perfect forreflecting as the seasons turn.
If you've not already got it, check out the more mature Mark on Fsongs(2001), & the covers album of old Southern Soul, folk & country songs on"Ill Take Care of You". Its brilliant to watch someone evolve & matureexploring their original influences. Oh, & the newy 'll be out soontoo..Bubblegum, with numerous collaborators inc. J Hommes (QOTStone Age) & a saucy duet with the hugely talented PJ Harvey! Needless to say WS hasbecome one of my favourite albums ever.. & I wasn't even expecting it.
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on 16 April 2004
I first heard of Mark Lanegan through the Screaming Trees albums and fell in love with his vocals instantly, and was saddened to hear they broke up. I hadn't realised that Lanegan, it seems, will be making music till the day he dies. Other collaborations include Kurt Kobain (as on this album), The Desert Sessions and of course Queens Of The Stone Age.

Lanegans solo albums always make best use of his deep, gravelly, whisky soaked voice and this album is no exception. Its easy to see why he would then spend so much time with Screaming Trees after this, as this album is quite introspective. You can occasionally hear him reach for the higher scream/ wails to be found on those albums, although here its much more contained.
Its extraordinary to hear this album now and realise it was released about 15 years ago! Its such mature music making, heavily steeped in the themes of the best county music- very truthful, slightly raw, perfectly balanced. Its no wonder everyone wants to work with him!
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on 20 December 2012
Awesome album, bought for my boyfriend who really loves Lanegan so of course this is a good album. Everyone should listen to it
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on 25 March 2015
Great Album
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on 4 April 2013
I love Mark Lanegan's voice and adore SoulSavers. However, I have to say that the sound of this album is not as great as some of his later work. The style of the CD design is very dated and the sound lacks the punch of some of his other work in my opinion. I know some reviews of this are excellent and I am prepared to update my review if I change my mind. However, I cannot help but feel a little under-whelmed by first impressions, I am afraid to say...
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on 1 September 2014
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