This is a most welcome anthology containing 20 tracks from his excellent first six solo albums and twelve previously unreleased numbers. Mark Lanegan's distinctive husky, brooding voice along with his deep understanding of folk, blues and the roots of American music shine throughout this double CD. it opens with the brief, sad, gorgeous 'Bombed'. The brilliance of the singer-songwriter's numbers is astounding. The poignancy of 'Come see me' dueting with PJ Harvey, the wonderful eerie rawness of 'Resurrection man', the delicate subtlety of 'Kimoko's Dream House' with Ben Shepherd on backing vocals show the diversity of Lanegan's writing.
After the mesmerising 'One Way Street', Lanegan gives us the heart-wrenching beautiful 'Low', lamenting the death of love and a painful past, accompanied by a subdued perfectly played Hammond Organ. Tim Hardin's 'Shiloh Town' complete with violin accompaniment is followed by Leaving Town's 'Creeping Coastline of Lights' with it's dreamy lyrics and vibes behind the vocals. The delicate 'Last One In the World' is a reluctant farewell to a friend. 'Wild Flowers' is a simplistic acoustic guitar piece with simple lyrics as opposed to 'Mockingbird' with drums, electric guitar and piano thrown into the mix with the acoustic guitar producing a moody number.
'Sunrise' is intensely moving with the saxophone fillers and Sally Barry's backing vocals as is the dreamlike 'The River Rise', a dark country tranquil song. 'Carnival' has some dramatic lyrics accompanied by an all-country backing with upright bass and violin. A sort of anarchistic escapism.
The twelve previously unreleased tracks I have listened to five times and they grow on you. They are all of a high quality standard and would not be out of place on any of the six previous albums. All delightful discoveries and a joy to have them on this compilation. 'Sympathy', 'To Valencia courthouse', John Cale's 'Big White Cloud', 'Halcyon Daze' and the live 'Blues Run The Game' are just examples of this invaluable output. This archived anthology is accompanied by a 44 page book comprising hand-written lyrics and rare photographs. I don't understand the title of the anthology. It sounds like someone looking for salvation for previous transgressions. I can only unreservedly recommend this release. Mark Langden deserves a wider audience. My daughters only recently brought him to my elderly ears for which I am eternally grateful.
Mark Lanegan's music expresses feelings, moods, consciousness of life, like no other artist does. Some try to compare, but his uniqueness is well shown on this compilation. And the choice of songs? Couldn't be better. The third vinyl comes with great unreleased songs.
This man is a legend and genius. If you have heard him before you already know this is true. If you haven't then this I suppose is a good place to start. For Lanegan is the Jonny cash or Neil Young of the generation x.
From his early days as screaming trees front man, through his outstanding original solo albums, three "band" albums, two excellent obscure covers albums and his "gun for hire" albums (with the likes of QOTSA, Isobel Campbell, Soulsavers, twilight signers, duke Garwood etc ) it would seem that he is capable of doing no wrong.
I have had the pleasure of seeing him live over a dozen times in solo, band and coloration gigs, and he has never disappointed. Don't expect jokes or an energised front man working the crowd, hes far too cool for that- his outstanding live vocals more than make up for that. After years of barley saying anything more than a "thanks for coming" he now stays behind at every show to meet his fans and sign tickets etc. After meeting him it turns out hes a nice chap as well.
My only issue here is how to pick a best of when he has so much good material. Every lanegan fan would come up with a completely different list. The unreleased songs make it worthwhile for the hardcore fans, but this makes a better introduction for the uninitiated. Be warned- buying this will cost you quite a bit of cash as I guarantee (amazon im sure will back this guarantee!) that you will want the entire back catalogue.
If you're a fan of Mark Lanegan then you'll already have most of these tunes but believe me the unreleased tunes are worth the price of admission alone. It's literally like getting a new album of Lanegan classics, complete with new versions of old classics (blues for D, blues run the game (live)), inspired b sides and incredible unheard tracks.
If you aren't a fan of Lanegan you should be. The man is an incredible songwriter, arranger, singer and every song on this album is great introduction to his work.
Plus this also includes pretty much the most on stage chat you'll here from him on 'blues run the game'. Treasure it and please add more reviews cos three reviews is pathetic total for an artist and album of this quality...