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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More spellbinding stuff from Ys Newsom..., 19 May 2007
This review is from: Joanna Newsom And The Ys Street Band Ep (Audio CD)
'Joanna Newsom and the Ys Street Band' e.p. might seem a luxury purchase, like the 'Sprout & the Bean' single it technically only includes one new track...but what a track! (in both instances). Recorded at the end of a US tour last year, these three tracks offer alternate readings of 'Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie' from Newsom's debut LP 'The Milk-Eyed Mender' and 'Cosmia' from last year's celebrated 'Ys.' The Ys Street Band, a very amusing moniker, are Newsom, Ryan Francesconi, Dan Cantrell, Neal Morgan, Kevin Barker & Kate Hardin.

The version of 'Cosmia' is partly based on the 'Ys' version arranged by Van Dyke Parks, a perfect song in any version - but this one has a European polka quality as the drums come in, not far from certain records by Nina Nastasia and The Silver Mt Zion Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band with Choir. Personally, I love it when artists revisit their older material, it's something people should do more often, choice examples alongside Newsom include Melvins (who revisited the whole of 'Houdini'), Julian Cope (playing stunning versions of Teardrop Explodes/early solo material on his current tour), Mark Lanegan (who revisted Kingdom of Rain with Soulsavers),Bonnie Prince Billy (who re-recorded Palace-era material), Luke Haines (the Das Capital LP), Sparks (a stunning piano reading of Change on the last tour), Bob Dylan (people who attend his concerts spend about half of each song identifying what it is!) & Ray Davies (great versions of Celluloid Heroes, 20th Century Man & a Cajun-folk take on Come Dancing on his current tour). Often people just do these reinventions/revisits live, but really some should consider releasing these re-versions. Newsom returns to 2004's 'Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie' and manages to improve the sublime...

The new song here, 'Colleen', is the reason to buy this e.p. Despite the price (just under eight earth pounds in some stores) and the fact the whole thing is only just a few minutes over the duration of a single (four minutes and six seconds over the accepted duration of single - shame more material couldn't have been put on). 'Colleen' is nothing like the material on either of Newsom's albums, it's the next step on from 'Ys' and an area I really hope she extends on. Just under seven minutes in duration, it places Newsom in folk/world music territory, as with the material on 'Ys' she is completely in command of her senses and offers up more of that spellbinding stuff. The kind of song you leave on repeat. The kind of song which has a great bit in every second. Perfection...though I was amused when a music journalist griped about everyone giving Newsom good reviews! The world music section is fantastic, especially accompanied by Ys Newsom's yelp. I can't wait for Newsom's next full-length offering, and have forgiven her for not playing anywhere in the UK near to where I reside. But in the meantime...spellbinding stuff in e.p. form. You need to hear this, just so you can then asky yourself, "How did I live without this?" Which is always a good question.
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Location: Worcester, UK

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