Members of The Coral and The Lost Brothers pay tribute to Townes Van Zandt

Members of The Coral and The Lost Brothers pay tribute to Townes Van Zandt

A blistering electric cover of Townes Van Zandt’s “Mr Mudd And Mr Gold” is the subject of the third and final video taken from the new release “The Bird Dog Tapes Vol 1”- a collaborative semi-covers albums between The Lost Brothers, Bill Ryder-Jones and The Coral’s Nick Power. It features the stunning slide electric guitar of Bill Ryder-Jones and the harmonica playing of The Coral’s Nick Power. Merseyside native Jack Prince is on the drums and The Lost Brothers’ Mark Mccausland plays electric bass. The vocal is delivered with eerie authenticity by Oisin Leech from The Lost Brothers. The video’s release marks the 20th anniversary of the Townes Van Zandt’s tragic death in January 1997 and The Lost Brothers offer it as a tribute to Townes on the anniversary of his passing.

A brief spell of living in Townes’ native Austin Texas and several extensive US tours has stood to The Lost Brothers. Their skillful delivery of this song is testament to their ten years on the road across the US and Europe.

“We used to watch Justin Townes Earle, who is actually Townes Van Zandt’s godson, perform Mr. Mudd And Mr. Gold every night on tour” explains Oisin Leecch from The Lost Brothers “and a pal bet me twenty bucks that I could not learn off all the verses and recite them at speed on the last day of our tour. I won the bet. There’s a lot of words in the song! It’s like a cosmic country rap. Years later we found ourselves in Parr Street Studios in Liverpool recording The Bird Dog Tapes with Bill Ryder Jones and some pals from The Coral. I suggested we try this Townes song. We did three takes and the third take was the only complete take that did not collapse in a ball of absolute hysterical laughter. If you listen closely you can tell that no one knows where the song will go or how we will end. But we got through it and we love it. Whenever people ask me who my favourite songwriters are I always list Townes Van Zandt beside the likes of Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and Shane MacGowan. It’s the mystical side of Townes’ lyric and his delivery that sends my imagination spinning. He is a craftsman- he builds beautiful songs in the same way a carpenter might build a beautiful oak kitchen table.”

“Over the last few weeks we have been working on our new album with Howe Gelb and Gabriel Sullivan out in the Sonoran desert in Arizona. Walking the bleak cold desert at night got me thinking of Townes’ songs a lot. We are delighted to be able to offer this small salute in his honour.”

The albums of Townes Van Zandt are a big influence on both The Lost Brothers, The Coral’s and Ryder-Jones’ output. “Like Leonard Cohen, for me Townes Van Zandt was a poet who expressed himself through song. He needed the lyric to be perfect on the page even before a note of music was heard” explains Oisin Leech of The Lost Brothers.” He used to tidy his office immaculately before he even sat down to write. I love this. He was married to songwriting and committed to its craft A pal told me that this month he is 20 years gone and we thought this song was a fitting salute to a great artist..”

Mark Mccausland from The Lost Brothers recalls recording Mr. Mudd And Mr. Gold.
“This is one we did with the whole band set up. Oisin on vocals and guitar, Nick on harmonica, Jack Prince on drums, Bill on electric guitar and I play bass.It’s one one of our favourite Townes’ songs. Tricky song with the lyrics, but Oisin sings it great. I dunno how he remembers all those words. I’ve heard Steve Earle cover this song and he slipped up on the words a million

Over the last few months The Lost Brothers have gigged with the likes of Elvis Costello and they are currently in Tucson Arizona where they are working on their fifth studio album with Howe Gelb , Gabriel Sullivan and members of the legendary indie band Giant Sand. Details of The Lost Brother’s Tucson Howe Gelb Giant Sand produced album will emerge in 2017 meanwhile enjoy this exclusive track from “The Bird Dog Tapes Vol. 1”

Xsnoize Author
Mark Millar is the founder of XS Noize and looks after the daily running of the website as well as conducting interviews for the XS Noize Podcast. Mark's favourite album is Achtung Baby by U2.

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