New Partner benefits from a fuller sound and The Brute Choir, despite running longer, has more urgency that its original.
Some amusing reconfigurations include I Send My Love to You and Pushkin, both from 1994s Days in the Wake.
Love gets a Grand Ole Opry-style makeover, complete with swinging rhythm and livelier vocals; Pushkin exchanges its spare acoustic simplicity for a piano-and-gospel harmonizing arrangement.
The misses, however, are whoppers: Ohio River Boat Song is drained of its emotional power, running a minute and a half shorter and reborn as a jaunty fiddler tune, and Horses just isnt the same sans its blazing guitar work.
When it was announced that the title of his next album would be The Red Light District, your humble correspondent must admit that he feared more of the same.
So it's an exceedingly pleasant surprise to report that District keeps such coarse pandering to a minimum.
Subsequent releases have corrected the problem, but that still doesnt overcome the EPs main shortcoming: the bulk of the material here simply isnt very engaging.
Instead of easily compiling these 15 choice cuts and serving them up in a nice, tidy package, Oldham decided to re-record the material in a country vein, using his bolder Bonnie Prince Billy persona and backed by some of the finest session men Nashville has to offer (players like drummer Eddie Bayers, fiddler Stuart Duncan, and pianist Hargus "Pig" Robbins).
Unsurprisingly, Greatest Palace Music enjoys sterling production but mixed interpretive results.
The Baroque arrangements and ornately articulate baritone (and, occasionally, soaring falsetto) remain in full force, but the lyrical content clearly reflects a shakeup in Hannons long term priorities.
The aggrieved Leaving Today reveals the artist checking in on his young daughter before heading off on the road; the delightfully airy Come Home Billy Bird follows a travel-weary businessman who cant wait for his journey to end; the cavernous Freedom Road details a trucker hanging up his CB radio for the final time.
What keeps Almost Killed Me from little more than gimmicky diversion is Finns impressive lyrical skills (Ill be damned if they didn't disappear / Wandered out of mass one day and faded into the fog and love and faithless fear, from Hostile, Mass.) and the band members ability to serve up indulgent guitar solo clichs (as they do at the end of Most People are DJs) and then comment on such excess (by abruptly cutting off the solo and beginning the next song), thus celebrating and poking fun at them at the same time.