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Boomkat Product Review:
Recorded live in Edinburgh in partnership with the BBC, this latest Bonnie 'Prince' Billy album arrives at the tail end of a prolific year for the alt. Americana icon. He's surprised us with lo-fi acoustic demo releases, live recordings and a proper new album (the impressive, yet plainly recorded Lie Down In The Light) and now comes a document from Will Oldham's 2006 tour, in which accompaniment comes from drummer Alex Neilson and Scottish folk collective Harem Scarem, who provide vocal harmonies, fiddle, flute, accordion and banjo to a variety of Oldham classics, with highlights from I See A Darkness, Master And Everyone and The Letting Go all included. From the very beginning the arrangements seem to pander towards traditionalism - presumably due to the input from Harem Scarem - with a very pastoral and folksier than usual 'Minor Place' kicking off the album. Newer material like 'My Home Is The Sea' and 'Cursed Sleep' comes across as fine here, though perhaps isn't quite as hard-hitting as it might have been with a different backing band. The likes of 'Birch Ballad' sounds great in this context though, and is better accommodated by the light-touch of the assembled musicians. There's a strong setlist here, but we're in no short supply of Bonnie Billy live documents, and this release begs the question: do you need another one in your life? The answer is still probably a resounding 'yes'.