Tuesday, 27 April 2010

The Golden Palominos Ride Again

Your level of interest in rock ‘n’ roll 'supergroups' will likely depend on how you define 'super' in musical terms. The phrase doesn't quite pack the punch it did back in the early 1970s, circa Crosby Stills & Nash (& Young), when an outfit such as Blind Faith could make substantive claims for its collective prowess. Last year I did mean to check out Them Crooked Vultures, but the moment just passed...
Late last week I found myself listening with great pleasure to my fuzzy old tapes of The Golden Palominos, a New York ensemble directed by the drummer Anton Fier, first associated with master producer Bill Laswell and his Celluloid label, whose recordings spanned the 1980s and 1990s but who for me will always stay gold indeed on account of two particular LPs, Visions of Excess (1985) and Blast of Silence/Axed My Baby for a Nickel (1986) whereupon the principal vocalist is the wondrous Syd Straw but guest performers include John Lydon, Michael Stipe, Jack Bruce, Matthew Sweet, T-Bone Burnett, and (briefly) Dennis Hopper.
So, what do you know? Next week, I learn, the Palominos will in New York City play their first gig in 23 years (i.e. since I bought Blast of Silence on cassette in the branch of HMV on Northumberland Street, Newcastle.) Fier has explained the reformation online thus:
"...there were five different versions of the golden palominos. this gig represents version two which spanned the years 1985-1987.....with a bit of cross-over into 1988. most people remember this version and these years as the syd straw era. this version made two records, "visions of excess", and "blast of silence". this was also the only version of the golden palominos that attempted to be a live, touring rock band....this is where we cut to the present......i am generally not the nostalgic type or one to look back......and in the past 23 years since the last golden palominos live gig i have never before considered reviving a past version, but recently i heard syd sing and i was struck by the beauty of it... and wanted to work with her again......so we're giving this a try here and if it's fun and exciting for us we might consider doing it again on a more full time basis in the fall......so this is an experiment......to see if it is possible to go back in order to go forward......"

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