Here’s a logical companion to my recent post featuring the live Jason Molina session captured over the telephone from sometime in 2004 or early ‘05. Those who purchased the final Songs: Ohia studio album, Magnolia Electric Co., on vinyl were rewarded with a bonus disc of acoustic demos from the same album. Unavailable anywhere else, the set does exactly what one would expect - it strips down the Crazy Horse-inspired sound that dominated that neo-classic album to show just what a powerful singer and lyricist Jason Molina had developed into at this point of his career.
This set is interesting to collectors for several reasons. First, songs like “Farewell Transmission”, “John Henry Split My Heart”, and “I’ve Been Riding With The Ghost” appear in very early forms (with their original titles - “The Long Dark Blues”, “You Can‘t Save Everything”, and “I Made The Change”, respectively), with some different lyrics and structures as those that appeared on the actual album. Also, there are a number of quality outtakes from the album that don’t, to my knowledge, appear on any other release. “Whippoorwill” is especially strong and would have made a fine addition on the more acoustic follow up, What Comes After The Blues.
Finally, we get to hear Molina sing “Peoria Lunchbox Blues” and “The Old Black Hen”, sung on the album by Scout Niblet and Lawrence Peters. Though a good friend of mine loves the album versions as they are, I’ve always held that Magnolia Electric Co. would sound so much more confluent if Molina’s voice sung all 8 songs. If there’s one flaw I find with an otherwise perfect album, it’s this. Here though we get to listen to the songs as originally conceived, with Molina’s natural ache the primary focus.
MP3 :: The Long Dark Blues
MP3 :: Just Be Simple
MP3 :: The Old Black Hen
MP3 :: I Made The Change
MP3 :: Peoria Lunchbox Blues
MP3 :: Whippoorwill
MP3 :: The Big Game Is Every Night
MP3 :: Hold On Magnolia
MP3 :: You Can’t Save Everything
(demos from Magnolia Electric Co. Buy the original album here)