1993 Debut LP from Will Oldham aka Bonnie Prince Billy
The debut Palace Brothers album was released in 1993 when much American music was going through a particularly bombastic period. In contrast There Is No One What Will Take Care Of You sounded like a field recording, as though a tape of back porch confessionals recorded by Alan Lomax as an example of high Southern Gothic style, had been newly discovered and released.
The sense of other worldly timelessness was enhanced by the song titles, which were rich in biblical imagery and a backwoods sensibility: "Idle Hands Are The Devil's Plaything," "I Tried To Stay Healthy For You," "O Lord Are You In Need?" The music on the record was equally arcane and ancient sounding. Banjos and loose snare drums rattle together in accompaniment to Will Oldham's guitar and voice as he sings songs of a desperate and broken worldview. That he was just twenty-two at the time led some critics to wonder if Oldham was acting out a role as a Steinbeck character.
Listening to the record over twenty years after its release it's impossible to underestimate There Is No One What Will Take Care Of You's influence on what would become known as the New Weird America or alt-country, and that any questions about Oldham's integrity, motives or authenticity are a dead end compared to this dark, unsettlingly brilliant record!