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When not collaborating with Charlotte Gainsbourg on IRM, Beck continues adding covers collections to his Record Club. His (and MGMT and Devendra Banhart’s) go at Songs Of Leonard Cohen included mixed results. We have higher hopes for his take on Skip Spence’s gorgeous 1969 solo album Oar — we’ve heard Hansen cover the Jefferson Airplane/Moby Grape player’s “Halo Of Gold” in the past for More Oar: A Tribute to Alexander “Skip” Spence. It’ll be interesting to see if he does “Halo” differently with Wilco, Feist, and Jamie Lindell in tow. He starts these things with song one, though, so take a listen to “Little Hands” while you read Beck’s thoughts on the session. (If you recall, Robert Plant did “Little Hands” on the comp, which came out in 1999, the year of Spence’s death, by the by.) Also, as regular viewers of the Record Club may note from the above thumbnail, Beck’s thankfully moved away from the heavy contrast art-school video approach this time.

This one took place last June when Wilco was in town for the release of their new eponymous album. They came by after a long day filming a TV appearance and still managed to put down 8 songs with us. Jamie Liddell was in the studio with me working on his new record. Leslie Feist happened to be in town editing her documentary and heard we were all getting together. Recording took place at Sunset Sound Studios in the room where the Stones did a lot of Exile On Main Street (and looking at the records on the walls it appeared that the Doobie Brothers recorded most of their output there too). Sitting in on drums, we had James Gadson, who’s played on most of the Bill Withers records and on songs like “Express Yourself” and “I Will Survive.” Jeff Tweedy’s son Spencer played played additional drums. Also, Brian Lebarton, from the last two Record Club sessions is back.

Here goes:

The original:

Check back at beck.com for more Oar. If you don’t know much about Alexander “Skip” Spence’s life, you should read up on him … fascinating and tragic stuff.

Comments (6)
  1. Beck is smart, continues to deliver pleasure. He’s a mighty good leader.

  2. Oh wow! That was excellent!!

  3. I am not a Beck fanboy by any stretch of imagination, I follow his career from quite a distance, but this man is seriously phenomenal. This video is the coolest thing I heard all week, and now I shall peruse the Record Club blog. Thanks Stereogum for picking this up.

  4. Mouthful of Grass  |   Posted on Nov 13th, 2009 0

    Western Sky Music…pyramids and crap…

  5. I don’t know how many people expected Beck to keep Record Club going so long, much less have it keep getting better. This is a massive improvement in production quality and videography from the previous Record Clubs, so I’m very excited. From previous Record Clubs I recommend you check out “Run Run Run” and “Master Song” from the Velvet Underground & Nico and Leonard Cohen respectively. This is definitely the best so far. In fact, there has been a trend of awesome acoustic stuff from Beck recently. His acoustic re-recording of Modern Guilt is in my opinion significantly better than the Danger Mouse produced record (Gamma Ray acoustic with string bass and bongos is incredible), and I also think he did a great job with Sonic Youth’s “Green Light” for record store day.

  6. Anonymous  |   Posted on Nov 13th, 2009 0

    Just FYI, “Halo of Gold” was an unfinished demo, a bonus track on the (first) later-day reissue of Spence’s Oar, so based upon his decision not to do the bonus tracks to Songs of Leonard Cohen (and just because there aren’t enough weeks for him to waste on all the barely-minute-plus Oar bonus demos) I would assume “Halo” won’t be making the cut this time through.

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