Father Daughter Folk
Jack and Amanda Palmer bring an eerie folk hum to their release You Got Me Singing, which is a compilation of covers from the likes of artists such as Leonard Cohen and Sinead O’Connor. Jack is Amanda’s dad, making this number a true father-daughter project for the books, blended harmonies included. However, it’s quite a step away from Amanda “Fucking” Palmer’s dark cabaret leanings with The Dresden Dolls.
This disc goes in a completely different direction, taking from some old folk greats and creating a storytelling sequence. The harmonies are a key ingredient in the sonic mix, giving an ominous overlay on some tracks. The solo guitar strums create atmosphere, and some of the arrangements are different than ever imagined. However, a lot of the tracks play monotonously, lacking the gusto to break through to a profound place. This is a similar story to Ryan Adams’ cover of Taylor Swift songs, adding a new appreciated emotional level. However, this disc simply doesn’t do as good of a job.
Second track “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod,” originally by The Simon Sisters (feat. Carly Simon), references the age-old fairy tale. The Palmer version is much darker than the Simon version, creating a creepy veil over the whimsical story. “Louise Was Not Half Bad,” initially by Bonnie Raitt, comes in with Jack’s deep voice rumbling in a storytelling bass tone. The background instrumentals are quite folk-leaning, and the subtle harmonies by Amanda and father set the tone.
“Skye Boat Song,” initially by Leigh Garden, turns out as a drone, however “1952 Vincent Black Lightning,” originally by Richard Thompson, takes on a much more innovative air, maintaining some of the original nuances yet taking the peppy track to a slower piano ballad atmosphere. Amanda’s ukulele comes into play then with “All I Could Do,” originally by Etta James. Amanda’s solo voice is a nice break from the somewhat droning harmonies that appear earlier, and this continues through on next track “Black Boys on Mopeds,” initially by Sinead O’ Connor, in a true stripped down format.
“I Love You So Much,” originally by Noah Britton, returns to the piano and Jack’s vocals arrive in their typical one-note trend. This is begging for some vocal texture, right when Amanda comes in and saves the song with an unbridled passion obviously inspired from this coming-together project with her father. “Pink Emerson Radio,” originally by Kathleen Edwards, shows as a bittersweet note towards the middle of the disc worth noting.
At the end, most of the originals stand stronger than these new creations by Jack and Amanda. But then again, very few times is a sequel better than the original. However, Amanda’s sheer ability to create a raw, intoxicating passion through her vocals, shines in this stripped down ensemble and in the presence of her father. There’s something powerful about a deeply emotional song, and when a whole disc comes out in its most passionate, raw ability, it can’t go unnoticed.