Palace

Ohio River Boat Song/Drinking Woman

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AllMusic Review by

Listening to Palace's debut single with the benefit of hindsight, it's remarkable to consider the extent to which Will Oldham's music arrived fully and perfectly formed -- while certainly not to suggest that everything since "Ohio River Boat Song" has been an exercise in redundancy (far from it), it nevertheless must be said that if Oldham had never made another record, history could have judged him accurately on the basis of this masterpiece alone. The A-side is a rocking-chair epic, a gothic paean to love and other conflicts that indelibly establishes not only Oldham's flair for subverting and expanding traditional roots music but also his knack for impenetrable yet oddly evocative wordplay; "Drinking Woman" is even more rustic and grim, a cautionary tale stripped of both condemnation and sympathy.