Doubleshot Tuesday: Cahoots/Fleet Foxes


[Today: Falling into Fall…]

The Band | Cahoots
Fleet Foxes | Fleet Foxes

We moved the clocks back an hour on Saturday night, always a sure sign that Autumn has us once again in its wooly grasp. The Bay Area enjoys an indian summer each year – October, not July, is the typical month for our sweltering, 100° days. But even here, around about the end of October, once Neil Young’s annual Bridge Benefit concert is in the books and the kids have come by for their Halloween candy, the air gets a nip to it and the trees start to do the color thing. Daylight Savings is when the boom really falls, and all of a sudden it’s F-A-L-L , or more truthfully, pre-Winter – a few weeks of falling leaves, then the rains set in until Spring. Wash, rinse, repeat…

This is the time of year I start reaching for any album by The Band, as well as Josh Ritter’s Golden Age Of Radio, Neil Young’s Harvest, Gary Higgins’ Red Hash, Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks, Fairport Convention’s Unhalfbricking, Skip Spence’s Oar, The Cure’s Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, Nick Drake’s Bryter Layter, The Peddlers’ Suite London and a handful of other albums that have come to epitomize the season for this old geezer.

After their first two LPs, The Band made a series of sturdy if unspectacular albums that each contributed a couple of songs to their subsequent Best Of compilations. Cahoots has ‘Life Is A Carnival’ and ‘When I Paint My Masterpiece’, but it’s the stuff off the beaten path that makes this one worthwhile. ‘4% Pantomime’ is allegedly the result of an all-night, drunken jam session (with a certain Celtic singer who’s barred from these premises) and, as the story goes, the song was a made-up-on-the-spot, one-take affair. ‘Smoke Signal’ sounds like something from the world’s best hoe-down. ‘Volcano’ features plenty of horns, and sharp, smart guitar solos courtesy of Robbie Robertson, and is one of their great unsung tunes. Recounting a summer picnic gone by, ‘The River Hymn’ sounds like Autumn itself. But for these ears, so do most of The Band’s songs…

I’ve spent the last year flogging Fleet Foxes like Billy Mays on crystal meth, so I’ll spare you additional exclamations. But here too is an album that sounds like it was hewn from virigin timbers, by the golden light of a harvest moon. Some people dress for the weather – I listen for it…

Listen: 4% Pantomime [The Band]

Listen: Blue Ridge Mountains [Fleet Foxes]

Listen: The River Hymn [The Band]

Listen: White Winter Hymnal [Fleet Foxes]


QUESTION: What album reminds you of Autumn?

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6 Responses to “Doubleshot Tuesday: Cahoots/Fleet Foxes”

  1. richbachelor Says:

    Actually, The Band by The Band serves that purpose for me. Robyn Hitchcock’s I Often Dream Of Trains gets an honorable mention.

    So…What’s your deal with Van the Man?

  2. Jo in LA Says:

    Umm. We aren’t allowed to talk about it. Suffice to say there was in incident and he’s got a lifetime ban. I think there are a couple others too but he started it!

  3. Jo in LA Says:

    Iron and Wine The Shepherd’s Dog reminds me of fall. Sometimes, it’s not the music but the time of year that I first heard it.

  4. richbachelor Says:

    Ah. I see. Well, won’t do that again.

    • dkpresents Says:

      No worries. That controversy stoked up my readership, so after the initial scare it actually turned out to be a net positive – “Lose one drunken Irishman, gain hundreds of readers” being a proposition I’ll take any day. Of course, I’d like to be able to write about his music – there’s lots of good stuff in his back catalog that I hadn’t got around to yet. I’ve been trying to figure out how to write about THEM without mentioning homey, but it’s a farcical proposition…

      I just started Clinton Heylin’s biography of the Drunken Celt, and the first 20 pages are dedicated to acknowledging what a fire-breathing A-hole the guy is.

      Cheers for beers!

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