Winter Stars

Tonight we share a seasonal sprinkling of Christmas sparkle…

Little Fat Baby (Live):

Little Fat Baby (Live)

“Did you burn your Christmas tree…”

A very rare live outing for one of my favorite songs from It’s A Wonderful Life. Recorded on the 11th April 2001 at the Borderline in London. This was the final show of a three night residency to premier material from the new album. Mark is backed by Scott Minor, Alan Weatherhead, Margaret White and Kendall Meade. I believe this was the third and final time the song would ever be performed live. Mark of course borrowed a line for this song from his friend and occasional collaborator Vic Chesnutt who sadly passed away on Christmas day 2009. The song Mark references is called Myrtle and can be found on Vic’s 1996 album About To Choke…

Don’t Take My Sunshine Away (Live):

Don’t Take My Sunshine Away (Live)

“All your Christmas lights I swallow…”

In 2003 Portishead’s Beth Gibbons invited Sparklehorse to open a show for her in London. Mark took the opportunity to embark on a short UK tour with Scott Minor and new recruit Todd Kelly who was helping Mark rebuild hia vintage Flickinger console back in North Carolina. The band debuted two new songs on this tour: “It’s Not So Hard” and the as then untitled “Don’t Take My Sunshine Away” shared here. Recorded on the 15th July at Manchester University. Four years later Beth and company would invite Mark back to the UK to perform at the Portishead curated ATP festival “Nightmare Before Christmas”…

Pig (Live):

Pig (Live)

“I like Christmas lights…”

We end tonight with a rocking early version of Pig which boasts a notably different guitar riff and mysterious seasonal outro. Recorded live at the Alleycat in Reading, England on the 14th November 1997. Mark is accompanied by Scott Minor on drums, Andrew Hall on bass and Sophie Michalitsianos on guitar…

Golden Crows Archive…

I Must Get Back To The Woods Dear Girls: Part One

Tonight we emerge from the woods to visit a few of the dear girls Mark and his comrades would capture in song…

Anna Lee

Anna Lee:

Anna Lee

In 2007 fans subscribed to the mailing list were treated to two unreleased studio recordings: a reworked version of Devil’s New and the previously unheard Anna Lee shared here. In a fitting coincidence this distorted pop gem shares its name with another girl from Mark’s past. That is ex-Bangle Susanna “Lee” Hoffs with whom Mark collaborated in 1994. “Be my summer girl…”

Lolita Dean

The Ballad Of Lolita Dean (Choir Version):

The Ballad Of Lolita Dean (Choir Version)

One of the last records Mark would work on, Angela Faye Martin’s 2009 long player Pictures From Home was lovingly crafted at Static King’s final incarnation in Hayesville, North Carolina. Here’s what Angela Faye had to say about this wonderful unreleased mix from those sessions:

“This mix was my favorite (we put some black market samples of a Romanian choir on this one and you can hear his punk-dulcimer chops on this one, as well) but my wish to have Mark’s red concertina on something kept this version off the final selections…”

Maggie May

Maggie May/Smack My Bitch Up (Live):

Maggie May/Smack My Bitch Up (Live)

We end this evening with an unlikely but entertaining medley of the works of Rod Stewart and The Prodigy! The track was recorded on the 21st July 1998 during a live session for London radio station XFM. Mark is backed by touring band mates Scott Minor, Jonathan Segel and Scott Fitzsimmons…

To be continued………

Golden Crows Archive…

The Boiler Room

Tonight we unlock the door to the boiler room…

Wish I Was Sorry Now (Demo):

Wish I Was Sorry Now (Demo)

“They keep me clean down in the boiler room…”

Following the demise of the Dancing Hoods, Mark returned to Virginia where he formed a band with younger brother Matt Linkous. Originally known as the Johnson Family and later Salt Chunk Mary, both names are a reference to Jack Black’s 1926 autobiography You Can’t Win. With Mark and Matt sharing guitar and vocal duties, the lineup was completed by Chip Jones on bass and Steve Schick on drums. The band played live locally and recorded several demos but no material was ever released…

Kimmy had us a baby
A daughter or a son
And sometimes I think just maybe
It might have been sort of fun
Now hush little darling don’t you cry
‘Cause you know that it will be alright
Well she’s got the rings of Saturn on her fingers there
You know she’s got the moon in her hair
I wish I was sorry now
I wish I was sorry now
I wish I was sorry now
I wish I was sorry now
It’s hollow near your heavy lonely
I’m gonna speed up on the glass highway
They keep me clean down in the boiler room
Where the evil dragons wait
Now hush little darling don’t you cry
You know that it will be alright
Well she’s got the rings of Saturn on her fingers there
She’s got the moon in her hair
I wish I was sorry now
I wish I was sorry now
I wish I was sorry now
I wish I was sorry now

Tears On Fresh Fruit (Live):

Tears On Fresh Fruit (Live)

“Just when you’ve found your way to the boiler room…”

This performance was recorded at La Route Du Rock festival in Saint Malo, France on the 17th August 1996. Mark is accompanied by Scott Minor, Paul Watson and Scott Fitzsimmons. A live favourite over the years, the song was seemingly inspired by a passage from Henry Miller’s The Air-Conditioned Nightmare…

“…you fall into a coma, and just when you think you’ve found your way back to the womb they come after you with pick and shovel, with acetylene torches…tears that fall on warm fruit and make waterfalls in far-off Africa…”

One Man’s Blood (Live):

One Man’s Blood (Live)

“On the ocean floor I sleep, in a sunken barge in the boiler room…”

A live video of this otherwise unreleased song was included in issue 39 of the interactive CD-ROM magazine Launch. It was filmed at the band’s SXSW performance in Austin on the 19th March 1999. The version shared here was recorded one week later at a live session for KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic. Mark is backed by Scott Minor, Jonathan Segel and David Dreiwitz…

Golden Crows Archive…

Creaky Mutes: Part Two

More wordless gems from the archives…

Good Morning Spider (BBC Radio 1 Evening Session):

Good Morning Spider (BBC Radio 1 Evening Session)

This live reworking of Good Morning Spider’s title track was recorded for the BBC in 1998 and released on the UK 7″ single Sick Of Goodbyes. Mark is accompanied by Scott Minor, Jonathan Segel and Scott Fitzsimmons. The track is no longer commercially available…

Maxine (Video Remix):

Maxine (Video Remix)

In 2001 an eclectic group of artists were invited to create videos to accompany the songs of It’s A Wonderful Life. The film makers: Guy Madden, Danny Clinch, Rodney Ascher, Jonathan Donahue, Claire Stansfield, Keeley Gould, Jon Saddlier, Brothers Quay, Jason Lytle, Michele Civetta, Grant Gee, Pete Ortel, Garine Torossian, Braden King, Jem Cohen and Sparklehorse drummer Scott Minor. Scott’s film was set to the unreleased mix of Maxine included here…

Just The Two Of Us Theme:

Just The Two Of Us Theme

In November 2002 Mark and Scott toured Europe as a duo performing a stripped down set of mostly older songs. This unreleased instrumental piece was played over the PA before the start of each show….

To be continued……….

Golden Crows Archive…

Creaky Mutes: Part One

Lost instrumentals from the studio and the road…

Abundance (Live):

Abundance (Live)

Live cover of the Campervan Beethoven violin jam. This song was an encore favourite in 1998 and 1999 when ex-Camper Jonathan Segel was a member of Mark’s touring band. Recorded on the 27th March 1999 at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, Mark and Jonathan are joined here by Scott Minor and David Dreiwitz.

Blind Rabbit Choir:

Blind Rabbit Choir

This rare Sparklehorse B-Side is hidden away on the 1998 Slow River Records issued 7″ single Come On In. The track is no longer commercially available…

Sparklehorse & Fennesz (Live):

Sparklehorse & Fennesz (Live)

In late August 2003 Mark and Scott headed to Switzerland to embark on what would turn out to be the first of several collaborations with Austrian musician Christian Fennesz. Following rehearsals the trio performed two live shows of original material, the first in Geneva (La Batie Festival) on the 8th September and the second in Paris the following night. For me the highlight of these mostly instrumental sets has to be the exquisite closing number included here…

To be continued……….

Golden Crows Archive…

Crazy Horse

Tonight’s the night we explore the Neil Young connection…

Fucking Up (Live):

Fucking Up (Live)

This Cracker b-side from 1994 was recorded live at the Metro in Chicago and features Mark Linkous on lead vocals. Mark was a roadie for the band in the early nineties and this would prove to be the start of a long running creative collaboration with band leader David Lowery. The track is no longer commercially available…

After The Gold Rush

Mark revisits Neil Young’s “Burnt Out Basement” in the lyrics of Spirit Ditch…

Cortez The Killer (Live)

In June 1999 Sparklehorse joined forces with Mercury Rev for a double headline tour of North America. On at least one occasion Mark joined Mercury Rev on stage to sing a verse of this perennial live favourite…


It was reported in 2000 that Mark had recorded a cover of Powderfinger at his home studio. No recording has ever emerged…

Albuquerque (Live):

Albuquerque (Live)

This live cover was recorded at the Fez Under Time in New York on the 19th June 2001. Mark is backed by Scott Minor, Alan Weatherhead, Margaret White and Kendall Meade. One of only a handful of US dates that year, the show was made even more special by the surprise guest appearance of Polly Harvey on the songs Eyepennies and Piano Fire…

On The Beach (Live):

On The Beach (Live)

Here we find Nina Persson’s band A Camp on tour in support of their Mark Linkous produced debut album. While Mark may not have contributed directly to this live cover it was just too good not to include. Recorded at the Burgerhaus Stollwerck in Cologne, Germany on the 4th October 2001…

Golden Crows Archive…