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Old Ramon


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Audio CD, April 10, 2001
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Old Ramon + Songs for a Blue Guitar + Red House Painters
Price for all three: $45.94

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 10, 2001)
  • Original Release Date: 1997
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sub Pop
  • ASIN: B00005AU1T
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,270 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Wop-A-Din-Din
2. Byrd Joel
3. Void
4. Between Days
5. Cruiser
6. Michigan
7. River
8. Smokey
9. Golden
10. Kavita

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Red House Painters Old Ramon US CD album

Amazon.com

Released almost concurrently with head House Painter Mark Kozelek's solo venture What's Next to the Moon (a delightful selection of deconstructed AC/DC covers), Old Ramon allows the rare opportunity to hear an artist both then and now. Recorded in '97, Old Ramon languished in the limbo of label fallout, finally to be rescued and released by Sub Pop in '01. Meanwhile, though, it seemed Kozelek had moved on, releasing a flurry of projects with nary a look back, making Old Ramon almost seem like an afterthought. But what a lovely afterthought it is. The trademark features of a Red House Painters' joint are all here: the songs are long and meandering, the guitars seesaw languidly, the drums plod, dissonant harmonies moan, and Kozelek's olive-oil voice seeps around everything. The best tracks include the light and airy "Wop a Din-Din," an homage to Kozelek's cat; the dark and beastly "Byrd Joel"; and the understated "Cruiser." Still, though, the album doesn't quite shake off its purgatorial past and remains more of an asterisk amid the band's outstanding back catalog. If you already love the Painters, Old Ramon is a godsend. But novitiates might better be off checking out the lovely cascade of Ocean Beach or Kozelek's aforementioned solo joint. --Tod Nelson

Customer Reviews

The Red House Painters are a great band.
Puxxle
Songs for a Blue Guitar was a good album, but it was, i don't know, kinda quirky.
dick
It took me a shile to fully appreciate this album.
Pinoy Boy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Neal on January 5, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Red House Painters have always been a little inconsistent on each album. Kozelek is one of those songwriters that places masterpieces alongside songs that border on self-indulgence. Old Ramon may be the most solid Red House Painters album of the whole lot. Some purists have disparaged the dominance of electric guitar on this album's sonic palette, but I think it's brilliantly done and beautiful. Lyrically, this is also one of the stronger albums in their catalog, Wop-a-Din-Din aside. If there is one complaint, it's that the album as a whole almost runs together. Others could see this as a strength, but upon first listen--especially since the songs are also very long--it can be a bit much to get through. Songs like Void and Smokey are devastatingly good though, and instant classics. In an age of instant gratification and hooks tossed out like cheap candy, Kozelek's music is a sharp and gratifying counterpoint.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Aaron J Norris on February 15, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I have been a huge fan of Red House Painters since the first time I heard them. It was "Summer Dress," from their ablum Ocean Beach. I haven't stopped listening since.
While I don't think that this album is quite as good as "Songs for a Blue Guitar," it is definately worth owning. The first four songs along with number nine are the ones that stand out for me. This album took forever to get to us and it has been way too long since we have heard from them. We need more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "proforcer" on January 17, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I have been avidly collecting music of all genres and eras for over 20 years and I have NEVER found myself playing a CD over and over. Every song on this is absolutely amazing. Hats off to Mr. Kozelek for being the astounding songwriter he was meant to be and thereby enriching our lives by his remarkable craft. Im currently buying the entire catalog and will undoubtably remain a fan for life.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Seth Howard on April 10, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Well, after 3 years it's finally out. Having been slipped a promo copy about a month ago I've had some time to form impressions of "Old Ramon" so here goes...
On first listen, long time RHP fans may find it hard to suppress their collective gag reflex at "Wop A Din Din" - Kozelek's tribute to his cat. If it weren't for the sheer earnestness of this song, it would certainly fall flat. It's definitely a catchy tune, and if you can stomach the fifth grade writing assignment lyrics you may like it a lot.
"Byrd Joel" is a breezy song that recalls some of the lighter moments on "Songs For A Blue Guitar". Lyrically, it's more obscure (in typical RHP fashion), but the beautiful guitar overdub textures and the hypnotic fuzz bassline will definitely draw you in.
"Void" is the first sign that this is indeed the same band that made "Down Colorful Hill". Here Kozelek's ruminations about a relationship are punctuated by little 80's-style lead guitar in the choruses. The combination works surprisingly well.
"Between Days" is by far the standout song on "Old Ramon". While the hook is hardly similar to that of "Make Like Paper" (on "Blue Guitar"), the song serves a similar purpose - to kick things up a notch. The interplay of overdriven guitar, slide guitar and harmonica is brilliant, and the lyrics really mesh with the tune to lend the song a sense of motion.
"Cruiser" is a low key ramble through the streets and highways of LA. Despite the fact that the windows are down and the stereo is blasting, the narrator and his companion are both quietly alone. Nobody writes a song like this better than Mark Kozelek.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Grond on August 14, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Label mergers left this album and its creators dwelling in uncertainty for over three years. The material was recorded in 1998, and remained shelved until vocalist/guitarist Mark Kozelek could claim the rights to the album and find a suitable label to release it. During this period Red House Painters dissolved, while Kozelek recorded two solo works, oversaw a John Denver tribute project and landed a role in Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous.

"So drive me down Sunset Boulevard
I'm feeling nice in your white car
Playing Hanoi Rocks and Social D
My sweetest angel set me free
My sweetest saviour rescued me"

At its core, this material is the most musically and lyrically mature work by the band. Lengthy, nostalgically reflective epics "Void" and "River" are far removed from earlier expressions of dramatic disturbance such as "Evil" or "Medicine Bottle". The music has shed the emotional darkness and brooding psychoanalysis that characterized earlier works. Instead, the composition and lyrical themes have developed a level of sublime awareness of the self and of the world, in the sense of introspective apprehension of fading time and lost moments. Their music has never flowed so effortlessly, so eloquently, as presented here. The fluidity and elegance of these songs operates on a plane that remains simply untouchable in its wistful and yearning quality. At times, such as in the eleven minute immersive splendor of "River", the music builds from hushed delicacy into a breathtaking crescendo, utterly soul-embracing and almost universally applicable.
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