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Brave & The Bold

3.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 24, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

This first time collaboration between Tortoise and Will Oldham features covers of such artists as Bruce Springsteen ("Thunder Road"), The Minutemen ("It's Expected I'm Gone") Elton John and Bernie Taupin ("Daniel"), Lungfish ("Love Is Love"), Richard Thompson ("Cavalry Cross"), and more. The songs are almost unrecognizable to their original versions, yet each was chosen with care and reverence with no sense of irony. The record is undeniably both a Tortoise and a Bonnie "Prince" Billy record, and yet altogether something completely new and exciting.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Cravo E Canela
  2. Thunder Road
  3. It's Expected I'm Gone
  4. Daniel
  5. Love Is Love
  6. Pancho
  7. That's Pep
  8. Some Say (I Got Devil)
  9. Cavalry Cross
  10. On My Own


Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 24, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Overcoat Recordings
  • ASIN: B000CQQHUY
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,010 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I have to say that what I expected and what I got from this album are two fairly different things. It sounds neither like a Tortoise album or any of Will Oldham's alter-egos. What it does sound like is a new band from where two bands met each other half way. Another words, proving that these musicians are still open to new avenues dispite the success they have already formulated for themselves.
Tortoise and Bonnie Prince Billy (W.Oldham) took a bunch of cover songs and totally made them their own. I am familiar with the original versions of about half of the songs and they definitely molded them into something new and exciting.
For instance Bruce Springsteen's Thunder Road almost sounds like a 70's prog song (a la Genesis)- it's an excellent version. I also love Cravo é Canela, Calvery Cross and It's Expected I'm Gone. Really, there isn't a bad song on here and overall it doesn't feel like an album of cover songs.
I hope they do it again- maybe next time with some originals mixed in. Definitely check this out if you are a Tortoise fan or a Will Oldham fan.
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Format: Audio CD
I got this because it was cheap at my local used disc store (Second Spin, in Costa Mesa) and I've generally followed Will Oldham...pretty wacky nutjob he is, too, but he's produced a lot of great, moving and well-written songs. Tortoise, I've also enjoyed...but, I didn't have very high expectations for this. I thought it would be way too out there, too experimental, and that it would drain everything good out of some songs I really loved...Well, I needn't have worried. The songs are treated with reverence, even if, in some cases, they're pretty much unrecognizable...the heart and soul are still there...

Great cover, too.
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Format: Audio CD
The problem with reviewing cover albums is relying on comparing the new song with the actual classic. Yet, when Will Oldham collaborates for the first time with the band, Tortoise, creating covers of classics, the songs they produce are exciting and new on their own. From Elton John to Milton Nascimento, the selections of The Brave and the Bold are interesting and the two artists combine their musical styles to form a bold collection that usually works.

When mixing both artists together, Oldham and Tortoise keep their signature sounds in tact as Oldham's dry voice moans his typical range in "Daniel" and Tortoise show off their normal rock stylings in "Love Is Love" (Lungfish) Yet, when listening to the album, it becomes obvious that Tortoise has the upper hand as their intricate instrumental ability far outshine Oldham's sometimes bored vocals that sometimes lack the range to match his background. For example, "(Some Say) I Got Devil" (Melanie) is lackluster in vocal performance but haunting in its instrumental.

The two sides do, however, work well together on songs such as "Pancho" (Don Williams) which Oldham loses his typical melancholy moans in exchange for optimistic vocals and Tortoise lends a more upbeat sound. "It's Expected I'm Gone" is orginally done by Minutemen and Oldham and Tortoise create a lingering, complexly beautiful song intertwined with a stoic guitar line. Furthermore, both sides show their ability to shift genres as they cover the Latin "Cravo E Canela" in an exciting mix of Oldham's subdued vocals, group singing and vibrant guitars. The highlight of the album is "Cavalry Cross" (Richard Thompson) which perfectly utizlizes Oldham's nuanced voice, supporting vocals and a hypnotic instrumental line.
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Format: Audio CD
Disclaimer: This review is not intended for Tortoise fans, I couldn't tell you anything about this in the context of their output.

I heard this album was done a bit tongue-in-cheek, a joke of sorts, Will and Tortoise having fun. I believe it. The two entities coming together and the resultant smashing together of disparate styles ain't easy to listen to. I am devoted Will Oldham fan and it is as a Bonnie Billy record that I am interested in this album. The presence of Tortoise pretty much trashes the Oldham aesthetic. And it's the Oldham aesthetic that I love, so there's not much for me here. The tracks I like the most are the two or three with little audible input from Tortoise. I don't mean to dis Tortoise or their fans (really, I don't); it's simply that they make a kind of music that doesn't move me. For me, this is a little novelty record to listen to every once in a while until the next Bonnie Prince Billy record comes out.
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Format: Audio CD
When I first heard this was coming out, it seemed an unusual pairing. When I learned it would be all covers my interest was even more piqued.

Upon listening and taking some time to digest, I like it quite a bit, although it is a departure for both Tortoise and Will Oldham. Tortoise with vocals? By necessity, they adopt a more conventional approach to song structure. And Oldham outside of his alternative folk mantle, singing Springsteen, Elton John, and the Minutemen?

"Thunder Road" trounces the overwrought original, and "Cravo e Canela" could go on twice as long without any complaint from me. "Daniel" and some of the other songs are less successful, even bearing a whiff of kitsch for kitsch's sake -- but overall the performances are solid, the selections are diverse, and the delivery is superb.
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