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Long Live The King

4.5 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

2011 EP from the Alt-Rock heroes. As a fitting bookend to the most successful year of the band's career, The Decemberists release Long Live The King. Similar to the critically acclaimed, chart-topping bow The King Is Dead, the EP is a mostly-acoustic set of six Americana-based songs, recorded around the same time as The King Is Dead, and including their stunning cover of the Grateful Dead track 'Row Jimmy.' The EP was produced once again by Tucker Martine.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 1, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Capitol
  • ASIN: B005ISRAIE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,110 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on November 1, 2011
Format: Audio CD
If you are already under the spell of the Decemberists wonderful "The King is Dead", then this EP is reason to rejoice--6 songs that were acoustically recorded during the same time period as that album. That says a lot, but please understand that there is nothing "left-over" or "scrapped" from these tunes. These songs could easily have been included on the album, and I'm not sure why they weren't, but whatever the reason, they make a very cohesive set. "E. Watson", the first track, reminds us all of what the Decemberists do best--showcase Colin Meloy's plaintive vocals against a tight, richly harmonic background, instrumentation paying homage to traditional folk while never sounding less than modern. When the intensity of his vocal rises at the end of the song to what can only be termed a howl, chills broke out on my arms and I was completely under his spell. "Forgone" is a warmer, more melodic steel guitar fueled affair that was a welcome contrast. "Burying Davy," one of the highlights of the affair, picks up thematically where E. Watson left off, laying someone into the ground, but if anything is more satisfying. It makes me appreciate the happier sounding "Foregone" all the more between them. I4U&U4Me is a perfectly enjoyable shuffle, although it cannot compete with Burying Davy or the wonderfully laid back cover of the Grateful Dead's "Row Jimmy", which should not be missed by either Dead fans or the Decemberists. "Sonnet" ends the set up with an acoustic sweetness--with surprise horn section--that somehow manages to tie the whole project together.

This is a very satisfying set, and could easily be heard in conjunction with The King is Dead, but honestly is just wonderful on its own. It is keeping my yearning for new Decemberists satisfied. If only there were more!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In May 2001, Jenny Conlee, the unbelievably talented multi-instrumentalist for The Decemberists, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Although it appears the cancer is now in remission, it may be a little while before The Decemberists can head back into the studio for their follow-up to "The King is Dead," their sixth studio album which was released early this year. To keep their fans occupied, "Long Live the King" is a six track EP that features additional recordings from the sessions that produced "The King is Dead."

As is the case with many Decemberists tracks, "E. Watson," the tune that opens "Long Live the King" tells a story through song led by Colin Meloy's perfected British accent. No, Meloy is not British, but the accent has proved effective for the singing of sea shanties and folk tales over the past decade by the Portland, Oregon native. "E. Watson" tells the story of Edgar Watson, a sugar cane plantation owner in southern Florida during the early 20th century. Although the tale may not be 100 percent truth, it is a story of revenge told by those burying him face down in a grave. Following the generally upbeat nature of "The King is Dead," it's no wonder "E. Watson" never made the cut, but the acoustically driven single is reminiscent of The Decemberists' early years and will delight longtime fans.

"Foregone" follows "E. Watson" with a similar sound to much of "The King is Dead." Acoustic guitar balanced by slide guitar gives the track a country twang which is pleasant to listen to, but with very little additional instrumentation, it falls flat when compared to most of The Decemberists' material.
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I'm a 67 year old musician and cut my teeth in the folk music wave of the 60's and the transition into electric music. I call this contenporay folk music. It is the music of our time. It's great to see music evolve back to having something to SAY. I believe the Decemberists are right at the top of this new wave of musical consciousness. Wonderful blend of instruments and styles, supporting interesting vocal work and unique melodies. No song better than another. They're all great. Great Stuff. The musical prophets have been quiet for a long time. Now, open up your ears, they speaking again.
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Format: Audio CD
This disc reminds me a bit of the "Picaresquities" e.p. It's a nice conclusion to this period of The Decemberist's career, as Colin Meloy has said they are poised to take a muti-year hiatus. Being that their sound changes from album to album I wouldn't expect this laid-back country sound to return.

"E. Watson" and "Foregone" are the highlights for me, while "Burying Davy" should have been on "TKID". If you enjoyed the previous record, you'll like this one, even if Gillian Welch isn't there to provide the amazing backing vocals.
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Format: MP3 Music
Long Live the King is a great little extra that is certainly going to help me get through the next few years without a new album. In many ways Long Live the King represents a culmination and microcosm of the sounds that have made the Decemberists such a great band over time. For example E. Watson and Burying Davy with their tight sound, 19th century inspired lyrics, and melancholy tone are tracks that would not be out of place on earlier albums like Crane Wife or Picaresque. They're the two most complex tracks on the album, and they remind me of the sound that first got me into the band. Foregone (oddly my personal favorite) on the other hand is much folkier sounding, upbeat, and well complements the tracks to be found on The King is Dead. Granted, it's just about as twangy as I ever want to hear the Decemberists get, but I found it thoroughly enjoyable. I 4 U & U 4 Me seems to almost be a throwback to Colin Meloy's previous band Tarkio. It has an upbeat, almost garage band sound that meshes well with the Tarkio Omnibus album (another good listen for anyone who enjoys Mr. Meloy's music), and offers a great counterpoint to the other more musically complex tracks. I've never been a Grateful Dead fan, but the Decemberists cover of Row Jimmy is well done and enjoyable. Finally there is Sonnet, which to me is the weakest track on the album. That is of course not to say that it isn't enjoyable. Colin Meloy experiments with some different vocalizations, and the Decemberists nascent brass section gets a chance to shine, but I don't know that it's a track I'll ever be dying to listen to.
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