Once again, those sneaky Doleful Lions go and release a CD without my knowing it. This time, it’s the second volume of the Song Cyclops series, in this case mostly recorded back in 1999 with a few tracks done and futzed with later, primarily by Jonathan Scott solo (and apparently with limited fidelity). Sez here it came out in October of last year, and was actually reviewed in many places you think I might have run into it at – but no, it slipped right by me.
Although there are more songs that try to attract flies with honey than on the first volume, it’s still primarily Scott and primarily acoustic. One of those honey-based tracks (but not acoustic-based) is the oddly-titled “The Warriors End Table” (apparently, Scott is allergic to apostrophes). (Incidentally, it’s a curious phenomenon: now that the All-Music Guide has established itself as the go-to for info on music, every other website will quote it. So reviewer Tim Sendra’s line on this track – “the best song GBV never wrote” – is all over the place…including here, now.) Scott’s lyrics, typically drawn from horror movies, myth, and various nodes of weirdness, are oblique as ever, but they sound great. Song Cyclops Volume 2 also contains a slower reprise of the song, with acoustic instruments more prominent in the mix (it essentially bookends the CD, the first version coming after a 30-second intro track, and the latter version being the second-last track), called for mysterious reasons “Eskimo Wizards.”
Years ago, a friend sent me a recording of a live Doleful Lions show from April of 2000, which featured many songs that haven’t shown up in studio versions until now. “The Warriors End Table” is one of them, so you can hear how it might have sounded with a band. Not the highest-fi recording, and the backing vocals occasionally are a bit iffy in intonation, but it’s a little less insular-sounding, which I like.
Doleful Lions “The Warriors End Table” (Song Cyclops Volume 2, 2006)
Doleful Lions “Eskimo Wizards” (Song Cyclops Volume 2, 2006)
Doleful Lions “The Warriors End Table” (live April 13, 2000)