Will Oldham has always been a great fan of the seminal cult Leeds’ art post-punk / folk collective.

He recorded a song titled ‘For The Mekons Et Al‘ as Palace Brothers included in the 1994 ‘Hey Drag City’ compilation and since the 2012 tour Bonnie “Prince” Billy and his band used to cover Mekons‘ songs during their live show.

The Mekons formed in 1977 at Leeds University, the same artistic environment of legendary groups as Gang Of Four and Delta 5, based around the charismatic pivotal personalities of Jon Langford, Tom Greenhaigh and Kevin Lycett. The debut single ‘Never Been In A Riot’ was a sarcastic rant against a punk holy institution as The Clash. After two albums and a singles compilation full of riotous socialist angst lyrics and beautiful DIY music, the band took a hiatus (in the meantime Jon Langford formed The Three Johns) before relocating to the USA, where, with the addition of the gorgeous voice of Sally Timms and country and folk influences, they started the new ‘cow-punk’ chapter of their career with the release of ‘Fear And Whiskey’ and ‘The Edge Of The World1985/86.

The political and social rage, reinvigorated by the Thatcher/Reagan threat, was still there but the atmosphere turned into an amazingly electrified rural country and cow-rock, using the fiddle, piano and harmonica as well as guitars and drums.

Certainly the period of greater interest for our Will.

Will Oldham has reunited that 2012 tour ensemble consisting of Angel Olsen, Emmett Kelly (Cairo Gang’s leader), Ben Boye, Van Campbell and Danny Kiely, to record an entire album of twelve  Mekons covers titled ‘Fanatic Voyage’ under the ‘Chivalrous Amoekons’ moniker.

The album will benefit New Orleans’ The Roots of Music charity and it will be out September 16th via Sea Note.

Check out the artwork and the tracklisting below :


Tracklist (*cassette edition only) :

  1. The Curse (‘The Curse Of The Mekons’ 1991)
  2. Love Letter (‘I Love Mekons’ 1993)
  3. Big Zombie (‘The Edge of The World’ 1986)
  4. Powers & Horror * (‘Journey to The End of The Night’ 2000)
  5. (Sometimes I Feel Like) Fletcher Christian (‘So Good It Hurts’ 1987)
  6. Thee Olde Trip to Jerusalem (‘Oooh!’ 2002)
  7. I Am Crazy (‘The Mekons Rock’n’Roll’ 1989)
  8. Last Dance (‘Original Sin’ 1989)
  9. Fantastic Voyage (‘So Good It Hurts’ 1987)
  10. Revenge * (‘So Good It Hurts’ 1987)
  11. One x One (‘Oooh!’ 2002)
  12. Chivalry (‘Fear And Whiskey’ 1985)

Looking backwards again, around 2012, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy has announced a new live album with Glasgow’s outfit Trembling Bells titled ‘The Bonnie Bells of Oxford’on October 20 via Tin Angel Records.

Fabrizio Lusso

Listen to ‘Love Made An Outlaw Of My Heart’ of ‘The Bonnie Bells Of Oxford‘: