Jesse Sykes (of Jesse Sykes And The Sweet Hereafter) reflects on Mark and her band’s 2007 tour with Sparklehorse in an essay for Seattle Weekly titled “It’s A Wonderful Life: Sparklehorse And The Symphony Of Sadness”:
Tonight we share a seasonal sprinkling of Christmas sparkle…
Little Fat Baby (Live):
“Did you burn your Christmas tree…”
A very rare live outing for one of my favorite songs from It’s A Wonderful Life. Recorded on the 11th April 2001 at the Borderline in London. This was the final show of a three night residency to premier material from the new album. Mark is backed by Scott Minor, Alan Weatherhead, Margaret White and Kendall Meade. I believe this was the third and final time the song would ever be performed live. Mark of course borrowed a line for this song from his friend and occasional collaborator Vic Chesnutt who sadly passed away on Christmas day 2009. The song Mark references is called Myrtle and can be found on Vic’s 1996 album About To Choke…
Don’t Take My Sunshine Away (Live):
“All your Christmas lights I swallow…”
In 2003 Portishead’s Beth Gibbons invited Sparklehorse to open a show for her in London. Mark took the opportunity to embark on a short UK tour with Scott Minor and new recruit Todd Kelly who was helping Mark rebuild hia vintage Flickinger console back in North Carolina. The band debuted two new songs on this tour: “It’s Not So Hard” and the as then untitled “Don’t Take My Sunshine Away” shared here. Recorded on the 15th July at Manchester University. Four years later Beth and company would invite Mark back to the UK to perform at the Portishead curated ATP festival “Nightmare Before Christmas”…
“I like Christmas lights…”
We end tonight with a rocking early version of Pig which boasts a notably different guitar riff and mysterious seasonal outro. Recorded live at the Alleycat in Reading, England on the 14th November 1997. Mark is accompanied by Scott Minor on drums, Andrew Hall on bass and Sophie Michalitsianos on guitar…
Tonight, another rare treat courtesy of your friends at Sparkle On. From the unreleased 1994 Susanna Hoffs LP, the track “Darling One”, written by David Lowery and Mark Linkous, and featuring ML on lead guitar:
Steve Albini recently spoke to Going Thru Vinyl about working with Mark on material intended for an unfinished and as yet unheard fifth Sparklehorse LP. Follow the link below to listen to the full interview. The Sparklehorse content kicks in around the 23 minute mark. Many thanks to Jason for the heads up at our facebook page!
Today’s video features Sparklehorse friend and kindred spirit Ambrosia Parsley. Ambrosia was formerly in Shivaree and is perhaps best known for the song “Goodnight Moon”. After a far too long hiatus, Ambrosia has just released a fantastic EP called “i miss you. i do.” which features 3 great original tracks and covers of The Band’s “Whispering Pines” and Big Star’s “Nighttime”. Ms. Parsley also has a forthcoming LP called “Weeping Cherry” due in March 2013. Both are available through her Pledge Music campaign page here:
And here is the title track from “Weeping Cherry”
Mike Meade of alt-country band The Short Life Of Gracie is organising a tribute evening for Mark in Bristol next year. The event is planned to take place at what may well be Mark’s spiritual home in the UK: The Fleece & Firkin.
Mark often cited the Fleece as his favourite venue and Sparklehorse would return many times over the years. The live version of Gasoline Horseys from the Distorted Ghost EP was recorded there.
If you are interested in attending/performing/getting involved then please drop Mike a line. We will of course bring you more details as they emerge but in the meantime here’s The Short Life Of Gracie with a beautiful cover of Eyepennies…