reviewed by Scott Armstrong
Paul K and the Weathermen
Now and at the Hour of Our Death, Amen
A quiet Tuesday night at our very own Wrocklage in early February of this year was the scene for the recording of Paul K and the Weathermen’s latest CD release.
In an “unplugged” style setting, fourteen songs were compiled from the evening’s performance. The sedate show featured vintage as well as recent Paul K tunes and an expected seasoning of carefully chosen covers.
Now unfolds pleasantly with a pair of Paul K standards. “Nashville, Tennessee” from their first CD release The Big Nowhere (1991) and “Everything is” from the ranks of 1987’s Patriots (arguably the finest release to date) neatly exemplify the tone of the remainder of the material.
For these sessions, the band enlisted the vocal talents of Christin Johnson. She appears (sometimes distractingly so) on “Cold Summer Night” and “When You Read This I’ll Be Gone,” both taken from Paul K’s latest release Achilles’ Heel. Two cuts vie for top honors: a spirited version of the Paul K original “My Knife” (Patriots) features the percussion wizardry of Weathermen drummer Glen Kotche and “Potter’s Field.” This track revived its discomfiting study of anonymity featured on 1995’s 10-inch, Coin of the Realm. Covers included David Olney’s “30 Coins of Gold,” Johnny Thunders’ “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory,” and the Gram Parsons song, “Cody, Cody.”
Greatly missed are two covers that been recently recurring in local shows: Stevie Wonder’s “Jesus Children of America” and the Richard Thompson gem, “Al Bowlley’s in Heaven.”
Now and at the Hour of Our Death, Amen is a welcome interim project of by-the-book-recordings, warmly mixed and expediently released.