Jack & Amanda Palmer: You Got Me Singing review – daughter and dad duet strikes a timely chord

(Eight Foot Records/Cooking Vinyl)

Amanda Palmer has long been divisive – dedicating poems to bombing suspects, dressing up like a conjoined twin, doing things that make outraged think-piece writers jiggle with glee. Her latest album, however, a collection of folk, blues, country and contemporary covers with her once-estranged 72-year-old dad Jack, strikes the right chord. Sometimes old songs shine a startling light on the present. Phil Ochs’s folk ditty In the Heat of the Summer, about the 1964 Harlem riots, is recast with doom-laden gusto. Jack leads John Grant’s marvellous lament about gay struggle, Glacier. And Amanda’s cover of Sinéad O’Connor’s 1983 comment on police brutality, Black Boys on Mopeds, is chillingly poignant. At times the covers err too much on the side of I’m-vaudevillian-me theatricality, even if in just the dramatic gothic piano runs. But the real star here is Jack, whose gravelly vocal lends the album a Man in Black-like gravitas. Their voices intertwine beautifully, Amanda’s smoky lightness to Jack’s baritone, and none better than on the title track by Leonard Cohen, a song filled with regret but tinged with possibility.


Kate Hutchinson

The GuardianTramp

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