The Golden Palominos were a fairly eclectic act that came together in 1981. I remember we played a song called “Boy (Go)” at The Rock of Boston WBCN (R.I.P.) from their Visions of Excess LP back in 1985. I took an instant liking to the song, probably because R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe was singing on it. I didn’t go out and buy the record right away, but when it turned up in the used CD bin at The CD Store (R.I.P.) where I worked about a year later I grabbed it right away. I used to love that used CD bin. Number one, people are generally clueless and toss all kinds of rare and out of print gems in there. I still see, even at very respectable used CD stores scattered all around Boston, CDs that have no business being in the cut out or 99 cents bins. In fairness to retail outlets there is something to be being overstocked, but if you know your music you don’t let some kid slap a $1.99 sticker on Japanese pressing of Abbey Road. Speaking of which, I used to see a ton of those rare Japanese pressings before the entire catalogue of every band who ever lived was digitized for evermore. I think I still have Japanese pressings of Bob Seger’s Live Bullet and Paul McCartney’s Venus & Mars to name just a couple. You have to file ‘em upside down and backwards so you can read the binding in your library. Back then, the CD was generally only available as a Japanese pressing. I’m sure the outrageous price tags for those have come down faster than my 401K. I just got my quarterly statement and it’s depressing.
I don’t shop for used CDs the way I once did. My library is too big as it is, but if I’m feeling flush and it’s convenient I’ll kill an hour on a Saturday rummaging through a comfortable store (i.e. the CDs or covers aren’t mashed together like sardines, the few customers there are in the store absolutely need to look through the “C’s” at the same time I am and their is good music at a decent volume). Usually you come away with some lost import, a greatest hit package you never knew existed or some holy grail of a CD you’ve been looking for (obviously not hard enough) for years. That’s my idea of a good time. How sad huh? Getting back to the Palominos, it’s not surprising not too many people know about them. There was never a big promotion at the radio station for them back in the 80′s. I know I have mentioned the “B” bin at WBCN in the past. It was always chock full of hidden treasures. Our fearless leader Oedipus (Program Director) was always trying to stretch the boundaries of what WBCN could play for their audience and that is where the action was. New music, local music and generally anything that would fit under the category of novelty was sent there. I found some of my all time favorite sleeper bands there.
The Golden Palominos were “B” bin material. They had no real commercial radio track record to speak of, but they had a cool sound. They were led by a drummer named Anton Fier. They were kind of a side project for like minded musicians. Only Fier, bassist Bill Laswell and guitarist Nicky Skopelitis played on every record. They actually stuck around for 19 years or so and released 11 LPs and EPs. The music ranged from No Wave, Funk, Jazz, Improv, Rock, Alt-Country and everything in between. Every record sounded different because they always had different musicians. It was pretty forward thinking for that time. Nobody seemed to care if the records sold it seemed. And “Boy (Go)” seemed to be the only song ever played on a commercial Rock station that I’m aware of. I’m sure college radio fooled around with subsequent efforts, but I never heard anything on the air myself. I’m sure there is more quality in their catalogue. I just downloaded one of their greatest hits packages to find out.
You may or may not recognize some of the names that floated through the elastic Golden Palominos project, but we can list Richard Thompson, Michael Stipe, Jack Bruce, Syd Straw, Jody Harris, John Lydon, Matthew Sweet, Peter Holsapple, Don Dixon, T-Bone Burnett, Bob Mould, Lori Carson, Arto Lindsay, John Zorn, Amanda Kramer, Raymond Watts and Mark Walk as all collaborating with the GPs in some, way shape or form during their lifespan. Before I get slaughtered for referring to them as a one hit wonder I fully acknowledge that I did not follow this band’s career to the letter. I just came across “Boy (Go)” on my Sony iPod like device at the gym the other day and thought I’d share it with you. Listen in good health.
Buy or download Visions of Excess from Amazon here.