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Old Ramon, the sixth Red House Painters album, recorded in the fall of 1997 through the spring of 1998, was intended for release that summer. But the mega-major label merger catastrophe that left hundreds of bands homeless spared few. Red House Painters looked for a brief moment like survivors, but subsequent delays eventually turned into permanent layoff. Old Ramon sat in limbo and grew into legend as another great, lost album only the privileged few would ever properly hear. They’ve unintentionally put the wait back into the term “long-awaited.” With Old Ramon sitting on the shelf, it was like reading a book with a chapter missing. Kozelek had written most of the album throughout 1996 and 1997. There were “Between Days” and “Wop-a-din-din,” written during the months he stayed in Oaxaca, Mexico about his time there and his cat waiting at home in San Francisco; “Cruiser” written on an airplane ride from Los Angeles to San Francisco about a friend he’d met during the John Cale tour; and “Golden,” a song in tribute to John Denver, written and recorded in a single day during December of 1997, just a few months after Denver’s tragic death. “Michigan” and “River” had been road-tested on the band’s previous tour.

But the ten songs packed onto Old Ramon (the title comes from a Spanish children’s book that caught Kozelek’s fancy) well represent the band that will take to the road for the first time in several years with extensive touring throughout the United States and Europe. Once freed from their major label commitments, reputable independent labels bid for the band’s services. This, however, is the album exactly as it was intended—untouched—three years to the month of its completion. Good news: The wait is officially over.

UPC: 098787056518
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