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Summerisle In (Sort Of) Pop #2 - The Sneaker Pimps' How Do / Kelli Ali's Willow's Song: Audio Visual Transmission Guide #47/52a - A Year In The Country
Sneaker Pimps How Do is a version of Willow's Song from The Wicker Man soundtrack and is on their 1996 album Becoming X, which had the song as its last track and is also a B-side for their single Spin Spin Sugar. It was a curious thing for a quite pop orientated band - even if a more left-of-centre one - back then to include a song from The Wicker Man soundtrack. Although it was a known film, its extended and ever growing cultdom hadn't really started to gather pace yet and Trunk Records' release of the never-before-released soundtrack was a couple of years off, so information about it was probably still relatively thin on the ground. In 2008 Kelli Ali, who was the singer with Sneaker Pimps at the time of Becoming X, released a pastoral, folk inflected album called Rocking Horse on One Little Indian, which was produced by Max Richter (the producer of once lost-lady-of-folk Vashti Bunyan's 2005 Lookaftering album). Although not expecting performers to purely explore one set genre, when I came across Rocking Horse I remember being quite surprised by this more folk direction, knowing Kelli Ali more for her work with Sneaker Pimps. However, looking back at the above comments by Chris Cornell and on rediscovering Sneaker Pimps' cover of Willow's Song, it is less surprising and you could maybe drawn a line from it to the possible roots of Rocking Horse. After Rocking Horse Keli Ali self-released called Butterfly in 2009, which is a more intimate, acoustic extension of Rocking Horse and in part features new versions of songs from that album. On Butterfly there is also another version of Willow's Song, which takes it back nearer to its purely imagined folkloric roots and although being her own interpretation it is closer to how the song was performed for The Wicker Man's soundtrack and indeed would not seem all that out of place if heard amongst the other music in the film.