Home' Rhythms Magazine : Rhythms March-April 2019 Contents SPOTTED
STONER ROCK FEST
5.3.DAOIRI FARRELL (IRE.)
14.3.RED TAIL RING (U.S.A.)
- 25TH ANNIVERSARY
17.3.STREAMS OF WHISKEY
23.3.STEVE BOYDS -
24.3.ESTEE BIG BAND
ON THE TRAIL
& THE SHE’LL BE RIGHTS
10.5.LACHY DOLEY GROUP
& THE SOUL DIGGERS
(25TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT)
314 SYDNEY RD. BRUNSWICK
We lost a giant of Australian blues in January when we lost
Chris Wilson at much too young an age. Not only was
Wilson a fabulous harmonica player with an incredibly
powerful voice, he was also a student of the blues and a great
person. Many are those who have benefitted from his advice. It was
always great to catch up with Wilson at music festivals and share his
enthusiasm for and knowledge of music.
When I first heard Chris Wilson’s latest album I was reminded of
another Chris, Louisiana musician Chris Thomas King, son of blues
legend Tabby Thomas, who appeared as a blues musician in the
hit film O Brother, Where Art Thou? Soon after that film came out
Thomas King appeared in a jam-packed Blues Tent at New Orleans
Jazz Fest playing songs from his albums such as 21st Century Blues...
From Da Hood which stretched the blues. A few of the traditionalists
in the audience actually booed because they wanted him to play the
acoustic blues as they had seen in the film, but he refused. Wilson
loved this story when I told him. “Good on him,” he said.
Recently, Bernard Fowler of the Rolling Stones band was talking
about how his friend Skip McDonald and his outfit Little Axe were
taking the blues in a new direction and bringing it to a new audience
and how important this is. So, throw away all your preconceptions
of what the blues should sound like and even what you think a Chris
Wilson album should be: this is different. This new album is totally
unlike his famed and magnificent Live at The Continental album with
Shane O’Mara or Short Cool Ones with Diesel (still one of the nation’s
biggest-selling blues albums ever). This is Wilson in a studio by
himself, singing and playing harmonica, acoustic guitar, drums and
percussion (and the key to the music is the percussive rhythms that
pervade every selection).
There are three original songs and four interpretations with
instrumental versions of six of the songs. The album opens with Bo
Diddley’s ‘Who Do You Love’ sounding as if it could have walked
straight out of the desert somewhere near Uluru. ‘Worker’s Song
(Handful of Earth’) is a song by County Durham songwriter Ed
Pickford and recorded in the early 80s by Dick Gaughan. Here it
becomes a hymn. On the other hand, Wilson’s ‘Wage Justice for The
Working Poor’ is a chant that would be right at home in a workers’
protest march. Woody Guthrie’s ‘Vigilante Man,’ another song for
the times (then and now) features Wilson’s powerful singing over the
acoustic guitar. Woody would approve.
‘Discuss’ is another Wilson polemic that has him talking through
the harmonica microphone that sounds like a megaphone at a
rally. “We have been subject to the most self-serving generation of
politicians in our nation’s history. Discuss,” he says. You can’t argue
with that. The song’s gentler, insistent rhythm belies its message.
‘Just So You Know,’ another Wilson song also gets what he calls a
‘Curly Harmonica Mix’ in its instrumental version. Sleepy John Estes’
‘Floating Bridge,’ a song inspired by a near drowning, completes
the album as Wilson sings, ‘memories come back to haunt me.’ His
memory will live on forever in the Australian music scene.
TANYA LEE DAVIES
THE DUETTING DAMSEL
Melbourne-based singer Tanya Lee Davies has released three
albums of self-penned songs but on The Duetting Damsel turns her
attention to what she says is ‘a long-time love affair with the boy/ girl
duet.’ (Possibly, also the Everly Brothers). So, she enlists fourteen
blokes, one girl (Monique DiMattina) and some of Melbourne’s best
musos to interpret songs from some of her favourite writers.
There are some real quality composer’s names here: Hank Williams,
Lennon & McCartney, Lucinda Williams, Hal David & Burt Bacharach,
Freddy Fender, JD Loudermilk, Jack Clement, Arthur Alexander,
Boudleaux & Bryant and more.
The quality of the writing is matched by the core band – guitarist
Sam Lemann, bassist Rick Plant, drummer Ash Davies and Monique
Di Mattina on keyboards. This is some of the best playing you are
likely to hear in Australia. It is also one of the best sounding local
albums I have heard in the past year.
While some of the songs here might be obscure, they are well
worth discovering along with the rediscovery of other songs that
are classics from past eras. Andy Baylor, sings and plays fiddle on
a marvellously melancholy ‘My Sweet Love Ain’t Around.’ Benny
Peters sounds like you have never heard him before on Freddy
Fender’s ‘Going Out with The Tide.’ Matt Walker guests on Lucinda
Williams ‘This Old Heartache’, one of the undoubted highlights.
Rob Snarski lends his wonderfully mellow voice to David and
Bacharach’s beautiful ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart.’ The
reworking of The Beatles’ ‘I’ve Just Seen A Face’ performs CPR on the
song, reminding you of that band’s diverse influences too. Stephen
Cummings also helps reinvent Jack Clement’s ‘Just Someone I Used
On the strength of this album, one feels that a second volume
should not be far away.
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