Spin doc­tor

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Iain Shed­den

NOT ev­ery­one out­side of Melbourne (or even in Melbourne) would know where the up­wardly mo­bile lo­cal band Skip­ping Girl Vine­gar got its name. The five-piece out­fit’s lat­est sin­gle

recorded in Nashville dur­ing a US tour last year, has been en­joy­ing reg­u­lar air­play in re­cent weeks and has come in con­junc­tion with the band’s well-re­ceived per­for­mances on the main stage at this year’s blues­fest in By­ron Bay. Next Satur­day, May 11, the group, led by song­writer Mark Lang, will help pro­mote their lat­est song and pay trib­ute to their name’s ori­gins by play­ing on the roof of a build­ing in the Melbourne sub­urb of Ab­bots­ford. That’s ad­ja­cent to where Lit­tle Au­drey, the skip­ping girl, is po­si­tioned. She’s Aus­tralia’s first an­i­mated neon sign and first ad­ver­tised the Skip­ping Girl brand of vine­gar in 1936. Al­though the sign has come and gone through the years it re­mains a cul­tural land­mark and has stood tall and proud since be­ing taken down for re­pairs and re­mounted in 2009. The band is pay­ing trib­ute to its name with two per­for­mances on the nearby rooftop, with the sign and the Melbourne sky­line as a back­drop. The shows will be recorded for re­lease later this year. IT’S 10 years since iTunes changed the mu­sicbuy­ing land­scape and there has been much de­bate about what di­rec­tion the in­dus­try will take in the next few years as stream­ing and other dig­i­tal me­dia ser­vices scram­ble for a slice of the iTunes ac­tion. It is as­ton­ish­ing, how­ever, to note that since launch­ing in April 2003, iTunes has sold 25 bil­lion songs and that it has 35 mil­lion songs in its cat­a­logue, which are avail­able in 119 coun­tries. AS men­tioned last week, the mu­sic in­dus­try has lost great tal­ents Chrissy Am­phlett and Richie Havens, but a few more tragic losses were made pub­lic af­ter Spin Doc­tor went to press last week. One was coun­try le­gend Ge­orge Jones, whose cat­a­logue as a song­writer and per­former was un­par­al­leled. Less well-known but an equally revered mu­si­cian, how­ever, was Bob Broz­man. The 59-year-old Amer­i­can roots per­former, who died on April 23, was a reg­u­lar vis­i­tor to Aus­tralia, tour­ing and ap­pear­ing at fes­ti­vals such as the blues­fest in By­ron Bay and con­duct­ing work­shops to ex­plain and share his ex­tra­or­di­nary gui­tar tech­nique and his gifts as an in­ter­preter of myr­iad mu­si­cal styles. Our own roots mu­sic troubadours John But­ler and Jeff Lang were among those to pay trib­ute to Broz­man and his skills. ‘‘Bob was the per­fect ex­am­ple of the con­sum­mate stu­dent,’’ said But­ler; ‘‘avid ad­ven­turer and nutty pro­fes­sor with a PhD in ‘blow your mind’. He had an in­sa­tiable ap­petite for mu­sic and rhythms of all sorts and wove them into a unique voice that was all his own. He pushed the bound­aries of gui­tar vir­tu­os­ity and made us all laugh with his quirky view of life and the world. He was an amaz­ing en­cy­clo­pe­dia of world mu­sic knowl­edge and his pas­sion, vi­tal­ity, wis­dom and spirit will be sorely missed.’’ Lang was equally com­pli­men­tary. ‘‘To play along­side Bob was to learn new things ev­ery time,’’ he said, ‘‘be­cause he was so cu­ri­ous, such a sonic in­no­va­tor, so ad­ven­tur­ous, so fear­less and so plain in­ter­ested in what mu­sic could con­vey, not to men­tion what a peer­less mas­ter of his in­stru­ment he was. It was a priv­i­lege and my ex­pe­ri­ences mak­ing mu­sic with him are some­thing I will al­ways trea­sure.’’ BRI­TISH singing sen­sa­tion Adele turns 25 to­mor­row.

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