Rock

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Steve Creedy

Hanna Ross Han­naford In­de­pen­dent

Had he been an Amer­i­can, Ross Han­naford would have turned 65 in a ram­bling house with a flash car parked out­side in flam­boy­ant tes­ti­mony to his leg­endary sta­tus. In­stead, the for­mer Daddy Cool gui­tarist was the sub­ject last year of a ben­e­fit con­cert to help him pay bills for can­cer treat­ment. Even so, Hanna did not let the bat­tle with that in­sid­i­ous dis­ease stop him from de­ploy­ing his renowned skills and dis­tinc­tive style on an idio­syn­cratic in­stru­men­tal al­bum.

The self-ti­tled Hanna is a re­laxed, me­an­der­ing jour­ney punc­tu­ated by the oc­ca­sional burst of vo­cals that veer from a Spike Mil­li­gan war­ble to Han­naford’s deep bari­tone. The gui­tarist doesn’t sing in the tra­di­tional sense but tends to use his voice to coun­ter­point his lead work, most promi­nently on the cruisy Bu­tane. Open­ing track I Save My Love for You sets the al­bum’s laid-back and stripped-down tone with an ex­tended reg­gae jam, al­beit with some quirky breaks. Hanna’s much-loved reg­gae is the main vibe per­me­at­ing this 10-track al­bum, al­though it veers to­wards rock ’n’ roll with Toad Road and takes on a jazz­ier touch with Crazy Not To and Fix­a­tion With Street Names.

The over­all feel is of be­ing in­vited to a jam ses­sion in the artist’s home, al­though that would be tricky given Han­naford plays ev­ery­thing ex­cept some bass on Wha? Like any good per­former, the gui­tarist saves one of the best un­til last. Till We Meet Again, an evoca­tive tune that con­jures im­ages of fly­ing low over sweep­ing Aus­tralian vis­tas, is a sound­track wait­ing for a film­maker to put it to good use. Hanna won’t be ev­ery­body’s cuppa, but it’s an en­joy­able way to chill out with one of our un­der­ap­pre­ci­ated greats.

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