Spin Doc­tor and the lat­est al­bum re­views

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Contents - Iain Shed­den spin­doc@theaus­tralian.com.au

There are mo­ments in rock ’n’ roll, ex­tremely rare ones, when, no mat­ter how many times you lis­ten to a cer­tain song, the hairs on the back of your neck stand tall and you can­not help but smile at the sheer bril­liance of some­thing in the mu­sic, with­out be­ing able to ex­plain ex­actly why it is so great. Rolling Stones drum­mer Char­lie Watts is re­spon­si­ble for a few of them in my book, sub­lime fills and feels that only he could cre­ate.

I could cite artists as di­verse as AC/DC, Oa­sis and the Strokes among oth­ers who have pro­vided such gifts. But there’s an­other spe­cial morsel, one that has been vi­tal for most of my life­time, a few sec­onds of anar­chy on gui­tar that never fails to send shiv­ers right through me.

It comes 1min 21sec into Elvis Pres­ley’s 1956 hit Hound Dog and it is played by Scotty Moore, the gui­tarist who ac­com­pa­nied Pres­ley, bassist Bill Black and drum­mer DJ Fon­tana through the early part of the King’s ca­reer. It’s Moore’s se­cond solo in the song. The first one is clas­sic rock ’n’ roll of the era, a mix of coun­try and blues licks that sets the song alight.

It’s what hap­pens at the be­gin­ning of the se­cond one that takes Hound Dog by the scruff of the neck and gives it a good shake. It lasts maybe two sec­onds, just a cou­ple of muf­fled chords that bounce off Fon­tana’s drum fill, but in that mo­ment the very essence of rock ‘n’ roll is writ large, as ex­cit­ing as your first kiss and dirt­ier than a butcher’s apron. It’s Moore’s finest mo­ment, but one among many great ones in the early Pres­ley cat­a­logue and in a ca­reer span­ning six decades. Moore died on Tues­day at the age of 84. His fi­nesse as a mu­si­cian will live for­ever.

Yir­rkala in north­east Arn­hem Land has pro­duced more than its fair share of tal­ented mu­si­cians over the years, in­clud­ing Yothu Yindi and East Jour­ney, as well as ex­perts in other fields of the arts, such as Bangarra dancers Djaka­purra Mun­yarryun and Rachael Wal­lis.

To­day lo­cal tal­ent old and new and a few rin­gins from around the coun­try are tak­ing part in the in­au­gu­ral Yir­rkala Yar­ra­pay Mu­sic and Dance Fes­ti­val. Among the lo­cals is Dha­pan­bul Yunupingu, daugh­ter of Yothu Yindi’s founder Man­dawuy Yunupingu, who died in 2013.

She is car­ry­ing on the long fam­ily tra­di­tion as a singer and song­writer and is be­ing tipped for na­tional suc­cess. One of the songs she will per­form to­day, Gurtha (The Fire), recorded with an­other of the fes­ti­val’s per­form­ers, Shel­lie Mor­ris, is nom­i­nated for song of the year at this year’s Na­tional In­dige­nous Mu­sic Awards, to be held in Dar­win next Satur­day.

Scotty Moore (left) per­forms Hound Dog

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