Rock, blues and country
A soulful Melbournite amid three rock music legends
SONGS FOR JUDY Neil Young Warner Music www.neilyoung.com
This 22-track live album, Songs For Judy, is taken from a November 1976 Neil Young tour. The show was divided into two parts, a solo acoustic set and then an electric guitar-fuelled set with regular backing band Crazy Horse. Songs For Judy captures the first part of the show – just Young on acoustic guitar and keyboards. The first track is merely a long intro to ‘Too Far Gone’, where he conjures up the spirit of the late Judy Garland. There are plenty of familiar favourites here, notably ‘Heart Of Gold’, ‘Love Is a Rose’ and an oldie from his Buffalo Springfield years, ‘Mr Soul’. Young hops onto the keyboard stool for ‘A Man Needs A Maid’ and again on ‘Journey Through The Past’. He delivers a sublime version of ‘Needle and the Damage Done’ and finishes off with the subline ‘Sugar Mountain’.
THE PROPHET SPEAKS Van Morrison
The Prophet Speaks is album number 40 for Van Morrison, a man who, starting off as lead singer of rock group Them in the ’60s, has been riding the music charts for six decades. Morrison has always embraced the more jazzy side of blues and he continues that here on this mix of original tracks and strong covers of legendary blues artists. Morrison brings out the harmonica for John Lee Hooker’s ‘Dimples’ amid a restrained backing of guitar, saxophone drums and organ. He delivers a slow, bluesy version of the late Sam Cooke’s ‘Laughin and Clownin’, then grooves away on Solomon Burke’s ‘Gotta Get You Off My Mind’. Morrison’s ‘Spirit Will Survive’ is somewhat of a return to his solo sound of the late ’60s, while ‘Love Is A Five Letter Word’ is arguably the album’s most jazzy track. If you’re a Van Morrison fan, you won’t be disappointed with Prophet Speaks.
THE WELL WORN PATH Seth Lakeman Cooking Vinyl www.cookingvinylaustralia.com
English multiinstrumentalist singersongwriter Seth Lakeman took time out from supporting Robert Plant on tour to record The Well Worn Path, his ninth album. Lakeman’s music can slot nicely into few genres, but there’s obvious folk-rock influences, notably on ‘She Never Blamed Him’, with a fiery fiddle solo from sister-in-law Kathryn Roberts combining well with a treble guitar solo. There’s rockabilly on ‘Drink Till You’re Dry’, with Lakeman’s vocals revealing a slight quiver, similar to David Surkamp, the lead singer of ’70s rock band Pavlov’s Dog. ‘Divided We Will Fall’, with a singalong chorus from his band, is one of the more lively tracks, while the incessant beat and guitar backing of ‘Bright Smile’ is purely evocative. Final track, ‘Well Worn Path’, is bereft of percussion, making it an apt ending to an interesting album.
The Good, The Bad & The Queen ADA/Warner Music www.thegoodthebadandthequeen.com
Merrie Land is the second album from English supergroup The Good, The Bad & The Queen. Coincidentally it’s the second album on this page to feature a ventriloquist’s dummy! The quartet comprises singer Damon Albarn (Blur and Gorillaz), bassist Paul Simonon (formerly of The Clash), guitaristkeyboardist Simon Tong (ex The Verve) and veteran Nigerian percussionist Tony Allen. There’s an air of whimsy through Merrie Land, notably on the title track and again on ‘Nineteen Seventeen’, the latter capable of fitting well into a Julian Cope album. ‘Lady Boston’ has echoes of early David Bowie, but it’s the ballad ‘Ribbons’ where the band gets down to serious lyrics and melody. There’s poetic drama on ‘The Great Fire’, but ‘The Last Man To Leave’ is more of a free-for-all. Merrie Land is easily one of the most unusual albums renowned American producer Tony Visconti has overseen.
GLASTONBURY 2000 David Bowie Warner Music www.davidbowie.com
David Bowie was one of the headline acts at the 2000 Glastonbury Festival in England, 30 years after his previous appearance there. For the first time, Bowie’s set has been released on this double-CD set. Containing 21 tracks (plus a scene-setting ‘Greensleeves’ intro), this is virtually a greatest hits collection of Bowie’s catalogue performed live. Despite suffering from laryngitis earlier that week, he nails it on the night, from slower songs ‘Life On Mars’ to the guitar riff-laden rocker ‘Rebel Rebel’. Most of the material is taken from his successful 1970s and early ’80s period, although he adds a couple from his 1997 album Earthling, including ‘I’m Afraid Of Americans’. Bowie and band excel on the lengthy ‘Station to Station’, but the killer track here is undoubtedly ‘Heroes’. This release is also available as a 2CD/DVD set.
WOMAN GOT TO CRY Yolanda Ingley II Only Blues Music www.onlybluesmusic.com
With her brand of jazzy blues, Melbournite Yolanda Ingley II and her band have been regulars at the North Fitzroy Star venue for the past five years. Woman Got To Cry is Ingley’s third album and her second of all original compositions. It’s a mix of seriously soulful ballads and vibrant mid-paced tracks; ‘The Bridge’ a good example of the latter, especially with its mix of brass and crisp guitar licks. ‘Come Back In My Arms’ is a slower, waltz-timed number, with Ingley’s deep vocals bearing similarities to that of Joan Armatrading. Hammond organ and trumpet feature on ‘Mirage’, a track that would suit the atmosphere of a dark jazz or blues bar. ‘They Really Don’t Know’ is more upbeat, with violin giving the track a poignant tone. Produced by Sam Teskey (of the Teskey Brothers) at Half Mile Harvest Studio, Woman Got To Cry is another example of an Aussie talent that deserves wider exposure.