Rock, blues and coun­try

A soul­ful Mel­bour­nite amid three rock mu­sic leg­ends

Owner Driver - - Road Sounds - Greg Bush

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

Uni­ver­sal www.van­mor­ri­son.com

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.

MER­RIE LAND

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.

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