Flying Nerd recommends &Music 21 Nov 2006 03:38 pm

More new music – two hidden treasures

Well, new to me at least.

I’m a bit of a latecomer to Paul Kelly. I don’t have a large collection of his old work — just a few ‘best of’ collections and interesting things like the Women at the Well compilation of women singing Kelly songs.

I stumbled across Foggy Highway (Paul Kelly and the Stormwater Boys) while browsing at JB Hifi the other day, and what a find it is.

Foggy Highway

This is dirt music (“Anything you could play on a verandah. You know, without electricity. Dirt music.” – from Tim Winton’s book Dirt Music) at its very best. The Stormwater Boys – an Australian Bluegrass band featuring banjo, mandolin, violin, bass and guitar – have a delightful breadth of feeling. The music ranges from rich and exuberant to sparse and threatening – and the instrumentation suits Kelly’s honest, gravelly vocals very well.

This CD is available at JB Hifi for around $13 at present – and it’s an absolute steal.

My second recommendation for today is Colin Hay’s Man at Work.

Man at Work

Colin Hay, as suggested in the title of the disc, was the songwriter and lead singer for Australian band Men at Work, who achieved fame largely through their song ‘Down Under’, which was used as the theme song for the 1983 America’s Cup campaign.

This CD is a mixture of ‘unplugged’ reworkings of Men at Work classics, combined with new songs by Hay. The arrangements are lusciously intimate, with Hay’s vocals mixed well forward. I have been particularly enjoyed Overkill, which was featured in the opening episode of season 2 of the TV series Scrubs. In fact, it was this song that alerted me to the fact that Hay is still active and sent me on a search for the source disc.

Sadly, I had to resort to Amazon to buy this CD – I couldn’t find it on the shelf in any Australian stores, and (combined with another CD I was buying at the time) Amazon offered the best price.

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