Posts Tagged ‘Australia

17
Feb
19

Slim Dusty “The Answer to a Pub with No Beer / Winter Winds”

“The Answer to a Pub with No Beer” is a fairly simple song, minimal acoustic guitar, and this guy’s crystal clear, piercing voice that could cut through an iceberg like a laser knife, or iceberg lettuce like a Ginsu knife, or London fog like a wailing banshee or a fog cutter cocktail (gin, rum, cognac, orgeat, lemon juice, orange juice, amontillado), just verse after verse after verse until the story is over. I’m going to have to listen again and pay attention to the words, much to the pleasure of my neighbors, since his voice cuts through plaster and drywall like a Sawzall. I can’t place his voice, actually; he sounds a little hillbilly and a little Oxford educated. The other side, “Winter Winds,” is a celebration of winter, when, you know, out on the range, and in this one he does a little yodeling, which is not my favorite use of the vocal chords, but it is pretty impressive and otherworldly, sounding like some kind of banshee. I shouldn’t have used the word “banshee” earlier, now I feel like I can’t use it here. Oh well, I guess that’s why they invented editing. Back to the first song, a story song, about the pub with no beer—I’m trying to concentrate on the story, and it sounds like plain English, but I can’t figure out what in the hell he’s talking about. I could listen to it over and over, and try to write out the lyrics, and start the department of Slim Dusty studies, but I’m not going to, and instead will resort to the dreaded internet to see if I can find out anything about this singer.

So it turns out that Slim Dusty is Australian and was a huge star there and this was a number one record, so now I feel like a dumb-ass. I tried reading the lyrics, but still can’t figure it out—or just don’t want to take the time—maybe it’s just sour grapes that I can’t drink beer—though I was known to consume a few of those Australian oil cans of beer, whatever those were called, in my time. I’m reading the lyrics, and they are kind of insane—I mean, there’s a driver, and a drover, and a blitz wagon—really great stuff, actually. I like this song a lot—I was trying to think who it reminded me of, and Red Foley crossed my mind—not that I have a lot of Red Foley records—a couple on cassette, but they’re really good. I guess this particular 45 I have is a New Zealand pressing—it’s a green Columbia label—it looks really ancient, but it’s just 1958—though that is kind of ancient, I guess. My favorite thing of all is the full artist name on the record: Slim Dusty “The Dusty Trail Yodeler” And His Bushlanders. That’s just excellent.

05
Apr
08

AC/DC “For Those About To Rock We Salute You”

Somehow I got this far in life without ever dropping a needle on an AC/DC record. I mean, I’ve dropped other things on them… no, I’m just kidding. In fact, I had no idea they were from Australia– I think I thought they were from Scotland or something. I want to officially apologize to the band, and to the residents of both countries. All I really knew about AC/DC is that there was a screechy singer who died, and a guy who played a Gibson SG and wore shorts all the time.

I’m finding some of this record way too hi-octane in a really annoying way, and I can’t listen to it– but other songs, the less noisy ones have a nice quality, a little space, maybe a good sound. I guess I’m liking songs that remind me more of good Led Zeppelin or the Rolling Stones, essentially the more blues oriented side of heavy metal. Whenever things get too much sounding like Van Halen I have to take it off.

I guess this record came out (1981) after that singer died and was replaced by an even screechier guy. In that I pretty much never have listened to music with a screechy singer, it’s kind of fascinating, like having a really unlikely dinner guest over at your place. I’m pretty much enjoying it, I have to admit. I don’t have the energy to try to make out many of the lyrics, but once in a while I hear a line I really like, and I’m reminded of the compelling nature of the A,B,A,B rhyme scheme. Young kids should remember not to get away from that– it’s cool to rhyme, and not just for rappers. One songs starts out with “loose lips/sink ships,” and you don’t think for a minute they’re talking about national security. I think that line directly inspired a Spinal Tap song– or maybe it IS in a Spinal Tap song.

I have to say, I do like the overall sound and production of this record. There’s nothing too fancy, and the drums are just really solid sounding, and overall, when they stay away from the dumb choruses and double leads, the whole thing is tolerable, and about one third of it is pleasurable. And for rock music, that’s pretty good!




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