It is going to called Boundary Road, on account of that is where I live now.
It is a counterpart to a CD I made in Adelaide / Honiara few years back, and gave copies to a few folks, which was called Live at Home.
The style will be noisy folk, with banjo and mandolin and drums and yelling, a bit similar to some of the Luker and Southern stuff but without Emma Luker’s deft touch to stop the whole thing degenerating into anti-folk which is where the record is currently headed. Maybe one day Emma will play violin on a few tracks when I am back in Adelaide.
This was an old Jam live single / EP I had, and put down in digital before selling my record collection. It was one of those Asian 7inches with a giant hole and a fiddly plastic inset to make it fit on normal record players.
1 – Move In Up (Curtis Mayfield cover, the Jam used to play this live all the time but never recorded it)
2 – Get Yourself Together (another obscure track)
3 – The Great Depression (from The Gift, great version)
4 – But I’m Different Now (from Sound Affects, also a great version)
I kinda think of this as an extension of The Jam Live album Dig the New Breed. Performances are pretty good although the singing gets rather wild in places.
The recording is scratchy, deal with it, I played the hell out of the record when I was fifteen and haven’t even tried to compensate on the mix I made on Cubase.
And I do like the BellRays quite a lot. At one point I was even considering getting a t-shirt. And I bought and album of theirs. From a store. Serious stuff.
But I get the feeling the band, particularly the guitarist and singer, already have all the top spots in their fan club taken.
I came across them a while back on an mp3 blog and was struck with the vocals and playing on “Hole in the World”, from an early album. Then I got hold of a later album Have a Little Faith and liked the single, “Third Times the Charm”, for totally different reasons. I was all prepared to buy into the band wholsesale when I started reading their press releases and promo guff…
Blues is the teacher. Punk is the preacher. It’s all about emotion and energy, experience and raw talent, spirit and intellect. Exciting things happen when these things collide. Bob and Lisa made the BellRays happen in 1991 but they weren’t really thinking about any of this then. They wanted to play music and they wanted it to feel good. They wanted people to WANT to get up, to NEED to get up and check out what was going on. Form an opinion. React. So they took everything they knew about; the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, the Who, the Ramones, Billie Holiday, Lou Rawls, Hank Williams, the DB’s, Jimmy Reed, Led Zeppelin, to name a very few and pressed it into service. It was never about coming up with a ‘sound’, or fitting in with a scene. It was about the energy that made all that music so irresistible!
Wow! Really? Hmmm. Does a soul garage band really need a manifeto? Do they need to state their raison d’etre so explicitly? Can’t you just, y’,know…form one and play? It’s only rock and roll, after all.
Subsequent reading on the internet has only backed up this impression that good ole Bob and Lisa and co take themselves WAY too seriously. I know this shouldn’t matter to me as a listener but it does. I can no longer hear a bunch of good musos and a big black lady who happens to have a very good voice. All I can now hear is a bunch of musos who think they’re doing this incredibly serious revolutionary thing and they’re not, led by a big black lady whose ego is so big it probably needs its own dressing room, separate to hers.
In summary: Listen to BellRays, they are good, but do not engage them in conversation or ever, ever read anything they say about themselves. If you want manifestos, try Marx.
I am always going on about Australian band HUNTERS and COLLECTORS to people, and they do not always get me.
Often, they are fellow Aussies who only became familiar with the band in the 90s, and they either know for their more commercial stuff, or they dismiss them for being too commercial. (It’s true, they became very pop-rock in the 90s, and even had a particular single that became very popular with Australian Rules TV broadcasters.)
Or, they are from outside Australia and haven’t necessary heard them, or, don’t realise how good they were.
So, I am here to solemnly swear and attest that circa 1986, this band were the best live band in Australia, and maybe one of the best anywhere. During that long and dubious decade where fads and synths and haircuts ruled, these guys chose to do pub rock, blues guitar and horn driven, melodic and percussive, rhythmic and funky, arty and loud, angry and funny and dangerously weird, and all fronted by Mr Mark Seymour, one of the best singer-shouters my country has yet produced.
The lyrics were Australian, and intriguing – holding down a D, fanging home to your girlfriend, girls with fingers like green ginger roots, all trucks and beers and memories spread out on the road – and this meant a lot to me, and it still does. So many “Australian” song-writers are basically just generic American-style country artists who bung in the name of an Australian town every so often, and they don’t actually sound like suburban Aussies at all. But everything about this music smelled of Footscray, the Hume Highway, and Cartlon Draught. Somehow they just got it.
I saw the band four or five times at the ANU Union Refectory or the upstairs section at the Uni Bar in Canberra, and once at the Trade Union club, and every time, they totally blew my face off. I have never seen a tighter band which somehow had such a loose, jamming energy. They could build tension like no other band I have ever seen (except maybe the Breeders and that could have been a fluke).
Don’t believe me? Well, first off all, ignore pretty much everything past Human Frailty (1986), which is their last fine studio record. There are other people who will buy their later work, so you and me can concentrate on buying the older stuff.
You should start with this record, The Jaws of Life, from 1984. The modern re-release includes the entire Payload EP, from 1982, Trust me, this is one of the finest Australian rock albums ever made. If Amazon are out of stock, keep trying, anywhere you can.