A Fistful of Desert Blues - Lydia Lunch and Cypress Grove (Rustblade)

fistfulThe cover - taken by Lydia Lunch - shows the ruins of an ancient desert city. Could be Jericho. Whether Jericho is in the Mid-East or the West of the USA makes little difference. We’re dealing with perennial humanity in a perilous place with a mythological backdrop. But, you know, the Israelis and the Palestinians are still killing each other, and as I say, it’s a big thing on a big, operatic stage with no solution and no apparent beginning, never mind end…

… and there are plenty of abandoned towns in Australia… it doesn’t take much, just a bit of intolerance and a bit of ignorance, and idealism for a hopeless, not very sensible cause…

If Footmen Tire You - The Bloody Hollies (Alive Naturalsound)

bloodyholliesjpgIf one of those great, booze-soaked rock and roll weekends like Garage Shock or the Las Vegas Shakedown were still a going concern (correct me if I'm wrong and one of them still is ) the Bloody Hollies would have been one of those bands that came in unheralded, blew everyone away and sold a ton at the merch table. And anyone who picked this album up would have been plenty satisfied 'cos it's 30 minutes of fire-breathin' punk fury.

The Man Who Rode The Mule Around The World – John Schooley (Voodoo Rhythm)

muleAustin, Texas, resident  John Schooley was a substantial blip on the I-94 Bar radar in the mid-1990s when Australian label Dropkick put out one of his records (“ You Won't Like It ... 'Cuz It's Rockn'Roll!”) with his band The Hard Feelings.

Here was a guy who crunched rootsy Americano with raucous garage grit in the most emphatic fashion. “You Won’t Like It...” even scored a write-up in Rolling Stone - but died a comercial death when the label head was struck down with cancer and couldn’t press up any more copies. Thankfully, he recovered - and Schooley, too, is still kicking. Like a mule. 

Legalize Everything – Frowning Clouds (Rice is Nice/Saturno)

LegalizeEverythingDo you take album titles at face value? Let's take this legalisation of everything one step further. In an ideal world, we could also frame a law to make listening to worthwhile music compulsory. Frowning Clouds would be one of the first cabs off the rank.

Earlier this year, Frowning Clouds supported Sunnyboys and The Stems at a sold-out theatre show in Sydney. It was a prestigious gig. Among the pre-show chatter at the pub, I heard a comment that Frowning Clouds had been "psychedelised."

Re-Licked - James Williamson (Leopard Lady)

Re-Licked CoverOkay.  Let's get one thing straight.  This album is great.  Here's your six bottles, James.  (Last time I tried to give you six bottles for something, the Barman turned me down but now we seem fine with that kind of thing).  Now, if the Barman would do a quick edit we could be three for three.  Six.  Six.  Six. Apt.



Of course there are elephants in the room.  Great hulking elephants and the occasional five foot one elephant.  I guess we'll just have to tackle them head on.  (Can I pun my way through this whole review? ) As a spoiler, I've read Robert's review because I know he'll have a different take to me.  I haven't read the Barman's because it is always funny how often we write the same review.  There could be some overlap.



3D Live to Air - The Billion Dollar Bums (Billion Dollar Music)

billion-dollar-bumsTake the massive rhythm section of Fear and Loathing, add ex-Love Fever and Primevils’ David Mason on one guitar and the redoubtable Sean Tilmouth on the other guitar and you have a crunching, bowel-scouring rock band. 

The Bums were first put together a few years back by the late Renestair EJ; their first gig featured a rather heatstroked Ren beaning a startled Mr Tilmouth with the mic stand. Mr Tilmouth’s response to this was not, "I say, that’s a bit harsh, Ren old buddy". No.

Sean knocked Ren out cold, and floored him again when Ren got up and went for the cuddle of forgiveness. I’ve seen the video and this band owe me a new pair of underpants. 

Lost Songs of the Confederacy - James King and the Lonewolves (Stereogram Recordings)

james-king-lost-songs"Will you nail yourself on to a cross for me? Will you blow your fucking brains out with a gun for me?"

James King and the Lonewolves have a reputation that precedes them; evolving out of the Glasgow punk scene in the late '70s and early '80s, the band quickly became renowned as hard-drinking sociopaths whose mercurial live shows featured a punked-up Velvets' approach.  Curiously, their singles tended to showcase the catchy pop side of their repertoire, which die-hard fans felt was unrepresentative of the band.

Ghost Songs - Delaney Davidson (Casbah Records)

ghost-songsNew Zealander  Delaney Davidson is like a lot of musicians who saturate themselves in the blues, country and modern rock. 

Unlike the majority, he still gets it. The music is as vital for him now as when he picked up a guitar. He’s never still, always moving to improve and expand his range. Why? Because he doesn’t want the songs to sound the same.

I must apologise - this has been sitting along with a couple of other CDs, waiting their turn as I try to complete a documentary about a rather brill Australian rock band and another book. I’ve been a tad busy elsewhere too. So the review may be a little old.

Should you chase a copy?

Circus in Town - Love Child (Love Child)

Love-Child-AlbumOnce upon a time blues had led rock to a powerful, muscular, emotional place. 

You don’t see this much anymore. And most of the practitioners who plod from town to town are long, long past their relevance (never mind their heyday).

But Love Child from Sydney...now here’s the kind of band you want to see on a Saturday night but you’re not allowed out anymore. There are no duff musicians here, it’s all tight and glossy and yearning. The singer, Steve Hancock, has the sort of voice which swells men’s chests and moistens um, erm, lady’s lips. He really knows how to belt a song out. The girls must heave themselves at him like despairing lemmings.