john kennedy - The I-94 Bar

Digging for Treasure yields more gold

raining treasure2 cvrRaining Treasure 2: More Australian Indie Gold Covers – John Kennedy’s 68 Comeback Special (MGM/Foghorn)

Tribute bands are mostly a blot on the musical ecosystem, right?. OK, they provide a fertile spawning pond for young players and pay bills for the oldsters, but most cover acts faithfully mimic role models just to milk money from morons.

This isn’t about the odd cover thrown into a set of originals because the drummer and the rhythm guitarist like the song or the band jammed out a loose approximation of a chart hit at rehearsal two nights earlier and wants to be ironic.

No, this is a gripe about hacks making money by mindlessly sating the appetites of dim RSL club masses who don’t know what they like but sure do like what they know. These people dance when they should know better or clap hopelessly out of time in the way that only middle-aged white people can.

Which is not territory into which “Raining Treasure 2” ventures on this eclectic collection of songs by Aussie bands of the ‘70s and ‘80s .

Exhumation of an album gone wrong casts new light

always the bridegroomAlways the Bridegroom – John Kennedy’s Love Gone Wrong (Foghorn)

This 1987 album was a much-maligned chapter in Sydney artist John Kennedy’s back pages. For a few understandable reasons. The first long-player for Kennedy and his then-band, Love Gone Wrong, got a mixed critical reaction. Its sonic character rankled the band leader, and it presaged the line-up’s dissolution.

The story’s all there in Kennedy’s breezy liner notes (“The Album That Killed My Career”) and a few things stick out: The band was a relatively new line-up and lacked confidence. They’d tried too hard in preceding demo sessions that failed to raise interest from major labels, and the studio approach for the album’s recording killed any prospect of a vibe by using a click track to guide drummer Vince Sheehan.

Raining Treasure (Australian Indie Gold Covers Vol 1) – John Kennedy’s ’68 Comeback Special (MGM)

raining treasure1It’s a brilliant idea so why didn’t someone do it before?

What’s that? you say. Record a bunch of iconic, mostly Sydney, underground songs in a way that honours the originals but makes them their own – at least for a few minutes.

UK-born, Brisbane-bred John Kennedy became a fixture on Sydney inner-city scene in the 1980s after cutting his musical teeth in his hometown. His distinctive “urban western” songs, and his bands JFK and The Cuban Crisis and John Kennedy’s Love Gone Wrong, earned him a healthy niche in a city that back then was groaning with musical talent.

John Kennedy was always backed by excellent bands and inevitably joined his peers in spreading their versions of the word on the national touring circuit, before moving overseas for a time. He and various line-ups of his John Kennedy’s ‘68 Comeback Special have been kicking around the now skeletal Sydney scene (read: Inner-Western Delta) for the last decade or so.

Uncover your own second slice of underground Treasure

julie and johnThe second instalment of “Raining Treasure”, the rather excellent countryfried salute to Sydney underground rock and roll’s heyday by Sydney’s Urban and Western master, John Kennedy, is on its way.

A crowdfunding campaign is in full swing and rewards range from autographed copies with your name on the cover to a show in your own home.  

You can make sure you’re part of the action with John and his band The 68 Comeback Special by going here.

The second in a series, “Raining Treasure Vol 2” will features covers classic ‘70s and ‘80s songs (and obscurities) by The Boys Next Door, The Riptides, The Passengersand  Radio Birdman.How do you say Yeah Hup with a country twang? 

Flaming Hands vocalist Julie Mostyn-Gilbert is a guest on the album and is pictured at the recording session with Kennedy.

I-94 Bar