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Wednesday, September 07, 2016


What happens when you live in a place like Australia is that you are surrounded by creative giants but because you are lucky enough to have them virtually on tap, it's easy to take them for granted.

Paul Kelly might play in your town once a year (he seemed to come to Launceston every six months when I lived there) and his music is on the radio and the television and in movies so, like many of his peers, he is part of the Australian landscape. He's there. Along with the magpies and the parrots his music is simply there.

Then you might move away to London or New York or Uruguay or wherever and the landscape changes.
The giants are no longer there unless you brought them with you, and then you have to make the effort because you won't hear them on the television or the radio or in movies.

And when you do listen to them they take on a whole new meaning because you know you're the only one around who knows the songs and knows what it's like to be an Australian in a distant land listening to them.

Every few years there's some nonsense effort back home to push "Waltzing Matilda" as the new Australian national anthem but those of us who live far away know that "Down Under" by Men At Work is the only real option.

"I Still Call Australia Home" by Peter Allen is a jolly song to get boozy with in any pub but it's a gigantic tear jerker when it pops unexpectedly into the shuffle list or when those bastards on the plane play before take off.
Nothing like tears at the head of a 25 hour flight.
All those sons and daughters spinning around the world will know what I'm talking about.

What I'm getting to here is that one of our giants is Deborah Conway and she has a new album out and it's really freaking good.
It's called Everybody's Begging and if you're Facebook enabled you can go and examine a series of mini essays from Deborah about each song. Fascinating, generous stuff if you're thinky inclined.
You can buy the CD in the usual Australian outlets or from her website.
In Oz you can buy it from iTunes.
I don't know about the rest of the planet but currently (Sep 07) in the US you can stream the album via Apple Music.

The release of this new collection of songs, coincides with the 25th year anniversary of String of Pearls and she's touring about the place with both to show off.
Go see the shows. Go buy the album. Actively go seek it out and put it on and listen to it a bunch of times.
Then, after you've listened and you think "Gosh. Shit. Well that was full of great stuff" go and seek out some of her other albums that you might have missed because you were listening to String Of Pearls all this time:
SummerTown (2004).
Half Man Half Woman (2010).
Stories of Ghosts (2013).

Initially I wrote a little commentary for these albums but then I decided I wasn't doing justice to the music. I will say that Stories of Ghosts does have a sniff of Tom Waits about it which can only be good thing.

Of course you don't have to be Australian to enjoy all of this amazing music.
I'll admit to being particularly devoted because I feel I need to wave a flag so the locals are introduced to the music and the Australians don't forget about it.
It's all sitting there on the iTunes waiting to wake you up.

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