Final Pecking Order is a double CD of my best recorded songs from the last 35 or so years, and was intended to be my last market offering. They are not all sung by me; there are versions of my songs by artists such as Bernard Carney and Jackie Luke.
I am approaching 70 and have been alternating between folk clubs and festivals and living in Mongolia (for over 5 years) and Laos (for about 3 years). I have appeared at many Nationals and lots of festivals, but now I just roll up and play backboards if I feel like it. I have been film, radio, TV and stage actor; Hobart city alderman; high school teacher; Santa Claus; and ABC breakfast presenter. I also wrote a number one hit in Mongolia (in Mongolian, which I do not speak). Many CD sales have been for the song Breathe Softly, attracting folk who are planning their own funeral; it is apparently a good song for shuffling off this mortal coil, so if you don’t hear it here, you are bound to hear it for eternity when you get to heaven.
David O’Connor – Final Pecking Order
CD Review by Ian Dearden
There are various different ways to approach the recording and release of a CD (“a record” as we used to call it back in the day!).
One method is to approach the task like a folk song collector – throw it all on the CD, as much as will fit (technically), and let the listener decide what they’re interested in.
The second, and more orthodox approach, is to treat the CD as a work of art, that flows in chapters (i.e – songs) and is sequenced with a beginning, a middle and an end.
David O’Connor, in ‘Final Pecking Order’, has opted for the first approach – 31 songs on a double CD, including a number of his songs performed by other artists (the standout being the incomparable Bernard Carney singing ‘Bentley the Tom’).
The shame, in my view, is that lurking within this sprawling double album, is an excellent single CD, 40 minutes or so, which would (and should) have been a “work of art”.
Some ruthless culling (not every song a songwriter writes is worth releasing), careful sequencing (we want to be captured for the whole of the album), and a higher standard of quality control (most of the recording is excellent, which is why some tracks jar unnecessarily), and this would be a fine and delightful album!
Instead, the listener has to wade through more than 30 songs to get to the 10 or 12 gems.
David O’Connor has a particularly deft hand at writing wryly comedic songs – ‘Soundman’, ‘Send Her Down Hughie’, ‘Mururoa Mon Amour’ and ‘Emigrate To Australia’.
His gently nostalgic ‘Queen of the Murray’ and the brash ‘Kalgorrlie’ are also excellent (but different) examplars of his undoubted songwriting talent.
In short, an album well worth listening to, but too many songs, and not enough thought about “the album” (as opposed to documenting a songwriting journey).
I’m looking forward to the next album – 40 minutes of taut, tantalising, entrancing music.
It’s a formula that, despite this world of instant downloads and MP3 players, still works!!
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