|Dimensions||12.5 × .10 × 12.5 cm|
Late Bloomings is a celebration of life’s experiences; from the poignant immigrant song “Kalinka in his Dreams” and “Christmas Day” to good and bad luck, ancestry, hard times, insurance and art.
AVAIL. FROM T&N TN696-55 $25.00
Garry Rose and Briagolong – Late Bloomings by Chris Spencer
An interesting album, and after several listens I’ve changed my mind about its status. Garry Rose is one of the members of Briagolong, based in Gippsland Victoria, and has been around since 1980 while releasing at least eight albums since that time. I assume that he’s one of the principal writers for the band, so it makes me wonder why he’s decided to release a solo album. Perhaps the band has broken up since the death of another member Barbara Williams (Ten Thousand Notes is dedicated to her memory). Most of the tracks on this album are laidback, gentle ballads. Rose’s forte is his story-telling rather than his voice, as it lacks the distinctive quality that some other singers have. At times I am critical of his lack of urgency, or variation in the way he sings, but the arrangements and instrumentation assist to keep me interested. “Running on Empty” the lead track is a comment on the hard times people on the land have had over the past decade. “Mr Insurance Man” is an interesting concept – taking out insurance for a broken heart! It has a country feel, propelled by the piano of Colin Wilson who accompanied Rose when I saw him perform this song at the Burke & Wills folk gathering recently. “Kalinka” is written in a Ukrainian folk song genre replete with accordion – it tells the story of a migrant returning home to visit his relations, only to be critical of the way things remain the same. “Christmas Day” highlights the futility of war and is probably the strongest song on the album. “Aftermath”, a slow ballad featuring violin, covers the 2004 tsunami disaster; “Kinlochaline” is a song about an ancestral castle that has a catchy chorus; while “The Ben” is an ode to a local mountain! “The National Gallery” describes the ugly side of tourists who don’t appreciate the finer points of art (of note here is the rhyming of lawyer, foyer and Goya). It’s almost a country romp and has perhaps the only guitar solo on the album. “For You” is perhaps the only love song on the album – a relief these days! This one is written for his daughter, Georgia, whom has begun to accompany her father on stage. The song has Rose almost yodelling! David is a brave man to record “Hallelujah”. It usually calls for someone with the voice of an angel. I don’t think Rose’s version worked all that well, but it’s still enjoyable because of the melody and content of the song. However his arrangement with backing singers could provide inspiration for another attempt to record the song using a full choir. His own voice doesn’t have the strength to do the song justice, but it’s perhaps the only time on the CD that Rose injects some passion into his singing. The recording of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” by Rose raises some interesting discussion. My wife claims that she has caused regular performances of this song among Australian folk singers, initially responding to Martin Pearson asking for requests from the floor several years ago at the Chewton Folk festival. Originally written by Leonard Cohen, the song gained more credence after being recorded by Jeff Buckley whose very high rendition became the definitive version. Rufus Wainwright did a similar version, and according to Pearson, added an extra verse. Pearson recorded his own version of the song on his most recent CD, having performed it live regularly, reverting back to the original 4 verses, not knowing he had dropped the Wainwright extra verse, when comparing to the original Cohen version. Perhaps some readers might like to comment on why a song becomes popular on the live circuit; has it happened in the past? What other examples can readers suggest where songs have taken on a journey of their own? Is it a throwback to the days of travelling buskers who travelled from town to town, inspiring and teaching new songs to resident musicians who would add a new song to their repertoire? This CD is worth a listen and Rose sounds even better live.
8 in stock (can be backordered)