Rough Red – Uncorked


CD Review by Tony Smith

As with this great Australian band’s previous albums, Uncorked plays nicely on the theme of a bottle of wine flowing.

While it is difficult to believe that this album was released in 2001, the chronological age of these songs shows that they stand the test of time such as ‘classics’ always do.

There is nothing flashy about the lead voices or about the lyrics of these songs.

Without pretension, they appeal directly to genuine Australian values.

The Australian identity is easily recognisable although the band has universal appeal and has been popular in Germany and Denmark.

Rough Red is John Fegan (vocals, harmonica, percussion), Peter Harvey (accordion, mandolin, vocals), Steve Tyson (guitar, mandolin, Dobro, vocals), John Barr (bass guitar, vocals) and Dave Parnell (drums, congas, percussion, vocals).

The band is joined for Uncorked by Cathy Bell on fiddle and Rebecca Tyson (soprano saxophone, flute, tin whistle).

‘Mad Dan’ from the earlier album, Better Red Than Dead, is in Delta Blues style and is embellished by Dobro.

Feared Tumbarumba bushranger, Mad Dan Morgan, haunts the highway searching for his head.

There is no place in history Dan for a man without a head.

‘The Innocent Victim’ earned wings in the Falklands but in Northern Ireland became another sort of para and died firebombing the Maze prison.

This track features great mandolin.

‘Oh What A Night’ foregrounds accordion and bemoans over drinking after a relationship breakup.

‘The Way to Liberty’ with harmonica and bass tells the story of a young man from Bendigo tempted by sex, drugs and rock and roll in the city.

Harry, of ‘Harry’s Farm’ in Germany, holds music festivals and leads local resistance to police forcing nuclear waste on the district.

‘Sails on a Blue Horizon’ has a languid feel and tells of the yearning for travel and easy living.

‘Johnny Boy We Miss Ya’ since you joined the Hare Krishna has up tempo accordion and bass.

The punk style is appropriate for a story of ‘religious enlightenment and banking’ – no more worries no more drama.

‘The World Keeps Turning’ is in Aussie rock style with strong bass and guitar.

From the CD Seeing Red it is set on a plane high over Baghdad while life goes on below, and so does death.

The story of Kalgoorlie working girl, ‘Kaylene’, has a touch of Jamaica steel band about it.

‘Closest thing to mortal sin, I’ll love ya till I die.

She taught me things I’d never learned inside a shearing shed’.

The slow ballad ‘Stoned Again’ shows why Rough Red will not play at Rooty Hill RSL!

‘The Flying Dutchman’s Inn’ by contrast has fast mandolin and accordion and whistle and is evocative of the scowling rat and howling dog mentioned.

There is great variety but a uniformly high standard of song writing here by Tyson, Harvey and Fegan.

The album is ‘pared back semi-acoustic’ recorded mostly in a live pub venue at Irish O’Hanlon’s Kenmore Tavern, Brisbane.

So, there is improvisation, energy, emotion and fun in the recording.

‘Love the one you’re with’ and the traditional African marching song, ‘Siyahumba’, were recorded in a German historic church designed as a musical chamber.

Rough Red describes a bold, full bodied wine.

It is also the name of a highly accomplished group of musicians.

Uncorked is an exceptionally good vintage Australian CD that improves with age.

3 in stock (can be backordered)

SKU: TN153-31 Category:

Additional information

Weight .200 kg
Dimensions 21 × 15 × 1.0 cm


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