04 - Mental as Anything - The Nips are Getting Bigger.mp3
05 - Jenny Morris - Everywhere I Go.mp3
06 - Dragon - April Sun in Cuba.mp3
07 - The Choirboys - Run to Paradise.mp3
08 - Michael Spiby - Lost.mp3
09 - Ian Moss - Tucker's Daughter.mp3
10 - Jon Stevens - Take me Back.mp3
11 - Christine Anu - Monkey and the Turtle.mp3
12 - Mental As Anything - If You Leave Me Can I Come Too_.mp3
13 - Jenny Morris - You I Know.mp3
14 - Dragon - Age of Reason.mp3
15 - The Choirboys - Boys will be Boys.mp3
16 - Michael Spiby - Green Limousine.mp3
17 - Dragon and Jenny Morris - Alone with You.mp3
“The world doesn't need any more songs. They've got enough.”
Bob Dylan, 1991
It's never wise to assume to know what any songwriter means. Often they don't know themselves. Some of the best have spent 40 or 50 years revisiting the same songs, feeling the balance of truth and mystery shift with every nuance of performance, arrangement and context.
To their performers, the 17 on this disc are like old friends: utterly familiar but forever changing. Here they've dropped some baggage, maybe collected some more, lost the haircut that defined their salad days and, more often than not, picked up a new glint in their eye that reveals more than words could possibly say.
Take "You I Know". Substantially revised but essentially unchanged, it's now an even more apt invocation of constancy in the midst of turmoil. Songs of yearning like "Take Me Back" and "Lost" can only resonate more profoundly in the lungs of an older man, while songs of time and place like "Island Home" and "Age of Reason" find eternal sentiments subtly transformed by the shifting ground under their feet.
It's taken years of heavy weather to strip "Tucker's Daughter" back to bare steel blues; to reveal the genuine ache at the heart of "Run To Paradise"; to experience the morning-after tenderness of "The Nips are Getting Better". The fact that each song can lose its old veneer and emerge stronger from the storm is testament to its substance.
So maybe that's what Bob meant. Who needs new songs? If they catch the right light, old ones are forever young. Mind you, he's written some of his best since 1991. What that might mean for these eight artists, well, draw your own conclusions.
Michael Dwyer, July 2006
The title track from Noiseworks' double-platinum blockbuster was their biggest hit of '88/ '89, the years they ruled the Australian live circuit. Its arena-rattling essence is undimmed by acoustic guitars.
Ian Moss came into his own as a singer-songwriter with this standout track from Cold Chisel's classic third album, East. Here it's revisited live and solo in Sydney in 2005.
APRA Song of the Year in 1995, highlight of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, here Christine sings a spacious, definitive version of Neil Murray's highly acclaimed song of belonging.
Mental As Anything
"The Nips Are Getting Bigger"
The Mentals' debut single of July '79 also made #1 on the UK Alternative charts. This warmer, sadder, acoustic version emphasises its skiffle roots with a brushed snare and twangsome slide.
"Everywhere I Go"
QED's power pop hit of December '83 was Jenny's first taste of the Australian Top 40. Here it's reborn as a spooky spaghetti western stalkers' serenade.
"April Sun In Cuba"
Dragon's signature tune hit #2 in November '77 and remains a summer radio classic. Whether covered by James Reyne and Mark Seymour (on Best of Acoustic Vol 1) or with a spot of banjo in the middle, the riff remains indelibly the same.
"Run To Paradise"
The lead single from Big Bad Noise, the Choirboys' platinum album of '88, peaked at #3 that year. Perhaps more tellingly, in June 2006 it was voted by Triple M listeners one of the ten best song of the '80s.
The Badloves' first single began a groundswell in '93 that erupted with double platinum sales and three ARIA Awards in '94: Breakthrough Artist, Best New Talent, Best Debut Album. This faithful acoustic version is soul on a stick.
Written by fellow Cold Chisel refugee Don Walker, this was an instant #1 smash for Mossy in March '89. Here its slick, FM radio spray-job has been sanded back to reveal a lean, resolute blues.
"Take Me Back"
Noiseworks' self-titled debut album hit #2 and sold platinum three times in '87. Reaching #6 in May that year, this second of five singles would be the biggest hit of their eventual 1.2 million-selling career.
"Coz I’m Free"
Christine's powerful song of self-determination first appeared on her 2001 album, Come My Way. This slow, graceful, acoustic version enhances the sentiment with a fraction of the production.
Mental As Anything
"If You Leave Me Can I Come Too?"
The incredibly warm acoustic mix by US studio legend John Heaney gives a lonely fireside glow to one of the Mentals' brightest tunes, originally a #4 hit from their classic Cats & Dogs album of '81.
"You I Know"
Jenny's Top 15 hit of August '87 was partially rewritten, replayed and produced by its author, Neil Finn, in Auckland in 2005, a striking case of improving on perfection.
"Age Of Reason"
#1 for John Farnham in '88, this haunting version of Todd Hunter and Johanna Pigott's epic lament features the late Marc Hunter's original vocal demo, with his 17-year-old daughter Isabella and an all new acoustic arrangement.
"Boys Will be Boys"
The second hit from Big Bad Noise hit #12 in March '88. This more restrained and contained acoustic version fairly aches with "the wisdom that the years bring".
Originally a B-side on the Badloves' debut single in March '93, this became the band's signature tune and a single in its own when the Get On Board album took off. Electric or acoustic, the groove remains irresistible.
Dragon and Jenny Morris
"Alone With You"
The classic debut from Sydney band the Sunnyboys, originally produced by Lobby Loyde for their indie EP of December 1980. Revisited with obvious affection, this version was recorded in June 2006 and is unavailable elsewhere.