Well, I’m not gonna lie, the Covid thing has been a bit disruptive, but it’s also been good. We got back from Vic just in time as the gate closed behind us, and went into lockdown. This gave me an opportunity to follow up on some ideas. I’m working on some new material for the Black Swans of Trespass, but that’s a long game. Wolfe & Thorn are currently rehearsing a new album, with the first session on Thursday next week. There’ll be sneak previews. I want to take my time with it, because I notice that normally we have very limited time & funds on most projects, and the material suffers. Now we have some time to give the material the attention it deserves.
The big news is, the first project is now completed and available on Bandcamp (Art pending,) and Youtube.
The Lockdown Sessions!
I wanted to do a live recording of a performance of songs in our collective repertoire, arranged simply & acoustically and film it. Here are the 4 songs, and a little bit about who is on them and why those songs.
I met Jalen in my second year at the Con and immediately knew I had to poach him. He was an incredible performer in the Gospel Choir and soul band. Very inspirational! I had put together a ska ensemble exploring Jamaican jazz, reggae and mento, and Jalen suited this material perfectly. Currently the ska ensemble – The Mentolists is in the garage having a full refit and rebuild. In the meantime i wanted to keep the material fresh with the new line up.
When I explain to people that I want to do is have a kick ass reggae/ska band with banjo, most of them struggle with idea. When I say I want to do a Cold Chisel ska tribute band, with banjo, it usually makes things worse. But Shanice got it. She had done a gig with us at the Repub and sung Peter Tosh’s legalize it. She gave it a great character and i wanted to explore that further, and i knew that the acoustic setting of this project would allow that, much better than a full rock band in a busy pub.
We’ve been doing Choir Girl like this in both the BSoT and the Mentolists for a while now. I love Cold Chisel intend to do a lot more of their material as part of a re-invention passion project. But I think the Jamaican style works, and I think about the melody now more a Drummond horn line than a Moss guitar lick. But of course, neither of those a really present in this folksy arrangement. Not bluegrass, not quite mento but definitely inspired by both.
Rudy brought a lot of energy to performances with the Mentolists, and he really engaged with this tune, which is favorite of mine too. I first was introduced to it by Ernest Ranglin, and later to their original version, Earl Zero, Johnny Clarke etc. So I’ve played it in a lot of different ways. I was aiming for a kind of Neville Chambers/Moses Deans vibe on the melody, but in this setting and key the Arpa flourishes are just too hard to resist.
I love the edge that Rudy brings to this tune. “Joombi” is a word from Queensland. It caused much hilarity in rehearsals, so they kept it! For further details, you’ll have to ask the singers.
Penis. It means penis.
This tune I think became Jalen’s favorite. The first version I know about was the Abyssinians, but it’s become a Rasta spiritual and a reggae standard. Jalen gives it such a soulful rendition here. Some licks I lifted and adapted from Ranglin’s Below The Bassline version.
It was filmed at Pablo’s Cocktail bar in Hobart. When you’re in town, check it out. They have Jazz there most nights.
The filming was done by Derek Hickman at Tomorrow’s memories Photography.
Ian Parsons is what done the sound. He might have a FB or website somewhere, but otherwise message me an I’ll pass it on.
I’ll speak to you again once the tunneltots are free!