Various Artists : The Great Australian Songbook
The Great Australian Songbook is a double-CD compilation of what is billed to be “40 of Australia’s finest recording artists performing 40 of the best Australian songs from ‘Last Century’ and ‘This Century’”.
As you can imagine, any collectionwith such noble and lofty ambitions is likely to generate heated debate amongstmusic fans as many listeners will have strong feelings about who should havebeen included and who defi nitely should have been barred from inclusion. Suchlively controversy is of course part of the pleasure of listening to CDs like thiswhilst imbibing ales with good friends and breaking into regular sing-alongs. CD 1 covers ‘Last Century’ by encompassing classic pub rock pioneers such as Hunters & Collectors (Throw Your Arms Around Me) and Cold Chisel (Khe Sanh), seminal moments in alternative rock such as The Church’s Under The Milky Way, the genius of Paul Kelly (Dumb Things) and even a frightening syrup-laden dose of Olivia Newton-John (I Honestly Love You).
The gaping absence of so many fine indie bands from the twentieth century is gallingat times but for the lover of mainstream fare CD1 will provide much feel-good nostalgia and a couple of welcome glimpses of the musical landscape that exists beyond the confi nes of commercial radio. CD2 takes the listener ona 20-track tour of ‘This Century’ which manages to be cheerfully eclectic by including pop (The Veronicas’ 4Ever) roots (John Butler Trio’s Zebra), punk-tinged rock (The Living End’s Wake Up) and old school metal (Wolfmother’s Woman). So, if you are hosting a party and want toinspire heated debates about who belongs in thegreat Australian songbook, you may wish to pop this album on, sit back with an innocent expression onyour face and relish the forthright sharing of opinionand spirited sing-alongs.
BY GRAHAM BLACKLEY
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