There’s only one other Kev Carmody album on the bookshelf. 1995’s Images & Illusions which is a pretty OK collection of songs. He’s a good story-teller, definitely a skillful wordsmith. They’re competent tunes and there’s no doubting his conviction or the validity of his history but that is pretty much where it ends. However, In Paul Kelly hands, Mr Carmody’s back catalogue comes to life!
John Butler, Tex Perkins & Steve Kilbey all add standout out interpretations to the Album.
Archie Roach in particular deserves a special mention. I remember seeing him in Chicago (twice I think) sharing the stage with his wife Ruby. They were small shows but with a full house none the less. He carried himself with great dignity which at first seemed incongruous with the hard road he had traveled and documented in his songs. Looking back on it however his grace and humility were probably a direct result of those struggles. I particular remember a great sense of embarrassment, well actually SHAME is the more honest descriptor, at being the sole White Australian Male in the audience.
And then at the end of the Album we come to Droving Women which really towers head and Shoulders over everything else. It’s a colossal song! A Triptych! A Friggin’ Novel! Three carefully chosen voices with the verses divvied up between them. Glen Richards, provides the Narrative. Paul Kelly just captures the essence of the country, which is as much a third character in the story as the Husband & Wife. Then Missy Higgins gives voice to fate. I defy anyone listening to not choke up as the song unfolds.
Until next week.