Look Homeward, Angel (Vale Della Reese)

December 30, 2017 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Modern Music, MUSIC, RELIGION, Uncategorized |

Della Reese (July 6, 1931 – November 19, 2017) had a 60 year odd career as singer, actress, TV host and Minister of Religion. These talents combined in her most most lasting work, as Angel-in-Chief Tess in the series Touched by an Angel. In the first episode of Touched by an Angel that I saw, the lovely angel Monica (Roma Downey) was talking to a troubled woman out the front of her house at night.  The woman’s sadly neglected child was inside playing with matches (we knew it but the mother didn’t and somehow the angel didn’t either).  When a handsome…

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O Glorious Jeremiad

December 20, 2017 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | Modern Music, MUSIC |

"The Nightingale is Singing" by Mikhail Nesterov

The Varnished Culture’s collection of Sad Songs As Elton sang, ‘sad songs say so much,’ and they serve a number of purposes – soothing the soul, topping-up our empathy tanks, putting a spring in our step because we’re not expiring near a roll of chicken wire. “Sad” in this context can mean melancholy, mournful or even wryly funny. Our preferred lamentations, in alphabetical order (key performer only credited), are: All By Myself (Eric Carmen) [He never needed anyone before but he does now.] All of These Things (Ed Kuepper) Allentown (Billy Joel) [Ode to a dying town.] Alone Again (Naturally) (Gilbert…

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Workshy by Dave Graney

(Adelaide launch, 10 November 2017) At Imprints on Hindley Street, The Varnished Culture attended the launch of Workshy: My Life as a Bludge, the modestly titled autobiography by the undisputed Funky King of the Lounge Lizards, Dave Graney. Mr Graney read excerpts with verve and wit and then thrilled the crowd with a couple of acoustic numbers, including “Night of the Wolverine.” Graney’s songs insinuate themselves into the brain till they become giant, lurid earworms.  Think “Rock ‘n’ Roll is Where I Hide.” His prose is similar.  His account starts with his childhood in Mount Gambier at the bottom of South Australia….

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Dumb Things

November 20, 2017 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | AUSTRALIANIA, Modern Music, MUSIC |

Photo of Paul Kelly by Andrew Braithwaite

Songs in Our Heart # 88 Dumb Things (by Paul Kelly) (written by Paul Kelly; released January 1989) [Pure pop by a lyricist with classical learning and sensibility. They just don’t write these anymore, more’s the pity. Kelly has written over 500 songs, and there are lots of great pieces in that portfolio, but none better than this.] “And I get all your good advice It doesn’t stop me from going through these things twice I see the knives out, I turn my back I hear the train coming, I stay right on that track In the middle, in the…

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Dance of the Screamers

November 3, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Modern Music, MUSIC |

Songs in Our Heart # 87 Dance of the Screamers (by Ian Dury and the Blockheads) (written by Ian Dury and Chaz Jankel; released May 1979)           [Ian Dury (1942 – 2000) was unique, a unlikely Essex mix of Music Hall, New Wave and Court Jester.  Some of the songs were plonking but many were really interesting in terms of structure and lyrical feeling, and the sound was sure – from Sweet Gene Vincent, Billericay Dickie, Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick, Inbetweenies, This is What We Find, I Want to be Straight, Spasticus Autisticus to Lonely…

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