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flag Australia - Full Moon 35 - 08/26/99

Various Artists
The Real Thing: Adventures In Australian Rock & Roll 1957 - NOW
Random House

This CD is included with the book The Real Thing: Adventures In Australian Rock & Roll 1957 - NOW

The CD which accompanies The Real Thing:... is, initially, a fine concept. The idea being to have "well known Australian acts" cover 'classic' songs from "the 1950s to the 1990s." The claims for "well known" status and for the choice of representative music seem very debatable, as does the claim to cover the period from the 1950s onwards.

For a start, the oldest song on the disc is Wedding Ring, the old Easybeats hit from September 1965, and only one other sixties hit is represented - a cover of Russell Morris's psychedelic hit The Real Thing from mid-1969 (a song currently having its credibility eroded by being used as an advertising jingle for canned fruit). Hardly justification for the cover blurb's claim that the music covers the period mentioned above.

The song choices are fairly diverse, which is a plus, although two songs originally by The Reels (who are also here covering Dragon's Are You Old Enough) are included, as is a version of Kylie Minogue's Better The Devil You Know which I defy anyone to classify as a 'classic' of Australian music.

Most of these tracks, if not all, have been lifted off other discs. The Sports' version of Wedding Ring appeared years ago on their OK UK! 12" EP; The Reels take is lifted off their own album of covers Neighbours; Kate Ceberano's version of Quasimodo's Dream appeared on her album Brave; and Paul Kelly's version of the Australian Crawl standard Reckless has made a number of appearances over the years too.

Penny Flanagan, formerly of obscure Australian folk rockers Club Hoy (one of the "well known" Australian artists featured??), finishes the 'proper' part of the disc with her Kylie rendition and the listener is left thinking that whilst the disc hangs together surprisingly well, that it is a project that could have delivered so much more if the compilers had not done what appears to be such a hasty job in putting the package together. It reeks of afterthought and of a cynical money making gimmick rather than a well considered document designed to fully compliment its partner text. The horrendous inclusion of the Surfside 6 hidden track is a terrible mistake. It jumps out at you some minutes after the rest of the disc has finished and completely shatters the mood that the earlier part of the disc has created. One can only assume Cresswell has insisted upon its inclusion here and it would appear to be a clear example of ego triumphing over common sense.

How long the CD will remain protected by the loose wrap around clear plastic cover is questionable. It does not appear to be designed for longevity.

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