21st Century Reviews

You liked Roaring Jack, you might like some of the recent releases reviewed here!

16 January 2008

Perry Keyes - The Last Ghost Train Home (Laughing Outlaw, 2007)

It's hard not to like a songwriter who faultlessly combines rock and rugby league so passionately. It's a long time ago since I saw Perry and the Stolen Holdens blasting out their tunes at the Sando. This CD is a major step forward that hopefully will give him some long overdue recognition. I still haven't heard his previous double CD Meter, but if it's half as good as this then I'll be buying it soon. Great songwriters like Perry take you to a time and place that you haven't experienced.

I hate relating songwriters to fellow musicians but on this CD there is a very strong sense of a Springsteen or Tom Petty in their prime being relocated to Redfern circa 1970's.

'The Day John Sattler Broke His Jaw' kicks off proceedings with Perry's incisive lyrics, Ed Kairous's evocative guitar and an urgent rhythm section. Memories of childhood fill this CD, especially on the emotive 'Kids Day' and 'Sideshow Alley' reminding us of those fun lost times at the Sydney Showground. Try creating that same atmosphere at Homebush!

Got to be honest and say I like the rockin' tunes like 'Double on The Main Game'. But Perry is so brilliantly reflective on slower songs like 'Matthew Talbot's Blanket' and 'In Ancient Rome' that one can't skip any song. Each song is a emotional journey that makes you feel you are there at the time. With all the obscure references to Sydney culture - and especially to rugby league football - you might need to use Perry's thoughtfully-compiled glossary to develop a finer appreciation of his art.

'The Last Ghost Train Home' finishes paradoxically, asking us if we would be happy in the past. I'd be happy if this world weary songwriter finally sold some CDs so he didn't have to drive a taxi. But then where would all these streetsmart songs come from? And how come I never get a taxi driver like Perry, so full of stories and tales? One thing I would tell him is that he's made my album of 2007. (Perce Blakeney)


At 6:47 PM, Blogger lily was here said...

Did you ever get Meter?

Whats even more astonishing about Perry's songs is that all the stories, places & characters are real. Easily one of my favourite artists ever. Still hanging out to see his full band perform (only saw a solo acoustic one lucky time in Sydney). I hear a bit of Warren Zevon in there too. Perry almost makes you jealous you werent living there and then.


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