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April 3, 2002
Steve Earle with a heavy pile of New Yorkers
Yesterday I went to my father's place in Mosman and was given a pile of 28 New Yorker magazines. I then walked down the hill to Mosman Wharf with them, and started to notice just how heavy 28 New Yorkers actually are. I then walked from Circular Quay to the Powerhouse Museum, which is a reasonable walk at the best of times, but far more demanding with that kind of intellectual baggage.
Spent a bit of time looking at the exhibition to mark 50 years of Festival Records. The most interesting part of it was a small collection of song lyrics, which were the first drafts of songs by people like Tim Rogers, Paul Kelly and John Williamson.
The two most distinctive ones were by Richard Clapton and Nick Cave. Clapton had handwritten the words to "Goodbye Tiger" on hotel stationery, and I was duly impressed that the hotel was in Paris. Cave's lyric sheet for "The Mercy Seat" was a collage. He'd cut various pieces of typewritten lyrics out and stuck them on to a new piece of paper, and then handwritten more lyrics in the empty spaces. He'd also then made marginal notes about what words should go in which verse, and in what order the verses should go. The end result was a very untidy sheet of paper, and a great song.
After the marathon walk with all the New Yorkers, I got to the Metro Theatre as early as I could to find somewhere to sit down. After an opening set by Tim Rogers, Steve Earle opened with a hilarious song-and-spoken-word piece about being a "recovering folk singer," which then went on to explain the rules of folk music. (Steve's not a great one for rules.)
When he talked he was instantly compelling and hilarious. Over the course of the evening, he didn't do enough talking for my liking, but he did eventually say something about growing up in Texas and his early days of hitch-hiking and playing in cafes and coffee bars. (Nothing about his time in prison, though.)
But after the great start, for instance, he then didn't say another word for what seemed like a very long time. He just played song after song after song, pausing only very briefly to change harmonicas and drink something. This approach worked better when there was a definite shift of mood between songs, but there wasn't a huge amount of that.
Still, along the way he played all the stuff that I really wanted to hear: "Billy Austin," "Ellis Unit One," even "Transcendental Blues." And he played everything that he'd ever had a hit or a near-hit with: "Copperhead Road," "Guitar Town," "I Ain't Ever Satisfied" and "Fort Worth Blues." He's a great songwriter; the audience loved him, and it was a pleasure to watch him play.
The Lion Princess reveals a history of body building. She also likes The Cure. Is there a connection here?
And how would she go at carrying 28 New Yorkers on a long walk all over Sydney?
And does she have a notebook protector?Posted by Sean Hegarty at 01:13 PM in the Musical category | Comments (0)
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