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Aussie artists
Welcome to Living in the Land of Oz

Howzat! Archive - October 20th 2010

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READ ABOUT IT
It's been great to see so many new Australian music books. Here's Howzat!'s look at five of 'em:

• HOW TO MAKE GRAVY
From Adelaide to Zoe is 568 pages in a book. Paul Kelly's "mongrel memoir", How To Make Gravy ($50, Penguin), was inspired by his A to Z shows. A while back, Paul released a book of lyrics called Don't Start Me Talking. There's not a lot of value in lyric books. You want detail. How To Make Gravy has loads of detail. Paul is not always the most giving interview subject (Inpress' former music editor Anastasia Safioleas once asked what his song Anastasia Changes Her Mind was about. Paul replied: "It's about three minutes"). But this is a very generous book, a must for any would-be songwriter or performer. Paul writes about his "banal longing for transcendence and glory", giving plenty of tips along the way. It's honest, too, with Paul writing about his heroin use (confessing that one of his 1998 new year's resolutions was "give up heroin"), love ("I was in awe of her one minute, irritated the next isn't that the story of love?") and being a luddite ("I am famous for the remark, 'What do I need the internet for? If I want to look something up, I can just go to the library'"). While it's not as recklessly entertaining as Stephen Cummings' Will It Be Funny Tomorrow, Billy?, there is a nice, subtle sense of humour, with references to Billy Idol, masturbation songs and seven reasons to wear black. And there's a great quote from Tchad Blake, who produced Paul's Ways & Means album: "Ugliness is superior to beauty because it lasts." As Paul writes, this is "a book for the ears as well as the eyes a book that sings and talks and plays". For $125, you can get the book with an eight-CD collection of Paul's A to Z songs. Worth every cent.

• HEY, YOU IN THE BLACK T-SHIRT
There's no greater character in the music business than Michael Chugg. From would-be cyclist in Tasmania to collector of Churchill memorabilia, he became one of our greatest promoters, while also managing Kevin Borich, Stevie Wright, The Church, Richard Clapton, Sunnyboys and Jimmy and the Boys. His book, written with The Australian's music writer Iain Shedden ($35, Pan Macmillan), is like the man himself: honest, upfront, no bullshit.

• VANDA & YOUNG
Harry Vanda and George Young are the mystery men of Australian music. But this year, we've been lucky to get Jane Albert's insider's look at the Alberts family in House of Hits, and now John Tait's brilliantly researched Vanda & Young - Inside Australia's Hit Factory ($35, New South). John - who runs Essendon 2nd Hand CDs, Records & Books - dispels many myths (including the rumour that Angus Young played on the Stevie Wright single Guitar Band) and he even tracked down the long-lost Easybeats film, 1967's Easy Come, Easy Go With The Easybeats. Great stuff.

• THE MUSIC GOES ROUND MY HEAD
Daddy Cool's Gary Young turned Howzat! on to David Johnston's The Music Goes Round My Head. "I thought I knew most things about Australian music in the '60s," Gary said, "but this book has been a revelation." David (not the former newsreader) looks at Australian pop from 1964 to 1969, which he says was a time of "imitation, inspiration, innovation". Meticulously researched (David even looks at the pop producing days of Geoffrey Edelsten, who had a '60s label called Scope!! Records), it's comprehensive, definitive, essential. The book ($40 plus postage) is available via www.roundmyhead.com.

• REAL WILD CHILD
It's Australian music's most famous couch, and Real Wild Child ($35, ABC Books) tells the tale of those who have sat on it, guest programming Rage. Beautifully written by Narelle Gee, a Rage producer for 14 years, it's not essential, but it is a fun read, with loads of anecdotes and Rage facts (the show's working title was Rage Til You Puke). The first guest programmer was Andrew Denton (January 6, 1990); the first musician to do the job was the Go-Betweens' Amanda Brown. Have enough Aussie acts been on the couch? By Howzat!'s count, 614 acts have guest programmed Rage between 1990 and 2010; 202 have been Aussie acts (33 per cent). As James Freud says of Triple J, we're paying for it, so shouldn't it be promoting Australian music?


CHART WATCH
Jessica Mauboy's Snoop Dogg hook-up lands at 19.

Plans BIRDS OF TOKYO (number 13)
Freefallin' ZOE BADWI (18)
Get 'Em Girls JESSICA MAUBOY (19, debut)
Rock It LITTLE RED (22)
Planets SHORT STACK (26)
Freak Tonight SCARLETT BELLE (29)
And Then We Dance JUSTICE CREW (37)
Addicted BLISS N ESO (38)
Choose You STAN WALKER (39)
Hello THE POTBELLEEZ (40)

You Am I arrive at number 18.

Birds Of Tokyo BIRDS OF TOKYO (number eight)
Down The Way ANGUS & JULIA STONE (nine)
Little Bird KASEY CHAMBERS (12)
Running On Air BLISS N ESO (16)
Marcia Sings Tapestry MARCIA HINES (17)
You Am I YOU AM I (18, debut)
Midnight Remember LITTLE RED (19)
Bag Raiders BAG RAIDERS (20)
Escapades HUNGRY KIDS OF HUNGARY (24)
I Believe You Liar WASHINGTON (25)
iTunes Live: Live From Sydney ANGUS & JULIA STONE (26, debut)
Sometimes The Stars THE AUDREYS (28, debut)
Angel Without Wings CAM HENDERSON (33)


HOWZAT! PLAYLIST
Comfort Me THE AUDREYS
Save! CHARLES JENKINS
All The While THE WEEKEND PEOPLE
Never Gonna Be 78 SAAB
Everything You Need NICK BATTERHAM

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