Many years back my good friend Bob Auster-South sent me a cassette of some chap called Dave Graney. Dave had a band called The Coral Snakes and the album was called “The Lure of The Tropics”. It was a live album of Dave and his band recorded when they were supporting Bob Mould in Melbourne. I recognised two of the artists listed on the TDK card insert (remember cassettes? apparently they are back in fashion). Dave, and his partner Clare Moore, had been in one of my favourite early 80s bands The Moodists. That great live album set the stage for a nigh on 35 year appreciation of Graney and Moores work which is continued in a new live release that has captured a great gig recorded recently in Canberra. Dave and Clare are in the company of the rather marvellous keyboard player Robin Casinader, who himself was a member of the aforementioned Coral Snakes.
A Graney/Moore concert, i’ve been fortunate to go to a handful, is always a personal and intimate affair, with Dave’s effortless bonhomie and self-deprecating and witty inter-song banter being a key part of the enjoyment of the performance. This marvellous release captures that feeling perfectly with a selection of older Coral Snakes material mixed in with songs from the more recent “Lets Get Tight” album. The stripped back bass and drum free combination of vibes, guitar and keyboards, with great new arrangements of familiar songs, makes for great listening with Graney’s rich wordplay given space to breath and be appreciated. Dave’s increasingly sublime and laid back guitar playing is a key element here, with blues/jazz licks adding nuances to the material. Clare, as usual, provides a perfect accompaniment to the songs with some great work on vibes, melodica and percussion, with her wonderful vocals enhancing the material. Casinader adds great colour and variety to the songs with his usual sensitive and creative keyboards, including a mellotron, an instrument which has a bad reputation, but in this context works perfectly
There’s a great variety of songs on offer and a great set of material is concluded with a near perfect, version of the wonderful song “Three Dead Passengers In A Stolen Second Hand Ford” which is worth the price of admission alone.
With a couple more releases planned soon this great release continues on from last years two albums from Clare and Dave, both of which topped my best of the year list.
At a time when getting to gigs is impossible this album allows you to vicariously enjoy the great show the folks at Smith’s club in Canberra clearly appreciated.
Recommended further listening:
- Dave Graney & Clare Moore – Let’s Get Tight
- Dave Graney ‘n’ The Coral Snakes – The Lure of the Tropics
- Dave Graney ‘n’ The Coral Snakes – The Mercury Years (box set of three of the Coral Snakes albums)
- The Wreckery – Past Imperfect (compilation of Robin Casinaders early band with Hugo Race)