2015 CD REVIEW
8 BALL AITKEN
THE NEW NORMAL (8 BALL AITKEN.COM)
ETIQUETTE HINTS AND MUCH MORE FROM RETIRED BANANA PICKER
Former Atherton Tablelands banana picker and sugar cane cutter 8 Ball Aitken will never be convicted of writing formulaic love songs for those corporate chain radio monopolies.
Since decamping the Johland tropics for exotic locales such as Texas , Tennessee and Deep South enclaves of Georgia , Florida and The Carolinas he has released a brace of hard edged country albums brimming with tales from his travels.
Equally importantly, aided by chips off his old block and beyond, he has illustrated his twisted tunes with vivid videos replete with human and feathered accomplices.
His characters have been to prison, the Grand Ole Opry, Alamo, Austin and other memorable landmarks here and overseas.
So it's no surprise he kicks off his eighth album with some salient etiquette advice to a former lover in his hilarious house pest homily Shut The Front Door.
The timing is impeccable as both major political parties have consorted to bring in meta-data laws, ostensibly to fight terrorism, but instead exposing brave whistle blowers and their journalistic sources.
Sadly the politicians include former journalists with inside knowledge on how the legal suppression silks curtail the truth to protect the powerful rulers of the roost.
The heroine in the song ascends to a roof top where she has to make a life or death decision to protect her sources as the forces of evil close in.
Yes, I can empathise - my seventies crime story sources (mostly cops) - were protected by meetings in pubs and parks with no witnesses or witness protection.
But a covert Malvern meeting with late detective and former North Melbourne footballer Bert Gaudion, who arrested infamous, prolific Geelong Grammar educated Toorak cat burglar John Harvey Rider in the seventies, was filmed by an accomplice actor working on a possible movie.
We'll save the rest for the belated book.
The singer touches on love in Girl In A Million and retiring from the travails of the road in Sleepy before some wry word play in his music industry paean Don't Give Up Your Night Job .
Equally vivid is the expose of the underworld standover heavy with Shanghai connections in the dark drama - Monkey In A Suit And A Tie - and the sax fired, fox fuelled Used Car Saleswoman .
They segue into the droll humour of Seven Bucks An Hour In A Chicken Suit where the victim resorts to not so fancy dress to address his financial woes, blamed on a fleeing femme fatale of course.
Equally whimsical is the death wish of Skydive where Aitken name checks John Lee Hooker, Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein - but not Frankenstein, Springsteen or Shel Silverstein.
But there is love in the air in the fatalistic and bluesy You're Not Alone , with backing vocals from Bird Jensen, and Love You And Stay where the male lead returns to a lover who once jilted him.