DIARY - 9 OCTOBER 2006 - BILL JACKSON CD REVIEW
JACKSON DIGS HOBOHEMIA
in the middle of Hobohemia waiting for a train/ my livelihood depends
on crops, I'm counting on the rain/ my education don't mean nothing in
these hard times/ I fill the boxes with fruit and I fill my head with
rhymes." - Hobohemia - Bill Jackson.
born, Sale reared singer-songwriter Bill Jackson had big advances
on peers - he first visited Texas hot spot Austin before it was popular
Jackson didn't have government grants or record company cash when
he invaded the Lone Star State capital in the late seventies and eighties.
But he enjoyed post nuptials of Willie Nelson's redneck-hippie shotgun
wedding that gave birth to a progressive Texas sound in Jan Reid's
book The Improbable Rise Of Redneck Rock.
It's a sturdy
sub genre that has outlived faux country fly by night vampires and refried
rockers singing flat with grunge guitars.
So when Jackson
sings about being in Austin "hanging out at the Armadillo, smoking
joints and writing songs in perfect harmony," in the searing Hole
In The Chicken Wire he hasn't pillaged it from a cyber chat room.
That memory is carved in Jackson's solo disc Diggin' The Roots (Soundvault)
that he launches at East Brunswick Club Hotel on Wednesday October 11.
Tracey Miller, promoting her popular CD, also performs at Bill's lavish
He name checks famed but long defunct Armadillo World HQ and aptly
named Hole In The Wall that has spanned four decades.
Equally importantly the Melbourne University educated some time teacher
enriches realism by daubing his timeless tableau with slices from his
three siblings' lives and backing vocals by Olivia Nathan.
hole in the chicken wire is not a hollow metaphor but entrée
to a world that pre-dated his cassette recording debut with the Lamington
Bros in 1981 on expatriate Australasian Barry Coburn's South Of The
For trivia buffs expat Kiwi Peter Bain-Hogg - executive producer of
SBS smash hit Rockwiz - sold Jackson's cassette from the boot of a
Fiat 124 at Royal Melbourne Showgrounds during Shotgun Willie's debut
Bros circa 1980 - Bill is far right
for Jackson's tune was companion song - Dead Livers Nelson eulogy Love
To Have A Joint With Willie that broke the commercial radio country
a hot band - guitarist Shannon Bourne, bassists Marcel Yammouni and Damien
Boyd, drummer Daniel Xuerub, organist Bruce Haymes who shares pianist
duties with Marcel.
Mornington singer Anna Wright joins Jackson on Lucy's Life - a
poignant vignette that sets the mood for the driving passion of Ghost
In The Limousine.
Jackson sings of John Lee Hooker in the former and Robert Johnson in the
latter - a dream sequence.
"We started out with good intentions but now we're nothing but rock
He owes more to Tony Joe White than blues peers trapped in delta quicksand
- "if this is the future, well, I don't like one bit/ it looks like
peace, love and understanding took another hit."
Bill explores the flip side of love in Lucky When I Left and injects
melodic Enigma with a poetic beauty - "just like Mona Lisa
you always keep me guessing/ hanging in that beautiful space between leaving
and a blessing."
Equally evocative Hobohemia - a beatific ballad with Mornington
singer Anna Wright - and pathos primed biblical Gippsland sourced sibling
Jackson finishes his eight-track disc with Peter Cole penned tune Who's
Shipwreck Coast peer Shane Howard, enjoyed sporting prowess - he played
in the St Pat's College senior footy team and captained its cricket first
Howard had an illustrious footy career before enjoying national success
with his sister Marcia in Goanna and longevity as a solo artist.
Shane, who joined his brothers booting leather with Warrnambool Under
18's and his satellite suburb team Dennington, enjoyed a major vocal role
on the MCG at the 2006 AFL Grand Final between the Sydney Swans and West
/ back to diary