Educating Peter # 3

July 8, 2012

The first instalment in this series was horrendously long (see here if you dare), and the second one wasn’t much better (here), so I’m going to try and make this one a little lot shorter.

(However, in my defence I’d like to say that a fair bit of the first instalment was taken up with me explaining the concept. But I will admit that once I got to the song I did prattle on a bit.)

As opposed to the previous songs being from overseas (i.e., not Australia), this week we have three songs by a stalwart of the Australian music industry, Russell Morris. (I’ve posted his music a couple of times before, so feel free to revisit them thar posts to get acquainted with Mr. Morris if you aren’t familiar with his oeuvre.)

I don’t know why Steve decided to edu-ma-cate me with three Russell Morris tracks. (My guess is that Steve loves all three songs and couldn’t decide on just one).

I’ll present the songs in chronological order.

Russell Morris – “Thunder Ground” (1979)

Ah, you snuck in a song just before the 1980’s. That’s more than alright by me, because I’m a fan of the music of the 1970s.

Once the introduction was out of the way and the track got going (with the beat and the guitars), I thought “Hmm, that sounds a little like Bob Seger‘s ‘Hollywood Nights‘”. But when Russell sang his first note (at 0:26) I though “Wow, that sounds a lot like Bob Seger’s ‘Hollywood Nights'”:

Russell Morris – “Thunder Ground” (1979) (excerpt)


Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – “Hollywood Nights (1978) (excerpt)


I know this post is supposed to be about Russell Morris, but I just have to show you the live video of “Hollywood Nights”:

But back to Russell’s song. I can’t really add much to it at the moment (because I’m thinking I have two other songs to comment on), but I’d like to say that overall I think this is a good pub rock song.

(That’s a compliment. I don’t feel snippy about pub rock at all. I used to be in a pub rock band, and I’m pleased to say that it didn’t scar me emotionally.)

I don’t think the song is terribly unique, distinguished, or memorable, but I can imagine people in a pub back in 1979 enjoying it while they drink their beers.

While I’m listening to “Thunder Ground” I’m also thinking of Jefferson Starship’s “We Built This City”. I don’t want to think of Jefferson Starship’s “We Built This City”.

As I’m listening to a melody in the chorus of “Thunder Ground” (1:03-1:05), I’m wondering if I’ve heard it somewhere else. Hmm. Maybe.

And that thing the band does in between verses (e.g., 1:18-1:24) sounds very familiar, too.

Boy, this song of Russell’s sure is making me think of other songs. I guess that’s one of the problems of a song that’s not terribly unique etc.

There’s a quiet section (with falsetto vocals) from 2:18 to 2:55 to break up the rockiness of the rest of the song, but there’s nothing really to report there. (Plus I’m trying to keep this post as short as I can.)

Actually, there is something unusual in this song: Russell’s falsetto note at 3:00. It’s very high and very long. And very weird.

There’s a perfectly serviceable guitar solo (3:08-3:22) before Russell and band get to the choruses that end the song.

Oh, I found one last weird thing. The band hits the song’s last chord at 4:23 but that last chord is repeated very strangely at 4:25 as the end of the song’s supposed to be fading out. It sounds to me like the MP3 was transferred from a vinyl recording (you can hear its vinyl-ness in the distortion on the voacls). I reckon the turntable needle slipped at that moment, repeated the last chord, and whoever transferred the track to digital didn’t notice it. (Or it’s possible they couldn’t fix the problem.) Either way, I found it an interesting end to a semi-interesting song.

Russell Morris & The Rubes – “In The Heat Of The Night” (1980)


I prefer this song to “Thunder Ground”, but only just. I don’t think Russell’s singing in the first verse is all that good in the introduction (it’s pretty flat in places, especially 0:41-0:44). I did like the tiny piano fill at 0:29. (Sometimes it’s the little things.) I must admit that as I’m listening to the sound quality of all the instruments in the recording, I’m getting the impression that this was recorded on a budget, when Russell had past his commercial peak and there wasn’t much money available to him to record the way he would have liked. (In other words, it sounds like he recorded this with limited resources.)

There are a few other things I can mention about this song, but this post is getting longer and longer. Next song.

Russell Morris & The Rubes – “The Roar Of The Wild Torpedoes” (1980)


This would be my pick of the bunch. I like the chorus (it’s hummable). However, that guitar riff reminds me of something. It’s played in various places throughout the song (most noticeably from 1:33-1:38) – because it keeps popping up, it’s taunting me to remember it before the song’s finished.

Nope. The song’s finished and I can’t think of where I’ve heard that guitar riff before. Ah well.

Reminiscent guitar riffs notwithstanding, I didn’t mind “The Roar Of The Wild Torpedoes”. I didn’t think it was great, but not horrible at all. It was an OK song to go with the other OK songs in Michael’s ‘Russell Morris Grab Bag’.


Thanks, Michael. Keep ’em coming.

By the way, I don’t know if Michael will feel miffed about this, but I’d be happy to accept submissions from anyone else who wants to woo me with 80’s tracks they feel might persuade me to think about the 80’s as something other than a musical wasteland.

Song of the day: Sia – "The Real Thing"

October 30, 2010

I received an email from a chap named Terry (Hi, Terry!) who alerted me to a new version of the greatest psychedelic song ever recorded an old Australian song:

Sia – “The Real Thing (2009)


Thanks for letting me know about the song, Terry.

Sia’s version of “The Real Thing” appears on Compassionism, a compilation album made last year for the stop-pestering-animals organisation PETA. It’s one of those albums where the proceeds from the sale of the album go to the organisation. Surprisingly, though, it’s 100% of the proceeds that go to the organisation. How’s that for generous?

By the way, I think there may have been a bit of false advertising in the blurb written by whomever wrote it. The blurb starts off like this:

Compassionism features fifteen heart-pumping tracks from some of the most creative and diverse artists to come out of The United States, Australia and Canada.”

I must admit that whilst listening to Sia’s version of “The Real Thing” my heart wasn’t pumping any more than it usually does. If anything, it may have slowed down a little.

Anyway, that has nothing to do with anything.

Here’s the original:

Russell Morris – “The Real Thing (1969)


This is now officially the first time that a song has been made Song of the day twice on this blog. So if you want to read more about the song, head on over to the previous “The Real Thing” post. I must warn you that it consists mostly of me gushing about how stupendous “The Real Thing” is.

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Song of the day: Russell Morris – "Sweet, Sweet Love"

November 21, 2009

Although this song was a bonus track in an earlier post, I recently heard it again by chance and thought to myself, “Wow, this song’s too good to be stuck at the end of another post! This is Song of day material!”

And so…

To be rescued from the depths of another post, here’s Russell Morris with the magnificently splendid (or splendidly magnificent – take your pick) “Sweet, Sweet Love” (1971):

Russell Morris – “Sweet, Sweet Love” (1971)


“Sweet, Sweet Love” is superb songcraft, pure and simple. There’s so much that’s great about this song to me that it’s hard to know where to begin. First of all, I think it’s amazingly well-constructed. It’s divided into distinct sections, each better than the last, and each co-existing quite nicely as part of the whole. Then there are the tunes in those sections, with each tune improving on the previous one. (When it finally reaches the chorus, multicoloured fireworks go off in my brain.) Plus the melodies are perfect for the lyrics (and vice versa). And then there’s the funky section (at the 2:37 mark) that has nothing to do with the rest of the song. I love that. (Maybe it’s there to give you a break from the rest of the song, which would make it one more example of great song construction: don’t let your listeners get bored.)

To me, “Sweet, Sweet Love” is a Great, Great Song. Thanks, Russell, for writing and recording it.

Song of the day: Russell Morris – "The Real Thing"

August 17, 2009

If you live outside of Australia, chances are that you’ve never heard today’s song. This makes me slightly sad because it means that you’ve missed out on hearing this song for the last 40 years. If you are one of the unlucky few to have never heard today’s song, fear not – I’m here to rectify that dreadful situation.

Here, for your aural edification, is Russell Morris with “The Real Thing” (1969) – an absolute, Grade A, undisputed classic of Australian rock music history:

Russell Morris – “The Real Thing (1969)


“The Real Thing” is, quite simply, a masterpiece. At the end of its 6 minutes and 20 seconds, you’ll be convinced that it contains the entire contents of the universe. The story behind the song, and its recording, is well worth reading, and it’s detailed on Wikipedia. The story’s also detailed – in even more detail – over at Milesago.

Although Russell wrote some classic songs of his own (two come to mind immediately, and I’ll get to those shortly), “The Real Thing” was written by Johnny Young, a man who’s had such an interesting career that his biography is also well worth reading on ye olde Wikipedia.

If you think that the song is a relic of the hippy era and hideously dated, here’s Russell performing “The Real Thing” just a few days ago on RocKwiz (a music quiz show on TV here in Australia) to remind you that it sounds great any year.

As promised earlier, here are two of Russell’s own compositions. You might call them soft rock classics, and I might call them Australian soft rock classics, but I won’t – they’re just Australian classics:

Russell Morris – “Sweet, Sweet Love” (1971)


Russell Morris – “Wings Of An Eagle” (1972)