In the words of the immortal radio legend Ken Date, still Sydney’s coolest country DJ and former host of 2RRR’s Sunday Morning Country, this show is about Loving, leaving, lying and cheating. Wide Open Road this month delves into the four strongest emotions on the rock and roll calendar as we play songs that worship and scream pain at the gods of love (check out KRD country for more of the wisdom of Ken Date)
Being called Wide Open Road we kind of have to start with a double from the mighty and unparalleled Triffids. This is a classic double side of Dave McCombs brain with Bury me Deep in love from Calenture matched with Wide Open Road, a scream of pain on a desert road. Wide Open Road, now there’s a good name for a radio show…
Much maligned, entirely unfairly me thinks, is Club Hoy. Here is a track from the final EP ‘Trumpets’ called ‘You Promised, You Said’, a nice exploration of their harmonies but also their dark take on fractured trust. We match this with Penny Flanagan from her ‘Seven Flights Up’ EP and her cover of Prince’s ‘When you were mine’, a singularly beautiful reading of this song. I can’t separate any of the tracks on this EP, all wonderful, simple, stripped back versions. Stunning.
Sarah (I miss you) was the lead track from the solo album by Richard Pleasance of the then chart-topping Boom Crash Opera, this is a heart breaking track hidden inside a gorgeous pop gem, which we have kind of match with another jaunty piece of early 90s pop from the Reels with ‘I don’t love you anymore’. Then we go back to 1987 and the timeless Hoodoo Gurus with ‘My Girl’ – what a lyric, and just when you think the song is so sweet, with a brilliant melody you get this poem of fractured and broken hearts and of course, a lovely little cameo guitar solo from Brad Shepherd. Dave Faulkner, you are a writer chronicles. Finally in this bracket we end with a piece of Kiwi magnificence and Spilt Enz with ‘Message to my girl’ – one of Neil Finn’s high points from the second last Enz album ‘Conflicting Emotions’.
Melbourne band Rail released ‘Free Bird’ in 1997. Off the album ‘Goodbye Surfing, Hello God’ the track bears little resemblance to the Lynard Skynard of the same name. It is a perfect piece of epic indie rock, matched very nicely with this lovely pocket epic by Melbourne band, the Plums ‘Find this Anywhere’.
Despite being one of my favourite bands of all time, the Hummingbirds have rarely featured on this show. Well, it is time to correct that glaring oversight with four shining examples of the Hummingbirds song writing. We start with the second last track from the debut album ‘Love Buzz’. ‘If you leave’ is a swirling masterpiece of loss or at least its potential. Beautifully produced by Mitch Easter it has amazing three part vocals and great backwards guitar parts. We follow this with Modern Giant and their breakthrough ‘The Band has broken up’. Featuring the compelling spoken word of Adam Gibson, this band and its sequel (The Aerial Maps) has featured on this show many a time. This track was produced by the aforementioned Simon Holmes of the Hummingbirds (and name checks them as well). We move onto Simon’s post HB band Fragile, formed with a couple of the dudes from Sidewinder. ‘Why do I worship you?’ is a soft acoustic number with blends so well with Madison, a track written by Simon’s ex and HB bass player Robyn St Clare, a fitting end to the final album ‘Va Va Voom’.
We wrap is this week with three tracks linked by the Go-Betweens. We start with the final track from the last of the version 1 GB’s and ‘Dive for your memory’, a lovely piece of Robert Forster song-writing. This could have equally been any other track from ’16 Lover’s Lane’. We move to a ‘Fingers’ from the second GW McLennan solo album ‘Fireboy’ and we end with another GBs track from the Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express and ‘In the core of a flame’.
Loving, leaving, lying and cheating are eternal themes; this might just be part 1 of many other shows. What are favourite Aussie songs of love in its entire guise? Make a comment on this show. See you in November after a few weeks off when I go back to Australia for a record shopping trip (oh, and to see family and friends as well
Bury me deep in love – The Triffids
Wide Open Road – The Triffids
You Promised, You Said – Club Hoy
When you were Mine – Penny Flanagan
Sarah (I Miss you) – Richard Pleasance
I don’t love you any more – The Reels
My Girl – Hoodoo Gurus
Message to my Girl – Spilt Enz
Freebird – Rail
Find this Anywhere – The Plums
If you Leave – The Hummingbirds
The Band has Broken up – Modern Giant
Why do I worship you? – Fragile
Madison – The Hummingbirds
Dive for your memory – Go-Betweens
Fingers – GW McLennan
In the core of a flame – Go-Betweens