Friday, July 21, 2017

Renee Geyer - Blues License (1978)

(Australian 1970-Present)
Renée Geyer is Australia's most respected and successful soul singer, with a recording career of nearly 30 years. Her career began around 1971 in Sydney, when a girlfriend took her along to the rehearsal of friends who were forming a band. Geyer was encouraged to get up and have a sing and was instantly invited to join as singer. Although she was so shy in the beginning she couldn't face the audience, musicians noticed her, and Geyer was invited to join one more experienced band after another until 1971, when she became part of an ambitious jazz fusion group called Sun. Geyer was still just 19 at the time.

After one album (Sun '72), Sun and Geyer parted company; Geyer eventually found herself part of a group called Mother Earth, still with jazz leanings but also incorporating the soul and R&B Geyer loved and excelled at. With Mother Earth, she started touring and was offered a solo recording contract. She insisted that Mother Earth provide the backings on her first album.

For her second album, the cream of Melbourne musicians were assembled for the sessions. Geyer formed such a strong bond with these musicians, but by the time the 'It's a Man's World' album was released and her powerfully provocative version of the James Brown title song was a big hit, Geyer was ready to throw her lot in with those musicians rather than be a solo performer. Her two solo albums so far had been cover versions or sourced songs, apart from the single "Heading in the Right Direction." The Renée Geyer Band wrote the songs for 1975's 'Ready to Deal' album in the studio and toured extensively.

A live album, 'Really.. Really Love You', followed, based on Geyer's building reputation as a powerfully voiced, raunchy performer, to be followed by an even more powerful blues album called 'Blues License' which featured the brilliant guitar virtuoso Kevin Borich (and his Express). That reputation found its way to America and led to an invitation to record an album in Los Angeles with famed Motown producer Frank Wilson. While the 'Movin' Along' album provided another hit at home, in America 'Stares and Whispers' created confusion. R&B stations loved the record, but didn't know what to do when they discovered Geyer was a white Jewish girl from Australia. For the next few years, Geyer bounced between Australia and America, working in Australia and recording two more albums in America. When 1981's So Lucky album presented her with a huge hit with "Say I Love You" both in Australia and New Zealand, it became necessary to put the American dream aside for two years.

In 1983, Geyer returned to base herself in America permanently, still keeping in touch with her Australasian fans with tours. While in America, Geyer became part of a group called Easy Pieces with former members of the Average White Band. But the album took so long to record, by the time it was finished, the group had never performed and were going their separate ways. Geyer spent several years in America doing session work for Sting (the fade vocal on "We'll Be Together"), Neil Diamond, Jackson Browne, and others, touring with Joe Cocker and Chaka Khan and others, and writing songs.

During one foray back to Australia, Geyer was invited to sing the Paul Kelly song "Foggy Highway" for the soundtrack of a TV series based on the seven deadly sins. Kelly was so impressed by Geyer's version, he offered to produce an album and wrote some of the songs, including the title track, which (alongside "It's a Man's Man's World" has become Geyer's signature song, Difficult Woman). The working relationship with Paul Kelly was such a happy and satisfying one, Geyer decided to base herself back in Australia. With Paul Kelly and Joe Camilleri (Jo Jo Zep, Black Sorrows) producing, she recorded 1999's Sweet Life album.

At the end of 1999, Geyer released her frank life story, Confessions of a Difficult Woman through Harper Collins.( © Ed Nimmervoll, All Music Guide )

'Blues License' is the sixth studio album by Australian musician Renée Geyer. The album was recorded in 1978 and then released in 1979, peakeing at number 41 on the Kent Music Report.

During the 1980's and 1990's, Renee Geyer, the great Australian soul/blues/jazz/R&B singer spent a great deal of time between Australia and America performing with artists like Sting, Chaka Kan, Joe Cocker, Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Brown. She also toured Europe with Joe Cocker and Chaka Khan. She really needs to be more widely heard outside the Australasian area. This album is a good starter if you need a demonstration of Renée's talents. It's a great blues/soul album with backing by the Kevin Borich Express on most tracks. In fact, all the musicians featured here are "top notch."

Blues License may be the least recognised Renee Geyer album, but is her most stylish and consistent album. This is a more bluesy album than most of her normal R&B/soul releases, and there quite a few blues standards on this album, which are brilliantly sung in Renée's easily recognisable voice. Renee has the great "knack" of adopting and adapting tunes to make them her own. If you get a chance, source her 1975 'Ready To Deal' or her 1986 'Renee Live at the Basement' albums, as they are standout efforts in my opinion.

Album Review
Renee has often included the occasional blues song on her albums and in her live sets, but this is her only straight blues release.  Even though it consists of predominantly well known blues standards ie. "The Thrill Is Gone", "Dust My Blues", "Stormy Monday" etc Renee proves to be a natural blues wailer with a real feeling for the genre and is capable of stamping her own style on them. And the way she and Kevin's guitar spark off each other is positively electric.

Kevin plays some blistering guitar work on 5 of the 8 tracks & his Express has the brilliant John Annas on drums and bassist Tim Partridge (Co Caine, Mighty Kong & Foreday Riders) who plays on all tracks along with Renee's regular keyboard man Mal Logan.
On the tracks where Borich is absent, he's more than capably replaced by the superb Tim Piper (Chain, Blackfeather) on 2 tracks and Renee Geyer band regular Mark Punch on one. Add Kerrie Biddell's sublime backing vocals on 2 tracks and Sydney blues legend Ron King (Foreday Riders) playing harp on another and what we have here is one killer blues/rock album. (by Micko at Midoztouch)
This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from my 'near mint' vinyl purchased on release and cared for like it was my youngest child. And what a cover, it was an instant love affair when I saw this album in the racks and then turned it over to see my favourite Aussie guitarist supporting her. Full album artwork and label scans (for both RCA and Mushroom releases) are included. Once you've listened to this album, you'll want to play it again and again, trust me. Thanks to Greg Noakes for the publicity shots of Renee featured in this post (Ooh la la)
Track listing
01 - The Thrill Is Gone – 6.55 (Rick Darnell, Roy Hawkins)
02 - That Did It Babe – 5.15 (Pearl Woods)
03 - Set Me Free – 4.08 (Deadric Malone)
04 - Bellhop Blues – 3.23 (Kevin Borich)
05 - Won't Be Long – 3.48 (J. Leslie McFarland)
06 - Stormy Monday – 6.43 (Aaron "T-Bone" Walker)
07 - Dust My Blues – 3.03 (Elmore James)
08 - Feeling Is Believing – 7.01 (Willie Henderson, Richard Parker)

Renée Geyer: vocals, backing vocals
Mal Logan: keyboards
Bass – Tim Partridge
Drums – John Annus, Steve Hopes

Featuring – Kevin Borich Express 
Guitar – Kevin Borich, Mark Punch
Harp – Ron King (6)
Keyboards – Mal Logan
Vocals – Kerrie Biddell, Renee Geyer

Renee Geyer FLAC Link (253Mb)

Renee Geyer MP3 Link (91Mb) New Link 2/08/2017


  1. G'day Aussie and thanks for this great LP. I've been an observer only for months, as for some reason my laptop refused to co-operate with Mega, so I couldn't download anything from your blog. It seems to be working ok now and of course this LP is on Sendspace anyway. I appreciate your hard work.
    Can I ask you please - when you rip in Audacity, does your USB turntable have the RIAA EQ for record cartridges, or is it sending a straight non-EQ'd signal to Audacity? If not EQ'd, I'll use Audacity myself to apply the RIAA EQ before I burn to CD.
    With your agreement I sent you the Dugites S/T (Vinyl rip, RIAA EQ'd)and Skyhooks Hot for the Orient (CD rip)ages ago, both FLAC, and you haven't posted them. Was there a problem with them that you couldn't use them? If it was an audio quality issue, please let me know if you'd like me to have another shot.
    Cheers, Dave

    1. Hi Dave
      mate - I'm so sorry I never followed through with the Dugites ST post - completely skipped my memory which seems to be going on holidays more and more these days ! I will make a point of posting it real soon - promise. Now 'Hot For The Orient' is a mystery and I don't have this in FLAC so I may never have received it / downloaded it. Was there a link somewhere in the comments ?

    2. Hi Aussie, if you can source good artwork for Dugites from the net please do so. I couldn't really get a good result trying to scan LP sized artwork in my A4 sized scanner. However I'm happy to have another go at the art if you can't find it. Let me know. I think you'll find the audio quality is good, I used a good quality Dual turntable and cartridge linked to my computer by a Behringer analog/digital interface. I declicked and depopped lightly in Audacity as my much loved LP is still VG to EX after 37 years. It's a fabulous album.
      I sent you a link to the Skyhooks CD which I uploaded on Mediafile. After all this time I've got no idea where the link is. I'll convert the CD to FLAC and put into my Dropbox and send you a link. I might ask you to put it into a zip file if I can't work it out. You might get a folder with the individual FLAC files and art work in it. Give me a few days and I'll post the link on this page.

      Cheers Dave

  2. Thanks for this, but it's almost impossible to download it from File Factory. Can you please upload it to Zippyshare or Mediafire? Thanks so much!

    1. Thanks for dropping in Pete
      Filefactory seems to have gone AWOL at the moment ?? so I've re-posted the MP3's to Sendspace. Good luck

    2. Thank YOU for all your trouble, my friend! Much obliged.

  3. G'day again AR

    I got all excited and ripped the 'Hooks Hot for the Orient to Flac and made some high quality scans of the CD artwork. Not their finest moment by a long way but it has its moments and seems to have been airbrushed out of history. It took me years to find a CD (from the US via Discogs) and it completed my collection of their original albums.

    Let me know please if you can or can't access this zip file from my Dropbox. I'd love to see it shared via your blog should you choose to do so. A bit weird posting it on the Renee post I know but that's where I started the conversation...
    Here’s a link to “Hot for the” in my Dropbox:

    Cheers Dave

    1. Thanks so much Dave - got it. I'll post the Dugites album first, then this one. I bought the LP when it first came out and was similarly disappointed - sold it some time ago and of course regretted it ever since. Thanks again mate