Thursday, November 8, 2012

Various Artists - Midnight Blues (1991)

(Various Australian Artists)

Midnight Blues is exactly that - a compilation of blues tracks  (with a mix jazz thrown in) performed by some of Australia's greatest vocalists. These performances are so laid back you would swear the artists are singing in your own living room. The duets are especially magical with Kate Ceberano with Wendy Matthews almost stealing the show, while Marc Hunter shows a more intimate side of his vocal finess and simply oozes pure soul.  The role call coninues with Vince Jones, Grace Knight, Tania Bowra and Slim Dusty's daughter Anne Kirkpatrick.
Below is a run down on each of the artists featured on this amazing compilation, released by ABC Music in 1991.
Kate Ceberano
Kate first found fame with her funk band ‘I’m Talking’, a group that was managed by Ken West, who went on to found the Big Day Out with partner Vivien Lees. The group’s album produced three top ten singles, went Platinum and won Best New Talent (1984) at the Countdown Awards. Kate won Best Female Vocalist (1985) at the Countdown Awards as well as Best Female Singer (1985) at the Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) Awards. However after just one album, the group broke up and Kate went solo, and it was in the late 80s that she started to gain reputed success for her soul, jazz and pop repertoire.
Kate’s first solo album was the live set Kate Ceberano and Her Septet (1987). Her following album You've Always Got The Blues (1988) earned her an ARIA Award for Best Female Artist (1988). One year later, she won another ARIA for Best Female Artist (1989), as well as one for Highest Selling Single (1989) for Bedroom Eyes from her triple platinum album, Brave.  At the end of 1990, she received three prestigious MO Awards for Jazz Performer, Female Rock Performer and Contemporary Concert Performer of the Year. 
In 1992, Kate performed the role of Mary in Jesus Christ Superstar. The show (which also featured John Farnham) toured nationally, and the album was the biggest hit of the year - going an incredible 4 times Platinum.  In 1993 Kate won a Logie Award for Most Popular Music Video for ‘Everything’s Alright’ taken from the show.
Kate followed this with her own late-night cabaret-style show on ABC TV called Kate Ceberano And Friends (1993-1994). In 1996 Kate released her next solo album Blue Box, which went Gold and saw her nominated for another Best Female Artist ARIA. In 1997 Kate wrote and released what has become an Australian classic - Pash. It went Gold and established Kate as one of our leading female songwriters.
In 2007, Kate saluted the 80’s with her album Nine Lime Avenue, a tribute to a decade that she holds close to her heart. 2008 saw the release of 'So Much Beauty', the summation of everything that has made this Australian singer exceptional in the past and makes her exceptional still. In 2009 Kate released ‘Bittersweet’ built on a shared musical connection with Mark Isham.

Doing what she loves most, making beautiful music; Kate Ceberano has released 18 albums over her 25  years of success in the music industry.  In November 2010 Kate re-released her beautiful ‘Merry Christmas’ album complete with stunning duets with Ronan Keating, David Campbell, Mark Vincent and Jimmy Little.  The album became the official National Breast Cancer Foundation album with proceeds from each sale going towards the foundation.  [extracts from Kate's website]

Wendy Matthews
Born in Montreal Canada, Wendy Matthews joined her first band and left home as a teenager, busking her way across the USA to Los Angeles where she met Glenn Shorrock who invited her to tour with him in Australia in 1982.
Wendy immediately became an in-demand session singer, appearing on many commercial jingles and backing vocals for the likes of The Models “Out of Mind Out of Sight” and became a semi-permanent member of the band.  She also sang on albums by Jimmy Barnes, Tim Finn, Richard Clapton and Icehouse.
In 1987, Wendy collaborated with Kate Ceberano on the ABC-TV soundtrack for the series ‘Stringer’.  ‘You’ve Always Got the Blues’ was released the next year reaching the Top 5 national charts. It is from this album that the 3 featured duets on this compilation CD come from.  She then contributed to the Rockmelons and Peter Blakeley’s respective albums.  She helped form Absent Friends and sang on the number one hit “I Don’t Wanna Be With Nobody But You” and the album “Here’s Looking Up Your Address”.
After touring with Absent Friends, Wendy went into the studio to record her solo debut.  The album “Émigré” (Double Platinum) spawned the hits “Token Angels”, “Lets Kiss” and “Woman’s Gotta Have It” and earned Wendy the Best Female Artist and Best Debut Single (for ‘Token Angels’) at the 1990 ARIA Awards.  Wendy was also voted Best Female Singer in the 1990 Rolling Stone Reader’s Poll.
This was followed up by the Triple Platinum album “Lily”  with the mega hit  “ “The Day You Went Away” plus  “If Only I Could” and  Friday’s Child”.
In 1992 Wendy picked up the ARIA for Best Female Artist and Best Single and again in 1993 Best Female Artist.  “The Day You Went Away” was the ‘highest selling single’ of 1993 and the ‘single of the year’.
Wendy then followed up with another two studio albums “The Witness Tree” and “Ghosts” including the hits “Love Will Keep Me Alive”, “Standing Strong”,  “Then I Walked Away”.  In 1999 to cap off an already outstanding career, Wendy released her first “Best Of…Stepping Stones” which not only included her former hits but also “Nobody But You” the massive hit from Absent Friends.
Not resting on her laurels, in 2001 Wendy released “Beautiful View” featuring the hauntingly beautiful title track and club favourite “Like the Sun”.
2004 saw the release of the mixed-up, chilled-out “Café Naturale” an eclectic suite of songs which immediately evoke a sense of familiarity. The Tropfest winning film “Lamb” by Emma Freeman features as the highly acclaimed video clip to the popular “All I Need”.
There are very few artists in Australia that can cite Wendy’s credentials, seven arias, a massive 19 singles , 7 top selling albums and most of all the love from her fans. [extract from Wendy's website]

Grace Knight
Grace Knight is one of the most enduring talents in Australian music. With Aria nominations and chart topping recordings in each of the past three decades, her career spans over thirty five years.
Acclaimed for her live performances, Grace is one of the finest interpreters of popular music in Australia today. Knight’s spellbinding performances touch the soul and lift the heart.  Her magical presence connects with audiences of all ages like few others can.
She blew audiences away throughout the eighties as lead singer of internationally successful band Eurogliders.  She captivated fans with her “Manic Ballerina” stage persona and Eurogliders took the charts by storm.
As a solo artist she transformed herself from Pop Princess to Queen of Cool and lit up the screen in ABC TV’s award winning mini-series, Come In Spinner. A string of successful solo albums followed. During her jazz career, Grace has done countless live shows including performances for  five Australian Prime Ministers, President Clinton of the United States, Princess Diana, and the Thai Royal Family
Her album 'Willow' was nominated for an ARIA award in 2008 and she has just released her seventh solo album, Keep Cool Fool [extract from Grace's Website] 
Vince Jones
Australia’s leading jazz vocalist, Vince Jones, is also a remarkable interpreter and composer of songs in a contemporary jazz style – a style that appeals equally to listeners and his musical peers. As a vocalist he resists showing off technique to the detriment of feel – he’s confident in his musical literacy and sings like there’s nothing to prove. It’s a refreshing approach that gives us, the audience, the chance to be really moved. Vince Jones also plays trumpet and over the years his style has developed a distinctive reserve and subtlety – he plays a little less and draws a good deal more from it than he did in earlier days. A brief, thoughtful solo from Vince is worth a hundred notes played with less discretion.
Vince’s first album Watch What Happens, released in 1981, was a quiet, strong statement – showcasing his vocal and songwriting talent in tandem with stylish accompaniment. A loyal following developed and with each album and tour the Australian audience grew. Though never a mainstream artist, Vince Jones was actually very popular – demonstrated through album sales figures and audience numbers. Other more media-hungry performers may have filled the column inches and airwaves – but Jones was selling more records and tickets in the atmospheric venues and certainly making people listen and think. The second album, Spell, came out in 1983, followed by a new album each year until It All Ends in Tears in 1988. Five more albums were produced from 1992 until 1999’s Live recorded at the Basement in Sydney. Through the 1990s Vince Jones and his band found success on the European circuit making an impression on reviewers, audiences and promoters. They played to packed houses in Germany, London, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands including the major festivals – the North Sea, Montreux, Aarhus – and a range of more intimate venues.[extract from Vince's Website]

Marc Hunter
Marc Hunter (7 September 1953 – 17 July 1998) was a New Zealand rock and pop singer best known as the lead vocalist with Dragon, a band formed by his older brother Todd in Auckland in 1973.
Born in Taumarunui, Marc joined Dragon in 1974 and the band recorded two albums of progressive rock for Vertigo Records. The band moved to Sydney, Australia, in 1975. After suffering the heroin-related death of drummer Neil Storey, Dragon became a pop-rock act and went on to become one of Australia's biggest-selling bands, scoring a number of hit singles and successful albums, most notably 1978's O Zambezi. In the meantime, Hunter developed a serious heroin addiction and the following year, he was fired from the band.
Hunter bounced back immediately with his 1979 solo album Fiji Bitter spawning the hit single "Island Nights". Two years later the album Big City Talk and single of the same name were also hits and in 1982 Dragon reformed for a tour, deciding to stay together when the single "Rain" became a hit. The 1984 album Body and the Beat was a massive hit across Australia and New Zealand and the title track of Hunter's solo album Communication (1985) was also a moderate hit. While on a break between Dragon tours (during which Marc's former bandmate Paul Hewson died unexpectedly, in January 1985), Hunter joined The Party Boys for a sold-out national tour, recording the album You Need Professional Help.
Dragon split-up once again in 1988 but the break was short-lived and the band was touring again by mid-1989.
1990 saw the release of his 4th solo album on ABC Records, called "Night and Day". It was a great jazz album full of standards, and while completely different to Marc's usual style, it was well received and got quite a bit of airplay, especially on the ABC. One single, "Night and Day"/"Laura" was released from the album.
 Hunter and the band continued a mid-level career throughout the '90s with something of an AOR sound but the singer's years of hard living caught up with him and he was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1997 and could no longer perform or tour. Friends immediately rallied round him and Renee Geyer organised a benefit concert to raise money for his treatment and provide for his children. The concert, Night Of The Hunter, was held in February 1998 at the Palais Theatre in St Kilda in Melbourne. The finale, "April Sun In Cuba" was performed by John Farnham and his band, with Todd on bass. The house erupted when Renee Geyer led Marc onstage and he joined in his signature tune for what proved to be his very last stage appearance.
Sadly, Marc finally lost his battle with cancer and died in Kiama on 17 July 1998 [extract from Wikipedia]

Tania Bowra
Tania first came to attention with the release of her 1989 debut ‘Heaven and Earth’ (ABC Records / Polygram) which won her an ARIA nomination for Best New Talent.
Tania’s professional career – spanning more than 20 years – has enjoyed some impressive highlights: while living in the UK in the mid 1990's Tania appeared at such prestigious venues as Edinburgh’s famous Spiegeltent, the 12bar club and The Garage in London, toured with ex-Fairground Attraction singer Eddi Reader in her band and, at songwriter Paul Brady’s request, joined him on a tour of the UK opening for him, including a night at the London Palladium.
Her voice is deep, alluring and always sympathetic to her songs, which often juxtapose personal quandaries with a broad environmental sensibility and place them in moody, atmospheric frames - Rolling Stone magazine
The featured track on this compilation "All True" was the B-Side to her single "Heaven and Earth. [extract from Joni Mitchell Tribute Website]

Anne Kirkpatrick
Singer songwriter Anne Kirkpatrick seemed destined to be a performer, being the daughter of country music legends Slim Dusty and Joy McKean.
During a career that started at the age of ten in her parents' travelling country show, Anne Kirkpatrick has been described as "a true revolutionary" and "the godmother of Australian new country".
Her 1991 release Out Of The Blue was heralded as a watershed album in Australian country music and her latest album Showman's Daughter was declared by Bruce Elder of the Sydney Morning Herald to be "a remarkable achievement that keeps Australian country music in the hands of the nation's first family"
There's been myriad accolades along her way six Golden Guitars, a couple of Mo Awards and, honoring Out Of The Blue as Best Country album, a coveted ARIA Award (in a year when she edged out the top male stars of the day Keith Urban, James Blundell, Graeme Connors and John Williamson). Early this year she became the 39th artist (since the great Tex Morton in1976) to have been listed on the Australasian Country Music Roll of Renown.
With this contribution to Midnight Blues, one is held in thrall by the artistry of a woman with an innate understanding of the essential qualities which can render truly great country music emotionally overwhelming.
[extract from Anne's Website]
This post consists of an MP3 (320kps) rip taken from my CD copy (now out of print). Full album artwork included along with select photos of artists and relevant album, as displayed above.
Track Listing
01 - Kate Ceberano And Wendy Matthews--You've Always Got The Blues *
02 - Marc Hunter--Moonlight In Vermont +
03 - Grace Knight--Sophisticated Lady  #
04 - Vince Jones--You Go To My Head  #

05 - Kate Ceberano--Sing To Me
06 - Marc Hunter--Night And Day +
07 - Grace Knight--The Man I Love  #
08 - Vince Jones--I Get Along Without You Very Well  #
09 - Kate Ceberano And Wendy Matthews--The Way You Look Tonight *
10 - Marc Hunter--Walk On By +
11 - Tania Bowra--All True
12 - Anne Kirkpatrick--A Bottle Of Wine And Patsy Cline
13 - Kate Ceberano And Wendy Matthews--Cry Me A River  *

Midnight Blues Link (109Mb) New Link 11/04/2020

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