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| 18 September 2019 | Reply

Liberation Records, April 2019
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Hot off the heels of his unexpected career rebirth with a trilogy of modern Oz blues classics – of which no-one was more surprised than Russell Morris himself – the Aussie legend returns to his rock n’ roll roots with this album of bouncy dancing tunes.

The swinging opening tune You Ain’t No Angel lays down the blueprint: as catchy as a cold and custom built for tailfeather-shaking it is – excuse me for saying so – the Real Thing. Is There Anybody Out There – the only older track here, written twenty-ish years ago with Split Enzer Eddie Raynor – is more reflective and boasts a groovy ‘70s feel.

It should come as no surprise that this is such an effortlessly confident and assured album – Morris has done the time – good times and bad times – and his recent success finds him on a personal and professional high.

Take the title track. Morris’s breathy vocals create an intimate atmosphere over an (initially) understated track, which unexpectedly bursts into a lovely, joyous Beatlesesque mid-section. It’s the work of a master songwriter and the song’s return to its more melancholy intro/outro renders Morris’s yearning even more touching as a result.

The blues is ever-present in Black And Blue Heart, but Morris also draws on his entire, impressive and diverse fifty-year-career.

Full Moon has a Poco/Eagles country rock feel to it, which would have undoubtedly rendered it a huge hit in the ‘70s. Fat Man And The Priest channels an enigmatic, Dylanesque type of storytelling, and we’re led to ponder: is Morris Australia’s own Petty, Harrison, or Dylan?

Going Through The Motions is a lovely slice of life tune with another subtle and groovy vibe and a summery feel, while Witness Protection features an infectious walking blues.

Morris promised a trilogy of blues albums, and delivered them brilliantly. Black And Blue Heart proves there’s plenty left in the tank, and Morris ain’t fading away to obscurity any time soon.

Category: CD Reviews

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