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Allison MacCallum - The Essential 2CD

AU $22.99
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Three years in the making, 'The Essential Alison McCallum' (which could just as easily have been titled The Complete Alison MacCallum) puts right a great oversight in Australian music.

Even though Alison was the first Australian female artist to ever have a charting album, she has only now joined the CD era. Though there has been a vinyl Best Of collection in past times, there has never been a CD compilation issued on this remarkable woman, one of the most important Australian vocalists. 'Essential' gets in right because she truly was. Compiled and annotated by Glenn A. Baker it is a true labour of love.

The pioneering Alison was at the forefront of a new movement in Australian music that also embraced Renee Geyer. From her can be drawn a direct line to the likes of Chrissie Amphlett of the Divinyls, Suze DiMarchi of Baby Animals, Vanessa Amorosi and, most recently, Mahalia Barnes and Karise Eden. Treading the boards professionally from the age of 16, she became one of the most in-demand band singers in Sydney - with a gutsy, ballsy style compared to Janis Joplin.

The opening cut on this 46 tracks collection - which takes us through recordings issued by Warners, RCA and Alberts - sees her guesting with the mighty Tully, Australia's premier progressive act of the late 60s.  Her first chart hit, with the formidable underground group Freshwater, I Ain't Got The Time, gave notice of her prodigious voice. The came the Fresh Water  solo album, recorded with members of blues masters Chain, which made history and gave her a national 1972 hit with the scorching Harry Vanda & George Young composition Superman. She was back in the top ten in 1975 with the towering moody ballad Excuse Me. Her vocal on It's Time was somewhat more than a hit - ias the campaign song which helped bring Gough Whitlam's Labour Party to power  it became part of the national fabric.

Those hits are included, along with so much more. There's rip roaring versions of three Rolling Stones' classics - The Last Time, 19th Nervous Breakdown and Have You See Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?, Ted Mulry's ambitious Take Me Back, smouldering blues outings such as Clarence Williams'  Organ Grinder Blues and Big Bill Broonzy's Bedtime Blues, a tender treatment of Gram Parsons' Her Kind of Guy (Hot Burrito #1) delivered a long time before Elvis Costello got to it, Ashton Gardner & Dyke's Ol' Rock'n'Roll Boogie Woogie Blues, two Marc Bolan songs, Vanda & Young's soaring ballad (also cut by John Farnham) Things To Do, and an extended disco mix of Superman, issued to coincide with the film and Alison's appearance at the MIDEM Festival in France.

Apart from drawing together every known official recording by Alison,  delving into the files, many of them Alison's own, has furnished some absolute treasures. Such as a performance on the Norman Gunston Show of Neil Diamond's Play Me,  two driving unreleased tracks penned and produced by Vanda & Young - Seven Nights A Week (I'm A Widow) and Can't You See It (The Writing's On The Wall), and four 1981 private recordings with pianist Claude Papesch, including Randy Newman's Political Science.

Packaged with a slew of archival images and detailed liner notes, this is a true collector's item. Few who weren't there at the time of her rise and explosion have had the opportunity to become familiar with her vocal power and artistic integrity.  This collection is so very, very overdue. May it shed light on what all the excitement was about for those half dozen heady years.



 1. To Love Somebody - With Tully
 2. I Ain't Got The Time - With Freshwater
 3. Are You Coming? (Live) - With Freshwater
 4. Hello Sunshine - With Celebration
 5. You Can't Have Sunshine Every Day - With Celebration
 6. Fresh Water
 7. Ain't Eating Dinner Tonight
 8. Any Way You Want Me
 9. Lean Woman Blues
10.  Take Me Back
11. The Last Time
12. Organ Grinder Blues
13. Hippy Gumbo
14. If It Ain't Hard, It Ain't Easy
15. Superman (Single Version)
16. Ol' Rock'n'Roll Boogie Woogie Blues
17. Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?
18. 19th Nervous Breakdown
19. Bedtime Blues
20. Would You Believe
21. Lonely
22. Fire
23. Teach Me How To Fly


 1. It's Time
 2. Seven Nights A Week (I'm A Widow)
 3. Can't You See It (The Writing's On The Wall)
 4. Her Kind Of Guy (Hot Burrito #1)
 5. Fade In Fade Out
 6. Hear My Voice On The Radio
 7. Cry For Me
 8. See What You Can Do
 9. Like A Child
10. If Your Eyes Could Smile
11. Things To Do
12. Then
13. Excuse Me
14. Honk Honk
15. Love Grows Cold
16. Lunatic Love, Part II
17. Play Me (Live)
18. So Tough - With The Hooter Sisters
19. Superman (Disco Version)
20. Lovesick Blues
21. In My Life
22. Deep In The Night
23. Political Science

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