I’m reading the book “Working Class Man” from Jimmy Barnes. A review will be coming soon.
And I just finished the chapter that covered his first solo album “Bodyswerve” released in 1984.
I always saw Barnesy as indestructible, taking the world head on, with no fucks given.
But there was fear. He was like all of us. Unsure of choices and decisions.
He had the uncertainty and fear of going it alone after Cold Chisel broke up and the fear he had of coming up with songs for his first solo album.
He kept comparing his writing to Don Walker’s from Cold Chisel, but they are very different writers.
He persevered and kept on writing and he delivered.
Once the songs were written, he had to assemble a band.
He got people he felt “safe with”.
Drummer Ray Arnott recorded with Barnes on Cold Chisel’s final album, “Twentieth Century”. Bruce Howe was the bass player and founder of Fraternity, a band that Barnes had sung with for a short time in 1975 after Bon Scott left.
Bruce Howe was a hard taskmaster back in the day and he should be credited for pushing Bon Scott and Barnesy vocally, and by doing so they both developed their high octane singing style.
Mal Eastick had played with “Stars” and second guitarist Chris Stockley, was selected because he played, “old-style rock, like Little Richard and Gene Vincent”.
And then they went on the road, playing small pubs. They fine tuned the songs and when they went into the studio to record, the energy of the band and their tightness, transferred onto the tape.
And the rest is history.
The album dropped, people were expecting it and went straight to Number 1 in Australia. Jimmy Barnes was reborn as a solo artist.
Listen to the riff and groove of “Vision”.
Then there’s this soul style groove for “Daylight” which reminds me of “Mustang Sally” but it’s more hard rock as the guitar riff wouldn’t be out of place on an AC/DC album.
And what a beautiful combination it is, merging soul with hard rock.
“Promise Me You’ll Call” is a slower tempo song, ballad like, with a soul rock vocal melody.
“No Second Prize” has that “Stand By Me” feel, all rocked up, 80s style. And it became an Aussie pub rock classic.
“Boys Cry Out For War” has a riff which reminds me of “T Rex”. And I like it, as it romps it’s way through my brain.
“Paradise” is a rewrite of his “Rising Sun” song from his Cold Chisel days. A 12 bar rock and roll blues romp.
“A Change Is Gonna Come” is another blues like ballad.
“Fire” and “World On Fire” close the album.
Two great rockers which are virtually ignored.