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. He had fear incase he couldn’t come up with songs for his first solo album as Don Walker was the main writer in Cold Chisel.
But he persevered and he wrote and wrote and 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 in Fraternity a band that Barnes had sung in for a short time in 1975 after Bon Scott left to join AC/DC.
Bruce Howe was a hard taskmaster and he should be credited for pushing Bon Scott and Barnesy vocally, as they did develop their high octane vocal style with Howe.
Mal Eastick had played with Stars which was a Country Rock band in Australia who did the rounds in the late 70s.
Seeking a second guitarist to make the band more “hard rock”, Barnes chose ex-Dingoes guitarist Chris Stockley, who played, “old-style rock, like Little Richard and Gene Vincent”. The Dingoes are also a country rock band.
And then they went on the road, playing small pubs. Something unheard of these days for a band to road test songs.
The more shows they played the better the songs became 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 in 1984 and went straight to Number 1 in Australia. Jimmy Barnes was reborn as a solo artist.
Listen to the riff and groove of “Vision”.
Or check out the Soul Rock style of “Daylight” which reminds me of songs like “Mustang Sally” but with a hard rock guitar riff that wouldn’t be out of place on an AC/DC album.
“Promise Me You’ll Call” is a slower tempo song, ballad like with a soul rock vocal melody. And that Chorus with the Gospel like backing vocals. Press play to hear it.
“No Second Prize” has that “Stand By Me” progression, 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 “Let’s Stick Together” from Bryan Ferry and a little bit of “Get It On” from T Rex. And I like it.
“Paradise” is a rewrite of the song “Rising Sun” song from his Cold Chisel days. A 12 bar rockabilly blues romp.
“A Change Is Gonna Come” is a cover, a blues like ballad written by American singer-songwriter Sam Cooke. It came out in 1964 as a B-side and then became part of the Civil Rights Movement.
“Thick Skinned” is a southern country rock cut.
“Piece Of My Heart” is another cover. It feels misplaced here.
“Fire” has this “Strutter” vibe in the verses and a Melodic Rock chorus.
And “World On Fire” is another rocker to close the album with a bass groove which thunders along while the guitars decorate.
Crank it loud.
4 thoughts on “Australian Method Series: Jimmy Barnes – Bodyswerve”
Hey, thx for the Jimmy Barnes write up. I only know of him from his team up w/ INXS for the Good Times song from the Lost Boys. I know the basics that he’s very well known & regarded in Australia. So to a Jimmy B’s newbie, u recommend any ‘must listen’ albums/songs? Thx…
Bubba, from NYC
Start with the Working Class man album, but don’t ignore No Second Prize on this album.
Freight Train Heart is also a classic.
Cold Chisel. Whenever you write about Barnes it takes me back to the summer of 81 when they showed up with the Nuge.
They had big issues on that tour, being paired with bands that didn’t fit.