It is nothing but good news that someone with a good heart & a steady hand has finally managed to point a couple of cameras at a stage filled with Liam McKahey & the Bodies. The shout is out to Jarbo Productions for doing the right thing & furnishing a quality record of a quality band.
Liam & I go way back when we were painting parts of a city magnolia. Click here for that story & some solid music from his band Cousteau. Many of us hold fond memories of that band but, y’know, Cousteau was then & this…you get me. 2014 has to be all about Liam McKahey & the Bodies.The band play plenty of gigs around Canberra & the Australian Capital Territory. I know…just how many of us are likely to be in the correct hemisphere never mind on the right continent. All we see are the tempting, self-designed posters for gigs we can’t get to.
Boy Oh Boy, Mr McK is right on form here at this month’s Canberra Enlighten Festival. Let’s start with the deep, rich rumble of his voice. It really is a special & impressive instrument that, I think, is still improving & maturing. “Dirty Mind”, his own song, is a fine showcase for both the vocal & the band. There’s an assurance, a velvety strength which commands attention with no need for in-your-face dramatics. I’m loving the subtle horn section fills, smoother than honk & squawk of the “soulful” option. I’m loving “Dirty Mind”, it shakes you to your boots…cracking.
Here, I guess, is a loosehandlebars exclusive. “Long Black Train”, from the same set, is still unlisted on the Y-tube & is not yet around on social media. Liam was kind enough to send me this great clip &…well…get me yeah ! “Long Black Train” is another atmospheric belter with good work by guitarist Jenny Spear. I can hear the influences because I know what they are… Johnny Cash, Lee Hazlewood. What I do like is that the song, like “Dirty Mind” avoids the obvious murder ballad/train song thud & blunder in favour of a more melodic approach. (I am going to whisper “Jimmy Webb” because that really would be blowing smoke up his butt).
New music comes at us so randomly nowadays, from any decade & many styles. It’s tough for a new band to find an audience even when, as in Liam’s case, your former group had an international reputation. There will, hopefully, be a new collection of songs by Liam McKahey & the Bodies in 2014. Fans will do what they can to spread the word but, seriously, this stylish music deserves as wide a hearing as possible. If you are a grown -up who likes music for grown-ups made by …you get me, then this group’s work will sit nicely in your collection. These two tracks are a fine start, more later.
So Mr McKahey has an outstanding voice, writes great songs, leads a cool band, designs good posters & is not a bad guy (hey we all have our faults). What actually makes him a Renaissance Man is none of that stuff, it is that he was born in 1514, is 499 years old & only comes out at night. I’m giving away the secrets here…I’m off.