Helen Reddy

Renée Geyer 1953-2023

Renée Geyer was many things in a career that spanned 15 studio albums and 50 years, and she continued singing to packed houses up to only a month ago. She was surely the finest white soul singer, male or female, that Australia has produced, but to speak only of her immense talent does not capture what she was about; her real greatness.

Geyer was, above all, unapologetic. It was this attitude that defined her, as much as her singing. Paul Kelly, who became a close friend, recognised it when he wrote Difficult Woman for her, knowing full well how she would respond. Women, after all, are always the ones thought to be difficult, never men.

But line by line Geyer peeled the song apart, exposing the vulnerability beneath the steel of the titular character. The singer and actor Lo Carmen, in her fine 2022 book Lovers Dreamers Fighters, wrote that “she wore the title like a crown” in the knowledge that it would come at great cost. Indeed, it already had.

Difficult Woman was released in 1994, and it relaunched Geyer’s career in Australia after nearly a decade living in Los Angeles. But Geyer’s transformative presence had been apparent 20 years earlier, with her third single, a heart-stopping rendition of James Brown’s It’s A Man’s Man’s World.… Read more..

Renée Geyer 1953-2023 Read More »

The Great Australian Songbook II (40-31)

As promised from yesterday. I’ve tried to cover as many bases as possible in terms of decade and genre, avoiding multiple selections for the same artist.

Without further ado, here’s the list from 40 to 31.

40. COSMIC PSYCHOS – Lost Cause (1988)

It was Spinal Tap who pointed out the fine line between clever and stupid. In Australia, you won’t find three smarter beer-swilling yobs than The Cosmic Psychos. This isn’t a song about punching above your weight – it’s about being out of your weight division entirely. “Dr” Ross Knight, the band’s bass player, is a farmer from outside Bendigo who’s been known to cancel tours when his tractor breaks down. At the time he wrote this song, he was working part-time in the medical records department of a local hospital, where he fell under the spell of an attractive young lady who’s “only 19, not a has-been!” “I was about 25, 26 at that point, a bogan fucking pisshead,” Knight recalls. “I said to a mate of mine, ‘I wouldn’t mind taking her out,’ and he goes, ‘Nah – have a look at you! She’s a lost cause, mate!” The song was later covered by L7 and The Prodigy.… Read more..

The Great Australian Songbook II (40-31) Read More »

Scroll to Top