27 September 2023

Flesh And Blood

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Reviewed by Ian Phillips.

By Jimmy Barnes, Bloodlines 2021.

Another couple of albums from my good friend Neil, first up Barnsey.

There’s not much that I can add to the legend of Jimmy Barnes that hasn’t already been said a thousand times before.

I have watched him perform live from his earliest Chisel days, through his lengthy solo years, and now as he reaches the beginning of his autumn, via live stream in COVID lockdown.

Throughout all this period I have admired the dedication to his craft and the immense energy and commitment he gives to every performance.

Jimmy has sung, and sometimes written, some of the greatest Aussie anthems of all time.

Songs like Cheap Wine, Choirgirl, Khe Sanh, Rising Sun, Working class Man, and Flame Trees will live forever and yet I can honestly say that I don’t think that I’ve enjoyed a Jimmy Barnes record more than Flesh And Blood.

Flesh And Blood presents a different side to Jimmy, it’s a deeply personal and intimate view of a performer that we all have grown up with and think we know well.

Jimmy is a family man and Flesh And Blood is an album about the importance of family, performed by Jimmy and his family.

And could there be a more important topic for this time in the life of our nation?

Most of the tracks on Flesh And Blood are co-writes between Jimmy Barnes and Mark Lizotte (aka Diesel, Jimmy’s brother-in-law) but Jimmy’s old band mate, Don Walker, chips in with a fantastic song called This Is The Truth.

Jimmy’s wife Jane is central to the disc, she took up guitar during the lockdown and performed with Jimmy during their live-streamed home video sessions.

But this recording reveals that she also has a delightful voice.

The rest of Jimmy’s extended clan appear on the two discs that make up this special release.

Mahalia Barnes sings backing vocals throughout, Elly-May and Jackie Barnes do a beautiful rendition of I Move Slow, a track written by Jackie Barnes and Alys Edwards; Jane Barnes duets with Jimmy on a lovely version of the classic Love Hurts; and E.J. Barnes does an equally impressive job on the Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King masterpiece Tennessee Waltz.

The accompanying DVD in the CD/DVD set includes a selection of performances by the Jane Barnes Band which of course has Jimmy on lead vocals.

Isn’t it lovely that it’s not the Jimmy Barnes Band? Their love is truly egoless.

Jimmy’s son David Campbell joins them doing Hello Dolly and alongside Mahalia, Gary Pinto and Benjamin Rogers on Bridge Over Troubled Waters.

E.J. Barnes chips in on Mull of Kintyre and Jackie Barnes, who plays drums throughout, on California Dreaming.

This CD/DVD package exudes love and I don’t think Jimmy has ever been in better voice.

It’s a testament to one of the great survivors of rock’n’roll and one of our living national treasures.

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