26 September 2023

Jack Chrome and The Darkness Waltz

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Reviewed by Ian Phillips.

By Russell Morris & Rick Springfield, The Morris Springfield Project 2021.

I have eagerly awaited and reviewed all of Russell Morris’ recent albums and I have nothing but praise for his roots/blues inspired examinations of some well-known, and sometimes some obscure, Australian historical characters and events.

This time Russell has teamed up with fellow Australian music legend Rick Springfield to produce an album in celebration of Halloween, sometimes known as The Day Of The Dead.

The narrator, Jack Chrome, leads us through a song cycle about life and death.

In the first track Jack introduces himself to us.

From there we are introduced to a cavalcade of characters each engaged in a dance with death as they navigate their way through life.

We find out that Death Drives a Cadillac, we go dancing with Carmelita and also with the Dancing Bones.

Although the theme is centred around death the album is surprisingly uplifting, in fact it’s a celebration of life.

Russell and Rick have known each other for a long time however, this album is the first that they’ve produced together.

Rick Springfield did play guitar on Russell’s debut album, Bloodstone, which was recorded 50 years ago and he also appeared on Van Diemen’s Land which was released a few years ago.

Rick claims, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, that he brought most of the bleak songs to the Jack Chrome project, where Russell is a far more optimistic person.

The authorship of the songs is divided evenly between the two but interestingly no tracks have been co-written.

Musically Rick Springfield has brought a touch of Tex-Mex to Russell’s roots blues.

Russell has gathered a good backing band for the project including Jackie Barnes on drums, Peter Robinson, Rick Springfield and himself on guitars, Russell also plays bass and keyboards while Joe Petrolo plays bass too.

It’s noteworthy that on many of his tracks Rick Springfield plays all instruments.

Jack Chrome and The Darkness Waltz is another wonderful album from two elder statesmen of Australian rock and continues the fantastic run of quality albums released by Russell Morris in recent years.

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