Many things could be said of Russell Morris – who is just three years short of 50 years in the Australian music business. One of Australia’s first singer/songwriters, great voice, and, in his early days, one of our biggest stars. It can also fairly be said that perhaps Australian record companies are not good judges of Russell’s work.
In 1969, with Molly Meldrum producing, Russell created The Real Thing – a glorious rocking psychedlic epic that went straight to the top of the Australian charts. It even hit the top 10 in some U.S markets, without any promotion from Russell. The song ran over six minutes – too long to fit on one side of a 45. His record company hated it and didn’t want to put it out. It became one of Australia’s most successful hit songs. Fast forward to 2012 – and Russell is working on a collection of bluesy songs telling stories of early 20th century Australia. He sends the songs out to every major Australian record label – no-one would touch it. Those songs became Sharkmouth – a CD Russell started selling at gigs. In April this year, that album made the top ten on the Australian charts.
The success of Sharkmouth is at least in part due to support from independent label Ambition Entertainment and its boss – Robert Rigby. But the songs are powerful evocations of a time almost 100 years ago, when Phar Lap ruled the race track, Les Darcy was king of the boxing ring, and dodgy characters like Melbourne underworld figure Squizzy Taylor did things their way. Sharkmouth has found an audience among the recent renewed interest in our Australian stories of those times. And Russell conjures those times vividly on this CD – with songs based on stories his grandmother told him about life in Melbourne in the 20s and 30s.
LISTEN Click on the red arrow to hear Russell Morris talk about the new album and samples of his songs.
Russell Morris plays the Vertigo Bar in Cairns on May 17 & 18 http://www.entertainmentcairns.com/russell-morris-livevertigo-event.html
Read more about the new Russell Morris album at http://www.sharkmouthmusic.com./