Russell Morris is one of our most thoughtful and creative artists. More than 50 years ago, he sang one of the greatest Australian singles of all time, The Real Thing. Four decades later, he delivered his Aussie blues trilogy, starting with his most successful album, Sharkmouth.
Now he’s teamed up with his good friend Rick Springfield – who played on his debut album, 1971’s Bloodstone – to deliver a compelling collection about Mexico’s Día de los Muertos – the Day of the Dead.
It’s a killer combination.
Morris inhabits the character of Jack Chrome, bringing a menacing presence, while Springfield adds some Spanish to the saga, with a ragged vocal that reminds of Steve Earle’s finest work. “Hello to you, hello to me,” the album starts ominously. “No introductions do we need.” Delightfully dark – Morris calls the sound “macabre romantic” – the record is an unforgettable tale of death and darkness, life and loss, sin and celebration. “As it begins, forgive our sins,” Springfield sings. “Wash our sins away,” Morris adds.
Listening to this remarkable work, I’m struck by the inexplicable fact that Springfield is yet to be inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. Fifty years after Zoot called it quits and 40 years after Jessie’s Girl topped the US charts, surely his time has come?
Jack Chrome and the Darkness Waltz by The Morris/Springfield Project is out October 15 via Ambition.
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