Ironically, it’s been a big year for Aussie live albums. The Teskey Brothers topped the charts with Live At The Forum – reminding us of what we’ve been missing during the COVID-19 crisis – and the Mushroom Group follows that release with this live collection, which is also destined for number one.
It has a lovely link to the company’s history – Mushroom’s first album was a triple record celebrating the Sunbury Festival in 1973. Nearly five decades later, Michael Gudinski could not have envisaged compiling such an unusual live album, where the artists are isolated at home and collaborating via computers. Instead of a sticky carpet pub rock experience, this is a laptop live album.
In the opening track, Gudinski explains that he wanted the concert to be “uplifting and positive,” honouring our servicemen and women on Anzac Day, as well as frontline medical workers, with profits going to Support Act.
The 27 tracks (two CDs, with a triple vinyl set to follow on July 31) include Ben Lee, Lime Cordiale, and Jack River doing the unofficial pandemic anthem We’re All In This Together, while The Wiggles offer some helpful advice with The Handwashing Song. John Schumann and Archie Roach provide a powerful version of I Was Only 19, Jimmy Barnes joins Ian Moss for When The War Is Over, and James Morrison plays The Last Post.
Appropriately, this is a record that’s all about mateship and the spirit of collaboration, showcasing a mix of legends and younger artists, and songs old and new. Colin Hay and Delta Goodrem deliver Down Under; Jon Stevens, Andrew Farriss and The Preatures’ Izzi Manfredi do Never Tear Us Apart; Missy Higgins and Tim Minchin combine for the instant classic Carry You; while Kate Ceberano delivers a killer version of Moments with Bliss n Eso. “Yeah, life’s been rearranging,” they sing. “Those times were golden … I lost that moment. But now I got it back, yeah.”
This is a live album without any crowd noise – but it shows how music continues to bring us together even when our lives have changed. Michael Gudinski is an icon of our industry, and this is a crowning achievement.
The Music From The Home Front soundtrack is available Friday June 19 on CD, with the triple coloured vinyl LP set slated for July 31, via Bloodlines. Both iterations are available for pre-order now, and all vinyl pre-orders come hand-numbered with a slick card signed by Michael Gudinski.