Leicester Bangs Blog
Published 26th September, 2011
Gleny Rae Virus & Her Tamworth Playboys – Beyond Horizontal (Independent) Gleny Rae Virus has been a stalwart of the Australian roots/country scene for a number of years, as a member of The Junes, Toe Sucking Cowgirls and now with her very own Tamworth Playboys. Some of you may recognize her from your TV screens as she’s recently appeared on Australian television in the reality documentary “Go Back To Where You Came From” which retraced the journeys of refugees back to their homelands.
I hope new found TV celebrity doesn’t detract from her latest musical project, because on “Beyond Horizontal”, it sounds like Virus and her band are onto something special. They straddle the fine line between rambunctious old fashioned country and cool-as-ice rockabilly in some style, augmenting a roaring, good-time feel with some great songs, that are humourous and touching, and never lack instrumental prowess. In fact, opening track “Hot Ready Or Not” feels like it’s settled into scorching instrumental mode, before a vocal appears some way in. Both ways work, and subsequent highlights are bountiful. “Redneck Lovesong” is a genuine rib tickler and “Karratha” is heartfelt and sad, but leaves space for an occasional rueful smile. I don’t think I can sign off without mentioning the two Playboys: Dougie Bull on double bass and Roy Payne on guitar and lapsteel. Both are wonderful musicians with a real feel for the music they’re playing.
Forte Review by Chris Lambie
Gleny Rae Virus and her Tamworth Playboys
Beyond Horizontal (Vitamin)
Gleny Rae reminds me of Billy Connelly. The comic is all gags and giggles til you give him a banjo where he morphs into the consummate musician. Gleny Rae is likewise full of heart, humour and chutzpah. A bit naughty but really very nice. She’s also a fine musician. She was the earliest voice of reason on SBS series ‘Go Back To Where You Came From’, is one of The Junes and a former Toe Sucking Cowgirl. On fiddle and accordion, she’s lately stripped back her Playboys line-up to Dougie Bull (double bass) and Roy Payne (guitar and lap steel). With a few choice guests added, Beyond Horizontal flavours Country with bluegrass, rockabilly and a good nip of swing. It’s a welcoming front verandah session where Midwest Dust Bowl meets local red dirt country. In fact, the recording and post-tweaking spanned NSW, Nashville and locations between.
Gleny’s sweet vocals croon and soothe as easily as they tease and challenge. ‘Carrot V Bike’ is as quirky as the title suggests. (But not as suss as you may think!) ‘Redneck Lovesong’ and ‘Carny Wedding’ offer affection, not judgement or mockery. ‘Chincogan’ – with its irresistible rolling rhythm – and ‘Karratha’ get the loving treatment from GRV too. As poignant protagonist on ‘Amnesia’, she laments I can’t remember what I’m drinking to forget. Only two tracks were written by others (including ‘Catching Coconuts’ written and sung by Payne.) Three choice songs are lifted from previous album Highrollin’ and deserve the exposure. Delightful!
Rhythms Review by Martin Jones
The inimitable Gleny Rae finds it virtually impossible to deliver anything straight-faced. She admits to being “allergic to love songs.” Her idea of such, presented here, is titled ‘Carrot V Bike’ and revolves some talk to eating bikes for lunch and riding carrots to work.
Yes, though Gleny and her Playboys – Dougie Bull and Roy Payne – beseech you not to take life too seriously, they’re a little more serious about their playing, delivering some very sweet and occasionally dazzling country licks across these 13 numbers (12 of which are Gleny originals). The final three tracks are lifted from the first Tamworth Playboys album ‘Highrollin’, featuring then Mullumbimby area ode track ‘Chincogan’ and Tom Baker tribute ‘Horizontal’ (featuring some remarkable guitar playing).
Gleny delights in mining the mundane and ridiculous of small town Australia in her writing, and songe like ‘Karratha’, ‘Diesel Daddy’, and ‘Rednick Lovesong’ (about a romance with a roo shooter). The only instrumental, ‘Carny Wedding’, demonstrates the trio’s affection (and impressive talent) for Grappelli/Reinhardt gypsy swing (which disproves my opening statement – Gleny playing it straight for at least two and a half minutes!).