Rhythms review by Chris Lambie

whojigdandy_cd_coverGleny Rae Virus And Her Playboys Whojigadandy

Gleny Rae gets my vote for Australia’s queen of sass and swing. This follow-up to 2011′s Beyond Horizontal continues along her tuneful roadtrip. Dedicated to her late dad Clancy, he used the term in the title to describe all manner of doo-hickeys. As such, it could be applied to his daughter’s musical leanings. She and her Playboys admit to peddling “hillbilly swing,” but also flirt with bluegrass, calypso, rockabilly and occasional jazz. From pubs across the Big Paddock to N’awlins festival stages, their gumbo/wombat stew of influences reflects Gleny’s off-stage cross-cultural embrace. Simpatico muso Mike West (Truckstop Honeymoon) produced Whojigadandy at his Kansas studio with a fine ear, personally adding banjo and mandolin. Lyrics come with an affectionate nod and wink. ‘My Folks’ is a peppy ode to parents that ‘ain’t spring chickens but they’ve got a lot of pluck’. Trombone and tuba infuse the family portrait with a splash of the Mississippi via NSW. ‘When The Cows Come Home’ is a country charmer. Tracks are interspersed with a couple from Roy Payne (guitar and lapsteel) as songwriter and lead vocalist. The mix works a treat with the classically trained country girl shining on fiddle. Dougie Bull slaps his upright bass into rollicking rhythms heard to fine effect on a tale of yore set in Broome and the rockabilly twang of ‘Back To The Barn’. Bossa Nova hit ‘Mahna de Carnaval’ has been covered by Miriam Makeba, Dinah Shore and The Three Tenors…so why not Gleny Rae? Her fine vocals, measured accordion and accompanying tenor sax (Bradford Child) are smooth and sensual. ‘It’s Voodoo’ relocates our vamp to a smoky jazz club. Chris Leopold’s trumpet announces the flamboyant drama of ‘Pirates’, old-timey cover ‘Night Train to Memphis’ has Virus and Payne (!) in duet mode, while ‘Fences’ rides a 50′s western trail. The bittersweet waltz ‘Spinning Wheel’ shoots straight to and from the heart with melancholy lapsteel woven ‘twixt the sighs. Gleny the Torch Singer signals the close of the curtain on ‘Miss You When You’re Near’.

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

Gleny Rae Virus and her Tamworth Playboys. Beyond Horisontal (Vitam)

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!).