Jimmy Barnes Double Happiness track by track
EJ Barnes 'Settle For Me'
Eliza Jane has sung with me a lot over the
years at different times. She's not really a rock
'n' roll singer. She's got her own thing
happening which is different to what I do. It's
more acoustic and sweet and gentle. 'Settle
For Me' was one of the first songs she wrote
back in high school. Because she's my daughter
I think I could relate to EJ's songs and try to
find where I could fit with her sweet tone. It
was difficult but a great thing to do. It was
produced by Mark Lizotte and he kept it really
simple and beautiful. Mark also wrote the
string part and that brought another element
in. It reminds me of 'Ode to Billy Joe' and it's
an absolute credit to EJ.
John Farnham 'When Something Is Wrong With My Baby'
For two years in the '70s the only thing I
listened to was Sam and Dave. Sam Moore was
an incredible influence on me and everyone
else who sings soul music. I know for a fact
that Bon Scott's favourite singer was Sam
Moore. You can hear the similarities in the
tones in the way they sing. So at the time it
was a natural choice for me to pick this Sam
and Dave song for Soul Deep. I used to sing it
in Cold Chisel with Mossy. It was great to work
with John, he is an incredible singer. To bring
the track up to date I sent it to producer Don
Gehman. I wanted to add a lot more of the
grit back onto the record. Don added live
drums and remixed the track and also pulled in
some of the other vocals that were there. It's a
lot more in your face.
Jackie Barnes 'Same Woman'
I started this song a while back about this
friend of ours who is a really beautiful girl.
I wanted to write a song and let her know how
gorgeous she is. I finished writing the song
with a friend of mine, Glen Cunningham, one
afternoon. I had been doing the song live in
our acoustic shows and more recently Jackie
has been singing it generally he plays
percussion and does backing vocals. We get a
great reaction every time we play it live. People
really like me doing a duet with my son too.
I'd done a duet with the girls. He had played
drums on Mahalia's track, and he played drums
on Elly May's track and percussion on
Mahalia's track but he hadn't had the
opportunity to sing. He was under a lot of
pressure. Jackie hasn't sung much at all just
backing vocals really. But with his sisters
already on there, the pressure was on.
Especially Mahalia she's a bit bossy, she will
say ‘Let's see how he goes'. But Jackie was
terrific. He's got a real charm about his voice.
It was one of the joys of the record getting to
sing with my son.
Diesel 'Still Got A Long Way To Go'
This is a song that goes back to the Flesh and
album and is a really good example of
the acoustic, organic soul feel that is one of
the common threads through the record. I
really liked the soulful feel of the track and it's
something that diesel does really well. Diesel is
all over this album. He's written a bunch of
tracks and played guitar on more than half the
album and also produced quite a few of them.
Joe Cocker 'Guilty'
There was a singer I'd worked with a few
times. I'd supported him with Cold Chisel and
as a solo artist. He's an amazing singer and
he's a guy I felt so much for because he's
continually reinventing himself Joe Cocker. I
could tell by listening to him that he has the
same influences I did. I knew that Joe was
managed by Roger Davies, who was a friend of
mine, and I'd always wanted to sing with Joe. I
contacted Roger to see if Joe wanted to do a
duet and thank God he did. It was just a
matter of finding a song. I used to sing 'Guilty'
with Cold Chisel. It's a Randy Newman song
and I knew Joe sang it live, he may have even
recorded it. Lyrically and emotionally it suited
the two of us down to the ground so I flew to
LA about 1991. I sing loud, but I've got to tell
you I've never heard a singer who sings as loud
as Joe Cocker. This guy has huge, rich, full
sounds, and when he opened his mouth I
was immediately intimidated. But he's such a
great guy and a great character that I got
over that. I loved doing it. This was one of the
old duets I wanted to bring on the record
because Joe is such a strong influence on me
and an inspiration.
Elly-May Barnes 'I'll Be There'
'I'll Be There' is a song I've been doing with
my youngest daughter Elly-May. Mahalia and
EJ were doing songs on the record and I
thought I'd do one with Elly-May just to
include her and maybe use it for a B-side.
First off she said, 'I don't do B-sides' which I
thought was commendable. Within a few hours
the song started to take shape. I'm a huge fan
of the Jackson 5 and Elly-May is too.
Lyrically I thought it was a great song to sing
with your daughter we'll always be there for
each other. Her singing was fantastic and we
got Ian Moss to play on it. By the end of the
day I realised that this wasn't going to be a
B side.. it was a song that just had to be on
The Badloves 'The Weight'
We didn't touch this track. I recorded ‘The
Weight' with a band out of Melbourne - The
Badloves for the Flesh And Wood
1993. I grew up listening to The Band and I've
been singing 'The Weight' for as long as I can
remember. It's the kind of song that people
sang at parties where I grew up. So, when I
got together with The Badloves I thought that
song would suit them down to the ground.
I think this track really captured a mood of the
time and it's become a live favourite. It had to
be on this record.
Troy Cassar-Daley, featuring Bella 'Bird On A Wire'
A couple of people I respected who were
totally unrelated had been telling me that I
should do something with Troy for awhile.
I'd heard his records and I really liked them but
our paths had never crossed. We finally met at
the Gympie Muster, and for those people who
don't know, the Gympie Muster is a major,
major event in music in Australia. We both
played there and there was a crowd of about
75,000 and the vibe is just great. I got invited
to play last year, and I think it one of the first
times they've ever invited a rock 'n' roll act.
Anyway, I'm up there doing my thing and
there's like 40,000 cowboy hats getting tossed
in the air. We're having a great time and I'm
singing away and I look across side of stage
and see this guy having a good time as well
and twigged that it's Troy. I finished the set
and I'm sweat-drenched. He comes up and
introduces himself. We shake hands and then
he's trying to get away 'cause he's trying to be
polite. I said, 'I need to talk to you. I'll give
you a call'. He looked at me like, 'Yeah, right'.
First thing Monday morning I rang him and
said, 'I want to do a duet'. We exchanged CDs
and tapes over about two weeks. Finally, Troy
said what about 'Bird On A Wire'. I knew the
Johnny Cash version and I said, 'Sure I'll have a
go at it'. Troy came down to my studio here
and we knocked a version together, It was
pretty good. Then we were invited to perform
the song live at the Country Music Awards in
Tamworth, and I've always wanted to go to
Tamworth. So, we were at rehearsals and I
wanted to get my girls to come and sing
backing vocals. Troy mentioned some friends,
a vocal group called Bella, who are awesome
singers. Well we got up on the night and it's
very exciting to be part of the awards, I get
out on stage and it's the Chambers family all
along the front row. It was a special moment.
Nash came out the back afterwards and said.
'I would have really loved to have produced
the track'. In my own mind I thought we had
recorded the song a bit too low, so we went up
to Nash's studio and recut it from scratch and
it's turned out beautifully. The Bella girls live
on the Central Coast too and so they came on
up and added the harmonies. Music that's
over-produced tends to date but music that is
understated with a lot of depth tends to last.
Smoky Dawson 'Cold, Cold Heart'
One of the great moments in my life was
hooking up with a person who is a great singer
and has been a legend in this country for 50
years Smoky Dawson. Smoky is one of those
characters that has survived everything. When I
met up with him in 1991 Buzz Bidstrup, who
used to be the drummer in The Angels, was
producing an album for him and he asked me
if I'd do a duet with Smoky. Once I'd met him,
I jumped at the opportunity to record with
him. We did a Hank Williams song, 'Cold Cold
Heart'. I thought it would suit the two voices
his vibrato and his little yodelling bits. I saw
him recently and told him I was putting this
track on the record and he was chuffed. He's
92 now and his wife is 99. He came up from a
really tough childhood but he is a bona fide
legend; he had the Smoky Dawson ranch and
the TV show and the fan club. This track was
never on a record of mine and I really wanted
it to be on this record for a number of reasons
but, to be honest, mostly because when I met
Smoky Dawson I became a better person.
Dallas Crane 'Sit On My Knee'
I really liked the sound of Dallas Crane's
records. I spoke to the record company and
said I'd really like to do a duet with this band.
I met with Dave Larkin, the singer, and we hit it
off. Once again it was a matter of finding a
song. They're on the Alberts label and they
have a great sense of the history of Australian
music so we thought about covering an AC/DC
song. But there was a song on Dallas Crane's
album that they also used to finish their
live set with and I really loved it. It had a lot of
power and I loved the interplay with the
guitars. I went down to the Annandale Hotel in
Sydney and saw them play live and they blew
my head off. They're one of the great
Australian rock 'n' roll bands. We went to
Alberts studios and had a great time. We didn't
do anything different to the song than they
did before they rock, and I just wanted to
sing with them.
Mahalia Barnes 'Gonna Take Some Time'
Mahalia, my eldest daughter has been singing
in my band for six or seven years, ever since
she was a kid. Mahalia has been an influence
on me over the years. She's been right into R&B
music which I didn't know a lot about
D'Angelo. India Arie and people like that she
has turned me on to. As much as I've been
pushing her towards heavy music and the dark
side of the Force, she's had her own bands
playing soul music. You start out thinking
you're gonna teach your kids about music and
they end up teaching you! I had to do a duet
with Mahalia so it was a matter of finding a
song. For the last six to eight months Mahalia
has been singing 'Gonna Take Some Time'
and I'd been relegated to backing vocals. It
was a song I really liked and she sang it like a
demon. It seemed like a natural choice, we got
Mark to produce. I told him to listen to the
early Faces and the Rolling Stones' Exile on
driving acoustic guitars and open
tuning and Hammond organ and tunings like
that. I named Mahalia after Mahalia Jackson.
From the minute she was born I've been
brainwashing her with gospel music and Ray
Charles and Aretha Franklin and now I'm
seeing it pay off. I had to keep my wits about
me duetting with her on this record. She's
an incredible singer.
When I heard Andrew Roachford's records I
thought he was great &3151; this melodic, acoustic,
organic sounding rock. It sounded like white
pop songs with a black singer, which I've
always been fond of. Roachford came out here
and we met up and hit it off. We were just
hanging out. At that point I thought I'd
wound up my album, and all of a sudden
Roachford is hanging around the house having
a cup of tea. I said, ‘We should write a song
for the album'. So Mark, myself and he sat at
the piano and wrote a song and it came up
just great. I think he's one of the most
soulful people I know.
Mica Paris 'Run'
This was a song that Warren Costello from
Liberation wanted me to do. The demo he
played me was phenomenal. Of course it was a
song written by Diesel. He'd written it with a
songwriter and producer named Gerry DeVeaux
who's done lots of great R&B stuff in Europe.
I spoke to Gerry and said, ‘Could we do this as
a duet?' And he said, ‘You must do it with
Mica. She was the girl on the demo'. I'd heard
her sing on TV with Jools Holland and some
other records. I always thought she was a
pretty awesome singer. It wasn't until I got to
London and hooked up with Mica that I
realised how great a singer she was. This girl is
frightening. I'd put her up there with Chaka
Kahn and Aretha Franklin as far as emotion
and power and range. It was intimidating
as well as exhilarating to sing with Mica.
This was the first track we recorded for the
album and it really set a tone for the organic
thing with acoustic guitar and Hammond
organ and powerful soul singing on a rock 'n'
John Swan 'What Will They Say...'
A couple of close friends of Mahalia's are the
boys from Kaylan Dennis and Darren Dowlut.
I'd met them through Mahalia and I really liked
them a lot. I asked them if they'd write a song
for me and I thought they might do it as a
duet with me. They studied my history they
studied Cold Chisel and all my solo records and
you can hear it in the song. Lyrically it's about
the healing process that's gone on between me
and my kids and me beating myself up with
drugs and alcohol and growing up with
alcoholic parents. There's all this depth in the
song. When they presented it to me I thought
it would be a really great song to do with my
brother, John Swan. Swanee has been the
biggest influence on my musical career and on
my life really. John was my hero when I was a
kid he was in bands, he was a boxing
champion and a soccer player and a cool guy.
I idolised John and I still do. I used to go and
sing harmonies at parties with him when I was
a kid. When I was 13, John played in bands
and I carried his snare drum so I could get into
licensed gigs. He's always encouraged me. John
was asked to join Cold Chisel before me and he
was too busy, so they got me. He was playing
Sly and the Family Stone when I was listening
to the Archies. For some reason we've never
recorded together, so the album of duets came
up and this was the opportunity to record
something we both really loved. We got in the
studio with Dennis and Darren producing and
asked Ian Moss to play guitar. You can pick
him a mile away, it's really beautiful. The boys
had definite ideas about the vocal
arrangement, but Swanee and I have been
doing this for a long time and it's very tough
to tell us how to sing. We're stubborn bastards.
But Dennis and Darren had the balls to tell us,
‘We need you to sing it like this'. It's very
touching and very emotional.
Tim Rogers 'Out of Time'
I'm a big fan of Tim's but I hadn't met him
before this. I bought the Temperance Union
album and I really loved that. He's a really great
guy with a great sense of humour and a great
sense of music. He sings with a lot of emotion
and gets inside a lyric that I really like. I really
liked him a lot. He's an amazing songwriter.
This has been one of my favourite tracks since I
was a kid. I played the Chris Farlowe song to
death. Our version is a bit more Jagger and
Richards, who wrote it. It still has that rawness.
When we broke it down without the strings and
backing vocals, you realise what a well-crafted
song it is. It's so scathing too. It's a really cold,
bitter lyric with a really sweet melody and I like
that. We got in there with the Dallas Crane
boys and Paul McKercher producing and
finished it in one day. Getting to know Tim was
one of the highlights of the record.
Diesel 'Got You As A Friend'
I thought long and hard that if we're doing
new tracks it wouldn't be complete unless I got
to do one with Mark. He's one of my favourite
players, my favourite people and he's family.
We've done countless gigs together. Mark had
just written this song and he is someone I have
complete faith in. He knows exactly what I'm
capable of and when he suggested the song I
said 'fine, let's go with it'. It's a song about
friendship and Mark is one of my very best
friends. This is just a beautiful song.
Tina Turner '(Simply) The Best'
This was a gift from heaven. I remember seeing
Ike and Tina Turner at the Apollo Stadium in
Adelaide in about 1975 and the hairs on the
back of my neck stood up. An electric
frontwoman and a powerful singer. So when
Tina came back under the guidance of Roger
Davies it was amazing and the Rugby League
started using Tina and this song as their theme,
which was an incredible idea. It brought the
game into a new era and also opened the game
up to women. The Rugby League wanted to
freshen the song up a bit and bring in an
Australian singer. They came and asked me to
be involved. They flew me to Amsterdam.
Diesel came with me and played guitar. It was
a couple of days in the studio and it was
incredible. She was powerful and sexy and
really compassionate. It was one of the great
moments of my life singing with Tina Turner.
We became friends and I've toured with her
overseas and we get on really well. I am so
blessed to sing with her and there was no way
I wasn't going to put this on the record.
The Living End 'Resurrection Shuffle'
The Ashton, Gardner and Dyke original is a
really great song and I've been playing it live
for a long time. When I was looking at doing
some new duets for this album I'd met Chris
Cheney and the guys from The Living End.
They came to some of the Cold Chisel Ringside
shows. I already had a lot of respect for this
band. I loved Chris's guitar playing and the
upright bass. They have a breakneck energy.
Chris is a phenomenal guitar player, and
Jimbob and Andy are great too. I approached
them about a duet and they were really keen.
We thought about doing one of the great
rockabilly songs there were a lot of songs we
could have done. I suggested 'Resurrection
Shuffle' and I thought I'd love to hear the band
doing it. I sent them the song and they loved
it. They got to the studio a couple of hours
earlier than me and learned the tune. I got
there and we played it just once. All the
sounds were good so we played it again and
that was it. It was done. It was the fastest
session I've ever done. The energy between the
three of them and me and producer Paul
McKercher was phenomenal. Wam, bam,
thank you ma'am!
Tina Harrod 'Piece Of My Heart'
I recorded this song on my first album. I've
heard a lot of people try it over the years and
they generally try to copy Janis Joplin which
is impossible. I wanted to do this track with
Tina and she took it somewhere completely
different. It opened up a whole new range of
places for me to go with it. I owe a lot to the
fact that Tina Harrod was on the track, that
she is such an incredible singer. So there were
three reasons for doing this track. One, I'm a
huge fan of hers. Two, I knew that she would
bring something special to the record. And
three, I wanted people who like my voice to
hear her. She's like this diamond or rare jewel
that people don't yet know about. She should
be a household name. It was a labour of love
and a pleasure.
INXS 'Good Times'
This was recorded for a tour called Australian
Made that I did with INXS. At the time there
were a lot of overseas bands coming out here
and my manager at the time thought it would
be a good idea to put together a tour with
Australian acts on that same scale. I've known
INXS since way back when… they used to
support Cold Chisel when we first started. So it
seemed like a good idea to tour together.
We've always been mates. Glenn A Baker sent
in some suggestions for songs to record.
Obviously the Easybeats were a great Australian
rock 'n' roll band and we liked the idea of
doing one of their tunes. The story was that
the Easybeats were recording in London and
The Small Faces were in the next studio.
Stevie Marriott heard Stevie Wright singing
and liked it and they got on and did this
song together. I went for that. That's me.
We recorded it and wrote and recorded the
B-side and did the filmclip all in one day
(and a mind destroying evening).
The collaboration between us all was really
something. It was a song I had to put on
Billy Thorpe 'Shout'
Billy's got this picture of himself at about
age 14 singing ‘Shout' on TV with Johnny
O'Keefe and the Bee Gees doing backing
vocals. Billy always said that when he
started out he didn't want to be Elvis, he
wanted to be Johnny O'Keefe. He was the
original Wild One. When I was 14, I wanted
to be Billy Thorpe. I used to be down the
front singing along to 'Ooh Poo Pah Doo'.
I idolised Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs. So
we've kind of linked the traditions. This
session was all about paying tribute to
Johnny O'Keefe, so we got the Delltones
who were on the original sessions in to do
backing vocals. Thorpie was like a bull at a
gate. He turned up and said, ‘If we can't do
this live we're not worth a piece of shit', and
he was right. We nailed it in two takes. Billy
is an incredible powerhouse and I learned a
lot from his 40 years of experience. He's not
pushy but he's not shy either. We've taken
the track back more towards the Isley
Brothers original feel which is more churchy
and gospel than JO'K but definitely his spirit
is in there.
David Campbell 'Wichita Lineman'
David has been really busy lately with the
radio and TV things he's been doing, so I
hadn't seen him in awhile. He came to see
Mahalia sing one night and soon after
that he popped over. He listened to what
we've been doing on the album and he
really liked it. Having David on Double
really completes the family
circle by having him join his sisters and
brother, Swanee, and also diesel who
actually produced this track. It's always
really great to sing with David… in fact
we have sung together in the past. I got
up at the encore of Shout!
one night at
the Rainbow Room in New York because he
had asked me to join him on stage, but
we've never actually recorded together.
Our tones are really similar. He's richer in
some tones and I'm more powerful in
others so our voices really blend well.
There's always an instinctual thing when
you sing with family. ‘Wichita Lineman' is
a song that I've loved forever… it's one
that I always have in my car. I really like
the Glen Campbell version that everyone
knows, but Johnny Cash did a cover a few
years back that really captures the lonely,
isolated feel of the lyric and I wanted to
incorporate some of that. I sing the first
verses sort of lonely and desperate and
then David comes in to give it some
enthusiasm and hope.
Rahsaan Patterson 'Say It Ain't So'
My daughter Mahalia met Rahsaan in a club one
night and Rah came back to my place. I was
away at the time but Rahsaan knew who I was
and said he wanted to meet me. A couple of
years later he came back to tour. We were having
a dinner party one night and Mahalia turns up
with Rahsaan in tow. We hit it off really well. He
was doing a show the next night at the
Basement and I went down with Mica Paris who
knew Rashaan from previous encounters. He's an
unbelievable singer. We're watching Rahsaan and
it was frightening. Of course, halfway through
the set he says, 'I've got a friend here I'd like to
get up and sing'. I'm thinking. 'Please not me.'
And he says, 'Mica Paris'. The two of them are
tearing the place apart. Then he said, 'I've got
another friend I'd like to get up Jimmy Barnes.
It was sheer panic on my part. Later on I said,
‘I'm doing this album of duets and I'd love to do
a duet with you. I think it was destined to be
that way'. So we got together with
writer/producer Jarrad Rodgers in the studio at
my home one afternoon and wrote and recorded
this song. I had some lyrics in a lyric book I
keep. I had an idea for a song along the lines of,
'I want to leave before you do because I don't
want to see you walk out'. One of my usual
paranoid lyrics. Rashaan was working on some
very sweet vocals and they were working on the
melody of the track. My idea of the lyric was
angrier than they were approaching it. I was
hanging back and letting them do their thing
and then finally I said, 'Keep that bit you've got
and let me do this piece here'. The two parts
married really well and before we knew it we had
'Say It Ain't So' which I think is one of the more
unusual tracks on the album, but one of the
better tracks as well.
Juanita Tippins 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough'
This is from the original Soul Deep
I recorded it on Soul Deep but not as a duet.
The song was originally recorded by Marvin
Gaye and Tammi Tyrell and it's a really difficult
song to sing as a solo singer. It was one of
those things every time I heard the record I
was thinking, 'Where's my Tammi Tyrell?'
Mahalia has been working with Juanita Tippins
who is an unbelievable singer. I really liked the
original sessions but it should have been done
as a duet, so I got Juanita into the studio and
recorded her vocals. Then I sent it over to Don
Gehman who produced Soul Deep
remixed it using my original vocals and sent it
back to us. Juanita should be better known,
as she's one of the great, emerging soul
singers in this country and it was an honour
to sing with her.
Gary Pinto 'Higher'.
I recorded 'Higher' with a great singer named
Gary Pinto. I met Gary through my kids and my
old bass player Michael Hegarty. 'Higher' was a
song on Gary's album written by Diesel and
Gary. I wanted to do a duet with Gary quite a
while ago and we redid that song with my band.
He's one of my all time favourite singers in this
country and one of my all time favourite people.
We released it a couple of years ago but it didn't
get the attention that it deserved then' so I hope
this time around more people will get to hear it.
Back to Jimmy Barnes feature.