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Graham Greene - Club Voodoo

Graham Greene - Club VoodooTen years ago, I was on my way to see Emerson, Lake & Palmer at Manchester Apollo.  A friend who was travelling separately handed me an unmarked cassette with the instruction to listen to it on the journey.  Off I set on the short journey across the Pennines intrigued by what the tape contained and, wow, was I blown away.  Powerful guitar dominated, clearly music to be played at volume 11 on a 1 to 10 scale.  Whilst it was powerful, melody was far from forgotten and 30 miles later I was sold on it.  What the hell is this, I asked, the answer being Joe Satrianiís The Extremist.

So what has this to do with Graham Greene?  Having just gone to bed in the now early hours of the morning I decide to listen to just one track (on headphones) off Club Voodoo, Grahamís latest album and then get some sleep.  17 tracks and almost 74 minutes later I was buzzing!  Visions of a stadium packed with rock fans are easy to conjure up.  But what type of music is this?  Heavy rock?  Metal? Blues/jazz rock?  I would settle for the all-encompassing term of melodic rock as the music covers all the aforementioned with a hint of prog and is very melodic.  Like Satrianiís The Extremist, Greeneís Club Voodoo whilst being guitar led is quite diverse; for example, Vinnieís Pink Guitar opens with intricate acoustic guitar along the lines of Steve Hackettís Bay of Kings album.  The Garden Of Good And Evil (he must have seen my garden) starts with a Ďpresent dayí proggy style slipping into a Satriani sounding fast but smooth guitar semi-prog composition.  Wonderful!  The title track, Club Voodoo, has elements of Ian Anderson Tull-ish acoustic with Hackett-like sustained electric guitar in the background.  RFC97 could be a combination of Gary Moore guitar harmonies and Anderson (ŗ la Secret Life Of Birds), slow, gentle but very powerful.  Eternity is the first track to feature Donna Greenís strong, unstrained clear vocals that combine to remind me of Renaissance Mother Russia in a way. Strange Illusion is a mix of Carlos Santana and Satriani styles with a haunting melody.  Donnaís great voice can be heard again on Walk On Water.  With a voice like that Iím certain she could cover The Great Gig In the Sky whilst drinking a glass of water!  Sliders has a proggy start in a Galahad vein with ghostly voodoo wailing vocals courtesy of Donna leading to some great tempo changes.  Hopefully you can tell from this how varied the compositions are.

Now, going back to where I started waffling on about Joe Satriani, I found some tracks on The Extremist to be less appealing than others and the album, for me, got progressively weaker towards the end.  Iím happy to say that this is not the case with Club Voodoo; whilst I find it hard to pick out a favourite track, it is impossible to find a track I donít like.  On an album that is 74 minutes in length, that is quite something.

We donít often hear of Australian bands or artistes apart from maybe Kylie (who doesnít really count, sorry), Australian Pink Floyd, Men Without Hats, Bengal Tigers, Voyager, and of course Rolf Harris who has covered some well known rock epics in his own inimitable way, so it is good to find that Graham Greene hails from that very land.  Obviously, you donít become a guitar virtuoso overnight so it is no surprise to learn that Graham has been gigging professionally for twenty years now with various bands which is how he met Donna (then Donna Andrews) the lead singer and founder member of the band that was to become Judgement Day.  Late in 1994, Graham was asked to headline the W.A. Music Awards, performing some of the rock instrumentals he had been working on.  The show was at the prestigious His Majestyís Theatre and the ten-piece band he put together for the concert became the first incarnation of Graham Greene and The Happy Sinners (named after a track that appears now on Club Voodoo).  Grahams full bio is available on his website (see foot of page).

Graham plays all the instruments on Club Voodoo with Donna contributing her vocal skills on four tracks, the remaining track being instrumentals.  However, for live performances The Happy Sinnerís, whose line-up is always changing, are brought into service.

All things being equal, Graham Greene should be headlining large stadiums across the world, but we all know that record companies and promoters with clout are not in the least bit interested in good music.  Consequently, like so many bands these days, he had to self finance Club Voodoo and in the absence of a distributor (at the moment), you will only be able to purchase the CD via his website (using PayPal) or, if you happen to live in Perth, W.A. some select record shops.  Get it while you can!

To get a taster, check out some MP3 samples via Graham's website or at MP3.com.  There again, why waste time downloading when you can buy the CD?

Jem Jedrzejewski (unfortunately not the chap in the picture!)

Graham Greene Official Website

 

 

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