Australian Exclusive Release - Think of Bowie channeling Sinatra, fronting Blood, Sweat & Tears (playing Chicago covers) and you might get an idea of what Kush sounded like! Fronted by the androgynous and enigmatic Jeff Duff and backed by a startlingly original progressive octet, Kush’s 1974 debut album is one of the all-time classic Australian LP’s (includes the singles ‘Easy Street’, 'McArthur Park’ and 'Wait’ - and the epic 'Christopher John’). One of the most requested titles in the Aztec Music reissue series, Kush Presents Snow White. And the Eight Straights has been digitally remastered from the original tapes and boasts 8 bonus tracks: including 3 amazing live in the studio Chicago covers, 4 non-LP sides and an hilarious 1973 interview with Jeff Duff. This deluxe reissue is packaged in a 6 panel digipak, with a 24 page book containing many rare photos and extensive liner notes by Ian McFarlane…………
This is a re-release of a classic album from Melbourne Australia circa 1974. I used to listen to my parent’s old vinyl copy of it as a child, found a copy of the newly released CD in a bargin bin, and it has been a real joy to rediscover it as an adult.
There are so many styles on this album that it is hard to classify. I guess the defining sound of Kush would be lead singer Jeff Duff’s powerful, gruff voice (reminds me a little if Ian Dury), and funky horn section ala Chicago (they covered “Does anybody really know…” on this album, BTW).
However, the band also extends itself into full-blown progressive rock in songs like “Christopher John Suite” (which reminds me of something King Crimson or Yes might have done at that period). Check out the lush mellotrons and flutes! The fantastic “Satanic Deity” has flavours of Blue Oyster Cult or even Herbie Hancock, with a great extended middle section best described as progressive funk.
Contrast this with a song like “Easy Street” which is 12-bar rock song. I also love “Alright in the City” - a song that could be home on a Stevie Wonder or Earth Wind and Fire album, with it’s densely complex horns making a cutting interplay with Duff’s voice. And yes, it does have a cover of Mcarthur Park - done pretty straight up. I find this song listenable but unessential….ByJ. Ewing……..
One of the greats in the Australian music industry Jeff Duff with his one and only sound that only he can give you, enjoy a good time listening as I did….ByAlfred Lux……….
“Snow White and the Eight Straights”: the first Kush album. The title is from a review by Molly Meldrum of a live performance of the artists. It has absolutely nothing at all to do in the slightest with growing snow white marijuana hindu kush seed. This could be a great party album – something to keep going round and round as the guests arrive. They’ll all be asking “Who the F*** is this?”, as they clamour for your bowls and glasses of mouth-fill. And then they’ll ask to hear that track again, and again, and so on into the socially successful night. Aside from the party mood, the brass end gets you thinking of early ’70s TV themes and film-scores. It’s pre-disco and post-psychedelia but not quite prog rock. No other bands were ever graced by such a towering and tender voice. Duff’s voice is so powerful you can almost get to the point of asking for no more. It’s interesting that in his later albums, he actually uses a different type of voice altogether: the punkish “Duffo” on his Beggar’s Banquet album, a different voice for every song on “The Disappearing Boy”, and so on and on. But we’ll reflect on that at a later time. Now for some track-by-track listening ideas … Easy Street This track reached #17 in October 1974 and stayed in the charts for 7 weeks (so it says here, with the original single). Might have had something to do with the band’s appearance on the ridiculously popular Paul Hogan Show: here. The youtube here features the infamous “fag” feed by Hogan to the 18-year-old Duff. McArthur Park I’m listening to this like anyone would or must again and again. It’s one of those recordings that open up new worlds upon every listening. The voice is astounding for a start. Every phrase of the lyric has a towering cadence, for full dramatic effect of every image in this collage. Duff’s articulation is also beautiful to listen to, even just for such a moment when he passes from an “f” to an “l” and cascades onto an “ow” just to give us a mono-syllable, a wonderfully wrapped-up gift. The words can sound silly off the page, and in the hands, or ‘cross the vocals, of most personalities. Duff doesn’t so much express the latent beauty of the words and music as he creates that beauty, in full cry. Musically, we have the Seventies in its finest, like the one that gave us “Love Story”, “Lux” soap, the power as well as the class of Boeing’s Concorde and the Seventies’ love of flying high, pineapple dacquiris all the way. More terrestrially, one appreciates here the magic of that often too momentary meeting of lyric, melody, rhythm … and personality. Personality is a word often used in a flippant way, as if it means the sum of some checks across some boxes in a silly magazine poll. Perhaps “personhood” reprises its proper meaning, but there’s something too old and subterfugal about that word. I’m thinking of the word in the way that the early British psychologist and psychical researcher Frederic Myers used it in entitling his book “Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death” (1903). What Duff gets us listening to in this and, well, hey, all his performances, is that depth of personality that survives the terrestrial, transcends the corporeal … but I fear I’m saying too much. I only mean to point out the temerity and tenderness Duffo sets off line-by-line.> I only mean to say how great it is to hear a big band of artists, a cake of musical daring and dalliance, with a very rare cherry on top……………………..
Dvuhalbomnaya Australian band formed in Melbourne in the early '70s Jeff Duff - one of the most enigmatic and controversial artists of Australia. Musically reminiscent of «Blood, Sweat & Tears» with a large bias in the vein of early progress in «Chicago». Their debut album came out in 1974, and a year later the band released a second………….
Personnel: Geoff Duff — lead vocals, percussion David Herzog — guitar Rob Matthews — bass John Ellis — alto saxophone, baritone saxophone Bill Harrower — tenor saxophone, flute Steve Ball — keyboards John Santos — trumpet Ian Hellings — trumpet Nick Lister — drums The Cookies — backing vocals (05) Ron Anderson — flute (07)
Tracklist Wait Overture Easy Street All Right In The City McArthur Park Wait Satanic Diety Christopher John Klue
Tracklist: with bonus tracks 1. Wait Overture 2. Easy Street 3. All Right In The City 4. McArthur Park 5. Wait 6. Satanic Deity 7. Christopher John Suite featuring Birth, Life, Death, Infinity 8. Klue 9. Peter Gunn (Bonus Track) 10. The Sky Is Falling (Bonus Track) 11. Can’t You Here Me Calling (Bonus Track) 12. Wait (Original Single Version) 13. Introduction (Live-In-The-Studio, 1973) 14. Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? (Live-In-The-Studio, 1973) 15. Beginnings (Live-In-The-Studio, 1973) 16. Interview with Jeff Duff