Liner notes for a new CD.


And other songs by Derek Strahan

SPECIAL THANKS - to Sean Peter of AutoPilot Productions for the digital remastering. Sean is himself an accomplished composer/writer with an impressive track record, including several stage musicals, children's' music, film, many TV and radio jingles. Since graduating with a composition major from Southern Cross University, Sean has worked as a sound designer, sound engineer, and composer/lyricist for many of Australia's leading arts companies including the Sydney Theatre Company, Company B, Junction Theatre, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Sydney Opera House and the ABC.

It was a pleasure to work with Sean on the digital remastering of these analogue song tapes. His generous contribution extended beyond the technical skills of a recording engineer. He also gave valuable creative input during the process of adding musical components to the original recordings. All percussion tracks and special effects were created by Sean; he also created the entire virtual rock band for "Road Statistic"; and it was his brilliant idea to back "Domino Rag" with a German band - giving my bass line to a tuba, and adding exotic percussion.


The 20th century produced its share of singer-songwriters, and I acknowledge stylistic influences as follows: in the late 50s and 60s I admired several Gallic chansonniers, especially Georges Brassens (French) and Jacques Brel (Belgian), who wrote original lyrics combining satire and sentiment. Brassens also created ballad settings of French poetry - prompting my settings of verse by Robert Herrick and by sJames Joyce. In the 50s Tom Lehrer was a solitary satirist, but by the 60s and 70s the English-speaking world had caught up with European trends and singer-songwriters emerged in the UK and North America. Their work began to infiltrate and then dominate pop music: artists as diverse as Chuck Berry, Lennon-McCartney, Donovan, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan (to mention only several).

In an earlier era Noel Coward was also part of this auteur tradition, and he reinvented himself in 1955/56 recycling his 30s cabaret songs for Las Vegas audiences. Singing point material is 70% acting, and the Coward influence combines with French style in my 3 early Brit-bashing efforts "Keep Britain Beautiful", "Caroline" and "Smiling Portraits". The astute listener will hear other influences, accents and modes of address assumed throughout. The lyrics of several of my songs on this CD are specific to their period: "Instant Speed" and "Domino Rag" to the 70s the latter being about Vietnam.


All music & lyrics by Derek Strahan (except lyrics to Track 12, which were written (quoted?) by James Joyce in his epic novel "Ulysses", and Track 22, which is a setting of the poem written in the 17th century by Robert Herrick)

Click on linked title to listen to song.

1. TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER (1970) - Voice, harmonica, guitar, bass, percussion & silly FX. (3.34)

2. AGE OF THE ARTIFICIAL MAN (1974) - Voice, guitar, bass. (3.27)

3. TAKE TIME OFF FOR YOUR CHILDREN (1970) - Voice, harmonica, guitar, french horns, bass. (2.46)

4. CAIN (1970) - Voice, two harmonicas, guitar, bass, percussion. (2.34)

5. GOIN' HOME (1974) - Voice, guitar, bass, percussion. (3.43)

6. IT'S ALL HAPPENED BEFORE (1970) - Voice, guitar, bass, choir. (3.50)

7. DOMINO RAG (1970) - Voice, guitar, tuba, percussion. (3.13)

8. THE PURITAN (1970) - Voice, guitar, bass. (3.20)

9. TOAD (1974) - Voice, guitar, bass. (3.34)

10. ROAD STATISTIC (1970) - Voice, harmonica, guitar, Sean's virtual rock band. (2.47)

11. CHAIN REACTION (1974) - Voice, guitar, bass, percussion, choir, organ, strings & apocalyptic FX. (2.58)

12. MARY JANE (1974) - Voice, guitar, marimba, triangle, bass. (1.59)

13. *THE BALLAD OF JOKING JESUS (Words by James Joyce from "Ulysses") (1960) - Voice, guitar, flute, double bass. (1.38)

14. MOUNTAIN AND RAIN (1970) - Voice, guitar, bass. (2.36)

15. CROSS TO THE OTHER SIDE (1970) - Voice, guitar (2.22)

16. SOLDIERS (1974) - Voice, guitar (2.17)

17. HEAR, HEAR (1970) - Voice, harmonica, guitar, bass & silly FX. (2.01)

18. MR. SMITH (1970) - Voice, guitar, cello & strings (3.23)

19. INSTANT SPEED (1970) - Voice, two harmonicas, guitar, bass. (3.14)

20. TRANSPORT STRIKE BLUES (1970) Voice, harmonica, guitar, bass. (2.33)

21. HERE TODAY, GONE TOMORROW Voice, guitar, bass, (2.02)

22. *TO THE VIRGINS TO MAKE MUCH OF TIME (1961) (Words by Robert Herrick) - Voice, guitar, double bass. (1.50)

23. KEEP BRITAIN BEAUTIFUL (1961) - Voice, guitar, clarinet (3.45)

24. *SMILING PORTRAITS (1961) - Voice, guitar, double bass (3.45)

25. *"CAROLINE" (1961) - Voice, guitar, flute, double bass. (4.18)

*Tracks originally released on vinyl in London on The Living EP TLD 002, 1960, under the title "Gather Ye Rosebuds". Permission was obtained to use the words of James Joyce in "The Ballad Of Joking Jesus".

Total duration: 74.19

Glossary notes:

Australian place names: (Track 1) Tullamarine Airport is the major air terminal for the city of Melbourne; Martin Place is a pedestrian mall in the city of Sydney; Lake Burley Griffin is in the city of Canberra, home of the Federal Government. (Track 19) The blues epilogue mentions suburbs throughout Sydney: Hornsby, North Sydney, Botany, "the Cross", meaning King's Cross, an inner city precinct specialising in erotic entertainment.

Australian slang: (Track 8) "Wowser". The word originally meant teetotaller, but came to mean, in the generic sense, a puritan - one who seeks to prevent others from enjoying themselves.

Forgotten technology: (Track 11) Remember "transistors"? They've been replaced by "chips" which are easier to rhyme, but hadn't been invented when I wrote "Chain Reaction".

Forgotten history: (Track 6) President Diem, Madame Nu, & Lon Nol were high profile politicians in South Vietnam during the Vietnam war. Better remembered are President Nixon and Generalissimo Chiang kai-Shek.


Original analogue tapes: Recording engineer, Tracks 13, 22, 24, 25 (1960) Derek All Leather Parsons; other tracks - composer's tapes (1960-74).

Pre-production: digital remastering - additional recording & sound design, November 2001 - Sean Peter, AutoPilot Productions.

Digital pre-mastering conversion: Tim Greig, Sonamax

Manufactured by: mad CDs, Phone: (02) 9572 9669

Cover Art & Typesetting: Guthrie Watson, Catapult Online

Cover models: Amanda Holdsworth, Derek Strahan, Captain Xog

Producer: Derek Strahan, for Revolve Pty. Ltd.