Welcome to the second instalment of My Top Ten with the man behind Australian rock stalwarts Dallas Crane, Dave Larkin. His White Falcon is the best lookin’ guitar in Melbourne ladies and gentlemen and along with his own voice he can certainly make it sing. Check out some of my favourite moments from Dave’s own great records: an absolute ripper of a track in “Right Under The Wind” from Dave’s Gun Street Girls self-titled (2009); some great jangle guitar interplay on “Open To Close”, from Dallas Crane’s self-titled record (2004) – a more restrained moment with a great Beatles Rubber Soul vibe; and check out the more sentimental “Sold Me”, a classic cut from Dallas Crane’s Twenty Four Seven (2000). Enough from me, enjoy Dave’s selections!
THE BEATLES White Album (1968)
The White Album for me is probably the reason I ever followed a path in the music biz. I’d play this album as a kid relentlessly, especially “Happiness Is A Warm Gun” which my mother would constantly downgrade as nothing but ‘evil rubbish’. I was, and still am, a Beatles fanatic. Nobody got close to them in the rock Pantheon. They were many years ahead of their time, and they still bring me so much joy to this day. It’s a happy place and the White Album, as chaotic as it is, is living proof of what a band, even in emotional and administrative tatters, can muster up with the right blend of genius.
WIPERS Over the Edge (1983)
Wipers were a band I discovered in parts over the years, hearing one song here, one song there, thinking to myself how good they were without ever making the full commitment to lashing out on a record. “Over The Edge” was a song I heard on a radio tribute to Kurt Cobain’s death, and I remember how hard it hit me on first listen. So raw and mean, and beautifully primal in its delivery. When I finally got my hands on the album some years later I was absolutely blown away by the incredible guitar playing and superbly crafted melodies that sat beneath the darkness of singer Greg Sage’s nonconformist bluster. It’s a regular go-to in my collection.
TELEVISION Marquee Moon (1977)
I came to hear about Television in my early twenties. I was an ardent student of Triple R’s Galactic Zoo to the point where I’d tape the show if something else came up on a Thursday afternoon, and “Marquee Moon”, all of its glorious seven minutes, was the one song I heard on that show that shifted the poles for me like no other. The clever layering of these simple guitar phrases against each other blew me away, and it became a very influential album on how Dallas Crane went about putting their songs together from there on.
TOM WAITS Rain Dogs (1985)
One of the first ever Tom Waits songs I heard was “9th and Hennepin” – a late-album spoken word number that dragged me down an alley I’d never been down before, and haven’t wanted to ever leave since. Waits’ expository penmanship and vivid recall ‘from the yellow windows of the evening train’ was enough for me go mining into an extraordinary catalogue and immerse myself in the very wonderful Waits universe, and Rain Dogs was the first official album I enjoyed a long happy marriage with. I would routinely give this album to everyone for their 21st birthday present, almost forcing his Cookie Monster-meets-Louis Armstrong warblings upon any recipient in sight. He’s not for everybody, but for me he’s the greatest American lyric writer that ever lived.
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Safe As Milk (1967)
I absolutely love the Captain! The tones on this record, and the amazing songs that make up Safe As Milk became a tour van staple for Dallas Crane over the years. His willingness to corrupt and deform pop-rock’s algorithmic blueprint makes the voyage so special. Safe As Milk for the Captain is about as ‘safe’ as it gets for his vast catalogue too. It’s a strange world of psychedelic-cubist dementia, but always the trusty go-to when the outside world is coming on a little too beige.
BEASTS OF BOURBON The Low Road (1991)
One of my favourite Australian bands of all time – the Beasts of Bourbon were largely the reason I got into the Melbourne live music scene as a late teenager. Seeing them for the first time around ‘The Belly Of The Beasts’ era in the early 1990s, the Beasts for me codified everything great about Australian rock’n roll and its trashy bourbon-soaked bluesy origins. They were beautifully loose, and torrid in melody, made special by the leaning tones of Kim Salmon’s guitar, and Tex Perkins’ irrepressible presence as one of Australia’s greatest ever frontmen.
CURTIS MAYFIELD Curtis (1970)
Curtis is a ray of light. His songs are delicate in their spiritual genesis and always talk of love. His ability to merge glorious string-laden arrangements with the black American struggle is remarkable feat, and this album stands out for me in its unique ability to give you a cuddle as you tap along to his champion boogies. I find myself particularly playing Side 1 over and over, getting lost in the golden trilogy of “The Other Side of Town”, “The Makings of You” and “We People Who Are Darker Than Blue”. It’s been a regular ‘after-a-few-wines’ album for me that I haven’t even gotten close to getting bored with yet.
ENNIO MORRICONE Peace Notes: Live In Venice (2008)
Ennio for me is probably the greatest musician in the world. He could have retired after penning the peerless “The Good, the Bad and The Ugly” theme for Italian Western filmmaking maestro Sergio Leone, but we hadn’t even heard the start of what was in the tank. His melodic stylings are so evocative, it’s hard not to utter some sort of whimper when hearing classics like “Cinema Paradiso”, “A Soldier’s Theme” and “The Mission”, which somehow didn’t win the Best Film Score Oscar at the 1987 Academy Awards. This album goes through all his glorious past with absolute style and sophistication and is a regular go-to when it’s time to zone out for an hour.
MILES DAVIS Kind Of Blue (1959)
Miles is a genius and this is arguably his finest work. Having really only come together in the studio to record Kind Of Blue in 1959 not really knowing the songs, the band’s performance on this largely improvised masterpiece is nothing short of incredible. I love this album, and it was the one album that got me interested in the very wonderful world of jazz.
BLUE OYSTER CULT Secret Treaties (1974)
Blue Oyster Cult are one of my favorite bands of all time. I rate Buck Dharma as one of the finest guitar players in rock history, and I can’t believe it took me 35 years to discover this album. Their occasional wacky-with-cheese lyrical stylings that talk about everything from girls to planets take the edge off the brilliantly arranged songs of general chaos. It marks a time when these guys would have maybe gone missing in the looming shadow of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, but it’s a fun place and definitely worth the ride if you’ve loaded up the rocket with fuel.