Music Reviews

Shel Silverstein

Ned Kelly Soundtrack

Rykodisc

My first experience with Ned Kelly, the film, was in 1970, when a seven-year old David Lee Beowulf got a hold of some film magazine (I still have it, too, but it’s in a box) containing stills from the two Mick Jagger films made at the time, Performance and Ned Kelly. Since Mick Jagger was someone I was supposed to be afraid of (kids: do your parents tell you to be afraid of someone like, say, Marilyn Manson? No? I’m not surprised, times have changed… ) I was intrigued. But since Ned Kelly was rated “R” it didn’t matter that it was a western, I couldn’t see it. And I still haven’t!

My next brush with the film was a few years ago in an issue of Natural History magazine featuring an article about 1880’s Australia, which mirrored America’s West. Ned Kelly was a notorious outlaw who robbed people and banks just like Jesse James or Billy the Kid, only Ned Kelly would, literally, wear armor to protect him from the sheriff’s bullets. He became legendary as a sort of freedom-fighter since he was the “son of a scoundrel… “

This enhanced CD (there’s a movie trailer!) contains the folky-western music of Shel Silverstein, more known to me for his strange, evil humor, sung by Waylon Jennings. The effect is very “Hollywood Western,” but it’s uniquely “Australian.” That is, the songs are about settling Australia, making the country more “western” than “exotic.” There aren’t many westerns taking place in Africa, which retains its exotic flavor. There’s also tidbits of incidental dialog from the film thrown in, so if you’re a big fan of Mick, here’s another source. Rykodisc, Shetland Park, 27 Congress St., Salem, MA 01970; http://www.rykodisc.com


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