18 Oct 2010

Album Review: The A to Z Recordings

Album Review: The A to Z Recordings

By Michael Dwyer, The Age

 

THIS eight-CD box, recorded live over six years, solo or with spare accompaniment by Dan Kelly and occasionally Sian Prior, is a wonder of many layers. The first is the genius of its conception. Here, 105 alphabetically selected titles spanning decades are equals, liberated from currency, popularity and other fleeting concerns that would deem one more viable than another on any other setlist or compilation. The second is how consistently compelling that are. Old or new, hit or obscurity, narrative or abstract, each song eludes prejudice and favouritism as 105 voices take turns in your ear with a master storyteller's persuasion. Which leads to the bedrock of this wondrous treasury: the kind of ground-up craft that makes even the most familiar arrangements almost irrelevant in the immediacy of the moment. It's a greatest hits, an archival clearance, an intimate home concert and an encyclopaedic history from scripture to Shakespeare, conception to the afterlife, Jandamarra to Warney, the pub to the bedroom.

 

***** (5 Stars)