14th December, 2018
Hello Riff Raffers,
“The singer’s song will not be heard if the applause is much too loud.” (Glenn Shorrock)
Some tunes are never destined for greatness if the measure is by chart success or record sales. Without airplay what chance does it have to be a ‘chart buster’? I’m always bemused by the critics’ label of ‘one hit wonders’. When you look at their body of work they can have many fine intricate, structured tunes pleasurable to the aural senses. What is the essence of making a hit? I would suggest having the disc spun on the radio is integral. Then it’s over to the punters. They say music is in the lug hole of the listener. The lyrics penned above were by songwriter and ‘Little River Band’ frontman, Glenn Shorrock and he’s suggesting that creativity is more important than celebrity. The lyrics are taken from ‘Will You Stand With Me’, a most underrated song from Glenn’s 1982 solo album, ‘Villain Of The Peace’.
I find some irony in that this song wasn’t the lead single to push the album. Rock ‘n’ Roll Soldier’ was the first single lifted off the album and it climbed to number 39 in the ‘Top 40’. The second single was a Brian Cadd tune, ‘Angry Words’ with ‘Will You Stand By Me’ relegated to the ‘B’ side. It had no chance of making it big and yet Glenn had the power and influence he didn’t have in ‘LRB’ to lead off with it. The esteemed Australian Rock Historian, Glenn A Baker when reviewing the album for ‘Countdown’ magazine suggested that, ‘Will You Stand With Me’ was, “easily the best cut” and that’s after praising the album as a masterpiece. Even ‘Sharky’ (Glenn Shorrock) rates it up there with the best he’s ever written.
The album’s title is a play on words that represent where Glenn had pictured his standing in the ‘Little River Band’. His acrimonious exit from the band appears to be a result of three excellent songwriters endeavouring to have their tunes feature on the latest album. The artists standing with Glenn on the album are the whose who of American Country Rock. There are representatives from, ‘The Band’, ‘Little Feat’, ‘The Eagles’ and from the ‘Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’, Jimmie Fadden, who provides the mouth harp (key of ‘C’) on, ‘Will You Stand With Me’. David Lindley plays Dobro on the tune. You can hear here, ‘Sharky’.
Sharky himself has been known on occasion (well at least once) to remove the ‘Mississippi Saxophone’ from his waistcoat pocket. On ‘Little River Band’s’ inaugural album in 1975 it sees him blowing a few notes (primarily draw five and draw two on a ‘D’ harp) on his tune, ‘Statue Of Liberty’. The song had it’s beginnings in 1968 after Glenn had viewed, ‘Planet Of The Apes’ in the cinema. So inspired by the ending he wrote, Statue Of Liberty Standing in the Harbour. This is America we try a Little Harder. The song matured like a fine wine and an early version was played in 1971 by ‘Axiom’, with Brian Cadd tickling the ivories on the ABC’s television show, ‘GTK’. It has been posted recently on YouTube. When Glenn was a member of ‘Esperanto’ in 1973 they recorded a version on their album, ‘Esperanto Rock Orchestra’. Both these versions were inferior to ‘LRB’s’ as there was an absence of harmonica. Of course I would say that. In summation, the true worth of a song is in its intrinsic, artistic qualities and should never be measured on chart position or other adventitious properties.
Keep On Chooglin’ SD
Postscript: Look out for Glenn’s new album in 2019, ‘Glenn Shorrock Sings Little River Band’ live in studio and keep an eye and an ear out for a wee ‘Chrissy’ present on Soundcloud in the next few days. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you in 2019.