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Braithwaite: still taking the right chances
By BEVAN HANNAN
I look out upon where the mountains
turn to sand
I haven't seen a place like this in any
I stand on the other side, my feet against the wall
The smile is written on my face I know that I won't fall
— Daryl Braithwaitc, Higher Than
DARYL Braithwaite's climb from
the music scrap heap back to the forefront of the rock industry is a story firmly etched in Australian music
Just like fellow former teen-idol John Farnham, Braithwaite's comeback has been an inspiration to the Aussie cul ture's beloved underdog and a theme which is saluted in his second solo suc . cess Rise.
While his fairy-tale has been told over and over since he returned to the spot light with best seller Edge in 1987, the main support character behind the resur ! rection has sat coyly in the background.
Braithwaite, 41, enlisted relative un • known Simon Hussey to produce Edge
and in most references the choice was described as a gamble.
Hussey, who co-wrote Australian Crawl's Reckless, was working as a Han sard reporter transcribing court case evi . dence for legal records when approached
to steer the Edge project. Their two back " grounds are contrasting to say the least,
Braithwaite a former king of pop and
Daryl Braithwaite: his comeback is etched in Australian music folklore.
frontman of '70s supergroup Sherbert and Hussey whose association with the industry has been more of a hobby as he has continued his job at the courts in between producing records.
But the strange mix has built a near indestructible platform, launching two best selling albums and a style of music that appeals to ears of every age bracket.
"Specifically both albums were made for myself and Simon Hussey," Braith waite told Good Times.
"We didn't entertain the thought of who it would appeal to, we obviously weren't blind to the fact it would appeal to people around my own age 35 or 30. For the first album what mattered most was that we were pleased and satisfied.
"A year or two before I did Ed§e I was doing some demos and he came into the studio to do some drum programing. We got to chatting and I really liked him as a person and his thoughts on music.
"I heard a few his demos which were of Australian Crawl and they sounded bril
"He had never actually produced any thing album wise. The only thing he had ever done was Cats Under Pressure which was a duet with David Reyne.
"As I got closer to securing a deal in 1987 I approached him to produce the album and after quite a lot of hassling he said yes."
Hussey was naturally apprehensive about accepting the offer, not just be cause it was his first major assignment, but due to the added pressure of having the success or failure of a high profile figure hanging over his head.
He has also played on the two albums and was joined by several distinguished names on Rise including Farnham, guitar legend Tommy Emmanuel, Graeme Strachan and Margaret Urlich.
WHILE similarities can be struck be
tween the careers of Farnham,
Braithwaite and ex-Skyhooks lead singer Strachan their friendships aren't as close as most people believe.
"We're not involved socially, more on a work basis," Braithwaite said.
"The closest would be Graeme Stra chan, who I've known for several years and admire his talents. The bond we all have is from coming out of the same area and having respect for each other.
"Graeme was in recording the last Sky hooks album when he said if you ever want me to sing he's available but he said it really half-hearted — like a joke. But I thought 'hey we could make good use of
It is Urlich's vocals which has helped ' lift The Horses to the head of the charts and the emotion Braithwaite extracts from his voice is an attribute he has only gained in the past few years.
He says his period in limbo after the demise of Sherbert in 1983 was when his singing had to be closely reassessed, and proved to be the main turning point of
"I felt lacking in a few departments and one of them was singing," he recal
"I was singing alright notewise and all that but my interpretation wasn't right. I did go to a guy who was more or less like
a psychologist. He asked me 'Why do you want to sing?' Ten weeks later I. had learnt a lot more about myself and why I sing."
When Good Times spoke to Braith waite he was awaiting confirmation of an eight-week European tour with Rod Stewart, a far cry from the fledgling days
of Sherbert when he recalls them once being howled from the stage.
"A lesson 1 learned early in the piece was when we were playing support to
Creedence Clearwater Revival in Mel bourne in 171," Braithwaitc said.
"We had a single out at the time Free the People which had a bit of radio air play.
"I made one of my biggest mistake. We were into the second last song and about to start the last and you could see the people were agitated because they wanted to see Creedence.
"I said we'd like to finish off with this sorig. Before I could even get out what song it was people were cheering — like for us to get off."
Braithwaite has written two songs on Rise and he has pledged to step-up his writing output for the next album.
"It's imperative I do," he said. "It's something personal. I have to take a chance and see if it works."
And Braithwaite is making a habit of taking the right chances.
Datyl Braithwaite's The Horses tour stops at the Raiders Nightclub, Quean beyan Leagues Club, on Tuesday, sup ported by Ana Christensen. Tickets $13.50.