MP3 Glenn Cardier - Rattle The Cage
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The Australian singer-songwriter's critically acclaimed breakthrough CD.
14 MP3 Songs
BLUES: Acoustic Blues, FOLK: Angry
Glenn Cardier - biography
'...Glenn Cardier has been writing and performing moving, insightful, powerful and important songs for more than thirty years. His intriguing evolution has given us something like a cross between John Prine and John Lee Hooker. With captivating presence, a commanding vocal style and a gloriously perverse point of view that produces songs which take firm hold and lingerlong, he comes dangerously close to being certified as a national treasure.' (Glenn A Baker, author/rock historian)
"You know something special is about to happen when the front row of the audience is overflowing with the headline musicians at the festival. So it was at Glenn Cardier's final concert at Chewton this year.
Glenn Cardier is somehow more than a songwriter, and an entertainer. rather, his songs are four minute pieces of theatre which paint a vivid, living scene in your mind. And there is something wicked about him too, which audiences find seductive. Is it that Scorpio thing? "
Andrew Pattison, music producer
"We'd had such a good time at the festival that Rusty and I turned around after our gig in Melbourne and drove straight back to Chewton, just in time to hear for the second time the fantastic Glenn Cardier from Sydney who made our jaws drop with his mad mix of black humour, tenderness and crafty songwriting that had every singer songwriter in the room transfixed in admiration and jealousy ! How did he do that ? "
Kavisha Mazzella, musician
' he's picked up where he left off years ago. On stage he is witty, articulate and musically inventive, effortlessly moving from bollocking barrelhouse to confessional ballads. He left them begging for more.'
(Al Ward Co-Director
Blue Mountains Festival of Folk, Roots and Blues)
Now in his fifties, Glenn Cardier makes the wry observation that 'not giving any performances for 20 years tends to stall your career in show business'. In 1999, Cardier dragged his battle-scarred '56 Martin acoustic out from under the bed. 'I found it under there along with an old slipper and my self-esteem'. He gave it a strum. The guitar had been his constant companion as he performed around Australia and Europe in the 1970's. He'd play it gentle and hard, sweat all over it, beat on it, scratching away at it's ageing finish with the heavy plectrum. It's neck was snapped accidentally while Cardier toured Australia and the Far East with the legendary Spike Milligan in 1980. It was repaired. It still played ok. Eventually, he put it away for safekeeping. Milligan became a friend and mentor, and the two kept in touch for many years.
'The business kinda wore me down too,' he said in an interview. 'You know those bands who keep on going despite the fact that their members are forever fighting with each other? Well, it was a bit like that only there was one of me!'
Cardier wanted to explore other styles of composing. He built a home studio, writing and recording anything that took his fancy. He worked as a producer, guiding the careers of up-and-comers, working out of a studio in Germany for a while. 20 years? He's a little tight-lipped about those lost years. 'Time gets away,' he says.
He'd released three 70's albums - 'Days Of Wilderness' (scoring Best New Talent), 'Only When I Laugh', and the UK produced 'Glenn Cardier'. He'd performed with the likes of Frank Zappa, Manfred Mann, Fairport Convention and even Cheech and Chong. Performed at the first two Sunbury Rock Festivals ('Playing to a naked audience really tests your concentration'). Cardier wrote 'New Born Babe' for Olivia Newton-John. He also sneakily recorded as Sydney Hill on the B side of Mojo's 'Come On Aussie, Come On'. 'Do they still have B sides?' he asks.
Onstage, between songs, he tells tales of the old days. 'It was living out a dream. I met many heroes. Like Zappa. Frank and the whole band, light show and all, performed for an audience of one. Me. I was the only one, sitting front row and centre, while he ran the band through it's entire repertoire. Mind you, I was the support act waiting for my turn to do a sound check (which never came). But hey, let's not let the truth get in the way of a good story'. And there was the time Milligan's medication sped the whole show up to half it's length. And the time...
But now it's post-millenium, and we have 'Rattle The Cage', a remarkable collection of critically-acclaimed original songs.
'...his forte is slightly, delightfully off-centre songs...' (Keith Glass, Rhythms)
'...this is a world class singer-songwriter at his strongest. A strength that only seasoned performers and seasoned writers are capable of...' (Michael Beaumont, 2NSB FM 99.3)
'...Cardier is an interesting character, a gravelly voiced singer with a stinging guitar technique and a resume that ranges from Sunbury appearances to tours with Frank Zappa, Fairport Convention...a feisty CD that deserves a far wider airing than much of the commercial pap filling radio time today...' (Mike Daly, The Age).
'...This is his first recording in over twenty years, but his trademark combination of incisive observation and skewed wit is still intact here, wrapped in a blues infused rock that shows off his seasoned voice. The years have made his voice gruffer and occasionally craggier but he hasn't lost his knack of juggling a genuinely sensitive moment with one that raises a wry smile...(Bill Holdsworth, RAVE Magazine)
In 1999, Glenn Cardier started turning up at 'open-mike' nights in pubs around Sydney. Each time he'd perform some newly written songs. 'It was like meeting up with a wayward character I'd known years ago,' he said. Gradually, the notion of a new Cardier record took shape. 'I just wanted to make a record I was happy with. I thought I could give away some copies to my family and friends as gifts. But I was very, very conscious of coming up with something substantial and contemporary. With a sense of timelessness. Initially, the thing didn't even have a bar code or any label identification!' Cardier put down the tracks in his spare time, usually in the middle of the night. 'I had a career in the 70's, but I was virtually starting again from scratch, which was both empowering and scary as hell'.
'Rattle The Cage' started taking on a life of its own. Some radio stations, after playing a track, were heartened by the strong listener response. 'They contacted me and suggested I should distribute the album more widely'.
Cardier's gigging again. He's played the Basement in Sydney, the East Coast Blues/Roots Festival, the Port Fairy Folk Festival. His live solo performances have left audiences enthralled, with a batch of new tunes that promise a powerful follow-up CD. 'My onstage style is 'whisper to a scream' stuff. And the darkest songs can be the funniest. And Glenn Cardier seems to be getting along with Glenn Cardier at last.'
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Glenn Cardier. Rattle The Cage.
'Glenn Cardier has been writing and performing moving, insightful, powerful and important songs for more than thirty years. His intriguing evolution has given us something like a cross between John Prine and John Lee Hooker. With captivating presence, a commanding vocal style and a gloriously perverse point of view that produces songs which take firm hold and lingerlong, he comes dangerously close to being certified as a national treasure.'
(GLENN A BAKER, author/rock historian)
I guess people have to have heard of you in the first place to fall into the 'whatever happened to' category, but for a while in the 1970's Cardier was a highly respected tunesmith. In Australia, unfortunately we didn't value the song or writer all that much back then, and so he hasn't so much come back as resurfaced.
His forte is slightly, delightfully off-centre songs that owe more to Tom Waits or Captain Beefheart than traditional folk sources.
Yet he knows how to make this palatable to those who might find such comparisons scary, so that the bluesy 'Rust In The Tailfin' or romping 'Shing-A-Ling' are just joyful , swampy groove pieces. 'Love Song' on the other hand, is a sensitive finger-picking muse on the mysteries of love, with some great lyrical work.
On the 14 tracks, only two side-persons are listed - on cello and accordion - so the thumping drums and gritty electric guitar must be Cardier, along with some excellent slide and acoustic guitar. Fine work all around. ..... KEITH GLASS 'RHYTHMS' , (Australia's Roots Music Monthly Magazine).
...as you probably know Beej and I do AcousticA on 2SER 107.3FM every Wednesday evening and have special guests in to perform live each week (we have had over 20 guests this year). Rarely are we as moved as we were last night. Glenn Cardier has just released his first studio album in 20 years and in a word it is exceptional. His live performance is flawless and the instruments he uses are beautiful.... Martin Contempree (CLUB ACOUSTICA, 2SER)
SUNDAY HERALD SUN Edition 1 - FIRSTSUN 03 NOV 2002, Page 096 ECLECTIC By LEE HOWARD Rattle the Cage Glenn Cardier (Independent) 3 stars In short//Rattling yarns GLENN Cardier possesses a warm, worn voice that is at once familiar and elusive. His music probably best reflects the styling and singing of Englishman Chris Rea. But where Rea is more concerned with issues at the heart of pop music, Cardier is drawing the listener into his story-driven songs. Titles such as Ringmaster Blues, Rust in the Tailfin and Sideshow Alley give fair indication that he casts his eye wide for topics. But then story songs need a sound basis for drama, power and humour. At the end of the 14 songs, the abiding question is: Where has this bloke been? The album is available from Fantastique Productions, PO Box 145, Brooklyn, NSW. Glenn Cardier plays Troubadour Weekend, at Campaspe Downs, November 15-17.
CHRIS SPENCER "KEEPING RECORDS'
Generally with this column I have tried to keep readers abreast with re-issues of older Australian music, much of which was designed to enable people to be able to listen to old music on pristine compact disc, rather than scratchy, noisy vinyl records. One artist whose work is valued by some afficionados is that of Glenn Cardier. However his records, while obscure, do not bring the same prices other artists do from the same period, in fact much of his recorded work has been ignored by most collectors of early '70s Australian rock and pop music. However his records do occasionally turn up, but finding his third album, Glenn Cardier, released in 1976 can be difficult. There was a 20 track compilation of his work released in 1991, and has been re-issued on cd as well. It's been 25 years since Cardier recorded some new material. His new album, Rattle the Cage, does not contain any of his previous recordings, but his old fans will welcome this release. Rattle the Cage will also find new friends among any music fans who like blues/ roots or rhythm and blues music. Cardier has also provided all the playing of various guitars, percussion and the occasional keyboard on the album. There's only two other musicians credited with providing alternative instrumentation - cello and piano accordion. As there is no producer credited, I assume Glenn has been responsible for that too. In this case, this is not a limitation, as some musicians need an outside opinion to provide a contrasting sounding board. Ringmaster Blues kicks off the set: it's a rollicking, bluesy jaunt with a steady beat featuring plenty of slide guitar. I am amazed at Cardier's guitar playing - never a standout on previous recordings - but it's his voice that sounds so much better. It's aged like a good wine; gruff and gravelly yet emotional. Track two, Tomorrow's Another Day, continues the interesting guitar work, with a delightful riff underpinning the sparse instrumentation. The Best Of It, Love Song Tracks 3 & 4, are more like I recall of the earlier work of Cardier - concentrating on the lyrical side of songwriting. Close Encounter with a UFO is typical of his offbeat, wry humour that typified some of his best work in the past. I prefer his upbeat songs on this album, and so Shing-a-Ling is probably my pick as the best of these. Again a driving guitar riff gives the song its appeal. Similarly the title track is another strong song. Other tracks include the evocative Hawaiian Sands, the Zydeco flavoured Rare Bird, the far too short instrumental Pas de Deux while Sideshow Alley brings the listener back to the circus theme. Cardier, like many other older Australian musicians faces an uphill task to get radio to play his new material. You won't read about his exploits in any of the teenage music press, nor are you likely to read about his work in many other publications, although it was a review in the Herald Sun that alerted me to this release. That's a pity, because this new album deserves wide exposure. Perhaps that's where the title of the cd comes from? References: Dreamers; by Paul McHenry, Moonlight Publishing, PO Box 5, Golden Square 3555 (has a chapter about the career of Glenn Cardier).
For those who came in late, Glenn Cardier is one of Australia's greatest singer songwriters. Never trendy or commercial enough to get a spot on the "Long Way to the Top" mega tour, but always intelligent, articulate and amusing. This album is something of a comeback for an artist whose first album, "Days of Wilderness", was released way back in 1972.
"Rattle the Cage" is stunning proof that real talent never disappears. It is an album that resonates with warmth, experience and a view of the world that always seems to be concealing a wry grin. This is an album that pulses with real life, nothing plastic or made to please a studio here. From the growling opening of "Ringmaster Blues", where the Big Top "collapses around your ears", to the Brechtian echoes of the closing "Sideshow Alley", "Rattle the Cage" hints at a life spent living music.
This is an album that repays any time invested in listening. Every track is a highlight as Cardier runs through a repertoire that reflects blues, rockabilly and a genuine sense of emotion that can only be wrung from the experience of a life well lived. "The Best Of It" could easily be the best love song released this year. It's real, it's life, it's our lives, wrapped in the most gorgeous melody driven by guitar work that reminds of you of just how good Glenn Cardier is.
"Shing-A-Ling" sounds as if it rolled out of Sun Studios in Memphis about 1956, all rockabilly bluster and balls. If Elvis had recorded this it would be a standard by now, and we'd never be talking about his "lost years". "Close Encounter (With A UFO)" is typical Cardier, where he surrenders to his sense of humour to tell a story. After all, his Central Coast base is supposed to be Australia's flying saucer capital!
If you were still requiring proof that Glenn Cardier is one of this nation's finest songwriters, go straight to "She Flew Away". Its delicate beauty will make a true believer of the hardest heart, while musicians will revel in the sensitivity of the acoustic guitar work and subtle cello of Ilse de Ziah.
This is, quite simply, a magnificent collection of songs. Glenn Cardier is refusing to rust. With "Rattle the Cage" he has created the album that reaches for the heart and caresses it gently, while shaking your pelvis and forcing your foot to tap. He's growing old disgracefully and is damn proud of it. Now let's hope some promoter has got the sense to get him out there playing live. This is a talent that everyone should have the chance to appreciate. (BERNIE HOWITT)
Glenn Cardier Rattle the Cage. I dont review albums I dont like. So if you have scanned down the list and noticed the comments are largely favourable, that's why. However, that does make it tough to let you know when something really special arrives. Glenn Cardier is a long time musical hero of mine. It was his song 'Lovers Alias Fools' many years ago that motivated me to play music. So I owe him a debt of gratitude that I will never be able to repay. His album Rattle the Cage is magic. I have had it on my headphones for a week now and each listen gives me a new thrill. This is a world class singer-songwriter at his strongest. A strength that only seasoned performers and seasoned writers are capable of. His voice is not too far away from Tom Waits with a bit of Chris Smither. His song 'She Flew Away' was an instant favourite and I will enjoy playing 'Close encounter with a UFO' for years to come. THANKS GLENN.
(Michael Beaumont 2NSB FM 99.3)
Glenn Cardier: there's a blast from the past, although the name will be familiar to baby
boomer folk who used to frequent the Troubadour music restaurant in Brunswick St, Fitzroy
from 1978 to 1990. This weekend the Troubadour turns 25 and Cardier is one of a host of
musicians, both familiar and emerging, helping celebrate the occasion.
Cardier is an interesting character, a gravelly voiced singer with a stinging guitar technique and a
resume that ranges from Sunbury appearances to tours with Frank Zappa, Fairport Convention,
and Spike Milligan.
Now based on the NSW Central Coast, he has recently released the self-produced 'Rattle The
Cage'. a feisty CD that deserves a far wider airing than much of the commercial pap filling
radio time today. The 14 tracks are originals, ranging from the bar-room electric boogie of
Ringmaster Blues to a touch of Berlin cabaret on the bittersweet acoustic solo Sideshow Alley.
The perceptive Wouldn't Wanna Change A Thing and rueful She Flew Away remind me of
John Prine. Cardier shares Prine's ability to distil personal emotions with a sense of self-
(MIKE DALY, The Age, 23rd August 2003)
GLENN CARDIER Rattle The Cage MGM
There was a time when Brisbane singer-songwriter Glenn Cardier looked like making it big. But despite being regarded by some critics as one of the great originals of Australian music, along with a handful of albums in the seventies and an extensive stay in Britain, it was not to be - he went into limbo for a long time (actually, he went to Sydney). This is his first recording in over twenty years, but his trademark combination of incisive observation and skewed wit is still intact here, wrapped in a blues-infused rock that shows off his seasoned voice. The years have made his voice gruffer and occasionally craggier but he hasn' t lost his knack of juggling a genuinely sensitive moment with one that raises a wry smile. So, on one hand, you get the moving simplicity of Love Song. But then, on the other, there's the swampy stomp of Rust In The Tailfin and the 50's-ish rock romp of Shing-A-Ling. Next (we're up to three hands now), his humour shifts into gear for Close Encounter (With A UFO). Then it's back to a touching but uplifting lilt about an escape from loneliness in She Flew Away. Meanwhile, a cut like Hawaiian Sands, running on drum machine, muted keyboards and spangly but stately guitar sounds both nostalgic and sardonic. It's been a long time between drinks, but Cardier shows here why some think so highly of him. 3 ½
(Bill Holdsworth, RAVE Magazine)
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