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Jimmy Barnes - 'My Criminal Record' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     September 21, 2019    
 
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The only thing criminal about this album would be not hearing it.

It's been nine years since Jimmy Barnes, one of Australia's premier Rock artists, released an original album of new material under his own name. Not that he had been sat idle since the release of 'Rage And Ruin' in 2010. When he wasn't touring, he revisited his back catalogue with guest stars on the excellent '30:30 Hindsight' offering, released a fourth Soul covers album entitled 'Soul Searchin'', put out a children's CD called 'Och Aye G'nu' and recorded two albums with Cold Chisel – the band that launched him to fame.

'My Criminal Record' sees Barnes in inspired form after writing his autobiography. He collaborates with long-term Chisel song-writer Don Walker on several numbers such as the title-track which boasts a Blues piano feel that would sit happily on any Chisel release. Barnes' lyrics nod to the tales he told in his book and originals like 'I'm In A Bad Mood' work beautifully alongside well-chosen covers such as the superb take on John Lennon's 'Working Class Hero' or his fine rendition of Bruce Springsteen's 'Tougher Than The Rest'.

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Outside writers also contribute with Country star Troy Cassar-Daley offering the anthemic 'Shutting Down Our Town' and joining Barnes to compose the Delta Blues meets Nashville Rock of 'My Demon (God Help Me)' which is a real standout. The vocalist's brother-in-law Diesel (Mark Denis Lizotte) chips in with 'If Time Is On My Side', while The Living End's Chris Cheney supplies the breezy 'I Won't Let You Down'. There's also the infectious and superbly sung 'Belvedere And Cigarettes' which builds to a fantastic chorus.

Walker and Barnes work together on the epic 'Stargazer' but whether it's a Barnes composition, a song written for him or a cover version, everything within the track gels together so well under his distinctive, abrasive voice that it's actually irrelevant. The record as a whole is so mature and well crafted, and it ranks among his best work. Sure, it's not as commercial as 'Freight Train Heart', but that was three decades ago and Jimmy Barnes has moved on musically.

At the moment it's only available in the UK on iTunes, Spotify or as an import in physical form. That said, the import Amazon are carrying is the 'Deluxe Edition' with four extra tracks – two new ones (which are great) and two re-mixes. I heartily suggest getting hold of it because the only thing criminal about this album would be not hearing it.

James Gaden

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