Jimmy Barnes, For The Working Class Man (1985)
This was my introduction to Jimmy Barnes; his second solo album. I knew this before I knew Cold Chisel. My aunty was (presumably still is?) a massive fan. And she had the tapes of this and Freight Train Heart – later my mum would buy that double live tape: Barnestorming – some great anthems on that. It’s easy to dislike Jimmy Barnes but I’ve always thought his best songs and performances peg him as an Antipodean Bruce Springsteen – in the best possible way of course. He knows what he’s doing – crafting blue-collar songs for blue-collar people. That’s his gift. I’ve seen him live recently twice. Once with Chisel (amazing gig, seriously – really, really great show!) and even more recently he rocked out a greatest hits solo set in Lower Hutt. I saw a pregnant woman drinking some Jim Beam can and smoking. No, she wasn’t just fat – as some suggested (presumably in shock/horror). She was in fact pregnant. And smoking and drinking. I wonder if that sort of look and person is part of what’s given Barnes a bad name. But then, also, I’m not sure I’m ready to become the great Jimmy Barnes apologist. I just think he does a good show. And I interviewed him once and he seemed a nice bloke; funny, sharp, aware. I listened to this double album recently – having carried it with me for years and never playing it. Presumably I bought it dirt cheap to remind myself of the Barnestorming tape and my aunty and uncle that loved those early Barnes records. It’s nothing special as an album – it doesn’t really do it for me. But that title song does kick arse. You can’t deny that. My wife was sitting within earshot of this record, all but laughing at how bad it was, the processed cheese of the session guitarists twiddling out their cut-to-fit-the-space boring solos. And then the title track came on. And she burst in to song. Along with Jimmy. And me.
Sample Track: Working Class Man
The Vinyl Countdown is a document of every LP I listen to, brand new discoveries and old-old favourites; extremely pre-loved, previously abandoned or with the shrink-wrap having just been removed it’s all here at The Vinyl Countdown