Tuesday, May 10, 2011

In praise of: Brent Parlane

Number 7 in a series of praises: #1 was Jenny Morris in March 2010, #2 was Mary McIntyre, #3 was Debbie Reynolds, #4 was Thelonious Monk, #5 was Jeffrey Bernard and #6 was Iain Sharp, last July. So we are long overdue for more enthusiasm.

That’s a slide show for Brent Parlane’s song “I’m Looking Forward to Tonight”, which was a single released in 1972. From memory it was his first and made the Top Ten in Christchurch and has Paul Woolwright on bass. Not sure who was on drums. Brent was 21 at the time.

I’ve always liked the song and I’ve always liked Brent. We were at school together, Tauranga Boys’ College. I could beat him at squash but he could sing. Boy, could he sing. I did my first “gig” with him, playing Neil Young’s “Down by the River” at the Tauranga Folk Club, in an upstairs coffee bar a couple of years before “I’m Looking Forward”. I could play Neil Young’s solo because it consists of one hammered-on note, the second-lowest E on the guitar, played more or less like this: nanga-nanga-nanga-nanga, nanga-nanga, nanga-nanga-nanga-nanga, nanga-nanga, ad libitum. There’s a bit more to it but not a lot.

Years later Brent replaced Jenny Morris as the singer in the band I was in, which is why I still know how to play “Desperado” (in G) and sundry other country songs such as “Mama Hated Diesels” (in D). He opened my ears.

Brent has been in Melbourne for years now, making albums, raising a family and winning the Tamworth Gold Guitar for best new talent. (In Australia, Tamworth is the deal in country music. Bigger than Gore, even.) Also, over the years he has opened for Muddy Waters, Fairport Convention, the Eagles, Randy Newman, BB King and Roxy Music. He’s bloody good. This article about him is from 2003; you can hear some of his recent music here.


Phil said...

I rembember him playing for us B grade ATI Physio students 1976 - at Grafton Campus (now Whitecliff Yarts Skool). He was pretty cool and he had a waistcoat with about ten different harmonicas slotted in like a bandolier of musical weapons.

Stephen Stratford said...

The harmonica is indeed a musical weapon.

Lindsay Marks said...

Wow, cool video clip... and who is the bearded dude at 27 seconds in??? Cat Stevens look-alike perhaps

Stephen Stratford said...

Don't know, Lindsay - he was never seen again. Looks a bit like Martin Scorsese around the time of the Band's "Last Waltz" which was 1976. Or maybe it is Cat Stevens. Brent was a fan, after all.