Retail Sales

If you live in Adelaide, you can buy Jim's album from Big Star CDs & Records, in Rundle Street, City.

You can also buy the album from the Folk Trax outlet at the SA Folk Centre, located on the corner of George Street and South Road, Thebarton.


Bonus CD
Jim has recorded so much material over the past 18 months, that he has put nine extra tracks onto a CDR he is burning himself and giving away with every copy of American Dream. In effect, you get two full length albums for the price of one! 

Jim reports that he has yet to decide just how long he will continue to burn these CDRs and give away the bonus CD, so if you want the two albums, you should make your purchase as soon as possible.

Bonus Songs
You can read more about the bonus songs and listen to samples on this page... 



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Computer Music  

 

American Dream is available online through FolkTrax (in Australia);
or through CDBABY (in the USA).

About The Songs

Jim's second album, American Dream is now available. We asked him to say something about the album, and this is what he wrote...

"Around the middle of 2003 I decided to record all my songs to create a permanent record of my compositions. The original intention was to sit down in front of my computer with my guitar and record each song in pretty much one take 'just for the record'. I started recording a bunch of fairly new songs I had been performing at the time when something strange happened. I kept hearing three part harmonies and extra musical accompaniments in my head. 

These new sounds were so compelling that I just couldn't ignore them, I had to explore them further and try to capture them via the recording process. Before I knew it, I had three or four songs recorded, and I realised I had the basis of a new album waiting to be finished. The only 'problem' was that the songs I had been recording, were not the songs I had been planning to put on my second album, Dance Like No-one is Watching.

The material I was recording was more 'political' than 'pop'. So I went through my back catalogue of songs, pulled out the political/protest songs, and chose a bunch of them to put on the new album. American Dream is the final result."

****

We also asked Jim for some insight into the story behind each song. Here are his comments...

Stand and Defend (Click to Hear the Song)
This was a last minute addition to the new album. I finished writing and recording this song between mixing sessions for the rest of the CD. I thought it was too good to leave off the album, and heeding the advice of the studio engineer, decided to kick off the album with the song. 
It was probably sparked by several scenes in the Michael Moore documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11. In one particularly telling sequence, Michael Moore and a US soldier who had fought during Gulf War II were standing in front of the US Congress building trying to get congressmen to enlist their children in the armed forces so they could go and fight in Iraq as well. Needless to say, everyone he approached thought he was completely crazy.

American Dream (Click to Hear the Song)
This song could just as easily be called the 'Australian Dream', the 'British Dream', or any other country's national 'dream'. The Australian Dream has always been characterised as the dream of owning your own house. The American Dream seems to be so much bigger and all encompassing. 
I was reading a copy of the American ADBUSTERS magazine (March/April 2003, #46). It contained an item which said in part: "One day, a man decides not to go to his well-paying job. Instead, he goes to a nearby bank and robs it. He does this not to get some easy cash – the usual motive – but to get himself locked up, which he quickly succeeds in doing. In fact, the police station is just across the street. The man does this, because he has become suicidally desperate to sever himself from his middle-class existence, all of which seems pretty strange given that his life seems suspiciously akin to the American dream. Interviewed in prison, the man reports that he feels a whole lot better, and he sounds pretty convincing too."
Well, how could I not see the possibilities of a song in that story. American Dream is the result.

The Liberty Café (Click to Hear the Song)
I started writing this song while on the road between Australia's national capital, Canberra, and Adelaide. About 60 kms outside of Canberra is the town of Yass. On a whim I decided to leave the freeway out of Canberra, and pass through Yass just to see what was there. As I drove up the main street I noticed the name of one business in particular. It was a café called, The Liberty Café. I was immediately struck by the name and knew that I must remember it and use it as a place name in a future song. Well, I didn't have long to wait - within ten minutes I had started writing the song. The woman in the song is purely fictional. I didn't even bother to stop the car as I passed through the town. For some reason the name, Liberty Café, resonated in my subconscious, and the result is this song.

Bitter Wine (Click to Hear the Song)
Sometime in 2001, I was flipping through the pages of ‘Waterloo Sunset’ by Ray Davies (of The Kinks), when my eyes were caught by the line '…dawn was bleeding…'. "What? Thought I, dawn was bleeding? What’s that all about?" When I did a double-take on the line, I found that it actually read, "dawn was breaking!" But the seed was sown, hence the opening line, A crimson dawn was bleeding out across the eastern sky, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Well, almost… The song remained unfinished until one day late in 2002, when I read an article in The Australian about a prison execution in the United States. The article carried a couple of quotes from the condemned man which immediately gave me a ‘handle’ on the song, and the person singing it. I later incorporated elements of the prisoners last words into the bridge of the song.

Shovel It In (Click to Hear the Song)
Some of my songs can take days, weeks or even months to complete. This song was written over three hours of inspired(?) madness after watching someone shovelling food into his mouth like there was no tomorrow. While that incident was the trigger for the song, the song essentially makes fun of my own constant attempts to lose weight. To be honest, I've given up the fight. My new motto is, "All things in moderation - and some things in excess!"

 

Struggle Town (Click to Hear the Song)
I was reading The Australian one day, when a headline over an article caught my attention. The article was about a struggling region city that was now making great advances in its development. The headline read: ‘Struggle town’s now pick of crop’. However, I wasn't interested in the regional city, its economic problems, or its advances. I was only interested in the words, 'Struggle Town', and where they might lead me. This song is the result. 

Who's Gonna Win? (Click to Hear the Song)
A song, the origins of which, go back to the late 1980’s at the time of the Fitzgerald Inquiry into prostitution, illegal gambling, and bribery and corruption in the Australian state of Queensland. It sums up my feelings about Australian life and politics at the time. I can’t remember the exact year I wrote the song, but I do recall it was written one year soon after Christmas, hence the passing references in the song to that time of the year. 
The tune has a lovely lilting brass accompaniment running through it which reminds me of my years in London during the early 1970's. I remember nights in London's Soho district; Salvation Army brass bands on damp street corners; strip clubs and red lights above door ways; and so much more.

Don't Sell Us Pipe Dreams (Click to Hear the Song)
I was looking for a song to enter in the ‘Working Life’ section of the Victor Harbor Songwriting Event in 1998 (read what the judges said...), and knew I had a song with this theme that I had written many years ago while living in London. I spent ages trying to find the exercise book I wrote the song in, but to no avail. Although I could remember snatches of the original song, there was no way I could reconstruct all of it, so in desperation I decided to rewrite it, and Don't Sell Us Pipe Dreams is the result.
Months later I eventually found the songbook in a box in the back room while looking for an old stereo microphone. I’m pleased to say that this version of the song is much better than the original. But I still haven’t found that microphone!

A Modern Chief Executive (Click to Hear the Song)
This was one of those songs that come 'out of nowhere'. Of course, all songs come from somewhere, but understanding why a song appears at a certain time and place can often be quite elusive, and this was one of those moments. Of course, the CEO in this song is a figment of my over active imagination. After all, CEO's are not like this in real life, are they? Are they?

Junk Yard Dog (Click to Hear the Song)
I was playing around with some copyright free sound files that came with a CD attached to the May 2004 edition of Computer Music magazine.
The sound files consisted of recordings of junk objects such as oil drums, steel spikes, rocks, and other ‘found’ objects that made a wide range of booming, ringing, or clanging sounds. As an experiment, I decided to see if I could put them into some sort of musical order that might sound like a Bjork style of composition. To my surprise and delight I was able to find enough sounds to build a multi-rhythm backing track to an as yet unwritten song. The sounds had a very strong, masculine, industrial sound to them, and I quickly realized that any lyrics I wrote would have to reflect those sounds. Junk Yard Dog is the result.
Thanks to the folks behind Groove Criminals [ www.groovecriminals.co.uk ] who supplied the sound files to Computer Music magazine, which in turn provided the inspiration for this song.

The Future Is Theirs (Click to Hear the Song)
This is a song I wrote way back in 1975! I was living and working in London, England at the time. I was also in my mid-20s, and this song documented my feelings about the capitalist system, and the many injustices it visited upon the people of the world.
Of course, it wasn't written originally in a rap/hip hop style. Then it was an acoustic folk protest song, but I was interested in trying my hand at a rap style of song, and the lyrics fitted perfectly. The basic groove for the track is built up from a handful of samples again taken from one of the Computer Music cover disks.
You can hear an acoustic version of the song HERE...

We Stand Together (Click to Hear the Song)
In early 2002 I was asked to provide some songs for the soundtrack of a video production, Celebrating May Day: The Activists Speak. I wrote this song specifically for that soundtrack, and also submitted Don't Sell Us Pipe Dreams, and Keeping Up Appearances. Of the three, this song was the only one featured in the video, and it works very well over the end credits. It has a very simple structure designed to give activists and unionists the ability to add verses that relate to their own specific struggles.

No Blood For Oil (Click to Hear the Song)
In January 2003 I was indulging in one of my favourite pastimes - browsing through bookshops - when I saw a series of books about the Second World War. Several of the books dealt with the Holocaust, and the rise of Fascism in the years preceding the Second World War. I was reminded of images of Nazi's burning piles of proscribed books in the streets of German cities. Within minutes I began writing the first line of the song which originally read, "You burn the books at midnight..." I later changed this to "You burn the truth at midnight...", and used the lead up to Gulf War II (on Iraq), as the theme for the song. Subsequent events in the conduct of that war, have not changed my opinions regarding anything I have expressed in the song.

 

JIM LESSES: American Dream

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