Ian Stephen - Eden Eden was a place where I loved to visit when I was very young. My town (Melbourne) was bleak and cold, but in Eden, the weather always seemed so nice. My mother grew up there. My grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins lived (and still live) in Eden. Even today, although I live more than 10,000 miles away, I'd still enjoy going back. The cover picture of this CD shows my Uncle Pedro, me and my Aunt Bette, sitting on a stationary motorcycle at Mum and Dad Ped's (that's what everyone called our grandparents) place. This was probably my grandfather, Dad Ped's old bike which used to have a sidecar attached. One night as Dad Ped was taking his soon-to-be wife Thelma (Mum Ped) down a rough bush track on the way to a local dance, she fell clean out of the sidecar as it hit a bump. Dad Ped had driven several miles before he'd even noticed her missing. She still married him thankfully, otherwise you'd not be reading this story today. I called the album Eden because just as like re-visiting Eden, I also like re-visiting these songs. My mother's family were in reality Australian hillbillies, living in what was a pretty isolated part of the country for many years. It's still a beautiful place although not so hard to get to anymore now that the Pacific Highway has been upgraded. This album is a collection of 18 tracks culled from various albums (some yet to be officially released.) a couple dating back to the early 1980's, but worth including because I dig them a lot and they're good. The first two are live recordings of the 11 piece 'Go Wild in French' band from a very limited release, 'Live Unearthed.' Track three is from Ian Stephen - 'Workin' on the Nightshift,' a 4 track EP recorded at Moonlight Studios in Sydney in late 1989. Most of Sydney's Danglin' Bros. Play on two cuts of the EP although this track features another set of musicians, Alan Buchanan on bass, Dave Gardner, drums with the Danglin's Mick King on guitar. Track 4, 'Real Song from an Imaginary Album,' comes from 'Great Wall of Sound' by Shemp, an Ian Stephen alter ego, also producing cuts 8 and 9 from the 2001 offering Shemp's Elysees, the creative result of an extended world trip in 2000. 'Australian Girls' from this album, one of the top downloads from ianstephen.com, is finally available to the world at large. Music lovers from Hungary to Huntsville will finally be able to more easily get their hands on (them) it. Tracks 5, 6 and 7 are from 'Nashville Nightmare,' another Ian Stephen album yet to fully see the light of day. 'The Thrifty Nickel,' a personal favorite, tells the very real story of having to place ad to sell a prized '66 Cadillac, and leave the Music City having lost almost everything, including my sanity. Likewise, 'This Week in Country Music,' is a cynical look at the business first hand from the bottom of the barrel, so to speak. Chilling stuff. Setting up in San Francisco's colorful and lively Mission District, in 2001 seemed to bring on '70's Man,' an ode to the archetypal suburban knucklehead, who 'lives his life in a 70's dream, while Emerson Lake and Palmer are playing the theme.' There should be a warning however that the 'f' word does appear at least once in the course of this song, which would probably be enjoyed more while drinking a can of beer and wearing flared jeans that were the wrong size. The remainder of the collection are recordings made in and around San Francisco,one America's nuttiest and annoying cities. 'Perfect World' documents a hot afternoon in the Mission District. A bum fidgets on the corner of 24th and Harrison with a loud ghetto blaster, and you can take it from there. In California an Earthquake is pretty much inevitable, and this song here will tell you that very elegantly. A striking departure from the norm is 'The Ballad of Slim Dusty,' a moving and heartfelt tribute the great man of Australian Country music. Almost entirely adlibbed, it is a spontaneous outburst in true 'Bush Ballad' style, albeit expletive ridden and contemporized. This isn't your regular, nice bunch of songs, which fit into neatly defined categories, be it heavy metal, country, organ music or urban rap. There is some pretty seriously weird stuff in here, which resolutely defies pigeonholing. Check it out. I hope you will enjoy the whole wild bunch.