Daevid Allen / Russell Hibbs

Bards of Byron Bay (Bananamoon Obscura, Vol. 4}

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This live recording has a shaky sound quality (it was recorded "on a dangling Walkman" and features some hiss and phasing), but it is largely counterbalanced by the charm of this casual session. Despite their very different styles, Daevid Allen and Russell Hibbs have been longtime friends and even associated in a few musical ventures (including Hibbs' first solo album). This concert took place at Byron Bay, Australia, in 1995, in front of a small hometown audience. Allen and Hibbs trade songs and poems, accompanying each other on guitar -- Hibbs on acoustic and Allen on acoustic and glissando guitar. Both have a lot of fun commenting, embellishing, interrupting in and even disrupting the performances of the other. Their voices are also surprisingly compatible, to a point where someone unfamiliar with these singers could misidentify them. Allen draws from his solo acoustic repertoire, delivering spirited and cheerful renditions of "Come to Find Her," "My Penis Is Aging," "Relationship of Fooles" and "Let It All Go," among others (and the latter two providing two highlights). His warped sense of humor and legendary strangeness nicely contrast Hibbs' more typical folk- ish (even bard-esque) demeanor. His songs "Seasons of Glass" and "Lord of the Wild Places" are the other high marks of this unusual set. Other volumes in Voiceprint's limited-edition "Bananamoon Obscura" series feature rare pairings and/or sub-par sound quality, but Bards of Byron Bay stands as one of the true gems of the whole collection for which sound quality doesn't matter. Allen and Hibbs simply form an extremely likeable pair.

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