Fred Smith’s Warries is a contraction of war stories.
I had the interesting pleasure of seeing Fred in Tamworth this year at one of the songwriters’ sessions at the Tamworth Services Club (appropriately).
Fred was one of my big surprises at the festival, it was the first time that I had seen Merilyn Carter rendered speechless and David Carter nearly fell off his stool.
Fred has you laughing one minute and crying the next. (He’s like Michael Waugh, that way. ) Fred has been a diplomat from Bougainville to Afghanistan.
He lists his influences as Paul Kelly, Lou Reed, Loudon Wainwright III and Leonard Cohen.
There’s a touch of Eric Bogle, Kevin Johnson and Paul Kelly as well as Redgum about his singing and songs.
I love You and Me – it is a song that covers so many bases, in fact that is what you get with Fred Smith songs. Sweet Anne Marie is a war story with a jazz beat. Radio Bougainville is almost like an island song – Blue Guitar is heavy on some neat riffs, Scots of Riverina is Celticish, Say A Prayer is almost Gospel. You and me is a soft shuggle with a mixture of reality, tongue in cheek humour and it is almost a love song. Independence Park is a somber song. Going Home is what you may expect…and a favourite of mine on the album – the bittersweet story/mixed feelings of leaving a war zone and going home. Derapet is a war memory in Redgum style – a 7 minute epic.
Live, Fred has no filter, he tells it like it is, apart from some obvious military censorship, but he doesn’t hold back much.
It is the same with his albums and I’m guessing that the book that he wrote is probably warts and all too.
Century Girl is a whirlwind trip through a centure of historic moments and changes.
There are songs on here that Fred (Iain Campbell Smith) figures serve as a sequel to his last album – songs that he left off.
I like both albums, but I think that this one is a touch more creative.
Fred is a unique artist. We need more like him.
Scots of the Riverina
Say a Prayer
Sweet Anne Marie
You and Me