Before I started the weekly Scottish Pirate Show I didn’t know much about Colin Hay other than by his work with the band Men At Work. Over the years that has changed and now Colin Hay’s work features almost weekly on the Scottish Pirate Show as we play tracks from his back catalogue of work. His love for music was born in his native Scotland, working at his parents record store where he heard all the hits of the day.
The album starts off with the title track I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself which was originally a number 3 hit back in 1964 for Dusty Springfield here in the UK. That song sets the tone for the rest of the 10 song album with at times almost an acoustic feel to the album – it is not a rock album. The 2nd cover song on the album is that classic Kinks Number 2 hit from 1967 Waterloo Sunset. As Colin has said when a song is as perfect as this one it is always going to be a challenge to do justice to the original. Personally I think it is an acceptable version of the song, although I note on the dreaded internet a few have said they don’t like this version along with a few of the covers featured on this album. For me the whole album with it’s laid back feel means all the songs fit together nicely without trying to be something they never were meant to be.
The 3rd and 4th tracks also fit into this as well, mainly because they are all time classics that can’t be improved on. Wichita Lineman originally a Number 7 hit for Glen Campbell back in 1969 and the classic Norwegian Wood off The Beatles 1965 Rubber Soul album both for me fit the feel of this album. Next track up is a great version of the old Gerry and The Pacemaker’s Number 6 hit from 1964 – Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying. It’s the sort of chilled out late night music that makes me want to do a late night radio show.
We move onto the 6th song and another great track – Ooh La La which was from the final studio album by The Faces. It is a more upbeat song and leads us nicely on to the 7th track from the album, which for me is the best track on the album. While most of the songs are from the ‘60s, Colin does a moving version of Scottish group Del Amitri’s heartbreaking “Driving With The Brakes On,” which he calls “simply one of the best songs ever written”. It’s definitely the stand out song on the album with Colin’s voice standing out.
That takes us to the 8th track, a big song from The Beatles Across The Universe. Many artists have recorded cover versions of this song and sadly most have failed to match the level of the original. Colin has made a version which unfortunately also falls into the same category that all the others have fallen into – OK but as the original from The Beatles was so good they all fail to reach the same level.
The last two tracks on the album are the 9th track which is a cover of the Blind Faith’s Can’t Find My Way Home and the 10th and final track, a cover of Jimmy Cliff’s Many Rivers To Cross. The final track in particular leaves you feeling relaxed and wanting to hear more from Colin. If you are a fan of the more laid back style of music the I can recommend you get yourself a copy of Colin Hay’s latest album “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself”. Kick your shoes off, find a relaxing chair, get a glass of something nice, dim the lights and put on this album – you won’t be disappointed.
I Just Don’t Know What To Do With My Self – Tracklist
- I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself – (Dusty Springfield Cover)
- Waterloo Sunset – (The Kinks Cover)
- Wichita Lineman – (Glen Campbell Cover)
- Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) – (The Beatles Cover)
- Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying – (Gerry and The Pacemakers Cover)
- Ooh La La – (The Faces Cover)
- Driving With The Brakes On – (Del Amitri Cover)
- Across The Universe – (The Beatles Cover)
- Can’t Find My Way Home – (Blind Faith Cover)
- Many Rivers To Cross – (Jimmy Cliff Cover)
FROM THE LINER NOTES:
This record was unplanned, but I’m glad it came to be. Gerry Marsden sadly had just died, and I was sitting around in the basement, playing major 7th chords, as you do, and I started singing “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying” to myself. So I switched on the machines with the pretty lights and recorded it. Just vocals and guitar. I sent it to my best man, Chad Fischer, and said, “See what you can do with this”, and he did. It sounded more than delightful to both of us. He said, “Send me another”. And so it went, until we had ten. Quite enough for the moment.
The song choices were simple. “Waterloo Sunset” was playing through the sound system at Southampton Docks in June 1967, when I was boarding the Fairstar with my family, heading for the New World. What a sendoff.
“Wichita Lineman” has fascinated me for many reasons. It was a hit for Glen Campbell, yet written by Jimmy Webb, a master songwriter. This was intriguing in and of itself. It contains one of the greatest lines in modern music. (You know which one I’m talking about.)
I worked in my parents record store in the 60’s in Saltcoats, Scotland, and it seemed Dusty Springfield always had a hit on the charts. “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself” was produced by Johnny Franz, whose team created the closest thing Britain had to the Phil Spector ”wall of sound”. Dusty Springfield’s voice is divine.
There are so many Beatles songs one could choose to try and do justice to it’s ridiculous. “Norwegian Wood” contains a classic, simple and elegant melody, and I would occasionally perform it live in a dropped D tuning, so that one sprang to mind.
Chad suggested “Ooh La La”, the Faces song, written by Ronnie Lane and Ronnie Wood and sung by Ronnie Wood. I loved Rod Stewart and the Faces, and was considering a few others. However, Brooke Fischer, Chad’s wife, fancied “Ooh La La”. I’m a big fan of Brooke, so on it went.
“Driving With The Brakes On” is simply one of the best songs ever written. I love Del Amitri, and Justin Currie’s songwriting. When I first came over to live in California in the early 90’s I would listen to this song driving home late at night.
“Across The Universe”… well what can you say? A staggering lyric, and equally beautiful music and melody.