Harry Coulsons Blue Dogs

by Harry Coulson

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about

Harry Coulson’s got a thing about dogs. They turn up in both of his recent albums, and they represent something very specific and very personal to the Melbourne based guitarist and singer/songwriter.
“Dogs aren’t clever, nor are they particularly concerned with their
appearance. Dogs are loyal by nature, yet vicious when they need to be. So I guess in this i nstance it stands for being scrappy yet adept, and loyal to your art and yourself.

Coulson has done some serious study in the musical arts, including a VCA Bachelor of Music Performance, Honours at Monash University, and stints at prestigious jazz workshops at NYU and Canada’s Banff Centre. He’s put that to good use, playing gigs tirelessly around the country, including an east coast tour and sets at the St Kilda Festival,
Fringe plus live-to- air performances on ABC radio.

Spend some time with Harry Coulson’s music and you’ll quickly get a sense of an authentic, unvarnished voice and an artist with no patience for over-produced sounds or overwrought lyrics. While earlier album Harry Coulson’s Rain Dogs was an engaging set of jazz instrumentals, the new album titled Harry Coulson’s Blue Dogs is chockful of larrikin poetry, brass driven soul and r’n’b, and Harry’s take-it- or-leave- it vocal delivery.

‘I don’t like how in-offensive music has gotten. I remember hearing a story about a movie director who would refuse to hire Hollywood actors because they’d had so much plastic surgery they couldn’t show any facial expressions. A lot of music these days seems to do the same, lots of production, effects, smoke and mirrors but not much substance”

The journey you take with Blue Dogs crosses diverse musical terrain – much of it rooted in the blues, with side trips through New Orleans second line rhythmic stomp (the cover of blues classic ‘Old Bill’), sparse confessionals (‘Apart Part 1’) and sinuous jazz-inflected grooves (‘Radio’).

Coulson happily plays off his impressive guitar chops (he cites Marc Ribot and Bill Frisell as inspiration) against the rougher edge of his vocal style. A fan of hip-hop from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z and Mos Def he weaves stream of consciousness lyrics that explore the ebb and flow of suburban life, frustrated ambitions and the fierce drive to not back down. Think Courtney Barnett or The Streets’ Mike Skinner with an Australian accent backed by a
top notch r’n’b band. Coulson’s dogs turn up everywhere throughout the album – ‘feeling like a dog about to get put down’ in ‘Let Ya Down’; in ‘Man Down’ he’s a ‘big black dog pulling on his chain’ and ‘Apart Part 2’ has him claiming ‘I’m just mongrel through and through’. It’s the stuff of the blues alright, or, as Coulson himself
puts it ‘stories told the long way about lessons learnt the hard way’.

credits

released September 28, 2016

All music written by Harry Coulson except “Old Bill” (Traditional) and "Radio" (Harry Coulson, Joel Pearce)
Horn arrangements by Harry Coulson and Jonathan Dreyfus
Produced by Harry Coulson and Jonathan Dreyfus
Engineered and mixed by Jez Giddings
Recorded at Hothouse Audio, St Kilda, The Old Castlemaine Gaol, Harry’s place and Jono’s place
Special assistance by Craig Harnath
Mastered by Adam Dempsey at Deluxe Mastering.
Street art by Dvate and Akuze, photography by Kayo Turner
Cover design by Megan Palmer

Personel:
Harry Coulson – Guitars/Vocals
Jp - Vocals (Track 6)
Olaf Scott – Keys
Rowan Mumford – Hammond Organ (track 5)
Lachlan Evans – Piano (tracks 1, 7)
Louis Gill – Bass (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8)
Glen Davidson –Bass (tracks 3, 6)
James Thompson – Drums
Nick Glenie - Trumpet
Rob Simone – Alto and Bari Sax
James Lefevre – Tenor and Bari Sax
Sean Smyth - Trombone

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about

Harry Coulson Melbourne, Australia

Harry Coulson is a guitarist composer and songwriter whose distinctive style comes as much from punk and blues as it does from the jazz idiom.

He has performed at countless venues and festivals both in Australia and internationally and in 2015 he was the recipient of a TD Jazz Scholarship to attend the International Workshops in Jazz and Creative Music at the Banff Centre in Canada.
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Track Name: Trouble
You been working, for too long
In the hope, you aint singing that wrong song
You been travelling, far out of your way, out of your way home
You got long hours, ahead of you
Well there’s not much I can do
Just hope that trouble, falls on me, before it falls on you

You a young girl, you better believe
I ain’t an old man, but I got some tricks up my sleeve
I know my weapons, I know my aim
I’ll build a fire to put out the rain
I don’t know, what people do
When they come across the things you do
Just hope that trouble, falls on me, before it falls on you

When them forties, bring me in
Let me go like a Kelly, never free from sin
Don’t let my shadow, fall so long, to cover you
When I go, send me to sea
Where no man, can walk on me
Where no more trouble, falls on me, before it falls on you
Track Name: Let Ya Down
I’ve just returned, from over the seas
Feelin’ like I caught a disease, the worlds gone under the ether
Came in with the wind, now I’m shell-shocked and dazed
Been sailin’ round this room for days
Christ what am I doing here
Then all of a sudden, from round the corner of the corridor
Had you seen what I saw, you would have sung like me
You would have been singin’

Oh dear my dear, you come a long way to get down here
Some folks are a crash that’ll send you sober
Oh dear my dear, you’ll slip through my fingers I fear
I shouldn’t pick ya up cause I’ll let ya down

Oh kid I fear you’re gunna be the wreck of me
I can’t keep my hands steady, I can’t think that clear.
You up and you left, just like I knew that you would
Now I’m drinking more than I should, cause at night I can still hear you leaving
But I still sit and I stare down that corridor
But you’re never there anymore
But sometimes, sometimes late at night I still think I see ya there

I wish it weren’t true, cause now what am I gunna do.
I’m feeling like a dog ‘bout to get put down
Cause I don’t want to find another one just like you
Another one of you that’ll let me down, let me down, let me down…..

Doctor, you saved me from catastrophe
Ground me better than gravity, you keep my head out of the water
And it breaks my heart that you’re no longer around
I’d rather run the easting down than see you go like love in the winter.
But like they say every dog must have his day
It’s just that sometimes, sometimes it never really seems to feel that way

It’ll be a tough year, cause this time you won’t be here.
You threw me a rope when most would let me drown
I’ll do what I can, I’ll try and stay in the clear
I never was a saint but I’ll try…
I’ll try not to let ya down, let ya down, let ya down, let ya down…..
Track Name: Man Down
I’m a big black dog pulling on his chain
Settle down kids or you’ll be next
Ain’t there somethin’ ya want to know right now
Sign of the times, treachery, crimes and debts
I done what I could, I stuck out the days.
Kick a dog in the teeth and see how fucking nice he stays.
Straw man, yes-man, poor mans hurcules
Don’t think you can come around and pull that shit on me

Cause I aint gunna stick around
To watch you bring a man down
Ain’t gunna be nice just for the sake of you. I were a better man, better man before I met you.

I been spat on, shat on, kicked and abused
Ground down, strung on, tricked and accused
Harry just laugh, harry just guess
Feint parry play you like chess
Maybe its my fault, maybe it’s a curse.
All you gunna do is make me worse.
No compassion, no mercy, no remorse and no friends
Let me show you now where all love ends

Cause I ain gunna stick around
To watch you bring a man down
Your mother never warned you didn’t she
Stay the fuck away from the likes of me

Sittin on the outside Just me and my mates
We gunna keep fuckin’ with ya kids just you wait.
You kids ain’t cool, you ain’t suave, you ain’t witty
Jeez your hair look nice, don’t you smell pretty
Dogs be vicious, cats malicious don’t be ignorant
We just animals, they no different.
That just how it goes, that’s how it be
Get clear, you deserve better than me

Cause I ain’t gunna stick around
To let you bring a man down
This ain't gunna be nice for you, but I won't let you cripple me
I’m'a keep swingin' till you set your dogs after me.
This ain't gunna be nice for you, but I won't let you cripple me
I’ll keep boxin' till you set your dogs after me.
Track Name: Radio
Black dog crossed my path in the middle of the day.
This town had seen the worst of me, but now I’m back and all my friends had moved away.
There was some girl, crossed the wire, she started more than just a fire
I thought that maybe she would fall, fall for me, then maybe the wind would change on me
She’d say I’d love, to stay, and talk to you
You’re nice, you’re a looker too
But I, I’ve got something better to do what the hell did you come here for
And here we go again with that old lie, omnia vincit amor
I saw the runway lights, the plane touched down, my feet they hardly even touched the ground,
There were warnings but what the fuck was I to know.
Black dog on the radio
I see her throw oil now on the fire, she be laughing now with glee.
Maybe now I’ll burn maybe now I’ll burn till my mates no longer recognise me
I had my chance oh but I fucked that as well, cause just like war oh love is hell, and didn’t that little trick just work too well, well, well

There’s something you should know, about them songs, you heard on the radio.
Love wont be kind to us, like wood it rots, like steel it rusts.

Locked bars and locked heart No go's and false starts I fall apart at departures Made a martyr / a father /deposed king of the castle and hill / love and loyalty still / for my Queen I'd kill / then sit still for life / if the glove fit right / just another wise man / following the light / home / from roaming / when in rome / splash brothers / home alone / since 9/0 / and no less / lovesick / depressed / self obsessed / stressed / mess / steaming cess / to regress / and speak less / and yes / i see the forrest for the trees / still screaming on my knees / to my reflection in the stream

This grows on me like a cancer, and I wish I had an answer.
I see no rhyme or reason, and no I don’t see no light at all I want is just a fair fight.
A chance to maybe get some sleep at night.
You saw, what had, become of me you thought, I’d stop, go back to sea, but now I’m just one more detainee who should have gone home when he had the chance
To save you face and protect your fucked up notions of romance.
Oh a storm, a plague a pestilence upon me,
Better keep moving lest these ghosts catch up and get me
Cause there are some things I wish I didn’t know.
Things I heard on the radio and then I heard there was a video.
Oh Christ I can’t look, I don’t want to see, I fear that black dog it come back to bite me
I pray not for love I just pray not for war.
Start paying attention better than before,
Don’t get caught by thinking you are better than this
You were born better/raised better/trained better than this.
You click nothing away, just fight on your feet.
Don’t think the hard road just leads to defeat.
Oh be careful who you fuck but be more careful who you kiss.
And I repeat, don’t think you’re better than this.
From when you tuned into the news gave this whole town the blues, tells you…

There’s something you should know, about the news, the songs on the radio
The truth it wont be kind to us, there’s no chance for me, there’s no chance for us.

There’s something you should know, about the news, the songs on the radio
The truth it wont be kind to us, there’s no chance for me, there’s no chance for us.
Track Name: Apart - Part 1
I breathed a little easier just earlier today, when I realised you’re no longer here to hear some of them things that I say.
I felt a little rough when I got out of bed today, must be from sinkin’ piss all night and sleeping all the day.
And one of these days I’ll be to old to do this anymore, when I go grey, got hair where I didn’t have any hair before
When all the company I keep is just them wolves at the door, when no-one comes around here anymore.
I felt a little sleazy when I thought of you today, but I’m ashamed to say it weren’t that long until that feeling went away.
And I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry I only ever saw you in that light, but it was late at night and I never was that bright
And sometimes I don’t know quite just what to do, cause the house still smells of your perfume
I guess this way I got no fear of late night phone calls saying this is where it ends, leave me twitching on the deck just like a diver with the bends.

When these days come around I don’t know quite just what I’m gunna do
Cause I could call up and say I miss you.
But oh, what good’s that gunna do, what good’s that gunna do
Cause my heart it sings and winds down slow like a bluebird, like a metronome
Singin’ come on home.
Oh why don’t you come on home
Oh why don’t you come on home, come on home to me
Oh why don’t you come on home, come on home to me…..
Track Name: Apart - Part 2
Big old car, small world, big old harry
V for vagrant, vale, victory
Greenwich Village to St Kilda, new age drover, new Matilda
Bad decisions in good company.
Hands that are steady
Hands up and at the ready
Feats of grace feet that hold their ground
Middle finger up to fate, with the throttle through the gate
I’ll step in you try and knock me down

And no I wont quit
Not for any of this shit
You better tell your dogs back down before I come back to town
But in the dark I cried, in the dark I cried when no-one could see.
Why don’t you come home, ahh girl come home with me

4 more years and we’ll see where this gets me
Now I got 4 months to get it done
And a month is just 4 weeks, I’m out of wisdom and technique
Of culture I just got none.
I’ve had 4 long days of travel, beer and haze
4 hours sleep a night 12 hours work a day.
Where the minutes pass like hours and 4 seconds all it takes for me to think to drink they blues away

And I aint brave
I aint no rudeboy neither
I aint no creole, mick I’m just mongrel through and through
And I’m a long way from the Treme I guess Fitzroy will do for me
I’ll be 29 come July without no plan or clue

I think I done some good, better than I ever should
Think I still got some sting in me
I played by chance, I played by numbers
Had some wins, had some blunders
V for virtue, vice, veracity
From the cradle to the soil
Kids are honest, dogs are loyal
Volts will kill ya less you hold your ground
I built not for speed I built for distance.
Watts, power and resistance.
Those you can’t teach, you just confound.

And I wont back down
As much for my sake as for yours
Cause he sings he sobs but most of all he just swore
And Id like to help, you know I would
But I never really knew quite just what to say
May bad luck strife or trouble never come your way