Renee Geyer: You Broke a Beautiful Thing (1999)

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Renee Geyer: You Broke a Beautiful Thing (1999)

Lord knows some artists can be "difficult" -- and many of those who have tried to interview Australian Renee Geyer (never my doubtful pleasure) have returned chastened, frustrated and sometimes downright angry.

It was hardly surprising then when Paul Kelly produced an album for her entitled Difficult Woman in '94. Her 2000 autobiography was Confessions of a Difficult Woman.

Geyer is one of those people who doesn't suffer fools gladly -- but by many accounts appears to think most people are fools, especially journalists.

Still, we don't ask artists to be polite, just to do great work -- and over many decades Geyer has certainly done that. Widely regarded as Australia's finest jazz-soul-cum-blues singer, she has delivered a remarkable body of work since the mid Seventies.

Her interpretative gifts are evident in this exceptional treatment of a Paul Kelly song. Kelly has frequently and sympathetically written from a woman's perspetive and here he outdoes hiimself in a lyric which lends itself to anger, hurt, condemnation, sympathy and regret.

The man has betrayed the love she was giving, the woman feels that hurt in every part of her soul -- and, past anger, is simply shaking her head in sadness.

Geyer gets behind every syllable of the song and creates a soul classic which -- if you are man who has ever done such a thing -- will have you weeping and wondering about yourself.

Extraordinary. 

For more one-offs, oddities or songs with an interesting backstory see From the Vaults

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mark - Jun 21, 2010

A great artist who has had (as many of them have) an interesting life. I interviewed Greg Tell recently. Greg was Renee's drummer for some years and at the moment is living here in Auckland.

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