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A Journey Through James Reyne’s Deep Cuts

13 December 2021 | 8:00 am | Staff Writer

Ahead of James Reyne’s exclusive live-stream concert this Sunday, we take a journey through the Aussie music legend’s deep cuts.

(Pic by Jason McCormack)

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James Reyne is one of Australia’s finest musicians, defining the ‘80s with his Australian Crawl classics including Boys Light Up, Downhearted and Reckless before going on to smash out a mighty fine solo career, churning out another suite of radio bangers such as Motor’s Too Fast, Fall Of Rome and Hammerhead.

But it’s the depth of his talents that has really cemented his place in Aussie rock history, so The Music is taking a trip through the deep cuts you might not remember or can discover for the first time.

Red Light Avenue (James Reyne)

Recorded as the lead single for Reyne’s 1994 album The Whiff Of Bedlam, Red Light Avenue is one of Reyne’s best ballads. Up there with Reckless, the track didn’t quite hit the same heights but it has some of the best lyrics of any James Reyne song (thanks to co-writer Wayne Burt).

Motor City (Company Of Strangers)

The lead single from the criminally underrated ‘supergroup’ Company Of Strangers’ self-titled album, the band was formed with Reyne on vocals and help from his mates Daryl Braithwaite, Simon Hussey and Jef Scott. The album had a slew of amazing tracks including the ballad Sweet Love and a cover of The Beatles’ Baby, You’re A Rich Man, but despite just ticking over gold, the sheer talent and quality of the record left many scratching their heads about why it didn’t do better. The ‘company’ disbanded soon after.

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Way Out West (James Reyne & James Blundell)

It’s probably a bit rough to class this one as a ‘deep cut’ given it was a massive platinum-selling hit for Reyne and his pal James Blundell, but it was a stylistic shift. A cover of the Dingoes hit Way Out West, this surprise hit came in the wake of Reyne’s gold-selling solo album Electric Digger Dandy and became his highest charting solo-era single. It also crossed him over into the country audience and was nominated for a Golden Guitar. 

She Don’t Like That (Smash N Grab Feat. James Reyne)

In another big stylistic swing, Reyne provided vocals for Australian dancefloor kings Smash N Grab’s dance reworking of Reckless entitled She Don’t Like That. Turns out she didn’t. The track only peaked at #42 on the charts. 

Santa Claus Is Back In Town (Australian Crawl)

It wouldn’t be December without Santa and Australian Crawl did the heavy lifting back in 1982 with this bluesy banger set for the festive season. Will Reyne pull it out for his December 12 live stream? We can only hope….

Burning Books (James Reyne)

Reyne’s brand new single from last year’s album Toon Town Lullaby is another songwriting triumph. A haunting trumpet line weaves through the lyrics as the song builds and builds to its haunting crescendo. Proving his versatility, Burning Brooks is an artistic line in the sand over four decades after he first emerged.

James Reyne plays an exclusive live-stream concert this Sunday, December 12, at 2:30pm AEDT to help the charity Support Act. Tickets are available here.

Just want the hits? Check out our playlist here: