Tag Archives: beds are burning

Music on Mondays (6-29-15)—The dead heart lives here

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

One of the things that I am doing with my vast music collection is equalizing it, making the quiet songs louder and the loud songs quieter. I can then listen to my music without constantly adjusting the volume for each song.

I also am equalizing the channels. The Beatles, in exploring stereo separation, have some of the worst songs with unequal channels. Not in my music collection!

Two things I have noticed about equalizing channels and songs:

First, the words are clearer, and since I’m a singer, I really enjoy being able to hear AND understand the lyrics. That particularly applies to heavy metal songs where the words often are obscured by the music, leaving one to simply nod (thrash?) one’s head and hum along.

Second, the intricacies of the music are more noticeable. It’s like taking a picture into Photoshop and using various filters to discover details and colors that did not appear to be in the picture as it came out of the camera:

img_2034 wagon wheel stamp

img_2034 wagon wheel altered stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Such was the case this morning when I listened to the album “Diesel and Dust” by Midnight Oil, a band out of Australia that was active from 1976 to 2002.

Arguably their best album, it is a concept album about both the struggles of indigenous Australians and environmental causes. I had no idea, mainly because I never could understand all the words and never had the motivation to find all the lyrics to all the songs.

When I equalized the album this morning and then listened to it, words were understandable, and listening to the words caused me to do a little research about the album and songs.

My favorite song from the album used to be “Beds Are Burning.” Here it is unequalized from YouTube:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Beds Are Burning” was the second single from the album but the first to chart in the United States, reaching #17 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also is their highest charting single in the U.S., of only three that charted here.

Other countries liked the song much better than the Americans. It reached #1 in Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa; #2 in Belgium; #3 in the Netherlands; #5 in France; #6 in Australia and Great Britain; and #11 in Ireland. Interesting that New Zealand liked the song better than the Australians did….

According to Wikipedia, “Beds Are Burning” is a protest song about giving native Australian lands back to the Pintupi, among the last indigenous people to come in from the desert. The Pintupi moved from the Gibson Desert to settlements and missions in the 1930s with more forcibly moved in the 1950s and ’60s to the Papunya settlement. They returned to their own country in 1981, establishing the Kintore community which currently has a population of about 400.

After listening to the equalized album, I’m liking “The Dead Heart” better than “Beds Are Burning.” Here’s the unequalized song from YouTube:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Wikipedia again: “The song deals with the mistreatment of indigenous Australians and the nonrecognition of indigenous cultures in Australia, and was part of efforts to raise awareness of Australia’s Stolen Generations—the forcible removal of Australian Aboriginal children from their families between 1909 and the 1970s.”

Here is the entire “Diesel and Dust” album (unequalized) should you like to listen to it:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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