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Book Review

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Book Review: You’ll Never Walk Alone

by Lang Reid

You’ll Never Walk Alone (ISBN 1-905379-23-4, Maverick House, 2006) arrived direct from the publishers. A powerful book, written by Debbie Singh, it is a documentary chronicling her attempts to get her brother out of the notorious Klong Prem prison in Bangkok, “ the Bangkok Hilton”. However, it is much more than that, it is a factual look at real life and the real people in it and their real emotions. It has not been written to shock, be an expose or to seek help or pity. It goes much deeper than that.
Her own family background came from Liverpool, with her parents taking in a troubled young lad called John, whom they adopted and raised as their own. He was then the youngest, and would have been much loved, as is the youngest in most families.
As a family they migrated to Australia, but as her brother grew up, he also grew away from the rest of the family. Debbie however did not, or would not, believe in the nature/nurture dichotomy, writing, “In my mind, the distinction between blood and foster relations seems ludicrous – if you grow up in the same house and share your lives together, the bonds are the same as blood ties. For me, this was no different when it came to John.”
After leaving the family home, John drifted, eventually to Thailand, where he was arrested and received a 10 year jail sentence, to be served out in the Klong Prem prison. This is where Debbie Singh began to carry out and demonstrate her belief in the bonds of the family. She made it her priority to get her brother out of jail and back to Australia. In doing this she had to come to terms with the priorities of brother’s needs versus the requirements of her husband and her own children.
For six years she fought officialdom both in Thailand and Australia, coming face to face with the conditions within the Thai jail system, saying, “Families on the outside sometimes suffer as much as the prisoners.”
Debbie Singh’s family probably suffered more than most, and in many ways even more than Debbie herself who threw her entire being into the welfare of her brother and his infant son, often at the expense, both financial and psychological, of her own family.
At B. 495 it is a gripping read of another person’s harrowing experiences in life. However, it is not voyeuristic in any way, but leaves you with a sense of wonder at the vagaries of the human animal, and also the resilience that some others can display. Debbie Singh comes across as the exact opposite from her adopted brother, which must have made even her wonder at the lifelong influences of nature over nurture. Writing the book must have been a cathartic experience, and Debbie Singh deserves the pleasure she now undoubtedly receives in looking after her nephew, unfortunately rejected by his natural father. It is no wonder that she and her struggles has been the subject of a TV show in Australia. Debbie Singh (and her family) are true Australian heroes.

Mott's CD Reviews:  Nazareth


by Mott the Dog

5 Stars*****
Nazareth was formed in 1968, when Manny Charlton joined what was left of a Dunfermline band called the Shadettes, a Scottish rock band that was having to play Top Twenty hits locally to survive and venture down to London occasionally to play their own material. Their world was to change when multi millionaire / rock ‘n’ roll fan / all round good guy, Bill Fehilly took the band under his wing, providing them with enough financial backing to get them some decent equipment, a brand new transit van, and most importantly enough money for the band to eat regularly.
Stardom did not come over night though, and after several years of ups and downs, Nazareth finally reached the stardom they deserved.
In 1974 Nazareth recorded their fifth studio album, ‘Rampant’ (1974), with Roger Glover at the production controls. This time the boys decided to do a full out hard rock album, laying the template for all guitar driven rock bands for the future.
‘Silver Dollar Forger’ is a perfect Nazareth opener. Manny Charlton riffs at super speed into his guitar, leading the rest of the band to charge in after him, before the distinctive Scottish vocals of Dan McCafferty come in to tell his tale. The only way that Dan McCafferty could have possessed vocal chords like that would have been if he had gargled with sulphuric acid every night before he went on stage.
All successful bands have their trademark and with Nazareth it’s McCafferty’s vocals, a wonder to the ears. ‘Silver Dollar Forger’ is an excellent capsule of all that is good about Nazareth; a classic rockin’ song, a guitar solo that fair bristles with Scottish pride, dynamic lead vocals, superb harmony vocals, a sense of humour, a heavy bass line, and thunderous drumming. I can still picture them now on stage. Dan McCafferty, the perfect front man leading the crowd with his arms aloft, Manny Charlton stage right from the audience all concentration, his face gurning to every note wrung out of his axe, whilst bassist Pete Agnew was having the time of his life stomping up and down on the opposite side of the stage. Then up on the drum riser was Darrell Sweet, cheeks all puffed out as he propelled the band along to even greater heights, never missing a beat, but at every opportunity lobbing drumsticks out into the crowd for souvenirs.
The band carries on with the cheeky ‘Glad When Your Gone’ - not exactly a love song! But certainly something to get everybody dancing in the aisles. The ballad ‘Loved and Lost’ is not some lonesome tale of a broken heart after some relationship, more the sort of thing where fate has it in for you, and you get plenty of luck, all of it bad. You must know one of those days when even the dog bites you for no apparent reason. It also features a really gritty guitar solo from Manny Charlton.
On any Nazareth album you would always get a couple of road songs from the band’s exploits on tour. ‘Rampant’ is no different. The next two songs are perfect examples: ‘Shanghai’d in Shanghai’ is a belting song with amusing lyrics about life on the road, name dropping all over the place, and when Dan McCafferty proudly announces that Nazareth will be second billing to The Rolling Stones, the rest of the band breaks into ‘Satisfaction’ for thirty seconds. The other road song is ‘Jet Lag’, which is a little self explanatory, but sung with the tongue firmly in the cheek, as Dan McCafferty explains:
‘I got jet lag,
And livin’ out an overnight bag,
Times changes every day,
They do things different,
Back in the USA.
Tryin’ hard to make a phone call,
“long distance over seas,”
“yes Ma’am I did say Scotland,”
“Could you spell that again please”.’
‘Light My Way’ is a good heavyweight Nazareth song with effected vocals and a custom built arena chorus which slowly builds to a nice climax with some more excellent work from the band. ‘Sunshine’ is the only acoustic song on the album, which shows that these hard men from Dunfermline do have hearts after all.
The one cover song on this album is a version of ‘The Yardbirds’ classic ‘Shapes Of Things To Come’, which was probably recorded by the band due to public demand as it was regularly used to close their live set. It is not so much a cover version, more of a complete destruction, and then re-building. Nazareth turned ‘Shapes’ into one of their own songs (which over the years they had a habit of doing with other songs as well).
Whether in the recording studio or on the live stage, Nazareth obviously had so much fun playing this song, so that while you marvel at the dynamics of it all, you also cannot help but smile as the song rocks out your speakers. In fact, not wanting to stop, the band adds on their own instrumental verse called ‘Space Safari’, allowing them to do a little early Seventies freak out to bring the album to a close.
After ‘Rampant’ Roger Glover relinquished the producer chair, handing it back to Manny Charlton. Really, his job had been done and Roger had other things to do, such as join ‘Rainbow’ and later re-form Deep Purple. The first thing Manny Charlton did for Nazareth from the production chair was deliver a version of Boudleaux Bryant’s ‘Love Hurts’, a song that Nazareth now have to play everywhere they go.
Yes, Nazareth are still going strong today. Twenty studio albums have been released plus umpteen compilations and live albums. Like any family they have had the odd divorce, and a tragic bereavement; these stories will be told another day. But still anything with the Nazareth badge on it is a seal of quality.

Dan McCafferty: Vocals
Manny Charlton: Guitars
Pete Agnew: Bass
Darrell Sweet: Drums

Silver Dollar Forger (Parts One and Two)
Glad When Your Gone
Loved and Lost
Shanghai’d in Shanghai
Jet Lag
Light My Way
Shapes of Things to Come (Including Space Safari)

To contact Mott the Dog email: [email protected]