Dave Graney ‘n’ The Coral Snakes
Night of the Wolverine (Expanded)
Regular readers will be aware of my fondness for the work of Mr Graney. The 1993 album that set him off on a three year musical journey, that eventually garnered him his Aria award, is the acclaimed “Night of the Wolverine”. It has recently been re-released for the third time with additional tracks, comprising demos Dave made for the original album.
With Graney on vocals, the Coral Snakes line-up for the album includes Clare Moore on drums and percussion; Robin Casinader on keyboards, violin and mandolin; Rob Hayward on lead guitar, and Andrew Picouleau on bass guitar. Tex Perkins of The Cruel Sea, guests on lead vocals for “Night of the Wolverine II” with Amanda Mitchell on backing vocals. The title track and “You’re Just Too Hip, Baby” both made into the top 100 tracks of 1993 in the JJJ chart. The album was re-released in 1996 in Australia with a different cover, and in the U.K. on the This Way Up label. Two singles, “Three Dead Passengers” and “You’re Just Too Hip, Baby” were released at that time. It was also subsequently re-released on Graney and Moore’s own Cockaigne label in 2004 with extra tracks from post Coral Snakes sessions.
If you have not had the pleasure of listening to the album then I strongly recommend it to you. The original twelve tracks are some of Graney’s best work, and the additional material adds context, and amply demonstrate the transition from song-writing to studio.
In parallel to the release Dave has brought the Coral Snakes band back together for a series of dates across Australia, and reports of the first outing in Melbourne last week are very positive.
The song craft and delivery on the album are exemplary, and the transition to a newer, possibly more accessible, sound was made without the loss of any of the trademark humour and sideways look at the world which characterises Graney’s work. The mood of the album is laid back, reflective and effortless. It moves from funky pop, via country, through lounge, to the cool jazz tinged journey of the title track, which now appears in four different versions on the expanded version, If you wanted any proof that Graney is indeed the nabob of coolness then all you have to do is listen to his effortless delivery on Wolverine.
In terms of the Graney timeline of Coral Snakes work it sits between the memorable live album “Lure of the Tropics” and the creative peak of “You Wanna Be There But You Don’t Wanna Travel” and the two albums that followed (see my review of the Coral Snakes box set The Mercury Years). If you want a perfect way to enter the world of Dave Graney this is a good place to start.
Material from the album has made it’s way into Dave’s live work over the years. The video selections below give you a sample of the content from the album and recent live versions.