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Southern Sons - 1996 Zone

ARTIST: Southern Sons
SERIAL: 74321339162
YEAR: 1996


LINEUP: Jack Jones - vocals, guitars * Phil Buckle - guitars * Geoff Cain - bass * Virgil Donati - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Zone * 02 Living Without You * 03 Don't Tell Me Whats Right * 04 Seeds * 05 Trust In Me * 06 We Are One * 07 You Don't Know Me * 08 Fare Thee Well * 09 Let It Go * 10 Can't Help Wanting To * 11 Don't Ask Me Why

This is the third and final instalment from Melbourne's Southern Sons. Having reached a peak with their previous two albums (both worth obtaining by the way), they spend a bit of time out of the limelight before coming back into the fray four years later with this effort 'Zone'. Not as lush as the other two, but by no means have they lost their flair for the melodic. With Jack Jones and Phil Buckle onboard, there's very little the band can do to escape being melodic, thankfully for us!! It does have an 'earthy' flavour to it, mixing in styles which are akin to artists such as Seal, David Hallyday's Blind Fish, or even midwest rock a la John Mellancamp, or John Kilzer. An interesting mix yes, and a complex one at that too. They've moved on somewhat from those simple radio oriented moments from their debut and 'Nothing But The Truth', and this one will either alienate many, or add to Southern Son's appreciation society with fans recognising this as a sure sign of 'maturing', as we say in the music industry..

The Songs
The title track 'Zone' is a Seal like workout, with an intriguing theme and scary movie effects pulsing throughout! 'Living Without You' is a funkier arrangement, with some modern pop flavourings within it. Jones still has that John Farnham vocal influence, and hearing him sing over this differently arranged material is pretty cool, but then Jack is a pretty cool guy! Listen to 'Don't Tell Me What's Right' as an example of coolness! This oozes class, and the featured duet with ex Men At Work singer Colin Hay is a bonus. There's a lovely ballad in 'Trust In Me' where Jones' lilting voice glides over an easy acoustic piece. I'm sure this is a great 'unplugged' contender. 'Fare Thee Well' written by Phil Buckle is another poignant moment, guaranteed to bring the tissues out, while we grab our travel tickets and acoustic guitars and venture over to the midwest with 'Let It Go', complete with shimmering organ work a la Mellancamp. 'Can't Help Wanting To' has a very impromptu feel to it, like some of the stuff that Eric Johnson does, while Virgil Donati gets to play around with different time measures on his drums with 'Don't Ask Me Why', rhythmically a testing track, but one which he eats up for breakfast, such is his technical proficiency.

In Summary
Probably at this stage of their career, they were caught at the perennial crossroads, and not having released an album for four years prior to this one, perhaps one could assume that the creative juices with the band members had dried up. Not a lot has been heard of since with these guys, but knowing them I am sure they will have their hand in something musical.

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#1 | gdazegod on June 10 2009 09:59:59
Interesting to note that American singer/songwriter Tom Deluca co-writes 5 of the songs on this album.

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