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Articles Home » 1985 Articles » Barnes, Jimmy - 1985 For The Working Class Man
Barnes, Jimmy - 1985 For The Working Class Man

ARTIST: Barnes, Jimmy
ALBUM: For The Working Class Man (Double Album)
LABEL: Mushroom
SERIAL: RML 53183/4 (LP), CD 53196/7 (CD)
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 2005, Liberation Blue, BLUE009.5 (20th Anniv), 2010, Liberation, LMCD0076 (remastered, add remixes)


LINEUP: Jimmy Barnes - all vocals * Tommy Thayer, Chas Sandford, Mal Eastick, Waddy Wachtel, Dave Amato, Charlie Sexton, Billy Burnette, Chris Stockley, Johnny Lee - guitars * Randy Jackson, Kenny Gradney, Bruce Howe - bass * Tony Braunagel, Mick Fleetwood, Tony Brout, Ray Arnott - drums * Jonathan Cain, William Smith, Bill Payne - keyboards * Arno Lewis = percussion * Kim Carnes, Maxine Willard, Julia Tillman, Dave Amato, Jonathan Cain, Ren‚e Geyer, Venetta Fields, Shauna Jenson - backing vocals * Chris Stockley - mandolin * Viv Riley - bagpipes

TRACK LISTING: 01 I'd Die To Be With You Tonight * 02 Ride The Night Away * 03 American Heartbeat * 04 Working Class Man * 05 Without Your Love * 06 No Second Prize * 07 Vision * 08 Promise Me You'll Call * 09 Boys Cry Out For War * 10 Daylight * 11 Thickskinned * 12 Paradise


This album was a mixture of the material found on 1984's 'Bodyswerve' and 1985's 'Jimmy Barnes', as Geffen furiously tried to break Barnes into the US market. Looking back, Jimmy might have been too working class and typically Australian to ever bother with that market and by all means that appears to be the case, despite excellent tracks courtesy of Jonathan Cain and Chas Sanford. Barnes himself during the period was one of the all time great frontmen of rock, the Scot turned Aussie, back street hero seen wearing New South Wales state of origin shirts, bare footed and gruff, already a legend courtesy of his tenure with Cold Chisel. By the time of this effort Barnes was already a solo sensation, and pursuing an AOR direction wasn't a bad move, only the Americans weren't buying. Australian's were in their hundreds of thousands, a fitting tribute to this superb opus.

The Songs
With a star studded lineup by his side the results were guaranteed, and the Cain penned tracks 'American Heartbeat' and 'Working Class Man' are two marvellous AOR anthems well suited to Barnes' passionate delivery that could have earned Jimmy a spot in Journey! These surpass anything off 'Raised In Radio' and it seems Cain saved his best material for other artists, see Michael Bolton's 'The Hunger'. A true pair of AOR classics in the best 80's tradition, hats off to Cain and Barnes. Chas Sanford was a ubiquitous presence during the 80's and his 'I'd Die To Be With You Tonight' sees Kim Carnes on backing vocals alongside Barnes, another classy piece. Barnes' own 'No Second Prize' was a sizable hit and an Australian institution to this day, courtesy of that memorable hook where Barnes holds nothing back vocally. Barnes' own tracks are noticeably less streamlined than Cain's, but easily as effective, namely 'Boy's Cry Out For War' a sturdy hard rock cut and 'Thickskinned', which has that noticeable Aussie feel, if you were around then you'll know what I mean! Barnes explores his rock and roll roots on the rollicking 'Paradise', which mirrors the duet with INXS on the Easybeats cover 'Good Time Tonight'. This will always be the type of rock Barnes is suited for, rather than the soul direction he's taken on a few occasions since.

In Summary
It isn't a stretch to call Barnes a legend, especially when taking his track record of success into account in Australia, where his achievements are almost unparalleled by any other artist in regard to chart action. His AOR period was a natural fit for his immense talents and this album stands tall two decades down the road, one of those cultural iconic statements similar to that of John Farnham and 'Whispering Jack'. 1987's 'Freight Train Heart', reviewed here elsewhere, was another grand recording, but the last of Jimmy's flirtations in the US, which he never needed eventually. An all time great of an album that anyone hailing from down under is already aware of. For those who don't, introduce yourself to a real hero.

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