Thursday, January 06, 2005

After months of gentle hints, straight out requests, cajoling and begging someone has finally given in and contributed an article. Hats off. This is written after the Toe Sucking Cowgirls' show at the BVH a few Sundays back.

Guest Blogger: Terry Byrnes

A storm blew through Sydney on Monday the 12th lashing the coast, closing the airport and pelting the roadways with hailstones like golf balls. It hit Brisbane picking up sailing boats, flinging them sideways and wrecking the dreams of sailors who aspired to sail in the Boxing Day race to Hobart. The day before Sydney looked like the tourist haven that attracts European backpackers and middle aged Japanese alike. It was bathed in sunshine and set against the backdrop of a piercing blue sky. Mostly.

Occasional bouts of rain foreshadowed tomorrow's storm. By evening the weather was muttering dark omens. Sultry air hung around street corners like a mugger sweating under a balaclava.

Unless, of course, you were at The Botany View Hotel where The Toe Sucking Cowgirls blew away, with one sweet, easy, breath, every trace of a gathering tempest. The sweltering air parted at the doors as though it were commanded by Moses. It just couldn’t compete with the vibrance and energy of the cowgirls.

With Tracy on guitar, Glenny on guitar, fiddle and piano-accordion and "the blokes" backing up on drums and bass that pub was their room for the Sunday night. The music flowed just the way it was intended to: uncluttered, immediate, replete with spirit, touching. Glenny will lay back on a cushion of air as she squeezes a note out of the fiddle that brims with joy or tragedy. Tracy leans forward into the mike while wisps of hair dance like slender ballerinas around her shoulders. The songs make perfect sense and hit a nerve deep in the soul because The Toe Suckers aren't there to muck around: they quiver with authenticity.

They understand that at the seat of all of us is a monster. Beowulf, the earliest recorded poem, brutally carved into stone, tells the story of terrible monster that lurks outside the town's boarder. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in an opium laden state, penned one of the greatest poems ever to have flown from a human heart; until, of course, a merchant from Porlock (think Jehovah's Witness or that bloke that sells thatched wrist bands in front of the George Street cinemas) knocked on his door, broke his concentration and stuffed it up for all of us. He never really finished the poem. But after sailing through caves of ice he did see a woman "wailing for her daemon-lover." No matter how beautiful were her surroundings she still craved for something deep within her to be nurtured. The great all-corruptible gargoyle, the stirring wonder: sex. It is always prodding and probing from the depths of humanity. And the Cowgirls know this.

The Cowgirls let sex unfurl its wanton ways and become part of every breath in every song.

But don’t mistake The Cowgirls for some tatty tent-show tits and teeth act. They are as flash as a rat with a gold tooth and clever to boot. Some poor galloot decided to take on Tracy in a heckling competition and wound up pretty saddle sore cowpoke for his efforts. These cowgirls sing, strut and live their music. They let their audience know that it's hard to make a living making music. They let us know that it ain't a life of beer and skittles. Tough though their lives may be they approach their work like true professionals…and add a glimmer of excitement to all of our lives along the way.

Some of their songs are originals and some are covers but they make them all their own' with their own brand of unremitting desire to embrace a song.

Seeing a gig is a personal thing. For that short amount of time you hand over a part of yourself. You allow the performer to take charge. The stage may only be raised a few centimeters off the floor, but it is raised to a great prominence in the audiences psyche. The performer takes us on a journey; the performer leads us down lane-ways and alleys, and when it's The Cowgirls you're in safe hands.

When The Toesuckers performed at Tamworth last year they cooed from the stage that they had nowhere to lay their tired heads at the end of their gig. Like a hobo roamin' from town to town with nothin' but the stars for a roof. I don’t know if anyone came to their rescue or if they curled up in a field with only their guitars and their fighting spirit to keep them from the ravages of the night. But I woke up the next morning and wrote them a song; words only…I can't write tunes. It's posted along with this review.

See ya next time…God willin' and if the creek don’t rise

You know I love those Toe Sucking Cowgirls,
Prettiest girls in the whole darn festival.
Tell those homeless, drifting, Toe Sucking Cowgirls,
"There's room for you girls in my vestibule."

Their sparkling words are full of diamonds,
Their voices are spun with pure gold.
No finer spice could be found in any island,
No truer songs have ever been told.

Yes I love those Toe Sucking Cowgirls,
Prettiest girls in the whole darn festival.
Tell those lonesome, Toe Sucking Cowgirls,
"There's room for them in my vestibule."

All of their songs fill me with frisson,
They jingle with all the keys on earth.
Like a man who's just escaped from a prison,
Breathing freedom's air for all that it is worth.

I sure do love those Toe Sucking Cowgirls,
With their sparkling eyes and their dewy breath.
And they're kind to me those doggon Toe Sucking Cowgirls,
So kind it kinda' scares me half to death.

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