I am who I am, not who you want me to be

by JOHNNY CASINO

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about

Sometimes you have to go with the flow and not be too cerebral about an album and this is one of those moments.

This CD is a big body-shot aimed squarely at the heart, not the head. Lyrics aside (and they're intelligent and heartfelt enough - not just throwaways) this is an album that needs to be heard - felt - in its whole without being over-analysed or filed away into a genre or classification. So let's call it Rock and Roll and observe that it works.

On multiple levels; at times poignantly, at others forcefully, it's a newsreel of big, bold and brassy sounds with Casino's sometimes vulnerable, occasionally bitter and always engaging voice at the centre.

Johnny Casino and his Secrets (a rotating cast of collaborators whose ranks are determined by which city the bandleader finds himself in) are fighting the good fight on multiple fronts yet are still maintaining a consistency of sound. Theirs is a club whose membership is based on mutual respect. You could mix and match the players and still come out with a coherent whole. They know their rock and roll.

None less so than bandleader Casino who, as the album title infers, defies pigeonholing and dances to no-one's beat but his own.

At times, I Am ... sounds like the Prehistoric Sounds Saints or Louis Tillett and the Aspersion Caste with a big, swampy wall of brass, bar-room piano and bristling guitars pushing relentlessly through like a truck through marshland. At others, there's a delicacy and variation of tone that borrows from country-rock or Chicago blues, passing through the inner-western Sydney Delta.

Mo of Sydney glam rockers the Hell City Glamours likened Johnny's vocal on Can't Find My Way Through The Door as channelling Rick Danko and even as someone who's not a massive fan of The Band sans Dylan, that'll do me as a description.

Variety abounds. There's a surreal Velvets-style builder (Someday You'll Go) tinged with didgeridoo, a rocking pop classic (Brother Grahame Says), a Chuck Berry-meets-the-Groovies arse-kicker (Can't Be Who You Want Me To Be), a summery romancer (The Road To Ithaca) and a disarmingly heartland-styled rail (The Deaf Leading the Blind) that's contrastingly savage in its demolition of music industry commodification. All perfectly tracked to work as an album, not just a collection of songs.

The guests - Hoodoo Guru Brad Shepherd, The Boobytraps' Carrie Phillis and Kendall James and The Eastern Dark's Billy Gibson most prominent - are significant seamlessly integrated. Pianist/organist Jeremy Craib seems so integral to the sound that it'd be great to see him playing live full-time.

Casino's guitar playing is up to its usual greatness but it's a key element here, not the main object. He's proud of his vocal and rightly so. Above all, this is an album that's about the songs. All of which are original except for the opener, a fairly obscure Real Kids song Who Needs Ya that came out as a B-side on a Dog Meat Australian single 100 years ago. A canny choice.

I alluded to lyrics at the start. Don't ignore them; they're part of the whole, and about fleeting or re-kindled love, individualism and the emptiness of an industry that Johnny Casino is only too happy to sit on the edge of, looking in.

Well-kept Secrets he and his band might be, but while they and others like them keep making music this good - no, great - we can all live in hope.
Album of The Year - The Barman

credits

released May 1, 2009

recorded in Sydney Australia by Mike Burnham
all songs written by John A Spittles

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about

JOHNNY CASINO Spain

Johnny Casino, anywhere, anytime. This man has one musical fault – he’s too fucking good !BEAT MAGAZINE

Classy, rocking and cinematic, with sweeping vision, individualism , big, bold and brassy sounds occasionally bitter and always engaging.BARMAN I94 BAR

Johnny Casino should be playing upper-middle-class booze orgies to loosen up and wreck soon to be career women !VILLAGE VOICE New York City
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Track Name: Who needs you
Who needs you is originally performed and written by the GREAT band from Boston THE REAL KIDS!!! and written by Jon Felice .
The first itme i heard this song was on a 7¨that was put out by the great melbourne label DOG MEAT RECORDS, but the first time i feel in love with the song was watching and hearing the wonderful band THE FREELOADERS play it one night at the Brookvale Hotel !! arrrh those were the days!!!
Thanks a bunch to John Felice, David Laing, Guy Lucas and Sean Greenway.
Track Name: Take me down to your river
TAKE ME DOWN TO YOUR RIVER (John A Spittles)

Take me down to your river and let me get in
I feel your cool cool water and i wanna swim
It´s time i got a drink from your loving cup
Take me down to your river and let me get in
Track Name: New clothes old shoes
NEW CLOTHES OLD SHOES (John A Spittles)

I waited to hear her words in my ears
What i wanted to know was where she´d like to go
From Smith St Fitzroy we did go
That yellow cab did take us to her door
A lady called George a ballroom no more
We laughed and drank tea Mrs Partton sang in key
And we kissed till the sun called me home
My new clothes old shoes thru her door
My new clothes old shoes thru her door
Track Name: Brother Grahame say´s
BROTHER GRAHAME SAYS (John A Spittles)

Sweet May wontcha pour me a drink in a long tall glass
Antonio Maria Gerardo Laura too lets make the goodtimes last
Brother Grahame keeps saying i keep falling in love
Brother Grahame keeps saying i keep falling in love
Wednesday night Sala Carabel , in Palencia i found
A heart so big a smile so warm and eyes so brown
Brother Grahame keeps saying i keep falling in love
Brother Grahame keeps saying i keep falling in love
Somedays time keeps slippin away
and every once in a while you hoped it would stay
Track Name: Sunken Treasure
SUNKEN TREASURE (John A Spittles)

Dont wait here for me baby i aint waiting here for you
Dont wait here for me baby i aint waiting here for you
You should be moving on forward just watch me standing still
well i got this sunken treasure but you might sink and drown in blue
well i got this sunken treasure but you might sink and drown in blue
I aint the one for you baby i aint the one to see it thru
going round and round in circles and i know which road to choose
going round and round in circles and i know which road to choose
but you´ll find me on that back road i´ll be alone and without you
Track Name: I am who I am, not who you want me to be
I AM WHO I AM, NOT WHO YOU WANT ME TO BE (John A Spittles)

I am who I am not who you want me to be
And I stand where I stand and you see what you see
I cut and I bleed you find that so hard to believe
I am who I am not who you want me to be
You see me stand and fall you seen this before
Yeah i stand and fall and you have seen that before
I cut and bleed cut and bleed yeah
I am who I am not who you want me to be I AM
Track Name: Someday you´ll go
SOMEDAY YOU´LL GO (John A Spittles)

I see you in the summertime
the clouds belong to the evening tide
watching you glow feeling you close
i see the sun shining thru your dress
your long black hair fall across your chest
holding you close wanting you so
yeah letting you know i need you so
the sun shines bright on Fitzroy street
drinking cocktails sand between our feet
letting you know feeling you close
the suns demise leaves us cold and tired
another day gone and it wont be long
and we know but we dont show
yeah we know someday you´ll go
someday you´ll go when i need you so
Track Name: The road to Ithaca
THE ROAD TO ITHACA (John A Spittles)

Spanish wine and the moon up high
the city lights seem to sparkle in her eyes
safe in her arms i have no reason to hide
a thought spoken a chance is taken
raised glasses with coke and red wine
a shared pillow in a city we left behind
stories and words are sometimes so hard to find
Track Name: From lip to lip
FROM LIP TO LIP (John A Spittles)

I´m being led through that door
dont even know what im looking for anymore anymore anymore
watch me go from lip to lip
give me the chance and i will do it again and again and again
watch me do it again and again and again
here i stand there i fall
but see me climbing back up off the floor when i do you´ll be blue when i do
cause i´ll be looking at you just to see what you do
just to see what you do
Track Name: I cant be who you want me to be
I CAN´T BE WHO YOU WANT ME TO BE (John A Spittles)

I´ll walk when you run i cant be who you want me to be
I´ll go left and you go right and we´ll see what we wanna see
all day long and into the night we both dance to a different drum
for you and me the innocence has gone
what are you waiting for i cant be who you want me to be
i told you 1000 times before i cant be who you want me to be
bags are packed ready to go all kindsa girls all kindsa shows
you oughta know i aint coming home
I cant be who you want me to be.
Track Name: Can´t find my way through the door
I CAN´T FIND MY WAY THRU THE DOOR (John A Spittles)

What do you do when your lonely?
Cant find your way to the door
Walking down streets that once felt warm
The cool wind will chill to the bone
what would you say if you seen me
when sometimes words seem to fall
i´d like to feel what i once felt before
but i cant find my way thru the door
sometimes i feel you near me
sometimes i feel so alone
sometimes i feel what was there before
but i cant find my way thru the door
Track Name: I am who I am (reprise)
I am who I am am who i am who i am i am i am who i am !
Track Name: The deaf leading the blind
THE DEAF LEADING THE BLIND (John A Spittles)

I got something and you need it
But you dont even know it yet
You couldn´t see it if you faced it
And you probably never will
Well there´s something in your water
And it´s poisoning your ideals
The truth you never reveal
And you probably never will
Well i can see where this is going
becasue you dont believe in where it´s been
you just want to belong in the end
and i wonder what will you do
if that party starts without you
and you can´t get into the room
and your laminate want do
hay aint i on the guestlist
yeah but im a friend of so and so
your name dropping is an art form
and then you breeze on in
yeah but you cant see where this is going
because you dont believe in where it´s been
you just want to belong in the end
you find pop stars on game shows
manufactured and created
you celebrate mediocrity
and this bullshit never ends
i twist the dial to find a station
but i cant find it on my radio
that sound that i believe in
seems to be lost to the years
well i see where this is going
and i have seen where it has been
and im so happy i wont belong in the end