Billy Thorpe's Tangier

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He stood as a giant of the Australian music scene for decades and his passing in 2007 left a space on stages...
He stood as a giant of the Australian music scene for decades and his passing in 2007 left a space on stages that will never be filled, so it’s understandable that the posthumous release of Billy Thorpe’s final work was always going to be met with great curiosity and expectation.

Tangier is a sweeping opus, pregnant with vision and intent, but you can’t help but wonder how far through its creation Thorpe was before his death. There’s is a bloated weight that may have been the result of well-intentioned co-conspirators, roped in to complete the project after Billy’s departure. While it serves as a distraction it doesn’t sour what is a truly grand statement.

If pub rock ever caught on in Northern Africa you’d imagine this is what it would sound like. The lustful scales, the exotic instrumentation and of course Thorpe’s sleazy guitar majesty. The voice never really hits the ear shattering heights of yesteryear but his vocal chops are still well ahead of the curve.

Thorpe’s swagger is unleashed to best effect on tracks like Long Time and the hip shakin’ groove of Fatima. Much of the album sounds more like the score to Lawrence Of Arabia than a Thorpe record, which is an achievement if that was indeed the man’s intent. However it’s the acoustic ballad Since You’ve Been Gone that perhaps has the most power, perhaps due to its simplicity and poignancy.

However you cut it, Tangier is a colossal record; the only question is whether or not it’s the record Thorpe had intended it to be. We shall never know.

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Posted: Feb, 06 2012
I loved his Music, and use to play his LP record's as a teenager, Billy Thorpe and the Aztects .... Got to meet the Man quite a lot of year's ago in Perth had a few beer's with him and a group of other people he managed to take the time to speak to all that was there, Good on Billy, The pleasure was all mine Steve.

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