Reviewed by Marika Pratley The Spark Dec 2009/ Jan 2010
In the album ‘Safer Communities Together’ Blues Don Franks has successfully interwoven politically revolutionary words with his compositional abilities. Recorded in a student flat in Aro Valley, Wellington, ‘Safer Communities’ is comprised – musically – of a wide range of instruments which Don plays, including acoustic guitar, electric guitar, banjo, and blues harp. There are also contributions by many other Wellington artists (bass, backing vocals, lead guitar, drums).
Don picks up from the tradition of political folk, but his work is distinctive because it discusses contemporary issues directly relevant to people in New Zealand today. It is an important historical catalogue of not only the recent Labour government, but the transition into the new National government which took over in 2008, and the various struggles that activists, workers, and unions have had to fight in that time period. Some songs are written for specific pickets or issues (such as One more Thursday in Black) whereas some are more general in their detest of both Labour and National (I hate the Labour Government, and Fuck John Key). Many of his songs have hints of tongue-and-cheek humour, such as the wedding march riff at the beginning of Talking Civil Union, making it a very entertaining album to listen to. Read the rest of this entry »