This is a collection of original songs that I’ve written, so ‘Compendium’ describes it accurately.  Being varied in style, the songs required a range of performers, from some who worked on one track to those who featured on many.  Vic and The Variables is my personal description for the wide variety of performers evident on the album.  I am certainly grateful for the high standard of performance from all the musicians involved in ‘Compendium’.


1. ‘Moon That’s Missing’ - Lois and the Lovelorn Orchestra :  When the recording for this track was completed I felt certain that it should open the album.  Although we’re in a digital download age, I still feel albums should always commence with a good song.  I was certainly pleased with the outcome; Lois on vocals brought a silky texture to the song, and The Lovelorn Orchestra you hear is principally one musician, namely Greg Young.


2. ‘Electric Cars’ - Andromeda 2085 :  After viewing the film ‘Who Killed The Electric Car?’ I was inspired to commence writing this song, although other inspirations from long ago also came to the fore.  It provided a perfect opportunity for me to pay homage to some of the great Science-Fiction writers.  It took over three years from initial conception to completion of both the audio track and music video.


3. ‘Only Had A Dollar’ - Vic and The Variables :  In a lyrical sense, I sought to combine poignancy and practicality in this song.  I have genuine affection for this work, which features
just Greg and myself.


4. ‘Havana Lament’ - The Latin Explorers :  I can’t deny the

positive impact that ‘The Buena Vista Social Club’, both the

band and the Wim Wenders movie, had on my musical psyche. 

This song represents love and loss relating to places and people;

and encompasses both traditional and modern aspects of my

idea of Cuban music. Ricardo Parada exhibited his vocal heart

and soul on this track.


5. ‘Señorita’ - The Latin Explorers :  Written in four

different cities across the globe.  Melody and lyrics usually

‘arrive’ together for me; however this time I chose to hone

the initial lyrics over time until they and the melody were

better entwined.  Ricardo lent his unique vocal approach

to this song, with Kerri and Elissa Wills adding a fine touch

with back-up vocals.


6. ‘My Havana Neighbourhood’ - The Latin Explorers :  Across the

globe there are individuals who think of fleeing from their native

lands, however, they choose to stay.  Perhaps it’s a love of their
country or people therein.  I just couldn’t envisage this song
without the inclusion of piano accordion, and Tony Russo
proved to be a master of this instrument in the studio environment. 
Ricardo, again, was in fine form vocally.


7. ‘Farewell Bonnie Lass’ - Vic and The Variables :  Both my late

Mother and my wife hail from Edinburgh in Scotland, and this song

is dedicated to them.  I’d certainly love to hear a pipe band perform

this sometime.  If you write a song, I’ve heard that you should sing it. 

Well, nervously, here I am.


8. ‘Happy Birthday, Darlin’’ - Mick Hadley and The Variables :  This was initially written as a personal birthday song for my wife. When I realised that there didn’t seem to be many 21st Century birthday songs around, with her permission, I

re-shaped the lyrics from the original version to broaden its appeal.  The late Mick Hadley, on vocals, is a legendary Rhythm and Blues performer in Australia.


9. ‘Ned Kelly’ - Vic and The Variables : The suggestion that I should write a song about Ned came from Greg.  To be honest, I felt somewhat unsure that I should even attempt this, as Ned Kelly is such an iconic figure in Australia.  Consequently I realised that I needed to put some serious thought into this song.  Greg worked hard on the arrangement and instrumental side of things, as evidenced by the song’s mood.  I sought to deliver a narrative feel, vocally, on this one.


10. ‘Born in Mississippi’ - Kylie Stewart and The Variables :  Though it probably doesn’t sound like it, this was written in Edinburgh, Scotland.  This is the earliest composition of mine to be included on ‘Compendium’.  Melbourne-based Kylie Stewart really gave her all, vocally, at a lunchtime recording session in Brisbane.  Fellow Melbourne resident and highly regarded musician, Justin Lee, arranged and played guitars for this song.  Cath Krause delivered the brooding drum sound.


11. ‘Lamento Habanero’ - The Latin Explorers :  This is the Spanish language version of ‘Havana Lament’.  Originally I had envisaged writing and recording an entire album of my songs featuring Ricardo with the studio group being called The Latin Explorers.  However he re-located to the United States and consequently there were just six songs recorded featuring his vocals.  I thought it important to include them all on ‘Compendium’.


12. ‘Angelina’ - The Latin Explorers :  This was the first of three ‘Compendium’ tracks to be recorded in Spanish, the English version being ‘Señorita’.  Whilst working closely with Felipé Palau on the translation, he suggested ‘Angelina’ as the title, because the direct translation sounded too formal.  Obviously Angelina Jolie sprang to mind, and with her being a distinguished actor and a fine humanitarian, we decided ‘Angelina’ was ideal.  Ricardo sounded fantastic singing in his first language.  Grant Collins, renowned Queensland drummer, is featured on all of The Latin Explorers’ contributions to the album.


13. ‘Mi Barrio Habanero’ - The Latin Explorers : In English: ‘My Havana Neighbourhood’.  Felipé was most gracious in assisting with English to Spanish lyric translations on this song and the two previous tracks.  For me this process was most stimulating, and we worked closely together to ensure the literal meaning was retained and not lost in translation.  There’s something romantic indeed about the Spanish language.  Just listen to Ricardo singing about ‘hermosa Rosanna’ (‘lovely Rosanna’).


14. ‘Dem Bones’ - Vic and The Variables :  Whilst recording what originally began as a demo, it felt right to retain my musical expression as to how this song should sound.  Hence the songwriter became the vocalist.  I love the edgy blues guitar achieved with ease and accuracy by Greg.


15. ‘Señorita’ (instrumental) - The Latin Explorers :  During the mixing session I requesting that Mal Capewell’s saxophone and flute contributions be given more audible prominence.  There was an additional morning recording session to facilitate Greg adding more of his guitar virtuosity for this instrumental version.  The real idea was for this version to stand quite apart from the other two.


16. ‘Electric Cars’ (Road Mix) - Andromeda 2085 :  It seemed appropriate to me to revisit ‘Electric Cars’ and aim for an ‘official’ extended treatment.  It’s not just about electric cars; rather it’s also a tribute to some fabulous, durable Science-Fiction writers like Ray Bradbury and Philip K Dick.  As for ‘Air Cars’, science fact often follows Science-Fiction; I did learn they were due to emerge in 2012.  I continue to look skywards. I felt the need to record a spoken-word intro for this to differentiate it from the earlier version.



A recording footnote:  The songs included on ‘Compendium’ were recorded between 2000 and 2009, starting with ‘Born in Mississippi’ and concluding with ‘Dem Bones’.

Electric Cars -
River Seine - Paris, 2012
Shannon               Craig