The Cruel Sea – Better Get A Lawyer (90s – 71)

August 2, 2013

If Red Right Hand was the first time I heard the happening sound and took notice, Better Get A Lawyer represent a time when I deliberately took the plunge.

When I hit university, I suddenly had access to music from artists I already liked: Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell, Mike Oldfield, Vangelis and all the rest. I also had access to bands I’d read about but never heard: King Crimson, Ornette Coleman and others. This took up a lot of my first year.

When I got into student radio I got access to more material of these artists, but also to access to a lot of music I missed in my teenaged years. I finally decided to get an education and listen back to all the alternate/Indie music I’d missed in the first half of the decade.

This wasn’t helped by the fact a lot of music from 1990 to 1995 had been nicked from the station’s music library. Hoping to find full albums by blur, for instance, the station catalogue had them down as missing. It was mostly albums which went walkies, so thankfully there was plenty of singles left. One of these we played was this track by The Cruel Sea originally released in 1993.

I can’t definitely say when I first heard this track. It may have been in those few months when Triple J and myself co-inhabited the small town where I went to school, but in my mind Better Get A Lawyer is the firmest memory of deciding to listen back. It was unlike other rock songs at the time – bluesy, raw, the lyrics drawled. I soon became a big fan of Tex Perkins’ many projects, thought the Cruel Sea remain my favourite.

Years later I managed to see The Cruel Sea live at the Livid festival in the Brisbane Showgrounds, with boxcars slowly rollings past the band on the train line which cuts through the venue, almost as if it was planned. Perfect.


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