Rory McLeod: 'unorthodox and brilliant'

January 31, 2001

Mouth to Mouth
Rory McLeod
Through Shock Records
Order at <>


"I want my songs to keep memory alive. I suppose I'm trying to tell history from working peoples point of view. Politics to me is people; it covers everything from the way you touch your partner/lover in bed and look after your old folks or your family, to the workshop floor, housing, health care, trespass laws [and] our rights to organise as a community" — Rory McLeod.

Mouth to Mouth is McLeod's sixth album and a generous offering at that. A double CD containing 28 tracks recorded and mixed between 1981-2000.

His songs blend a broad range of musical styles. From the Calypso feel of "You were the one" and "What brings you here tonight", the blues of "Too old for the orphanage" and "One track mind" to the English music hall-style "Hunger is the best sauce". "Miners picket dance", written for the National Union of Miners, is an instrumental piece over infectious Latin rhythms.

His choice of instrumentation is wide, unorthodox and brilliant, utilising spoons, bells, tap shoes, pan pipes, banjo, bodhran, harmonica, pedal steel, clarinet, accordian, trombone, upright bass, mandolin, violin, didgeridoo, saucepan, washboard and even sandpaper.

The album contains a lot of love songs. This isn't a criticism. Unlike the commercial pop-fodder we are forced to endure, McLeod's love songs are refreshingly realistic and often humourous.

A number of songs deal with religion. "Stranger God" is a rap over a funk riff. It examines xenophobia and the scapegoating of the most vulnerable in a society. The song draws attention to the plight of those forced to flee war, famine and persecution. "God loves me" is a blues piece that satirises the ravings of a bigoted evangelist guided by "Gods will".

"What would Jesus do?" highlights the hypocrisy of many religious and spiritual leaders as they deter their followers from challenging an unjust system with the promise of a better after-life. McLeod's message is clear: "I'll fight to build a heaven on earth, like Che Guevara tried to do."

McLeod makes an interesting comparison between Jesus Christ and Che Guevara. According to the Bible, Christ was also murdered by a group of class collaborationists for exposing and fighting against an unjust system. It makes you wonder what the ACTU leadership would have done to Jesus Christ.

McLeod draws attention to the heroic examples of many famous revolutionaries and activists and has included a brief biography of each as part of the CD artwork.

The release of this album coincides with an Australian tour by McLeod. Mouth to Mouth tour dates:



— Canberra, Tillies.

9-12 — Port Fairy Folk Festival, Victoria.

16 — Yackandandah Folk Festival.

17-18 — Illawarra Folk Festival, Jamberoo, NSW.

22 — Alice Springs, Araluen Centre, phone (08) 8951 1122 or email: <>.

24-25 — Apollo Bay Festival, Victoria.

29 — Brunswick Music Festival, East Brunswick Club Hotel, 280 Lygon St, Brunswick, Victoria. Bookings (03) 9388 1460 or email <>.

31 — Yeppoon Town Hall, Normanby St, Yeppoon, North Queenlsand. Phone (07) 4939 7685. All profits benefit for community Radio NAG.



— Frankston International Guitar Festival, Victoria.

13-16 — East Coast Blues and Roots Festival, Byron Bay, NSW.

20-22 — Fairbridge Festival, Pinjarra Festival, WA.

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.