posted on August 1, 2010 at 6:19 pm

during the early nineties

a guy from emi gave me a demo tape that knocked my sox off

it was some unknown from melbourne called margot smith

i rushed home n played it to my then girlfriend karin jansson

who was also similarly blown away

here at last was true talent

an incredible tuneful mellifluous voice

the only voice comparable was kate bush

the same power n glory

the same sweeping range operatic mastery

the lyrics n melodies were fucking brilliant

my fave lyric was from a song called dream

the song started with these incredible (to me) words

“everytime you say you want to die

i cant remember what you said”

and contained in those words n the way she sang em

is a world of ambiguity sadness denial and fantasy

did i want to produce her?

fuck yes!

i had my studio at surry hills then i guess this was 91

unfortunately i was going down that sad bad road with the “white lady”

although i guess you could say i was still in the honeymoon phase

margot turned up n we kinda hit it off i guess

she was precocious irreverent curious n amazingly naive

she was kinda annoying too

but any fool could see she was a Major talent

one of those rare individuals who could not sing a wrong note

her voice swooped soared roared crooned cruised and bruised but always with perfect pitch

she never faltered once

and she never sang a song the same way twice neither

she constantly changed the words n melodies

she did not see a song as a fixed idea

she just let it happen everytime n her muse never deserted her

she just made lyrics up on the spot too a la grant mclennan

words flew into her head outta thin air

i recorded half the album with her

eddie rayner from split enz did the other half

we co wrote a bunch of songs together too

“adored ” is margot having a pot shot at me

oh yes you are adored by a multitude of whores

selling their story at the door

oh i’d love to be adored as you are and you are”

she saw me battling the gear

she was just starting her long battle with the bottle too

so we were quite a pair

the engineer demanded a thousand bucks off emi as a ganja budget

and got it!

its a bloody great record

i wrote some good music for it

margot herself n her then boyfriend michael came up with the goods too

the torch song was my music n margots words about a brief affair i had had

she’d seen it happening n captured it all so succinctly

lifetime was another co write

listen to that voice n those words

“and if life could take you in his arms n hold you

and if time would let you sleep with him enfold you”

and  margots “bellyman ” which she wrote on her own

“here i come , i’m the bellyman come to fill you up when you cant get full”

and of course that fabulous song dream the one that sold me on her

orchestral swelling guitars and margots wonderful singing

“you will be, i will be open wide, you n i know why”

god it still gives me gooseflesh

the first album was very ornate very elizabethan very grand in its scope

due to a number of bungles n mistakes it came out n did nothing

absolutely nothing

it sank without a trace n margot lost her deal

it was inexplicable

in another time n place she woulda been a superstar

tori amos would have loved to have written some of those songs

the second album would be the opposite of all that

michael was gone

margot was on her own and still battling the booze

i had lost the  battle with the gear n i was a full on reclusive fucked up wreck

still we got together at the new karmic hit in rozelle

opposite my house in mansfield street

me n margot n tim p n peter k

we were her band

i would knock out something real rough

and we’d play it like crazy horse

2 n 3 chord songs

listen to creature

its the antithesis of the melodrama of the first record

its lowdown mean n nasty

the whole record is quite something

loaded with real pain n guts no more artifice

its one of those classic messed up albums full of visceral ache

simple music

simple bleak sketches

simple sad words

the sounds of talented people falling apart

some tracks are just me on guitar n margots voice

“stretches” for example

“what stretches before me always comes back to get me”

tim n peter contribute the minimalistic expertise just so right

totalled is like,  totalled, dude

totalled like me n margot were by then

wow it hurts just to listen to some it still

seek these records out

2 completely different beasts both incredible

the sad news is margot is now gravely ill

i’m gonna go round n see her as soon as she can receive a visitor or 2

she doesnt expect to be on this mortal plane for that much longer

she really did deserve success

she really did deserve recognition

those who have heard her are believers

she n i had our squabbles n fights

it was painful to watch each other succumb to our poisons

i miraculously got out

she wasnt so lucky

margot i always always believed in you

you should be bestriding the big stages of this world

cos you were one of the best i ever heard

peter koppes thinks the same

he took time out to play in her shortlived live band

margot you are beautiful

and your small devoted bunch of fans ADORE you

i’m crying as i write these words

i hear margots got one last record up her sleeve

i hope someone gets to hear it

i hope she can defy her grim medical prognosis

and get better n enjoy a little success

margot despite all my harsh words n stuff

i love you

i really do

you were a star that just burnt too bright for your own good

and the whole thing is just so unfair

people see if you can beg borrow or burn” sleeping with the lion”

or “taste”

you wont be disappointed

sk august 1 2010

selected songs

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