In over a decade Rockwiz has become a musical institution. It has a large family of artists that have graced the Espy’s stage and created some memorable and forgettable moments, particularly in the duets that close the show.

The compilation series is now up to instalment number four with the only mainstays being the Rockwiz Orchestra- Peter Luscombe (drums/percussion), Mark Ferrie (bass) and James Black (guitar/keys).

Each week they can tackle anyone and everyone, with this set alone featuring music by the likes of: Bob Dylan, Crowded House, The Stones, The Pixies, Beyoncé and Nick Cave, among others.

The CD includes 22 duets while the DVD has 31 performances. Some are special and intense while others are more about being quirky and fun. There are some faithful renditions while others are influenced by the artists involved and in most cases this is a younger musician inspiring an elder statesman of the industry.

Two versions of “Stumblin’ In” are included, one with Jack Ladder and Leone Carmen and the other with Chris Cheney and Suzi Quatro. The latter is the better version of the two, especially when you consider Cheney’s great guitar solos and the two denim-clad rockers doing the track justice.

The same cannot be said for Shellie Morris and Ross Wilson’s take on “Louie Louie”, which is mid-tempo tripe that lacks the raw anger of the popular version. It’s so corny; it even comes with syncopated dancing.

Another down point is Dave Mason (The Reels) and Sally Seltmann’s “As Soon As I Hang Up The Phone” where the theatrics dominate and overshadow the proceedings. Mason’s spoken-word improvisation is difficult to hear and some fans will think the pair is murdering the original. Ditto, The Pixies’ “Here Comes Your Man”, as performed by Patience Hodgson and Jae Laffer.

There are some redeeming moments on this set however, with Ella Hooper and Dan Sultan proving they can tackle R&B and The Beatles with aplomb, while Sarah Blasko has such a powerhouse voice that she carries “Hearts On Fire”. The same can also be said of Marcia Hines in “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, which fits this lovely lady like a glove.

The latest Rockwiz duets boasts lots of different songs as tackled by young and consummate professionals alike, with lots of finesse and a real sense of camaraderie. Not all tracks will appeal to everyone but there is no denying that when the chemistry’s there it makes for some intriguing listening, indeed.

Originally published on 11 November 2013 at the following website:

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