"I had a dream on Christmas morning/ about birth and death again/ the rain it's never ending/ I've been in bed since then." - It's Been Raining - Suzie Dickinson.

Suzie Dickinson worked venues as cavernous as the Spurs cowboy bar circuit in the eighties and Nu Country FM and TV suburban showcases and the subterranean splendour of Basement Discs in the Melbourne CBD in the new millenium.

Now the singer and multi-instrumentalist prowls cyberspace and beyond on 10 original songs, delivered with an energised local combo.

Her characters hang out with the devil on the bayou and are blown away by a whore hurricane named Isabel on the east coast of the U.S.

Dickinson may be a vocal coach in the gentrified suburbs of the Victorian capital but in her alter ego as a singer-songwriter she drives far and wide here on a full literary licence.

After years in bands diverse as Banshee, Cisco Kids, Goanna and P C Caulton & The Pick-Ups, she's back out on the road again.

It's no surprise to hear her milk weather metaphors on album entrée It's Been Raining, Uh Huh and Cold Outside and the sensual surrealism of Too Hot.

In the eerie entrée, a Christmas day mare, the drenched damsel dreams of wild women running with wolves.

The sleep-deprived diva awakes in psychedelic pink rooms for midnight shopping sprees for a $100 stereo at a K Mart in Uh Huh.

Dream sequences ignite the raunchy romp in Too Hot as an out of body experience of sorts.

But there's more - much more when Dickinson mines a narcotic vein in The Wannabe.

This character's lust morphs into "drugs that you're taking, the music you're making, the blood that runs inside your veins."

Insomnia and starvation adorn another dream sequence in Cold Outside as "two lovers in a shadow under the bridge" are oblivious - yes, to the weather.


"Another 40 miles and I'm nearly there/ the lights of the city starting to appear/ I'm coming down your street and I'm parking the car/ stepping out on the curb/ oh, I'm gonna wait for a while." - 19 Steps - Suzie Dickinson.

Nothing too autobiographical until the lonesome guitar slinger goes off road to begin a heart heavy 19 Steps return to her lover's door.

John Buchan's 39 Steps may have been too gruelling or metaphoric.

Dickinson's literary narratives have many twists.

The trip on a crack in the asphalt in the catalyst for the infectious and highly accessible Bang In The Head - a cosmic collision triggered wake-up call of sorts.

Not even reaching for a trusty guitar or flashing a little thigh earns the hapless hitchhiker a lift from a truckie in the rollicking Crossroads.

Maybe the ghost of long deceased Robert Johnson hovered in the cabin and dictated Diesoline fuelled seating arrangements.

There's an abrupt role reversal from 19 Steps in Too Hot where not even the jasmine fragrance can lure the femme fatale's lover's belated return.

Maybe the canine companion - third dog in eight songs - is a subliminal scarecrow.

Moving south from the Crossroads to a bucolic bayou in The Muse is more time travel than travail.

"I hung out with the devil on the bayou/ I slept down where the drunkards roll/ if you believe in superstition I'm gonna rattle your bones."

Those bones may be brittle but nothing a little moonshine anaesthetic can't cure.

"Cooked up a storm in a dirty southern prison/ good stuff brewed in a woman gone bad/ take trouble and a mix of sin and booze/ that voodoo gonna drive you mad."


"You're just a memory/ one day I set you free/ like sand through my fingers you fall/ but very now and then/ for no reason, you still drift into my mind." - Red Balloon - Suzie Dickinson.

If Dickinson has any tardy demons she exorcises them in the prick of her finale - Red Balloon.

Sure the subject has disposed of a lover - everything except the memory that becomes a late blooming boomerang.

With every lyric audible let's praise the production of bassist Dave Flett at the Hummingbird Studio in Windsor.

There is no clutter or distortion - Dickinson is given full reign on guitar, bottleneck dulcimer and keyboards.

Guitarist Matt Green provides dobro and banjo on the title track and Ross Hannaford adds slide, electric and acoustic guitar.

Drummer Ron Mahony, recruited from the rustic retreat of Skipton, is a master of restraint - Justin Brady provides tasty harmonica and trumpeter Andrew Niven adds to the climatic clout of Cold Outside.

There is no danger of Dickinson not being pitch perfect - her passionate and dynamic delivery leaves many other urban maids in the sonic shade.

Catch Suzie's CD launch with her subdued sextet and special guests at the quaint Caravan Club, 95-97 Drummond Street, Oakleigh, from 7 p m this Friday - June 18.

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