Album Review | Hatsongs | Review by Allan Wilkinson
It’s difficult to tell when this reviewer first became aware of Reg Meuross; it was after the Panic Brothers certainly, but whether I recall him with Hank Wangford’s Lost Cowboys I cannot tell, though I’d certainly heard of Hank of course; why, any band that had a singer who went by the name Irma Cetas was always going to hit my radar soon enough. No, I think I’m pretty sure I came onboard after the release of Dragonfly, Reg’s fourth solo album back in 2008, which is one of the six out of print albums re-issued here in full, wrapped in brightly coloured gatefold sleeves. The earliest re-issue here is Reg’s debut solo album The Goodbye Hat, which was originally released back in the mid 1990s, and includes some of the songwriter’s highly melodic pop tunes, including the opener “One Last Time”, followed by the title song “The Goodbye Hat”, which is clearly a top notch radio song.
When I first met Reg back in the summer of 2009, he told me that he’d been around a long time and almost twelve years later, he appears to have been around an even longer time and counting, having delivered a highly prolific repertoire of songs on several releases, a good eight albums on top of the six re-issued here. Short Stories, Still, Dragonfly, All This Longing and Leaves & Feathers show the steady progress of Reg as a songwriter to watch, each album of which contains several songs that continue to show up in Reg’s live set to this day, including “It’s Me or Elvis” and “The Man in Edward Hopper’s Bar” from Still, “Lizzy Loved a Highwayman” and “And Jesus Wept” from Dragonfly, “Looking for Johnny Ray” from All This Longing and “One Way Ticket to Louise” and “My Jerusalem” from Leaves and Feathers, to name but a few. At this point in his career, Reg could’ve released a nice handsomely packaged double Best Of collection, which would’ve served as a fine introduction to his earlier work, but I guess this would be like choosing your favourite child. Re-issuing these six albums in full, all of which together contain a total of eighty songs, provides listeners with something much more complete and certainly a reminder of the quality work Reg has produced over the years.