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Obit: RENEE GEYER (1953-2023) Aussie Soul Diva

rich-joy 21 Jan 23 - 02:44 AM
Helen 21 Jan 23 - 03:20 AM
rich-joy 22 Jan 23 - 05:32 AM
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Subject: Obit: RENEE GEYER (1953-2023) Aussie Soul Diva
From: rich-joy
Date: 21 Jan 23 - 02:44 AM

I’ve been ‘puterless for 16 days and now to relieve my withdrawal symptoms I am able to revisit Mudcat! But I am sad to not have found an Obit thread for one who is probably, my Alltime Favourite Aussie Singer – Renée Geyer.

There are now plenty of writeups about her on the Net and much of her music is on YouTube, so I’m not gonna repeat too much of that. Save to say she was born in Melbourne in 1953 and died in Geelong, Vic. 4 days ago, ostensibly from hip surgery complications, but also discovered to have inoperable lung cancer - and she was live performing up to a few weeks before she passed.

A lifelong Aretha fan, she started performing as a teenager, and shocked folks by her voice and its qualities, bcoz as she has said, “[I am] a white Hungarian Jew from Australia sounding like a 65-year-old black man from Alabama”.   Early band work included Dry Red, Sun, Mother Earth, Sanctuary, Renée Geyer Band.

Okay, perhaps there’s not too much in the way of “folk” in her repertoire/history – but she has rightly been called “Australia’s Queen of Soul” – and which includes Funk, Blues, R&B, Jazz, Rock-Pop et al.   Also described as an incredibly hard-working, consistent performer for over 5 decades, she has worked with a myriad of international performers of note and has the on-going musical respect of her peers.

She (by her own confession), has also been called a “Difficult Woman”, so kudos to her for standing up for herself in this “Man’s World”!!    James Brown’s classic “It’s a Man’s Man’s World” was an early recording for her and the song that became her anthem, where it was sung at most performances. However, it has also been said that Renee "didn’t do covers”, as each song, whatever it’s provenance, became her own.

An old interview for the NZ release of her autobiography “Confessions of a Difficult Woman” in the year 2000, makes interesting reading :

The younger me longed to sing like her, though sadly (being a resident of remote Perth), I never saw her live – but I am happy to say I still have all my early Renée Geyer LPs!! (according to Wiki, she has some 15 studio albums to her name).   “Best Songs” is a very subjective term and though it’s probably a mistake, I’ll just name a few of my faves, and those are mostly from early in her career (and from my Youth, haha!) :) from the days when Funk and Soul were together the uncrowned kings of the airwaves. e.g. If Loving You Is Wrong / Heading the the Right Direction / Sweet Love / Uncloudy Day / It’s A Man’s Man’s World” / Since I Fell For You / Say I Love You // ..... and many more.

Here's an Obit by Ian McFarlane, via her songs :


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Subject: RE: Obit: RENEE GEYER (1953-2023) Aussie Soul Diva
From: Helen
Date: 21 Jan 23 - 03:20 AM

Thanks rich-joy. I always admired her work but I'm not as big a fan as you.

On the day that she passed away, as a tribute the Oz TV music quiz show Spicks and Specks changed their programming to replay an old episode on which Renee Geyer was one of the celebrity guests. She certainly had stage-presence, although I never saw her perform live.

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Subject: RE: Obit: RENEE GEYER (1953-2023) Aussie Soul Diva
From: rich-joy
Date: 22 Jan 23 - 05:32 AM

I listened to her "Difficult Woman" album yesterday for only the first time (!!!) and Love It :) (45mins 31secs)

[Paul] "Kelly produced Geyer's ninth studio album Difficult Woman which was released on Larrikin Records in 1994. It was her first solo studio album in 9 years. The exposure encouraged Geyer to move back to Australia and following the release of Difficult Woman, Geyer spent time reestablishing herself on the live circuit across Australia. These performances showed her more relaxed on stage than at her peak when her innate shyness was often cleverly disguised. Now a confident, mature woman she showed off a hitherto hidden wicked sense of humour."


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