Tribute albums are very hit or miss affairs, and unfortunately more often than not and despite the best intentions of the bands playing tribute on them, they tend to miss.
Luckily this collection "hits" more than it "misses." Some of the covers are too close to the originals leaving the listener to wonder why the band even bothered recording a cover in the first place. And others are so far removed from the original the listener is left scratching his/her head wondering if the band performing the cover had ever actually listened to the original version.
The highlights on this collection include Paul Kelly's folky melancholic Khe Sanh. Where the piss, vinegar, and swagger was with the original-- Kelly has replaced it with a somber disillusionment. I never thought the banjo could be made to sound like a sad instrument but it gives Khe Sanh a certain lost yearning. The Waifs give a similar interpretation on Four Walls. The Living End give a nouveau rockabilly (a la Brian Setzer) feel to Rising Sun that makes the listener want to get up and dance. Sarah Blasko's Flame Trees, and Shane Nicholson's Cheap Wine are all quite enjoyable as well.
This album also serves as an excellent introduction to some of the better bands that Australia has been keeping secret from the world. If you can find the special 2 disc collection which features a 2nd disc with the original Cold Chisel versions of all the songs thare are on disc 1 I highly recommend picking it up as it's an excellent introduction to one of the most seminal (yet rarely heard of beyond their borders) Australian bands ever.
Standing On the Outside (Wikipedia entry)
Standing On the Outside (Amazon.com)
Cold Chisel Chisel: The Best of Cold Chisel (review)
Standing On the Outside: The Songs of Cold Chisel promo video:
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