“NORMIE ROWE AND THE PLAYBOYS (CORNER HOTEL, MELBOURNE) By Shane Murphy … As The Pardoners got ready to play, Normie Rowe wandered out to a smattering of applause to introduce them as his “favourite musicians in Australia”. It was a sincere gesture of respect for Sam See and Glyn Mason, young compared to Normie, but nevertheless veterans of bands ranging from the Flying Circus to Ariel. I saw two acoustic guitars and thought, ‘hmm… snooze fest’. I was wrong. Sam See is nothing short of brilliant on his instruments, with a jazzy style and ability to bang out licks that add to the song’s depth without ever being indulgent. Glyn provided solid rhythm guitar, strumming and counterpointing Sam’s effortless playing. Both of their voices are in fine fettle too. Glyn is instantly recognisable; his voice has mellowed slightly but is still bright and noticeably the same as it ever was. Sam’s deeper growl was a perfect foil for Glyn’s higher tones. They never missed a note all night and their harmonies were bright and bouncy. Even better, they are self-deprecatingly funny on stage, plainly enjoying the gig, riffing off each other and just not taking the thing too seriously. They did a breathtakingly superb hillbilly recreation of Whiter Shade of Pale (as written by “Wilbur Smoot and Orville Longshanks….”) and kept the banter going all night, even through more serious fare about death and the road, covering Gypsy Queen, and dragging the odd song or two from their past as writers. If you like to be entertained by great performers who love their work and make it look easy while ripping out beautiful songs go and catch The Pardoners or buy their album. They were a glorious surprise on the night.”
Sunday Herald Sun, December 10, 2006
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In short: History says this has to be good.
What do Chain, Copperwine, Ariel, Sherbet, Flying Circus, Fraternity and the Richard Clapton and John Farnham bands have in common? Sam See and Glyn Mason.
Vastly experienced guitarists and singers, they have come together as the Pardoners (though they first came together more than a quarter of a century ago as Stockley See and Mason, Stockley having left the Dingoes pack.
Just when you think it is See who has that lyrical McCartney edge, Mason chimes in with 'Say a Prayer' and 'Looking Across the Water'.
While the relaxed feel of the album was planned, that last song could be produced into a rock solid hit.
The same might be said of the adventurous 'Blood on the Tracks'- like 'Ragged Heart, just one moment that pays homage to those who influenced these venerable troubadours.
The Pardoners - 'The Pardoners'
Long time musical allies Sam See and Glyn Mason aka The Pardoners, take their acoustic based rock to a new level with the release of 'The Pardoners'.
Having cut their teeth with The Flying Circus, Fraternity, John Farnham Band (Sam), Chain and Ariel (Glyn), these two outstanding writer/musicians have come up with fourteen original songs that reflect their varied musical influences while relating experiences that touch on love, relationships and coming to terms with a modern world, often softening a blow with touches of wry humor.
Sam (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, lap steel, mandolin, organ, piano, percussion) and Glyn (vocals, acoustic, guitars, stomp box) compliment each other throughout, sharing lead harmonising when required.
While there are no fillers, the jazz feel on Sam's 'Cool Day' and his cinematic, tragic, love epic 'Annie And The Ragged Heart' are standouts alongside Glyn's autobiographical 'Two Shores' and his hilarious tussle with technology, 'I Don't Get It'.
Sam See and Glyn Mason have spent their lives creating meaningful music. 'The Pardoners' is the apex of their careers.
"Mason's spectacular voice is perfectly matched by See's throaty harmonies, and the duo's acoustic guitar interplay is powerful, inventive and richly arranged."
Greg Quill, Toronto Star
"Scintillating...fantastic harmonies...the hit of the Festival"
Cliff Ellery, Troubadour Festival
"Sam See is a superb musician..."
Toronto Globe and Mail
"Sam See's slide playing is a highlight of Harley and Rose"
Mike Daly, Melbourne Age
"As music director on the Vizard show...set the thing on fire with his tasteful yet ever-scorching playing...Sam's guitar soared above a great rhythm section in some of TV's hippest moments."
"What a helluva guitarist. Nothing like hearing Melbourne's best on top of a mountain on a Saturday arvo."
John Stockdill, Canberra Blues Society
Sometimes a record comes along that simply demands attention ... this is one of those fabulous times ... a lush, joyous selection of tunes that lift the spirit & promote a sense of musical optimism.
"The Pardoners" 14 track journey into all the things that made music matter. This record will make some old feelings just want to be new again. Stand out tracks include Perfect Life, the gospel driven "Say a Prayer " the groove of " Two Shores " and then we move on to the personal " Judith Anne ".
This is world class ... this is Sam & Glyn! This local duo deserves all of the attention & recognition that overseas artists take for granted. This is The Pardoners !!!
The Pardoners are Glyn Mason and Sam See and they’re as close to Australian rock royalty as you can be. Space doesn’t allow for a full pedigree, but Glyn Mason has played in Newcastle over the past 40 years with bands including Chain, Ariel and Brian Cadd. And Sam See has visited with the original Sherbet, Flying Circus, Fraternity, Stockley, See and Mason, John Farnham and Brian Cadd.
Obviously comfortable in their own skins, they share songwriting, singing and playing duties on this ostensibly acoustic, laid-back 14-track collection.
Some are heartfelt, some are whimsical, some are (I’m guessing) autobiographical, and all are good, as you would expect of blokes with their experience.
A couple of the ballads are Bob Dylan meets Joe Camilleri (Harley and Rose) with a little Paul Kelly thrown in. One thing that strikes me about these songs is that as great as they sound in their pared-back form, they also lend themselves to a full-tilt boogie backing. You can catch The Pardoners at Lizotte’s Newcastle tomorrow night and I’m informed the album will be on sale.