| The greatest Australian singer-songwriter of the 1960's. While all around him artists fell over each other trying to imitate overseas trends - beat groups, psychedelia, or whatever they were listening to in London and LA that month - Pip Proud was starting from scratch, and making his own music. The Adelaide-born Proud learnt guitar and developed his own idiosyncratic style as a teenager; moving to Sydney in his late teens, he began writing poetry, novels and songs at an impressive rate.
Artist Gary Shead made a documentary about him. He recorded and pressed a few copies of an album, De Da De Dum; Polygram records snapped him up and re-recorded the LP as Adreneline and Richard. The one thing the critics all agreed on was that Pip Proud was an original, although some thought they heard traces of Dylan (well, Dylan had made records playing a guitar and singing). He also might have had a bit of the skewed observations of Syd Barrett about him, or maybe the lilting beauty of Nick Drake. Richard Thompson. Melanie. Donovan. Sandy Denny. All these comparisons make sense. But the Australian media was too self-conscious, gawky and suspicious to cope with a record you had to listen to more than once to "get". By the time the second Pip Proud album emerged - A Bird In The Engine - he was firmly wedged into the too-hard basket.
He was, of course, twenty-five years ahead of his time. Listen to Lou Barlow's Sentridoh, or the Folk Implosion's Kids soundtrack. Listen to other cutting-edge U.S. artists like The Mountain Goats, Beck, Guided By Voices or The Spinanes. Or listen to New Zealand's Alistair Galbraith, such a Proud fan he led off his 1994 Cluster EP with a song called "Pip Proud". Then listen to Pip Proud and tell us he doesn't fit so snugly with those sounds it's almost uncanny.
Half A Cow brings you Pip Proud's Phonogram recordings for the first time on CD; songs which, for the last twenty years, would have cost you upwards of a hundred dollars to own if you ever found someone willing to part with them are now yours in total, unscratched, remastered and still redolent of the same freshness and beauty they had a quarter of a century ago.
And Pip Proud? He hasn't stopped producing work, although a disappointing time in London in the early seventies (starving on unfulfilled promises from Apple Records and John Peel) ended his first phase in music. Now, he lives in northern New South Wales - in a house he built himself - and continues to write songs, poetry and stories. A new 5-track EP, "Matilda You Fiend", will be released in the U.S. in two months. He has five children, a dog, a horse, and a hectic release schedule of new and old recordings for 1996-97.
Pip Proud will be visiting Sydney to promote his new/old album in June. In the meantime, enjoy Eagle - Wise. The title track: funny, lilting, catchy as hell. "Into Elizabeth's Eyes": haunting, majestic. "Purple Boy Gang": desperate, shaky, frantic. "A Bird In The Engine": terrifyingly visual and despairing. "Vida", "Hey Sue", "Marie": love songs without parallel. Half A Cow guarantees that after three listens to the subtle melody and delirious wordplay of these songs you will be hooked on Pip Proud for life.
-David Nichols May 1996
Press Release for Hac 45: Half A Cow will be delving into Australia's rich musical heritage by releasing long-deleted records by one of the most original lost artists from the sixties. Easybeats "lost" LP? Thorpie's first? The Bon Scott Experience?
No, it's the one and only Pip Proud.
In 1967, Sydney was extremely fortunate to be host to a new sensation, Pip Proud - a singer. Alone with his electric guitar, poetic songs and other - worldly vocals, there was never anything like Pip that had come before. He released two LP's (the first originally recorded at home!), appeared on television shows and in the local rock weeklies (Molly raved!)....then disappeared.
Eagle - Wise is a compilation of his LP's A Bird In The Engine and Adreneline and Richard - very interesting and compelling music. It's nearest references surprisingly being closer to Lou Barlow and Beat Happening as well as Nick Drake, Syd Barrett or a helium - freaked Leonard Cohen. Ahead of it's time! A couple of the songs feature his band and it is refreshing stuff. The grandpappy of Lo-Fi (Inc.).