Colin Hay - ‘I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself'

Music review: Colin Hay - ‘I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself'

After the passing of Gerry Marsden of Gerry and the Pacemakers in 2021, Colin Hay was moved to revisit some of the songs that influenced him early in his career. The result is 10 engaging covers that receive Hay’s straight-from-the-heart interpretation with a simplistic acoustic tone.

As lead singer and guitarist of the Australian band Men at Work, Hay first introduced me to the Vegemite sandwich on the band’s successful 1982 debut, highlighted by “Who Can It Be Now?” and “Down Under.”

The title track opens the emotionally charged set with a male perspective of dealing with separation on the Dusty Springfield classic.

The Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset,” one of my personal favorite tracks from the celebrated British band, receives a sentimental makeover by Hay as he expresses his love of the familiar surroundings.

The Beatles are represented twice on the album with Hay performing the charming “Norwegian Wood (This Bird has Flown)” and the spacious “Across the Universe.”

In tribute to Marsden, Hay offers up a stirring cover of “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying.” It’s truly an emotional moment when Hay declares, “We know that crying is not a bad thing /But stop your crying when the birds sing."

Hay masterfully handles Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” as he matches Steve Winwood’s alluring vocals on this classic that was first featured on the supergroup’s 1969 self-titled debut release.

Hay perfectly captures the carefree tone of the Ronnie Lane and Ronnie Wood penned “Ooh La La” from the Faces’ fourth studio album released in 1973 with Wood, not Rod Stewart, delivering the lead vocals.

The set closes with a gorgeous version of Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers to Cross.”

At 68 years of age, it’s abundantly clear that Hay is still on top of his musical game and has plenty more to offer. I think Hay definitely knows what to do with himself at this stage in his career.

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