HUNTERS AND COLLECTORS

hunters and collectirs 18

Throw Your Arms Around Me  (M Seymour) and Say Goodbye (M Seymour) 1986 and Do You See What I See? (M.Seymour) – Hunters and Collectors 1987

Throw Your Arms AroundMe was many things to many people, a secular hymn of great emotional intensity, a sensitive love song about Seymour’s partner May, and a smoldering torch song which exposed a latent tenderness, and subsequently it became a live performance favorite for the band. The intro is lyrically riveting “I will come for you at nighttime/ I will raise you from your sleep/ I will kiss you in in four places/ I’ll go running along your street.” The song captures the fleeting nature of sensual love “…and we may never meet again, so shed your skin and let’s get started…” the ephemeral nature of personal contact and that brief moment of total immersion, in each other’s euphoria.

Carnality and male bravado are a potent mix and never more so than when embodied in a slow tempo, heavy bottom end, semi-acoustic refrain, recorded primitively live on two-track tape, which was the ultimate version of this song by the Hunnahs. Mark Seymour contributed this coda to the song as part of the liner notes to the “The Great Australian Songbook “When she left me in the morning, I lay in bed for another hour. I stayed perfectly still because I could still feel her all around me – inside my muscles and bones. I got up though, had a shower to wash her off.”hunters and collectors20A passionate love ballad, a paean to a one -night stand, a long- distance love affair, this song has many guises, yet each one can be appropriate and highly personal depending on when or where you hear it. In his memoirs Thirteen Tonne Theory, Seymour wrestled with the complexity of his relationship with May “She could cast a spell of sensory wonderment, she could make your heart float through the world as free as it ever could be, and then crush that spell with merely a glance , or a withering phrase seething with unbridled contempt.” Originally issued as a single, and then included on The Way to Go Out live album, and further revamped for their Human Frailty album, it was a song that the band were drawn back to, to re-interpret, searching for the DNA lurking in its musical metaphors and lyrical nooks and crannies. It charted #49 nationally and #30 when re-released in 1990, APRA rated this one of the best 30 Australian songs of the modern era in 2001.

The album artwork revealed the H&C symbol where the “&” is stylised with twin snakes entwined around a hunting knife , as a variation on the traditional caduceus symbol.hunters and collectors19Say Goodbye was the lead single from the band’s fourth album Human Frailty, and was pre-released before the album in February 1986, this was the album that Mark Seymour felt was a watershed moment in his songwriting, where he found an expressive authenticity in his songs which resonated with the public. He abandoned the more surreal imagery that had preoccupied previous albums, and he wrote about the people who were close to him and part of his personal journey.hunters and collectors21Say Goodbye was just such a song, about a conversation that Seymour heard through the walls of his rented flat in Fitzroy Street, St. Kilda (Melb) that he shared with his girlfriend May. The opening verse is confrontational and places the woman in a dominant position as she tells her sniveling boyfriend, while grinding her finger into his breastbone, that “You don’t make me feel like I’m a woman anymore…”, and in so doing challenged drunken Aussie males in pubs all over the country to repeat that line, which they did, without any apparent hint of role confusion. The rhythm section of Archer (bass) and Falconer (percussion) was hard-driving and aggressive, the band was tight and united, the funkiness and grooves had been augmented by a more powerful and obvious masculinity, in the future the band would forsake existential Krautrock angst for a driving, semi-acoustic brand of pub rock.

They would tour America several times before releasing their fourth studio album, What’s a Few Men? (a title taken from Albert Facey’s memoir A Fortunate Life), a collection of country-tinged rock songs and ballads which were close to being radio-friendly, the album charted #16 and the lead single was Do You See What I See which climbed to #33 locally and #13 in NZ.

It was a typically enigmatic song penned by Mark Seymour, the lyrics initially describe a scene of domestic conflict and breakup and it’s not clear if after a long period of estrangement, the couple are reconciled. The pain and heartbreak of separation drives the narrative while the melody is a swirling, potent mix of brass, guitars, and drums behind the anguished vocals of Seymour.

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