Working Class Boy
- 1h 44min
Based on Barnes' memoir of the same name, this documentary tells the story of his childhood survival in the slums of Glasgow, immigration to Australia, and how he became the lead singer of C... Read allBased on Barnes' memoir of the same name, this documentary tells the story of his childhood survival in the slums of Glasgow, immigration to Australia, and how he became the lead singer of Cold Chisel.Based on Barnes' memoir of the same name, this documentary tells the story of his childhood survival in the slums of Glasgow, immigration to Australia, and how he became the lead singer of Cold Chisel.
The beloved Australian rock and soul legend bravely wrote about his harrowing childhood: his violent and turbulent formative years in Glasgow (as James Dixon Swan); the move to South Australia, which was meant to bring hope of a fresh start, but continued the cycle of domestic violence, alcohol abuse and poverty with an abusive, drunk father, frustrated mother, scared kids and instability; his new father Reg Barnes rescuing Jimmy and his family; his wild teenage years (gang violence, drinking, chasing girls and playing music) and finally meeting Ian Moss and Don Walker and joining Cold Chisel.
This documentary expands on the book, with emotional interviews with Barnes, his family (his sister, his wife Jane Barnes and son David Campbell), childhood friend Bill Brouwers and Moss and Walker. Barnes literately goes the extra mile by visiting the houses in Glasgow and Elizabeth where he used to grow up. He doesn't hide how horrifying it was, so he should be commended for bravely opening old wounds. It's a much better choice than another awful 'made for commercial TV' biopic with some has-been soap opera actor trying to imitate Barnsey.
Breaking up the interviews is footage from his Working Class Boy tour and soundstage recordings. The intimate setting is perfect for Barnes and the emotion of some of the songs, including: "Heartaches by the Number" (a favourite song of his grandmother's), "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (with daughter Mahalia), "The Upper Room" (from Mahalia Jackson - Jimmy tells a story of watching "The Imitation of Life" as a child and was captivated by Jackson's voice; that began the powerful hold of music), "Dark End of the Street", "Reflections of My Life" (with Campbell), "Flame Trees" (a stripped-down version with Moss and Walker), "When the War is Over" and "Still Got a Long Way to Go" (with family friend Mark 'Diesel' Lizotte).
Despite all the suffering, the documentary ends optimistically, with Barnes crediting his upbringing and all his mistakes for making him the happy family man he is today.
The next question: will there be a follow up documentary for the book's sequel "Working Class Man"?
- Oct 20, 2018