'Yarra River Blues’ is one of two Australian tracks to feature on Georgia Lee’s 1962 album ‘Georgia Lee Sings The Blues’.
‘Yarra River Blues’ and ‘Down Under Blues’ are the two Australian songs on an album featuring jazz standards like 'Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen’. This track was recorded in Melbourne by Crest records and showcases Georgia’s crystal-clear voice, individual phrasing and haunting style.
The opening lyrics of the song suggest the singer has lost her baby to the Yarra River, which 'swept him out to the deep blue sea’. It seems appropriate for a homegrown blues song to be highlighting the dangers of the Australian environment, a common theme in films like Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), and especially only a few years before prime minister Harold Holt would be swept out to sea in Victoria, never to be seen again.
At the time, Lee was labeled the ‘Original Diva of Jazz and Blues Down Under’. In 1999 the album was re-released, her voice sounding just as fresh. The full track listing for the album is:
1. Beale Street Blues
2. Pete Kelly’s Blues
3. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out
4. Careless Love
5. Yarra River Blues
6. Basin St Blues
7. Born to be Blue
8. Blues in the Night
9. Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen
10. Down Under Blues
11. St Louis Blues