Archive for the ‘What’s The Rockbrat Listening To Today ?’ Category

the-rich-and-famous-take-us-to-your-leader-epIts 2017 – and Jeff Hoad, one of Oz’s rocks best vocalists & frontmen is back with a vengeance and releasing killer new rock ‘n’ roll – and for that we should all be thankful. ‘Take Us To Your Leader’ is a brand spanking new 5 track EP for the Rich and Famous – a Queensland 3 piece made up of Hoad, Dean Turner and Dean Reeson.

For the uninitiated, let me give you a little context. I’m on record of having stated that in the 1980’s, Jeff Hoad (with Kings Of The Sun) was one of the few Oz rock frontmen who was a genuine rock star that wiped the floor with all those late 80’s LA wannabe hair bands. He had musical chops to match the look and was cooler than Fonzie. Like most Australians though, he was, thankfully, down to earth, had a sense of humour – and a humility that the majority of sunset strip poseurs lacked.

In recent years, there has been a musical separation between the Hoad brothers with Cliff now doing his thing with Kings Of The Sun, and Jeff out with The Rich And Famous.  I dig both bands. Jeff and his brother Cliff are as Oz rock as The Angels, Chisel and Rose Tattoo and all power to both of ‘em.

The first thing that’s apparent to me when I press play on the ‘Take Us To Your Leader’ CD is just how strong and distinct Jeff’s vocal delivery is. Man it’s good to hear him back.  Track 1 is the title track, and it’s a corker. Behind a lyrical theme of reptilian alien invasion (V?) and fifth columnists – is a cleverly crafted rocker layered with subtleties ranging from an early 70s UK glam stomp on the chorus to an almost spoken word middle 8. I like this a lot. ‘Dirty Music’ is a full throttle rocker that simply kicks ass and grooves with a capital G. Ripping solo to boot.  I like ‘Have You Heard’ a lot, highlighted by some neat wah wah guitar and Jeff stretching himself vocally. In fact, all 5 songs on this EP get a green tick, yet if I need to select just one, ‘Blast Off’ is the EP’s plum for mine.  Catchy as all hell with a sing along chorus and melody galore, this screams radio hit. This is how The Darkness try to write ‘em.

This EP sees Jeff Hoad extending himself as a song writer, and going beyond the Kings Of The Sun formulae for which he is most known. Whilst anything he does will be referenced to KOTS, these songs display a diversity/growth that only add to his KOTS legacy.  That’s a good thing in my books. Jeff Hoad is back and sounding better than ever. Highly recommended. 5 out of 5. Pick up the EP and other killer albums by The Rich and Famous at www.therichandfamousband.com

Listen to an interview with Jeff on The Australian Rock Show here

 

jadeGifted French musician Juliette Jade took a couple of years out to hone her craft. Whilst her legion of fans pondered her whereabouts, Jade went underground, driven and committed –  focusing only on her fretboard.
Not only are we beginning to hear the fruits of that labor (her debut album ‘Terrarium’ was released late last year) – but her guitar playing has gone from razor sharp, to white hot. A few days back Juliette released the song ‘Lost Paradise’ – finally putting to tape one of her most well-known guitar solo’s. It’s good, damn good. Yeah I know they don’t ‘cut to tape’ anymore. That’s a bygone recording reference no longer used – retained by many older (and discerning) rock n roll folk – like us. We’ve been around the rock n roll block once or twice and have seen and heard plenty. Yet I gotta confess – they’re not many current artists who have me in a spin quite like Jade does.

This composition ‘Lost Paradise’ began life some years back as a YouTube video – it’s managed to attract two and a half million people and counting. The original video contains emotion-charged soloing that’ll leave you speechless – you’ll want to watch it again and again. Although not being included on ‘Terrarium’, it remained too good of a song to remain unrecorded – and it’s pleasing to see this recording come to fruition. Slow-paced and brooding with sorrowful lyrics sung in that soft voice of hers – I’m quickly transfixed. The 3.28 marks is when all hell breaks loose with a slashing solo which grabs you by the throat. This is the solo which really got me hooked on her, so many years back – it’s well written and executed to perfection.

The superlatives from her growing army of admirers is constant, they’re the fans who keep on coming back to view her videos – to hear her play. Yet what is it that Juliette Jade has which captivates so many ? My answer ? It’s her style and her sound – her flair, feel and emotion, that are etched in the way she plays – simple as that. It’s an original style that is all her own.

In today’s modern age – many artists have lost their way, often trading creativity for hits and likes. Juliette Jade is a breath of fresh air and an artist in every sense of the word – one who has the capacity to produce an amazing body of work. Highly recommended.

https://juliettejade.bandcamp.com/track/lost-paradise

Listen to a recent interview conducted with Juliette Jade here


With an absolute plethora of internet radio stations out there, one could say that the choice of stations open to the listener are infinite. Plenty of options yes, but more often than not the options presented are not offering anything new in terms of playlists. How does one differentiate the cream from the crap? Listen to TuneIn Radio or any number of similar sites – throw a dart and you will more often than not land on a “station” that is airing classic rock / AOR that is akin to AM radio. That’s fine every now and then, but sometimes I want to hear new bands, and guitar rock I haven’t heard before – or, deep cuts from classic artists. How about something from Ronnie Lane I haven’t heard in a long while,  a new Chuck Berry cut I haven’t heard, or something off the new Alice Cooper album? How about some new Americana/ classic rock / Alt county from Whiskey Myers or Tom Petty or Steve Earle? Borstal Boys from The Faces maybe? If the answer to this is yes, like me, you need to be tuning in to “From The Underworld”, (named after The Herd tune) one of the best radio shows out there, which is aired every Saturday night on Phoenix FM from out of Brentwood, Essex in the UK.  (By the way, the aforementioned tunes were just a few of the songs aired on the last couple of episodes). From The Underworld is kind of like the radio equivalent of Classic Rock Magazine for your ears – except better. I used to use that magazine as a source to discover new bands, now I rely on DJ Brian Ager to hip me to the latest sounds. Living in Australia, how else would I have discovered the great new album by Magpie Salute (ex-Black Crowes) or Fireroad, one of the UK’s best bands? Brian has his finger on the pulse and knows what’s cool – and so should you. You don’t have to listen live, as each show is available for free streaming/download, which means you can listen anytime. I get to work on a Monday morning, and diligently listen to Brian’s current show –and so should you. It’s the best out there. And while you are there, check out some of the other cool shows on Phoenix FM – there’s plenty to dive into. Recommended. Check out the current From The Underworld show here.

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484724d3d8927e1a593fda4ef95aa433595d95a2.jpgThe Undermines from Canberra have been at it for a couple of years now – shaping and  sharpening their sound and have just released a killer debut album in TENZEROEIGHT. With a sound that fits effortlessly between Radio Birdman and the New Christs, these guys are the real deal who unashamedly wear their influences on their sleeve – yet don’t for a second think that these guys are carbon copying the Ashton/Tek blueprint. Far from it. Points of reference are important, yet they only paint half the picture, or sound for that matter. For the Undermines have their own hi-energy sound that owes as much to the distinctive vocals of front man Mick Preiss and the melodic twin guitar attack of Jason Sharples/Dylan Webster as anything else. All guys who paid their dues and have a pedigree that extend back to some of Oz rock’s lesser known yet no less significant outfits (including Hell Yes, The Fools, Maui Waui Cowboys amongst others).

In today’s day and age, it’s harder than ever for original Oz guitar rock to get a fair hearing ( I wrote a recent article that broached upon that subject here), less so for those playing Detroit-inspired garage rock. Yet cop the tip from me. The Undermines play unpretentious rock n roll the way it was meant to played – full tilt and in your face, not unlike way the Lazy Cowgirls used to ply it, albeit with a little more finesse that the Cowgirls. The band’s press blurb is also pretty accurate when describing TENZEROEIGHT. “The album offers a melodic, hard edged guitar driven collection of rock ‘n’ roll tracks underscored by a heavy rhythm section with vocals and lyrics inspired by dejection, betrayal, and vindication. TENZEROEIGHT is influenced by the angst and revolutionary attitude of 1970s US Garage Rock with the power and edge unique to an Australian guitar band. All true. TENZEROEIGHT has been quietly released without much fanfare, but I’m here to tell you this is a MONSTER album, with all 12 tracks scoring big points for sheer power, melody and intensity.

From an album chock o block with strong tunes, it’s hard to pin point favourites. The album opens with ‘Get Down Or Lay Down’, foot to the floor garage rock intensity that does not forsake the melody.  ‘Self-Sabotage’ is pure hi-energy, highlighted by some splintering lead guitar work an catchy chorus. Top shelf. There’s the hi- energy action of ‘Shake It’, and ‘Long Gone’ stands out due to its super catchy chorus and melodic lines. Total New Christs – and that is a good thing. Vocalist Mick Preiss has a strong voice, and he sounds great up front and centre in the mix, as he does on ‘Ghost’. Harmony vocals abound and that only adds further value to these tunes. Many other great tunes on display. There’s the brooding ‘Prey’, and ‘Caged And ‘Broken’ probably the album’s plumb for mine. This is garage rock supreme. This tune, like others on the album is highlighted by some searing lead guitar, neat time changes and a memorable vocal delivery. It ain’t ‘Born Out Of Time’ or ‘Face Of  A New God’ , but its heading down that highway – and that is not a comparison I make lightly. High praise but justified. ‘Caged And Broken’ is one hell of a song.

There’s a few key elements that make this is quality album. I have never heard Mick Preiss sound better. His vocal delivery is strong and distinctive.  I must also mention the guitar interplay between Dylan Webster and Jason Sharples. These guys are both ripping players who built a chemistry when they played together back in 1990’s Newcastle outfit The Fools and their fretwork on this record is killer. There are some truly blistering riffs and solos on display. TENZEROEIGHT has great songs, and by that I mean tunes that are catchy, memorable and have melodic lines. Plenty of bands have great riffs, power or intensity – but no hook. No hook, no song if you get my point. Melody is just as significant – and this album has it in spades. Whilst the Undermines clearly know where Birdmen flew, there’s also an originality to the material that makes it distinct.

Any rejuvenated interest generated as a result of the recent Radio Birdman documentary and current tour should justly point those fans towards the Undermines –a band who should be on your rock radar if not already. TENZEROEIGHT is a good starting point, and scored 9 out of 10 from Cowboy Col. You can buy CD copies of the album via the band’s website for $15 or digital copies for $9.99. Money well spent.  For more information head to www.undermines.net

Take a listen to the tune ‘Transcontinental’ below.

143814-L-LO.jpgFestival Records thankfully continue to reissue/repackage and reinvigorate great Australian rock ‘n’ roll that would otherwise be lost to time. ‘When Sharpies Ruled’ is a 23 track compilation CD with exhaustive liners notes, a superb photo book and a wealth of first hand insight – not just into the music – but the whole Sharpie sub-culture as well. Vicious Sloth Collectables from Melbourne ably assisted in this compilation – with head Sloth Glen Terry providing insightful liner notes. Sharpies, or Sharps, were members of suburban youth gangs in Australia, most significantly from the 1960s and 1970s who were particularly prominent in Melbourne, but were also found in Sydney and Perth to lesser extents. The name comes from their focus on looking and dressing “sharp”. Sharpies would often congregate in large numbers, regularly attending live bands at town hall and high school dances and early discos. They were identified by their distinctive close cropped haircuts and attire of Lee or Levi jeans, cardigans, jumpers, and T-shirts.

The most well-known of all ‘Sharp’ bands— were the Coloured Balls, and they are well represented here with three songs, ‘Time Shapes,’ ‘Flash’ and ‘Love You Babe’.  The Coloured Balls had the ‘sharp’ look, right down to the haircuts, and were the most identifiable of all sharp bands – and arguably the sub-cultures musical embodiment. Their hard rocking boogie sound was due to the distinctive guitar of Lobby Loyde, a player who still hasn’t got his dues for pioneering influence on Oz guitar rock.  From the Brisbane days of Purple Hearts right though to Rose Tattoo and even latter day material he recorded with Fish Tree Mother – his impact cannot be overstated. And let’s not forget the hand he played as a producer on many of Australia’s punk and post punk bands including X and the Sunnyboys.  Dig deep into his musical history – the Coloured Balls is a good place to start, and on this comp you get 3 top notch Balls tunes. Dig the solo on ‘Time Shapes’ and you will get a glimpse of why he is revered by so many – but not enough in my books.

Thorpie is also included here with ‘Let’s Have A Party’, a deep live cut from Sunbury ’74, as are Buster Brown with ‘Roll Over Beethoven. If you have never heard Angry pre-Rose Tattoo, this is a good starting point. As is well known, Buster Brown included future members of AC/DC and Tattoo in their ranks. The inclusion of Skyhooks, another of Melbourne’s early 70’s cutting edge outfits is noteworthy, as Greg Macainsh, as an art student, had put together a film on the Sharps called ‘Sharpies’ in 1974. Macainsh’s liner notes and photo stills from his film add greater authenticity to the CD as a whole. One of, if not the, song writer of his generation.

Finch are remembered most for having hot shot young guitar player Bob Spencer in their ranks, yet one listen to ‘Out Of Control’ or the glam punk hit ‘Hey Spunky’ reminds the listener that charismatic front man Owen Orford had a great set of pipes and were a great band who wrote great hard rock hits with melody aplenty. Yet its Orford’s stout vocal delivery that lifted the Finch material. I still think that ‘Hey Spunky’ sounds like ‘Bad Boy For Love’, at least on the verses. Hey Spunky sounds great given the digital treatment.  Finch were killer, as were there reincarnation, Contraband.

Rose Tattoo’s blistering ‘Remedy’ fits with the album’s theme, and sounds superb. The song belongs to Mick Cocks, the man with the fastest right hand. The precision, the guitar tone – it never sounded better than on ‘Remedy’. A song that almost 40 odd years later would still blow most others away for sheer power and intensity.

Timeline is important. Whilst sharps weren’t purely a Melbourne based sub-culture, this is where they were most prominent.  In today’s homogenised society, people forget that their once existed a Sydney Melbourne rivalry. The whole Speedwell Malvern Star thing. Melbourne had trams, they played VFL, Sydney was a rugby league town where Tooths or Reschs were the brewers of choice.  You remember the scene in ‘They’re A Weird Mob’ where the Sydney cab driver tells Graham Kennedy to get back to Melbourne? Lines were drawn –and this also extended, to a lesser extent, to rock n roll. Whilst bands like Hush, TMG and Newcastle’s Rabbit never sported any crew cuts, musically, they had broad appeal that attracted the sharp crowd – in the same way that a band like Slade did, with their infectious glam boogie stomp. The great blues player Kevin Borich also gets a couple of tunes on the CD, one with the La De Das and also with the KB Express. ‘I’m Goin’ Somewhere’ in particular is a lesser known Oz hard rock/blues classic and reason enough for you to buy this CD. Great tune.

Other prominent Melbourne bands to get a guernsey on the CD are Taste with ‘Tickle Your Fancy’, the title track from their debut album – and also La Femme, with the ’79 punk classic ‘Chelsea Kids’. La Femme may have sounded like they came out of Bromley, but they in fact had Sharp bloodlines, and included ex Sharpie gang members in their ranks. ‘Chelsea Kids’ is a classic. Fact. If you thought the Sharpie influence on music/fashion/culture had died out by the late 70s, you were mistaken. Some may recall Tracy Mann’s character ‘Samantha’ in the 1980 movie ‘Hard Knocks’. I digress.

As a fan of Oz rock, what makes this an essential purchase is the inclusion of three songs by Fat Daddy, Bullet and Fatty Lumpkin. The singles by these three bands are near impossible to find, yet have been dusted off, digitalised and made available to all – and this is where Festival Records excel. No other Australian label has the dedication, devotion nor commitment to long lost Oz rock quite like the good folk at Festival – and they do it very well.

Fat Daddy released a great slice of boogie back in ’76 with their single, ‘Roll Daddy Roll’ on Brian Cadd’s Bootleg label. Its inclusion here is important as Fat Daddy were popular with the sharps. On a side note, Fat Daddy morphed into another great Melbourne hard rock band called Texas. (I interviewed Ken Murdoch of Taste/Texas a couple of years back and we talked about these bands and this time period in Melbourne rock. Listen to that interview free here). Perth’s Fatty Lumpkin released four singles in their four year existence yet never an album. ‘Movin’ from 1976  is great, original hard rock with John Meyer’s distinctive fret work prominent. Meyer later turned up in Perth HM band Saracen and then Rose Tattoo. The inclusion of ‘Movin’ on this CD is gold – a nugget that deserves to be heard.

The inclusion of the glam-edged ‘Rock My Lady’ from long forgotten mid 70’s Sydney hard rockers Bullet is further reason to pick up the album. Bullet only released one single on the Atlantics label, Chicago Records. Man this rocker has groove with a capital G and sounds revitalized given the digital treatment. Festival could also have gone with ‘Mover’ the equally rockin B side, and lost no slack. 23 tracks in total – and no filler in sight. I must also mention the artwork and packaging that accompanies this CD. Festival have really gone to town with this one. Nice slip case and two booklets laden with information, reminiscences, facts, musings and a stack more. One booklet is 28 pages, the other a whopping 60 page photo book stacked with original images provided by sharpies from the period. All in all – a no risk ten out of ten from Cowboy Col. Available where all good CD’s are sold, including here. Thoroughly recommended.  

rollercoasterWell, I’m gonna go out on a limb here – but I’m confident. We are only a quarter into the year – and already, the albums of the year have arrived. Makes little difference what comes out in the next 8 months, I’m here to tell you that nothing released this year will surpass the two new albums from Georgia’s finest – the great Dan Baird. For Dan Baird fans – Christmas has indeed come early. He has released not one – but TWO new albums, and both are exceptional.

Baird has released many albums since the Satellites demise, commencing with his first album in 1992, ‘Love Songs For The Hearing Impaired’. ‘Buffalo Nickel’ was good, (LOVE ‘Cumberland River’), as was ‘Out Of Mothballs’, and the material he released with Yayhoos is also exceptional, yet the albums he has released with Homemade Sin have taken him to a whole new level. Baird has collaborated with some fantastic guitar players throughout his career, including Eric Ambel and Rick Richards of course – who formed a formidable musical partnership with Baird and created a legacy that stands on its own merits. Over the last few years though, Baird’s right hand man has been Warner Hodges – and Hodges has been one of the key ingredients to Baird’s continued resurgence up the rock ladder. Hodges is rock solid – and has amazing tone and finesse – yet is also a great singer and song writer in his own rite (check out his couple of recent solo albums for further evidence of this). Hodges has added that ‘certain something’ to Baird’s sound, and from a slew of great albums, the last two Homemade Sin albums have both surpassed each other as Baird’s best. I didn’t think he could better 2013’s ‘Circus Life’, or ‘2015’s Get Loud, but I’m here to tell you – ‘Rollercoaster’ trumps ‘em both.

Rollercoaster is consistently strong – top to bottom. Right from the opening track ‘Shake It Till Its Sore’, pretty much the Homemade Sin creed of making great rock ‘n’ roll for people to dance to – you know you are in for a helluva ride. Dig the lyrics, “Smack the drums, hit the big A chord, pedal to the metal gonna shake it till its sore”. What is evident to me is that on both ‘Rollercoaster’ and ‘SoLow’ Baird opens up his memory bank and lyrically, there are many tunes penned about his formative years and his youth growing up in Georgia. Songs such as ‘Licka Sense’, about taking his Dad’s Harley and how his Dad was not an enthusiastic supporter of young Dan’s chosen career path in rock ‘n’ roll. The imagery he creates in ‘Roll On Chattahoochee’ is another  – “Big river is where I’m from” he sings, with lyrics recalling past days of about running through the Georgia Pine, his first El Camino, swimming holes and the summer sun.  There’s been others who have written about the Big River, including Alan Jackson and I think Drivin ‘N’ Cryin also wrote about it, yet none are as lyrically evocative as this. Midnight ramble indeed. This is how John Fogerty used to write ‘em. There’s lotsa great rockers included too – ‘Let It Shine’, ‘It’s Alright’, and Hodge’s soloing on ‘Can You Hear Me Now’ oozes Rossington/Collins. There’s 13 tunes on ‘Rollercoaster’ and as I said at the outset – no filler in sight.  If I’m pressed though, ‘Lay It Down’ is the album’s personal pick for me. I love those lyrics. “I’m just a second hand novel with the last page missing, “I got Aces and 8’s that’s a dead man’s hand.” It’s a like a theme song to an old Henry Fonda western, and as anyone knows, Cowboy Col is a sucker for a good Western. Bring on the visuals! Great tune, rippin and rockin’ chorus.  I have to make special mention of the heart wrenching “Do My Worst”, a truly beautiful song layered with much emotive feel and playing. If you think Baird can only write ‘runka runka 3 chord’ shtick – you are wrong wrong wrong. He is capable of writing truly evocative songs/ballads, that can send shivers down your spine. As song writer and lyricist, he is way underrated – not by those in the know though. ‘Rollercoaster’ scores a big 10 out of 10 from Cowboy Col.

DB.SoLow-CD-cover‘SoLow’ is a solo album proper – sans Homemade Sin.  Much of the material on ‘SoLow’ is co-written with Joe Blanton, who also plays with Baird and Hodges in the highly recommended Nashville outfit – The Bluefields, one of Music City’s finest. Blanton used to be in a terrific band called Royal Court Of China. Add them to your homework list and go search them out too while you’re at it. David Newbould, who has contributed songs to the last couple of Homemade Sin albums also co-writes some tunes on ‘SoLow’. He has a band called The Stowaways worth checking out. The songs on SoLow are a little more organic, more country, but not in an obvious way, yet there’s some subtle differences to this and a Homemade Sin record. The opener Cemetery Train is a great song, super catchy, big chorus, memorable lyrics. A Baird/Blanton classic. Blanton should be in the major leagues, he is such a great song writer and has real predilection of melody. “Look Away” is an absolute monster. There is so much swagger and soul on the playing you’d think the Allman’s were on board. Superb. Aside from ‘Cemetery Train’, ‘Showtime’ is the obvious single. Likeable and catchy, good time rock ‘n’ roll. ‘Say Goodbye’ is another instant classic that is laden with feel, a sing-along chorus, sweet harmony’s and is beyond catchy. Melodic riff and great vocal to boot. You will be singing the chorus ‘Tell Me Why’ over and over. The more laid back, ‘She’s With Me’ comes up trumps, as does ‘Lay It On Me’. The plaintive “Gotta Get A Move On” is a pleasant surprise. Acoustic, stripped back, highlighted by some nice banjo and instrumentation. Two thumbs up from Fonzie and another 10 out 10 from Cowboy Col.

Dan Baird is the real deal. Forget whoever else it is that the social media conglomerates tell you is rock ‘n’ roll. Take my word for it when I tell you that Dan Baird rock ‘n’ roll is the best there is, and with ‘SoLow’ and ‘Rollercoaster’ – he has arguably, made the two best albums of his career.

See Dan Baird and Homemade Sin on tour in Australia in APRIL/MAY. Check out http://www.danbairdandhomemadesin.net for more details and ticket information.

  • Apr 13 The Corner Hotel Richmond, Australia  
  • Apr 14 Cherry Bar Melbourne, Australia  
  • Apr 15 Baha Rye, Australia  
  • Apr 16 Boogie Fest Tallarook, Australia  
  • Apr 18 Basement Sydney, Australia  
  • Apr 19 Lizottes Bar  Lambton, Australia  
  • Apr 22 Bridge Hotel Rozelle, Australia  
  • Apr 28 Triffid Brisbane, Australia  
  • Apr 29 Parkwood Tavern Ashmore, Australia  
  • May 02 The Gov Adelaide, Australia  
  • May 05 The Charles Hotel North Perth, Australia

165194-L-LOIf you need a reminder of why Australian rock n roll of the 1970 and 80s was the best in the world – then ‘The Glory Days Of Aussie Pub Rock’ is for you. Festival Records have done a superb job in capturing the best bands of that period, with a whopping 4 CD, 90 song set that has something for everyone. The obvious guitar heavyweights of the pub rock period are represented – with songs by Cold Chisel, The Angels, Divinyls and Rose Tattoo – yet what makes this comp a standout from others, is that the good folks at Festival have given some thought and insight when putting the project together. For example: Unlike other previous comps, where the ‘obvious’ hit was the choice to represent the band – on this CD, it’s not the case. The Angels tune is not the somewhat tired sounding ‘Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again’, but the Birdman influenced ‘Shadow Boxer’. The Rose Tattoo tune is ‘One Of The Boys’ which probably should have been released as a single. By taking this approach – it means that the CD set will appeal to seasoned punters who were actually there during these halcyon days – as well as those who weren’t. Smart move. The Skyhooks tune is even a non-Shirley tune – with the often overlooked ‘Over The Border’ sounding vital and relevant. Superb, McCainsh lyrical wit as you’d expect.

 It’s good to hear pub rock stalwarts The Radiators, a band that probably should have had success overseas in the early 80s, as well as Spy V Spy – both bands I saw in countless Sydney pubs in the 1980s.  My favourite Spy’s tune is ‘Sally Ann’, but ‘Hard Times’ reminds you why this band were pub rock kingpins in the mid 80s. Rose Tattoo’s Pete Wells ‘Between The Saddle and The Ground’ is one of the other highlights. Plaintive, Dylanesqe vocal delivery – outlaw country – melodic, memorable riff – a tune that should have been bigger that what it was.

 It’s good that the OL’55 tune is ‘C’mon Let’s Do It’ and not the go-to tune ‘On The Prowl’.  Ol ’55 had a lot more going on musically than just being a revival outfit, and this tune reminds you of that. Ol 55’s key songwriter Jim Manzie had a lot of pop sensibility, and once free of the restrictions of being in a 50’s revival band, (both a blessing and a curse no doubt ), he began to really explore his pop song writing chops. His work with post OL ’55 outfits The Breakers and The Fives is often overlooked. The long out of print Breakers tune ‘When I’m On TV’ is included on this comp and it sounds great. Superb hard edge pop with a stack of melody and catchy chorus.  Almost worth the price of the CD for that tune alone! Who else remembers seeing this on Countdown?

From the early 70s period that are tunes by Buster Brown, Jim Keays, Thorpie, Daddy Cool, and Fraternity.  From the mid 70s there are tunes by Taste, Hush, Dallimore and Supernaut (with one of their brilliant post punk tunes ‘Unemployed’). TMG are also here too with ‘Gonna Be Somebody’, a disregarded hard rocking single lifted off their 1978 ‘Disturbing The Peace’ album. This tune sounds killer – given the digital treatment. From the 1980s – there is more great Oz pub rock fare with the Baby Animals, Screaming Jets, Kings Of The Sun, Noiseworks, Nick Barker, Hoodoo Gurus, The Church and the Saints. There are so many great bands here – you’d be hard pressed not to find something to your liking. There’s also Kevin Borich, Stars, Richard Clapton, Moving Pictures, the Hitmen, Dingoes, the Ferrets and the Sports.

Painters & Dockers get a guernsey with ‘Die Yuppie Die’ whilst the Flowers tune ‘Sister’ is a good alternate choice to ‘We Can Get Together’.  I forgot how good Heroes were, and ‘I Can’t Go On’ sounds fresh. Who else remembers The Motivators, The Aliens, Flaming Hands, Young Modern and the Johnnys? That’s right – they are also represented here.

Whilst Russell Morris is getting all the accolades (justly so) for his recent blues albums, people often forget his great work in the late 70s / early 80s. My favourite album is ‘Foot In The Door’ and how can you go past ‘Running Jumping Standing Still’ as an example of an iconic tune – Australian or otherwise? This CD contains one of his tunes with The Rubes, ‘Walk Don’t Run’, which is melodic and catchy hard edged pop from a guy who has a truckload of great songs to his name. Forget about ‘The Real Thing’ and ‘Wings Of An Eagle’ – dig into his late 70s period!  ‘Walk Don’t Run’ will get your started.  

I hadn’t heard The Spaniards tune ‘I Want To Live In A House’ since I saw Starstruck at the movies back in 1982, and it’s also good to hear Mike Rudd & The Heaters – another guy whose extensive body of musical work post Spectrum/Arial is often overlooked. One of Adelaide’s great pub rock bands The Boys are here with ‘Weoh Weoh Weoh‘, and the fantastic Numbers also with Four Letter Word’. Annalise Morrow certainly had it going on, and The Numbers were just about guitar-pop perfection.

Another pleasant surprise was the female fronted Melbourne outfit The Kevins, whose single ‘Romeo Romeo’ was originally released in 1982 on the White Label. I’d forgotten what a great tune this was and it’s good to hear it unearthed and given a new lease of life. Nice deep that stacks up well against bands with a larger profile.

Mi-Sex were one of the best bands of the pub rock glory days, and ‘Graffiti Crimes’ sounds fantastic to my ears in 2017. In fact Mi-Sex’s music sounds better as time goes on. Testament to the songwriting.  The album winds up with Swanee out front of The Alan Lancaster/John Brewster version of the Party Boys – and ‘High Voltage’ is a nice recap of what I told you at the start – Australian rock n roll is the best there is. 

A couple of surprises on the album were the Cockroaches tune ‘Hey What Now’ which is close to hard rock (on the verses anyway) and a long way from the Anthony Field Wiggles era –and the Warumpi Band’s ‘Stompin Ground’ which is indeed hard rock. Good tune too.

This is not a hastily thrown together comp. Like other recent Festival compilations, (Boogie!, When Sharpies Ruled, Silver Road etc), the bands and songs that represent them have been well considered – with a finished product that serves as a great audio document of a wonderful period of Australian music history. The package contains an excellent booklet with exhaustive liner notes, band info and cool images – including front page covers of many old issues of RAM!

Note that this is volume 2. Volume 1 also contains a monstrous 90 odd tracks and is equally worthy of your attention. Good work Festival. Keep up the good work Dog! 9 out of 10. Available everywhere.