Thursday, April 23, 2015

Desert Rat - Home From The Front (1978)

(Australian 1976 - 1978)
Melbourne Hard Rockers founded in 1976 as Da Boys. In this guise the band released a solitary single before adopting a new title of Desert Rat in January of 1978. The band comprised of former Buster Brown members guitarist John Moon and bassist Ian Ryan, guitarist Denny Stibbard, vocalist Jerome Speldwinde and drummer John Dee.

By the time of the album recording only Speldwinde and Dee had survived with new faces included ex-Finch guitarist Skeeta Pereira, former Lois Lane guitarist Stephen Lazaros and bassist Tom Johnson. Lazaros would rename himself 'Smeer' as part of the Punk Rock band Depression.
An old friend used to engage in a party game designed to test the wits of unsuspecting houseguests: ambush said visitor with a copy of Blue Öyster Cult’s Secret Treaties LP, and request the back-story to the before/after sketches on the front and back cover. Why does the plane's pilot bear a striking resemblance to Skeletor? Who and/or what is Lopez? How did Eric Bloom’s Alsatians meet their demise? And most importantly, how did five Blue Öyster Cults, four dogs and a skeleton fit into a two-seater jet?

The back cover of Desert Rat’s Home From The Front LP presents a similar vehicular seating conundrum, but the real mystery concerns drummer John Drak. Who slammed his foot in the car door? And why? Perhaps, like most drummers, the guy just had it coming to him.

Though the sepia-tone image on Home From The Front’s inner-sleeve is reminiscent of Secret Treaties (substitute the plane with a tank), that’s where the similarities end. Yes, both bands peddle a brand of ‘70s hard rock, but Desert Rat’s is more leaden and less conceptual. That is to say, it’s kinda plodding and more than a little bit dumb. For instance, Eric Bloom plans to steal your wife, pick your brain and spend your money; in "Rock And Roll Lady", Desert Rat’s Jerome Speldewinde has already had his way with your wife, but rock and roll has made him so brain dead he can’t even remember her name.

Desert Rat’s members had already been around the block a couple of times by the time of the LP’s release - guitarist John Moon and bass player Ian Ryan had both been in Buster Brown (with a pre-Rose Tattoo Angry Anderson and a pre-AC/DC Phil Rudd), among others. Though not featured in the line-up that recorded Home From The Front, Stephen Lazaros' tenure is also worthy of note. Lazaros had previously played with Wallaby Beat gap-fillers Lois Lane/The Benders, but more significantly, would later be re-christened as Smeer and feature prominently in Melbourne's hardcore punk scene as guitarist for Depression and drummer for Gash.

The level dumbness is fairly uniform across the LP, but there are moments that are less plodding than others, highlighted by side one's closing track, Take Me On.
Home From The Front also spawned a single (Need Your Love / Reach For The Sky [Champagne CHS 603, 1978], with both tracks featuring on the LP)  [extract from wallabybeat blog]

Great album from Melbourne pub band, Desert Rat, that worked heavily around the traps. Released in late 1978, it was their one and only album and was engineered and produced by Gil Matthews from Billy Thorpe and The Aztecs. This album contains 11 hard rockin' songs similar to Finch or Redhouse, the production could've been better but hey, it's great Australian rock n' roll.

Highlight Tracks: Need Your Love, Reaching For The Sky, Do Somebody Wrong, Take Me Shake Me and "Rock And Roll Lady" which is my favourite.

 This post consists of both FLACs and MP3 (320kps) which have been ripped from my pristine vinyl. Alas, the front cover suffers from bubbled shrink wrap and didn't scan well. Therefore, I have sourced a clean cover scan from the web to add to my artwork.  Label scans depict the independent  record label Champagne, that published some other great Aussie bands like the Savannah Silver Band and Cybotron.

Track Listing  
01. Need Your Love (J. Moon, Jerome) 3:35
02. Reaching For The Sky (J. Moon, Jerome) 3:48
03. Faces (J. Moon, Jerome) 4:01
04. Do Somebody Wrong (J. Moon, Jerome) 3:05
05. Rock And Roll Lady (Denny Stibbard, Jerome) 4:28
06. Take Me On (J. Moon, Jerome) 2:40
07. Runaway Child (J. Moon, Jerome) 5:21
08. Crystal Ball (Denny Stibbard, J. Moon, Jerome) 3:15
09. Arabian Rock (Denny Stibbard, Jerome) 4:07
10. Take Me Shake Me (Show Me How To Rock And Roll) (Denny Stibbard) 2:14
11. No Place Like Hell (Denny Stibbard, Jerome) 3:42

Band Members:
Jerome - Vocals
Denny Stibbard - Guitar, Vocals
John Dee - Drums
Ian John Ryan - Bass, Vocals
John Moon - Guitar, Vocals

Desert Rat FLACs (246Mb)
Desert Rat MP3s (96Mb)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Atlanta Rhythm Section - Dog Days (1975)

(U.S 1970 - Present)
Atlanta Rhythm Section (ARS) was formed in 1970, intended as the house band for new state-of-the-art recording facility in Doraville, Georgia, and played on various recordings during the first year of the studio, for artists including Al Kooper, B J Thomas and Joe South. 38 Special and Lynyrd Skynyrd also gravitated towards the studio.
Between sessions ARS recorded their own material, largely instrumental pieces in the early stages, and their demos secured a two-record deal with MCA/Decca Records. The group's self-titled debut album was released in 1972 but Rodney justo left soon after to pursue a solo career and was replaced by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Ronnie Hammond from Macon, who had come to Studio One as an assistant engineer to Rodney Mills.
Two further albums, 1973's Back Up Against The Wall and 1974's Third Annual Pipe Dream, the latter for their new label Polydor Records, showed increasing maturity particularly in songs such as 'Conversation', 'Another Man's Woman', 'Angel' and 'Doraville', a local Top 40 single. The IPs offered a blend of up-tempo songs and ballads, an engaging mix that would become fundamental to the group's success.
"It was their songs that set ARS apart from all of their Southern contemporaries and most, if not all of the other artists of their time."

The band had truly cut its teeth over these first three LPs but it was 1975's Dog Days that introduced some musical bite -no pun intended. Their fourth album was much tighter and is viewed by many as their first real masterpiece containing, as it did, six up-beat tracks and two ballads, all written by the band. The group achieved the "real ARS sound" with this record, something they targeted on 'Doraville', the very last song taped for their previous third LP.
Many of the Dog Days tracks really do rock and are heart felt compositions about real life situations. 'Crazy' meditates on (then) current times and takes a swipe at 'glitter rock' or, as ARS Historian Kevin Dockrell describes it, "a blistering commentary on the 'rock-as-theater' craze." 'Boogie Smoogie' becomes a lively stomper and the exceptional 'Silent Treatment' provides electric tension over its six minutes duration with fine dynamics creating a sophisticated groove and mood. 'Cuban Crisis' is a lighter, spritely shuffle and the two featured ballads - 'Dog Days' and 'All Night Rain' - are absolute class, the expressive lyrics painting gorgeous pictures of the steamy south with Hammond's mellow conversational vocals and Daughtry's beautiful keyboard work.
Lynyrd Skynyrd may have been leading the southern brigade in Joe Public's eyes, but ARS were musicians first and foremost and frankly had stronger songs in greater abundance. This asset marked ARS apart, dabbling as they did in rock, blues and country. In fact, 'Boogie Smoogie' from Dog Days hinted at their musical canvas.

                "We like reggae, we dig country, classical music's a gas.
                  We play the blues in three quarter time, but they don't
                   want to hear that jazz - they just want boogie"

Despite the wealth and quality of self-composed material on Dog Days, the IP did not furnish a hit single. Although ARS continued touring with a growing regional following, a major national breakthrough eluded the band and they were soon back in Studio One to record their fifth album 'Red Tape' [notes by Campbell Devine, 2005]

Album Review (taken from official Atlanta Rhythm Section's website)
'Dog Days' was ARS's first masterpiece and an album that still stands with their best. It showcases a band that has found its groove and is taking its music to a new level. Featuring another fine collection of songs about themselves and the South, the band displays a growing array of musical styles and approaches that are very different from where the rest of Southern Rock was headed. Overall, it's a faster paced album that what had come before, featuring six uptempo songs and two beautiful ballads-all originals.

It opens on some high notes with the rocking "Crazy" leading into the buildup blues and breakout jam of "Boogie Smoogie". A couple of lighter tunes lead into a ballad that is ballad that is a beautiful evocation of the South Dog Days. For the second album in a row they show off their chops with an instrumental "Bless My Soul". The album closed with another classic ballad of Southern images "All Night Rain". While other bands were striving to claim the mantle of kings of Southern rock, ARS had started making music no other Southern band has ever been able to duplicate.

Paul Goddard
 1. Crazy
    The album starts off in overdrive with a guitar solo leading into meditations on the times. Vocals, keyboards and guitars build into a musical crescendo rocking harder than anything ARS had recorded before, with Ronnie Hammond's vocal expressing the band's disdain for those who "powder your nose and paste on your glitter.   
2. Boogie Smoogie
     Their first longer recorded work, this begins as a slow guitar-and-harmonica blues that recounts ARS' frustration with audiences who "just want to boogie." It then accelerates into a roadhouse stomp that boogies as well as anything to come out of the South, but with an emphasis on melody and tone seldom matched elsewhere.      
3. Cuban Crisis
     The mood lightens up with this lilting, uptempo remembrance of a Saturday night on the town in Ybor City, FL and the characters encountered there.        
4. It Just Ain't Your Moon
     The rocking rolls on with track that drives home the notion that some things are not meant to be, and incorporates some of ARS' classic tempo changes to beautiful effect.    
5. Dog Days
     A classic. Dean Daughtry's keyboard leads Hammond's vocals through a melody that rises and falls, with lyrics that capture images of life in the South during the heat of summer. At the end of the second chorus, the song suddenly and dramatically changes tempo, and guitarist Barry Bailey takes over, leading the band into a driving musical interlude before returning to a closing keyboard coda.
6. Bless My Soul
     An instrumental blues shuffle, featuring solid ensemble playing and some great guitar soloing.     
7. Silent Treatment
     A subdued but intense rocker about a mysterious woman and a pickup in a "loud Hotlanta honkytonk." Tempo changes are again used to great effect both to create mood and build a sophisticated musical framework.        
8. All Night Rain
     The album closes on a lighter note with this ballad featuring guitars, piano and Hammond's conversational vocal. Again, Southern summer scenes are evoked both in words and sounds. "Can't you hear the thunder, see the lightning cross the sky?"

This post consists of MP3 (320kps) ripped from my 'well played' but crystal clear vinyl, which I bought many moons ago. Full album artwork for LP and CD are included. I acquired the copy after they released their popular "Imaginary Lover" single, I have always enjoyed listening to this album and just wanted to share this with you. One abnormality that I discovered while doing this post is that my record label indicates that the album was released in 1977 rather than the actual 1975 release date.  Other pressings indicate the correct year, so my Australian pressing must be incorrect (see labels below). I'd be keen to hear from anyone else who can confirm this - otherwise my pressing could be 'something unique'. Another mistake is an incorrect annotation on the back cover where the track length of "Silent Treatment" is shown as 6:15 when in fact the song is actually 5:15 long.
Finally, while researching this post I was sad to learn that Paul Goddard, their bass player and a founding member of the band, died April 29, 2014, after a brief, sudden illness. Paul was 68.  RIP
Track Listing
01. Crazy (Buie, Nix, Daughtry) - 3:07
02. Boogie Smoogie (Buie, Nix, Bailey) - 7:57
03. Cuban Crisis (Buie, Nix, Cobb) - 3:50
04. It Just Ain't Your Moon (Buie, Nix, Daghtry) - 4:50
05. Dog Days (Buie, Nix, Daughtry) - 3:35
06. Bless My Soul (Cobb) - 4:00
07. Silent Treatment (Buie, Nix, Bailey) - 5:15
08. All Night Rain (Buie, Nix, Daughtry, Mcree) - 3:10

ARS Band Members:
Barry Bailey - Guitar
Robert Nix - Percussion, Drums, Background Vocals
Ronnie Hammond - Vocals, Background Vocals
Paul Goddard - Bass
Dean Daughtry - Keyboards
J.R. Cobb - Guitar, Background Vocals

Atlanta Rhythm Section Link (89Mb)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Rabbit - Selftitled (1975) / Too Much Rock 'n' Roll (1976) + Bonus Tracks

(Australian 1973-1977)
Originally "The Cherries" Rabbit was an Australian hard rock band from Newcastle, Australia. The band was formed in 1973 by Mark Tinson (guitar, vocals), Phil Screen (drums) and Jim Porteus (bass). Vocalist Greg Douglas joined in 1974 and was replaced in October of that year by Dave Evans, formerly of AC/DC. Dave had seen them performing at Chequers nightclub in Sydney and was impressed with their confronting stage presence. The band played a mixture of originals and covers by artists such as Alice Cooper, The Who and The Sweet. Rabbit adopted a thumping brand of commercial glam-boogie (somewhere between US groups like Kiss and Brownsville Station) and the members decked themselves out in bare-chested silk blouses, spandex leggings and stack- heeled boots.

Rabbit swiftly became Newcastle's foremost rock attraction. The climax of the band's shows came with Phil Screen's spectacular fire-breathing displays (à la Gene Simmons from Kiss). The band moved to Sydney and soon rivaled Hush in the glam stakes.
Two early singles were followed up by a self-titled album in 1975 having signed with CBS records, which had mediocre success. David Hinds (ex-Father Mouse, Hot Ice, Marshall Brothers Band and Highway) joined as guitarist in 1976.
Their second album 'Too Much Rock n Roll' was released in October, 1976 after the release of another two singles.
The album produced two hard-rockin' singles, `Too Much Rock'n'Roll'/ `Shake that Thing' (February 1976) and `Wildfire'/`Bad Girls' (July). Rabbit appeared on the ABC-TV's pop show Countdown, and set off on a national tour with the Ted Mulry Gang.
With their appearances on the numerous television pop/rock shows their 2nd album launched them into national popularity. Rabbit were described as frenetic, violently hedonistic and Dave himself was described as savagely heterosexual. Rabbit after-show parties were always wild affairs and popular with friends, fans and groupies. (and roadies from other bands)

The 'Too Much Rock And Roll' album was then distributed in Japan, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Holland, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Although sales were steady Rabbit did not tour these countries as two members called it quits after a grueling three-month Australian tour. The band continued after adding a new drummer and released the single "Let Me" in 1977 but it wasn't the same feeling without the two original members and the band folded in 1978.
Tinson, Porteus and Screen then formed Heroes who released an album in 1980. Hinds joined Finch. Tinson and Screen also worked together in Swanee and The Tex Pistols. Dave Evans went on to play with a string of other bands.
The following is an interview with the members of Rabbit published in RAM magazine on 17th  December, 1976, conducted by by Chris Marne. 
The article was entitled 'Bad Boys Are Too Tired For Bad Girls Tonight'

Rabbit have happened fast. From the seeds of a three-piece Newcastle band (Mark Tinson - guitar; Jim Porteus - bass and Phil Screen - drums, formed 1973) has grown a hot property live-piece band with two albums behind them and a recently completed first national tour — as a support for TMG
Who the hell can fearlessly pinpoint which ingredient is the success factor in any given band? Of course that old chestnut 'Talent' is always hauled out for an airing, but in Rabbit's case I'd select brash confidence and ability to project their naturally loutish personalities from the stage.
Witness Dave Evans. He's a rock and roll shaman. In performance he plays all the ace-high tricks of the game. He beats on his chest like a bible-belt revivalist huckster. He pulls off Frank Sinatra schticks, like singing Strangers In The Night dead in the middle of a searing hot rock set. He rips out Little Richard funky-spunky tear the joint apart trips. He whips up the crowd with all the jitter frenzy of a strip club spruiker.

Then off stage you see him hamming around in trickster gear, like maybe a carefully tailored sports jacket that just happens to be made of red and white candy striped satin. And a white straw hat with a dancing red feather boa in the band. And he'll be thumping his chest or the bar or anything within arm's reach.
Observe Phil Screen ... not even the Navy knew what to do about Phil. He emanated too much aggression to pass muster as seaworthy. The Navy shrink prescribed drumming as an outlet for Phil's violent tendencies.
Sitting in the band room at Hurstville Civic Centre, yer slack reporter is in shock. Dave Evans has just admitted to a teenage ambition to join the police force. But he grew an inch too short for the service and had to rethink his future.
"I really wanted to be a cop, y'know," he says, picking up my notebook. "I was rapt in the idea of getting out and busting dope smoking hippies and creeps in rock bands.
To prove how hard he tried for a blue uniform, he inscribes a line of perfect shorthand outlines in the notebook. They translate thus: Bad girls are great roots. What a loss for the police force ... they missed out on a bonza candidate for the Vice Squad.
Mark Tinson blazes into the room like he was born with a lifetime supply of amphetamine in his bloodstream. His speedy energy seems to be the band's power-cell on stage. He flashes all over the place in some sort of gypsy dementia ... driving the other guys to the limit, then pushing them into overdrive.

Ramming a lead plug into the little amp in the bandroom, the Tinson guitar is pronounced tuned after a couple of quick runs. The Tinson guitar, just for the record, is a powder blue Fender that looks like it got it last paint job from the duco apprentice at the shonkiest garage in town. Chipped. scratched, dented ... it's a workingman's axe required to do its job without any temper tantrums.
"Now my guitar, announces Jim as he lifts a Gibson Grabber from its case, "is the cheapest bass you can play without being laughed at by other musicians."
Out onstage. Jim spins one turn too many for his lead and the amp top crashes to the floor. He grins back over his shoulder as a roadie leaps to the equipment's aid and, without missing a beat, he returns to his show ... all gutter-bred leers, flickering come-on tongue and up front carnality. All the bad girls want Jim.
I'm watching the crowd from the wings — a crush of schoolgirls, their older sisters, and a sprinkling of likely lads who know what good gut rock is when they hear it. They're
pushing hard up against the stage barrier waving strips of cloth with David or Phil or whoever written on them; some are holding up the Too Much Rock 'N' Roll album cover; others are busy working up black outs for the fainting ritual. All of it is standard rockmania
In front of the crowd, five sets of clingskin tights, platform boots, feet, hands and heads are hard at work. The guitars scream over solid rhythm underpinnings, flashpots explode right on cue and Dave pounds his way through Wildfire. Heartbeat, Go Down Screaming and everything else the kids yell for ... including, of course. Bad Girls. "Bad girls make good lovin'/Gimme a bad girl now.'"
The Rabbit household is awash with post-gig girls ... bad ones, good ones, and ones who can't decide which they are but want to find out.
I retreat solo to the kitchen which is pure funky joy to explore. A note pinned to one cupboard says "Notice! Please do not leave food packets open in here as they encourage the breeding of several forms of exotic wildlife. Thank you".
Said cupboard, upon opening, reveals several forms of exotic wildlife whose activity suggests they're doing OK in the Munchies Dept.
On the bench below is an opened but un-sampled can of pineapple rings in the dead centre of which a lone cockroach practices backstroke.
I don't wanna go back in the living room. It's like an Andy Warhol movie in there. There's a roadie walking round with a nipple in his hand ... reputedly the ex-property of a band lady who was willing to give most generously of herself. And then there's all those girls sitting on all available surfaces waiting for something, anything to happen.

Okay. I'm sucked in. Who's the blonde with the hyperactive set of affectations?
That is Mysterio, says David Hinds "She wants my body. '
You going to allow her the pleasure?
No. Oh, it'd be okay I guess ... but I'm getting off more on watching to see how long she'll hang out. She's been following me since we first played the Lifesaver.
But that must be five or six months ...
"Yeah. She one very dedicated girl.
Noting the string of guys — roadies, visitors, a couple of band members trying to crack on to her I enquire if Mysterio isn't tempted by the more available bodies.
"No, never. She is completely devoted to me."
Meanwhile another girl in the room is under discussion. It transpires that she put out for all interested parties the previous night and came back for a return engagement.
"She's off, man. really fu*ked in the head."
"No, she's a good chick. She happened for us all night and then she got up and did the dishes this morning."
"Dig this,"one of the roadies addresses me, "We said to her, 'Well aren't you going to take your clothes off?' and she just said, 'Yeah, after I've drunk my milk'.
"Look, piss her off will you. She makes me feel sick."
"Give 'er a break fer Chrissakes. She's cool. I mean, she doesn't try and talk to us or anything."
"Yeah, look somebody tell her to get happening in the bedroom. It's getting late."
But nothing much happens. The girl is scagged. mandied and drunk. The guys are disinterested ... they're moving out of the house in the morning and going straight on the road with TMG. To hell with bad girls tonight ... bad boys need their sleep.
[Article from RAM #47, December 17, 1976]

Album Review 'Too Much Rock'n'Roll'
(From Vicious Kitten, Issue 9, Nov/Dec 1998 by Steven Danno )
Why is it that collectors of records will pay massive amounts for Australian progressive rock (i.e. laid-back early 70's music with flutes made by fat stoned dudes with beards), Australian 60's beat or Australian 70's punk, but consider themselves too serious to check out some of the amazing rock and roll made by 70's glam rock-stars in Australia? Take Feather, Finch, Hush and of course the band we are reviewing here - the great Rabbit. What is their fucking problem? The problem is that these train spotting, ant farming collectors are full of shit cause this record, their second, is a killer heavy-rock masterpiece!!If you enjoyed classic-era Sweet (before they grew moustaches and started suing keyboards) and early Kiss (before they started doing ballads and fake live albums) then you will flip-out over this record. A previous issue of Vicious Kitten reviewed the first Rabbit album and there are a few slight differences in the two albums. "Too Much Rock'n'Roll" was recorded at one of the most famous studios in Sydney - Alberts (AC/DC, Rosey Tatts, etc.) and the sound is not quite as raw as the first LP. The band were joined by an additional guitarist in David Hinds - who after Rabbit went on to join Finch with ex-AC/DC bass player Mark Evans, but that's another album review.

Kiss and The Sweet still appear to be big musical influences on the music. Firstly the front cover...the five band members all dressed to kill in stack heel hell and then the music - the opening intro a chant version of "Too Much Rock'n'Roll" with five pairs of boots stomping!! Then it's straight into "Higher Than A Kite" which starts like "Ballroom Blitz" on speed but comes into its own once the vocals kick in. "...I can hear my baby calling but I can't even see that far..." - cool lyrics or what?! There are a few slightly poppier sounding tracks like "Go Down Screaming" which has a T-Rex-meets-AC/DC vibe to it and "Keep On" (not the Brady Bunch song) yet there's also some hammer-riff classics like "Bad Girls" and of course the title track (which is not unlike the the Kiss song "Deuce" which isn't a bad thing).

As great an album as this is, the best way to experience Rabbit (second only to boarding the time-machine bound for a seedy Newcastle nightclub in 1975) is on a bootleg video which features a 1974 thirty minute TV special where the band plays live tracks from the first LP and also a one off re-union gig from the early 90's. Yes they are all a bit fatter and older but it still rocked as wild as ever - or as Al Bundy once told me "If you've got it, you've got it." 

Track Listing
01 - Too much rock 'n' roll (intro)
02 - Higher than a kite
03 - Go down screaming
04 - Bad girls
05 - Shakin all over
06 - Too much rock 'n' roll
07 - Heartbeat
08 - I like to hear my music
09 - Shake that thing
10 - Wildfire
11 - Keep on
Bonus Track
12 - Jumping jack Flash (Live)

(MP3 / 256kps with artwork + Bonus Track)

Selftitled Album Review
So what to make of this album? Well, due to its close ties to AC/DC, one can't help but draw comparisons. The problem is that, frankly, most of the writing doesn't stand up to the legacy. There are hooks here and there, but the album and its followup are both devoid of any real staying power, save for a few tracks between them. Hush and Rabbit are actually almost discernibly identical, different vocalists aside. Nonetheless, this extremely elusive album is highly sought by collectors. This particular rip was passed on to me recently, and for the most part it's a solid conversion with tracks sounding clean and mostly free of clicks and pops. 

Track Listing
01 - Let's Go Rockin' Rollin' Tonight
02 - Magic
03 - Crying Her Eyes Out
04 - Marvel Man
05 - Running Bear
06 - Rock 'N' Roll
07 - Lady La Di Da
08 - Next Time
09 - Sing A Song
10 - It Couldn't Happen To You
11 - Dinosaur
Bonus Track
12 - Running Bear (Bonus Live on TV Ch NBN in Newcastle)


Rabbit - Selftitled  (MP3 / 320kps with artwork + Bonus Track)
 Note:  If you are interested in obtaining Rabbit's final single "Let Me / Kiss Me Goodnight", you will find a copy on my good friend's website Ozzie Musicman

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Redgum - Cut To The Quick (1982) 12inch E.P

(Australian 1975-1990)
Redgum was an Australian folk and political music group formed in Adelaide in 1975 by singer-songwriter John Schumann, Michael Atkinson on guitars/vocals and Verity Truman on flute/vocals; they were soon joined by Chris Timms on violin. All four had been students at Flinders University and together developed an intensely passionate and outspoken outlook. They are best known for their protest song exploring the impact of war in 1983's "I Was Only Nineteen (A Walk in the Light Green)", which peaked at #1 on the National singles charts.

John Schumann was recently described by rock historian Glenn A. Baker as “One of the finest songwriters this country has produced”, John’s songs have been paid the ultimate compliment by becoming the property of the people and the country they were written about. His lyrics are on reading lists in schools, colleges and universities throughout Australia.

In an interview with Damien Hooper from the A.B.C, John states that his band was among the countries first of a political nature. 
"Probably the first political band, a long time before Midnight Oil I'm here to tell you," he says.
According to John the band was born while studying a 'politics and art' course at Flinders University in South Australia.
"The original three from Redgum got together and wrote a whole bunch of songs to demonstrate that we knew what the course was about.
"Those songs knocked the class sideways and ended up being the guts of our first album," he says.
In 1983 the band Redgum released the song 'I was only 19' and John says he still remembers writing the classic Aussie; a horrifying account of the Vietnam War through the eyes of his brother-in-law.
John & Michael
"I listened to Mick's story which I recorded on cassette. I listened to it on my walkman for about nine months, when I came to write the song, I wrote it in about 15 minutes," he says.

Their 4 track EP 'Cut to the Quick' was released in 1982 after their brilliant 3rd album 'Brown Rice and Kerosene', and shows the beginnings of Redgum's maturing with Hugh McDonalds "Diamantina Drover," being a true masterpiece.
A live version of this song can be found on 'Caught  In The Act" along with "Fabulon", while "Where Ya Gonna Run To" is from the previous release 'Brown Rice and Kerosene'.
This stripped down version of "Working Girls" is only found here, a reworked version appearing on "Frontline" while "Fabulon" and "Diamantina Drover" were eventually re-released on their 2004 'Against the Grain' - The Redgum Anthology.
Redgum on Stage at Adelaide University Union Bar
This post consists of FLACs ripped from a newly acquired vinyl copy of this 12" E.P (found in amongst an extensive and well looked after collection of Redgum and Bushwackers LP's at the flee market). Needless to say, this is not the only gem I picked up - so stay tuned for more titles. Full album artwork and label scans are also included as usual. Photos featured here were sourced from John Schumann's official website with thanks.
For those of you who haven't heard "Fabulon", it is a parody song based on Boney M's hit single "Rivers of Babylon" and contains a multitude of Aussie brand names like Sunbeam, Revlon, Myers, Visine, Listerine, and even Harpic Blue! in amongst its lyrics   A clever song indeed.
Track Listing
01 - Working Girls
02 - Fabulon
03 - The Diamantina Drover
04 - Where Ya Gonna Run To
Redgum were:
Michael Atkinson (Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals)
Hugh McDonald (Guitars, Bass, Vocals)
John Schumann (Guitar, Vocals)
Verity Truman (Flute, Saxophone, Vocals)
with Steve Donald - drums on Diamantina rover
Redgum Link (111Mb)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

J Geils Band - Live Full House (1972)

(U.S 1967–1985, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2009 – present)
The J. Geils Band is an American rock band formed in 1967 in Worcester, Massachusetts, under the leadership of guitarist J. Geils. The band played R&B-influenced blues rock in the 1970s before moving towards a more new wave sound in the 1980s. Since its initial break-up in 1985, the band has reunited several times. Their biggest hit was their 1981 single, "Centerfold", which charted No. 1 in the United States in early 1982.
43 years ago today, The J. Geils Band released the first live album of their career, an effort which would provide them with their gold album and increase their profile to the point where, the next time around, they’d find themselves with their first top-10 album.
“Live” – Full House inspired annoyance amongst know-it-all poker fans, who were quick to observe that the five cards pictured on the cover – the jack of spades, the jack of diamonds, the jack of clubs, the king of spades, and the queen of hearts – do not, in fact, constitute a full house. On the other hand, it’s a live album performed in front of a sold-out crowd, a.k.a. a full house, and the queen is winking, so we’re pretty sure she’s in on the joke…even if some too-serious poker aficionados weren’t.
Recorded during The J. Geils Band’s April 21 and 22 shows at the Cinderella Ballroom in Detroit, the album consists of a grand total of eight tracks: six from the band’s self-titled debut (“Cruisin’ for a Love,” “Hard Drivin’ Man,” “Serves You Right to Suffer,” “Homework,” “First I Look at the Purse,” “Pack Fair”), two from their sophomore effort, The Morning After (“Whammer Jammer” and “Looking for a Love”). Although the album didn’t score any hit singles, it nonetheless found airplay through “Looking for a Love,” the studio version of which had given the band their first top-40 hit the previous year, and when the band released their first best-of collection in 1979, it was the live version of the song from Full House that earned inclusion.
“Live” – Full House wasn’t the last concert album from The J. Geils Band (it would be followed by 1976’s Blow Your Face Out and 1982’s Showtime!), and of the three they released over the course of their career, it wasn’t even their most commercially successful (that honor belongs to Blow Your Face Out, which hit #40), but if you’re looking for a hot and sweaty document of the band at their rawest and most rockin’, then Full House is the only way to go.

The Geils Band is one of my favorite performing groups -- not only do they play a tight and tough no-bullshit mixture of blues and rock, but they know and groove on the value of giving folks a show. Not your run-of-the-mill campy sequined theatricality of miscellaneous gender, but instead slippin' and slidin' and raunchy madman jiving which makes watching as good a hearing.

Though much of their sound and style comes from Chicago blues, they aren't one of those pretentious blues revival groups; they'd rather stimulate your groin than your intellect. Their two previous albums showed a hard-core blues band metamorphosing into a good-time rock band with long roots in the sound they grew up grooving on. Those albums contained a mixture of older numbers, as well as originals which fit right into the styles of the raunchers whose music they absorbed.
Full House consists entirely of tracks which appeared on the first two, but here they're full of the dragons-breath frenzy which the group puts into all their shows, without sacrificing any music.
Besides being a straight-ahead rocking motherfucker, the album also could serve as a model of set structuring. It opens with a full-blast attention-grabber, "First, I Look at the Purse," with everybody getting in their licks, then moves right into Otis Rush's "Homework." A short breather, then into "Pack Fair and Square," another stomper. Then time for solos: Harp player Magic Dick scores on the instrumental "Whammer Jammer" proving he's one of the best harpmen blowing today. ("Blow your face out!" singer Wolf says, and he does.) "Hard Drivin' Man" (a Wolf-Geils original) gives Seth Justman a chance to work out on piano, and his time spent with Jerry Lee Lewis 45's shows here.
Danny Klein & Peter Wolf
Time to get down to it -- side two opens with the band working out on John Lee Hooker's "Serve You Right to Suffer." It starts very much in the style of the Hook, then it's time to pay debts as Wolf says "gonna do it Chicago style." Magic Dick and J. Geils trade some harp-guitar riffs from the best days of Muddy Waters and Little Walter, then back to now as J. gets his ax feedback screaming. A nice time-trip in a ten-minute workout, with just the right malevolence.
The tempo gets kicked back up with "Cruising for a Love" and the side closes with their Top 40 hit "Looking for a Love," complete with Danny Klein's bass punching you in the guts.
All told, a set that moves from one end to the other like a burning locomotive -- if it don't get you off, check with your doctor or plumber, something wrong down there.
(Only one complaint. I'd have dug to hear a few more originals -- like the raunchily surrealistic "Floyd's Hotel" -- and at least a couple of new numbers. Live is better than studio, sure, but it's still the same yo-yo, you dig?)
But why bitch -- there are damn few live albums that hold up as strong as this all the way through -- or that you'll ever want to play again. I'll bet this one will be in my "hot" file until their next album is out, and if this is any kind of clue, it ought to be one bad jam! [review by Tony Glover, Rolling Stone, 11/9/72].
Magic Dick
Review 2
After the “Are you ready to rock and roll?” intro from the emcee, the band bursts into action with Smokey Robinson’s “First I Look at the Purse,” the sister song to Barrett Strong’s “Money” in the genre of naked greed music. The Contours get credit for the original, a surprisingly sanitized version that doesn’t square with the carnal energy they had displayed on their signature hit, “Do You Love Me?” In the hands of Peter Wolf and company, the raw undertone of the song comes through, hot, heavy and with no apologies for the blatant capitalist exploitation of a broad. Stephen Bladd rocks out on the drums, Daniel Klein beats that bass, and Magic Dick gets into the act with a soulful piece of harp.
Without stopping to breathe, the band proceeds to Otis Rush’s “Homework.” The original is, oddly enough, more famous for its killer horn arrangement than Otis’ guitar or vocal. The J. Geils Band has a lot of fun with it, with Peter Wolf’s intro to the “College of Musical Knowledge” setting the stage for an ironically melodramatic vocal that sounds great and makes you want to laugh at the same time. J. Geils delivers a solid solo, more on the rock side than the blues side, and Seth Justman’s subtle organ adds to the soulful melodrama of the moment.
There’s a brief pause where Peter Wolf introduces the next song as “Take Out Your False Teeth, Mama, I Want to Suck on Your Gums,” but is in fact Big Walter Price’s “Pack Fair and Square.” The original here was sort of a “big band blues number” that sounds like something that Lloyd Price would have been comfortable recording, maybe as a B-side to “Personality.” In J Geils’ hands it’s two-and-half-minutes of high speed adventure, punctuated with another sweet harp solo by Magic Dick and the always spot-on rough harmonies from drummer Stephen Bladd.
We’ve had two teasers so far, so it’s time to let Magic Dick take center stage with the licking stick. The most influential harmonica piece of its era, “Whammer Jammer” is a flat out fucking gas, a virtuoso performance combining high energy, sensitive touch and not a little bit of showmanship. Dave Marsh of Rolling Stone claimed that Magic Dick was possibly “the best white musician to ever play blues harmonica,” conveniently forgetting about Charlie Musselwhite and primarily revealing that Dave Marsh is a racist asshole. Magic Dick and Charlie were and are great harmonica players, Little Walter and Sonny Terry were great harmonica players, so let’s just enjoy what they gave us instead of comparing them or worrying about what the fuck color they are. If I could only listen to one, of course it would be Little Walter, but that doesn’t take anything away from Magic Dick. I love them both! Even Mary Wells said you could have two lovers!
Stunningly, “Whammer Jammer” proves to be a warmup for the showstopper, the original composition, “Hard Drivin’ Man.” I’ve rarely heard a more exciting performance from anyone, ever. Here all the boys in the band are clicking, with Seth Justman’s piano touches, Steven Bladd’s outstanding drum work and J. Geils’ chicken-picking. But Peter Wolf is the guy who takes control of that crowd, teasing them, sucking them in and driving them into a frenzy. That fabulous passage where he calls out the names of various dances before announcing “We got the Detroit Demolition here for you tonight!” and the band kicks in at full power and high speed, driving that sucker with the foot on the gas pedal all the way to the finish line . . . baby, that’s what’s rock ‘n’ roll is all about!
This is where I think they made a bit of a mistake in the setlist, because there’s no fucking way you can follow that rendition of “Hard Drivin’ Man.” Although they do a fine version of John Lee Hooker’s slow blues number,”Serves You Right to Suffer,” it feels like a bit of a letdown, even with Magic Dick’s exceptional solo, some clever organ work from Seth Justman and J. Geils’ best guitar work on the album. Even when they ramp up the speed on “Cruisin’ for Love,” it still seems we’ve slowed down. Momentum matters, people!
They recapture that momentum with the final song, “Looking for a Love.” Originally recorded by The Valentinos, more famous for giving the world the Womack brothers than anything else, the original is vengefully sexist, for the “love” the singer is looking for is someone who will fix his fucking breakfast and do the fucking housework. Up your ass, dude! Peter Wolf removed most of the sexist lyrics (except he still wanted his breakfast), and though the song isn’t the all-out driver that “Hard Drivin’ Man” is, he’s the guy who rescues it with his dramatic cries of “Somebody help me!” The song does get into fifth gear in the final passage, when Peter and Stephen harmonize on the repeated word, “lookin’,” Magic Dick blows that harp for all it’s worth and the band goes all out to the finish.
Although I never cared for their studio work, and really disliked the stuff from the “Centerfold” period, I would give anything to go back in the time machine and see these guys at their peak. Live: Full House gives us some great musicians whipping the shit out of a crowd in an orgy of R&B-based rock. There’s no meaning, there’s nothing to think about . . . it’s just the magic of no-holds barred rock ‘n’ roll at its best.
[review by altrockchick on May 30, 2013]

This post consists of MP3 (320kps) ripped from my trusty ol' vinyl (well played but still clean as a whistle) and includes full album artwork for both vinyl and CD.  Nothing more I can say about this one except to say that  "Live" Full House is a short, punchy shot of rock & roll genius by one of the great bands of the '70s and one of the best live albums ever recorded. Enjoy.
01 - First I Look at the Purse

02 - Homework
03 - Pack Fair and Square
04 - Whammer Jammer
05 - Hard Drivin' Man
06 - Serves You Right to Suffer
07 - Cruisin' for a Love
08 - Looking for a Love 

Band members:
J. Geils - Guitar
Peter Wolf - Vocal
Seth Justman - Piano And Organ
Magic Dick - Harp
Danny Klein - Bass
Stephen Jo Bladd - Drums And Vocals
Live Full House Link (90Mb)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

W.O.C.K On Vinyl - The Grind: Mile Away (1981)

Before things get too serious here at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song / album at the end of each month, that could be categorized as being either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.
What you are reading right now, and what you will soon hear, are unique achievements in Australian contemporary Rock-and-Roll. Hard Grind is a band whose name suggests the strenuousness and strength of purpose that is indeed the foundation stone of their art. Their road, as has been the case with many others, has been littered with individual success and heartache, diversion of purpose and the final flowering of this unique sound that you are about to hear.
The bands' approach to their music is perhaps best summed up by referring you to the motto that heads the list of M.R.M. Records: "Don't follow trends - make them!" The sound that Hard Grind create is the epitomy of the times we live, coloured by experience and highlighted by their unique direction of purpose.
Hard Grind formed some two years ago under the direction of lead guitarist Arnie Olbrich. The individual members came from varied and different backgrounds to combine in this creation of an original sound and rock-and-roll concept of entertainment.

Left:  Earlier band 'Tree'  Right:  'Hard Grind'
As you cast your eye on the photograph above right, the members of the band are (left to right): Bert Mattfschtk - Bass Guitar, Bret Cooper - Drums, Peter Ryan - Keyboards, and Arnie Olbrich - Lead Guitar
All members of Hard Grind provide the vocals, the leads being shared between Peter Ryan and Arnie Olbrich.
The original material makes up 90% of the band's performances is all written by Arnie. His ability to sum up the contemporary scene is uniquely reflected in the strong lyrics and music he writes and the electrifying performance the whole band gives them. ......linear notes from back cover of single

Hard Grind played a gig for the University Of Wollongong,in their Union Hall on July 30th, 1981 as recorded in the university's 1981 annual report.

'Arnie O. Connections' is the latest brainchild of local Wollongong identity Arnie Olbrich.
Most musicians in the area know Arnie as "the guy who runs Kickstart Rehearsal Studios", but he actually has an impressive history in the music industry dating back to the 70's with bands such as 'Tree', which saw them share the stage with heavyweights such as AC/DC and Johnny O'Keefe.
Arnie departed for London for several years after that, working with members of The Nashville Teens, Masters Apprentices and Billy Ocean's backing band, before returning to Australia in the early 80s to form Hard Grind which enjoyed national exposure with their top ten hit "Mile Away".
In 1988 Arnie collaborated with Leon Berger (Koo De Tah) which resulted in winning two international songwriting awards, including Best Bicentennial Song for 'The Australian Dream'. Arnie later re-recorded that song in 2009 with Lord Tim (Lord/ Dungeon) and it was subsequently entered into the National Archives, along with the associated video clip which featured rare footage of Arnie interviewing ex-Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.
This collaboration with Lord Tim proved to be so successful, Arnie approached him once again to produce and perform on the debut Arnie O. Connections album 'Piece of Yesterday' which also featured performances by a host of local Illawarra musicians, along with members of the original Hard Grind band, and included reworked versions of many of their classic songs. This album also spawned the cinematic styled video clip for the song "Lobo In Hell" which has been featured nationally on ABC TV and accumulated thousands of views on You Tube.
In late 2013, Arnie hit the studio once again for the follow-up release 'Neural Erosion'. This time the album featured performances from members of Carbon Black, Germ, The Four Kinsmen, Hard Grind and again was produced by Lord Tim, who also appeared as a guest performer.
Stylistically hard to define, 'Neural Erosion' segues effortlessly between 80's pop/rock, classic 70's rock, modern melodic hard rock, and experimental sitar-laden atmospheric grooves.
Three video clips have already been filed for the songs "Absolute Escape", "Neural Erosion" and "The Score" (the latter being a reworked, exceptionally energetic dance version of the 70s rock styled song that appears on the album)
'Neural Erosion' is available internationally via CD Baby, iTunes and Bandcamp.
So this month's WOCK on vinyl post pays tribute to Wollongong, a small seaside township located in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia; which has spawned some successful (and no so successful) bands over the years.  For some great background information of some bands that have come out of Wollongong during the 70's and 80's see the following article by Mike Donaldson. from 1984.
Hard Grind is certainly an Obscure band and I recently came across this single in amongst a box of 'junk' at the flee market and was first attracted by independent record label M.R.M.
Although the A-side is OK, I much prefer the B-side track "Broken Down Machines" which sounds a lot like something that Bruce Springsteen  might have recorded.  Enjoy.

Hard Grind Link  (51Mb, FLACs)

Hard Grind Alt_Link (51Mb, FLACs)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Avalanche - Avalanche (1976) + Bonus Tracks

(Australian 1976-78)
Melbourne based Avalanche was a rock act fronted by 'ex-Raw Glory' vocalist Adrian Campbell. The group had been assembled by three erstwhile members of 'The Bootleg Family Band', guitarist Tony Naylor, bass player Clive Harrison and drummer Geoff Cox. With the recruitment of Campbell the quartet set about gigging as Avalanche in early 1976. The band's catchy pop/rock sound was displayed on the singles "Wizard Of Love" (in February 1976 and it went to #23 in Melbourne.), "Sweet Baby, Brown Eyes" (July 1976), "Landslide" (October 1976) and "Good For Me, Good For You" (March 1977), and on their self-titled album in September 1976. The following month brought what was potentially the group's biggest break when it was announced that they had signed with ABC Dunhill Records for release of their material in the U.S. "Wizard of Love" became their first US Single and was closely followed by their "Landslide" single. Unfortunately, reaction in the US was not strong enough to prompt a trip there.

The following year both Harrison and Cox drifted away. Clive Harrison would later issue a 1982 solo album 'Once Bitten'. John Barnes was enlisted on drums to fill the void but in quick succession he was usurped by former Pantha man Barry Cram. The bass position was given over to Graham Thompson, an ex-Stars member. Augmenting their sound with keyboard player Gerard McCabe Avalanche issued their version of The Beatles 'Got To Get You Into My Life' as a single.

Avalanche 1976
 During 1978 Campbell and Naylor had re-titled the band 'Front Page' bringing in bassist Phil Wood, 'ex-New Morning' and 'Key Largo' keyboard player Bruce Haymes and erstwhile 'Clean Cut' drummer Tony Thornton. Haymes had the briefest of tenures before he upped and left for the 'Richard Clapton Band'. He would be replaced by James Black of 'Rum Jungle' on guitar and keyboards.

Front Page only managed the one single, "I Thought I'd Never Fall In Love Again"/"Rockin' Hollywood", before collapsing (You can find this single at OzzieMusicMan). Interestingly enough Campbell's vocals sound very much like Graham Bonnet's in this single. After splitting, Naylor joined Jon English's backing band Baxter Funt and Campbell would be spotted in the early 80s as part of Funk band Adrian's Wall.
Meanwhile, ex-Avalanche drummer, Geoff Cox, was keeping busy doing voice-overs, session drumming and even a stint on Melbourne radio station 3DB as a co-announcer. He also spent several weeks filling in as a drummer for the Little River Band following Derek Pellici's accident.  Today, Coxy is a well known celebrity and T.V presenter on various Life Style Shows.

Avalanche 1977
 This post consists of MP3 (320kps) ripped from vinyl and includes full album artwork along with label scans. Also included are 4 bonus non-album singles (A/B sides).  Although there are no landslides on this record (LOL), the song writing skills of Naylor and Harrison are still strong and the LP is still worth the listen.
Thanks to Dave and Micko at Midoztouch for some of the bonus singles included here.
Track Listing
01 - Bermuda
02 - Wizard Of Love
03 - Annie
04 - Overnight Sensation
05 - Tie Your Laces
06 - Landslide
07 - Bar Room Ladies
08 - Spark In The Dark
09 - Closer To Love
10 - Symp (Instrumental)
11 - Something I Need

12 - Sweet Baby Brown Eyes
13 - The Climb (B-Side Single)
14 - Got To Get You Into My Life (Bonus Single)
15 - You And Me (Bonus Single)
16 - Good For You, Good For Me (Bonus Single)

Avalanche were:
Adrian Campbell (Vocals)
Clive Harrison (Bass)
Tony Naylor (Guitar)

Geoff Cox (Drums)
Avalanche Link (100Mb)