The 70s was a pivotal time for Australian rock music as it moved out of the coffee shops and dance halls and into the pubs and beer barns where it was allowed to get louder, more dangerous and out of control.
As did the music, so did the fans – the sharpies were a youth subculture that subverted the late 60s hippie rebellion by cropping their hair short and wearing neat, often tailor-made clothes and shoes. The music they liked was the antithesis of the hippies too, local bands like the ones that fill this brilliant new collection.
Unless we were there, when most of us these days think of Oz rock in the 70s we conjure up names like AC/DC, the Angels, Rose Tattoo, Skyhooks, Sherbet and Dragon. But like the sharpies phenomonon that seems to get barely talked about anymore there was a veritable wealth of bands that no longer get a look-in when Aussie rock history is discussed. For every well known band like Rose Tattoo – represented here by the scorching, unconquerable ‘Remedy’ – there’s Buster Brown, an early band for Angry Anderson, Geordie Leach and Phil Rudd, delivering an untouchable version of ‘Roll Over Beethoven’. For every hit like Skyhooks and their ‘Horror Movie’, there’s Sydney’s Finch, whose guitarist Bob Spencer would go on to both the ‘Hooks and the Angels, who lay down what can only be described as fantastic hard rock. Then there’s other almost completely forgotten but staunch boogie rockers like Bullet, Fat Daddy and Fatty Lumpkin. When it came to rock, sharpies were a pretty discerning bunch, throwing their support behind older rockers like Billy Thorpe and Stevie Wright, blues-drenched combos like the La De Das and Kevin Borich Express and glamsters like Taste, Hush (who could even make a terrible song like ‘Bony Moronie’ somehow listenable) and even Supernaut with equal adoration. If they rocked with any sort of power, they were in. But it is the sharps’ true champion, Lobby Lloyd, and his band the Coloured Balls, who get pride of place on this collection with the fuzz-drenched heavy-as-fuck freak out ‘Time Shapes’ opening things in a spectacular fashion.
In many ways, this album is like the untold story of Australia’s rock scene in the 70s. The story that doesn’t make the flashy Countdown revivals or the classic radio retro shows. These are the bands that laid down the rules of rock for later generations – and that of the people who adored them.
1. Coloured Balls – Time Shapes
2. Finch – Out of Control
3. La De Das – The Place
4. Coloured Balls – Flash
5. Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs – Let’s Have a Party (live at Sunbury)
6. Stevie Wright – Hard Road
7. Buster Brown – Roll Over Beethoven
8. Skyhooks – Horror Movie
9. Coloured Balls – Love You Babe
10. Hush – Riff in My Head
11. Fat Daddy – Roll Daddy Roll
12. Ted Mulry Gang – Jump in My Car
13. Bullet – Rock My Lady
14. Hush – Bony Moronie
15. Fatty Lumpkin – Movin’
16. Kevin Borich Express – I’m Goin’ Somewhere
17. Ted Mulry Gang – Crazy
18. Finch – Hey Spunky
19. Taste – Tickle Your Fancy
20. Rabbit – Wildfire
21. Supernaut – I Like it Both Ways
22. Rose Tattoo – Remedy
23. La Femme – Chelsea Kids