Moseley Square is the end of the line for Adelaide’s only tram, with the ocean and St Vincent’s Gulf to the west and surrounded by cafes, shops, a Maccas, the old town hall and a hotel that’s had more incarnations than Labor’s asylum seeker policy.

How can you resist!

It was also the place I really discovered Australian rock’n’blues. In the late 1960s a sunny, summer Saturday afternoon concert in the square, featured the Masters Apprentices, Chain, Lobby Lloyd and the Coloured Balls and Wendy Saddington. I remember catching the bus home thinking my life had changed just a little. In fact, it had changed a lot.

A few months later I went to my first “pop festival” at Myponga, south of Adelaide, where the headliner was Black Sabbath but for me the highlight was a new Melbourne band, Daddy Cool, featuring singer Ross Wilson, with a fox’s tail on the back of his coat, leaping across the stage as the guitarist Ross Hannaford, wearing a propeller cap, punched out licks that had the whole crowd buck jumpin’, as they say in John Boutte’s Treme Song.

These memories were sparked by a rocking collection of Australian blues and rock tunes from the late 60s and 70s. Boogie! is a 44 track compilation put together by Warner Music’s David Laing and released as a double CD.

It’s the kind of music that will bring smiles to those who were around to hear the music first time and will quickly educate younger folk who might want to explore our music heritage.

The CD itself is a cultural artifact with cover art by Ian McCausland who was a staff artist at great publications like Go-Set and The Digger, graphic designer for Mushroom Records and illustrated plenty of famous LPs and tour posters for the Rolling Stones and everyone else.

The liner notes are the work of Jen Jewel Brown - known back in the day as Jenny Brown and Jenny Hunter Brown, a prolific rock music journo who still writes great pieces. As she says about Australia’s discovery of the blues at the beginning of these notes: “We may have been a year or two late but we caught up quick…”

Everyone is here, kicking off with the chain gang blues of Matt Taylor’s unvarnished band, Chain, singing their signature tune, Black and Blue. Relentless and hot like a lava flow, the song is anchored with the bass and drums of Barry Sullivan and Barry Harvey and whipped along by Phil Manning’s classic blues guitar.

It’s hard to imagine now that a driving blues number with a dirty vocal and a chain hitting a rock in the intro could make it to number one but this song did. Chain’s other appearance is with their song Gertrude Street Blues, a hark back to the darker days of the Fitzroy avenue that’s now a foodie mecca and home to Andrew McConnell’s fine diner Cutler & Co.

Chain’s song remembers it as a place where the less than careful could pick a dose of the clap.

Billy Thorpe’s sensational rock vocal is fully extended on Ma Rainey’s C.C. Rider, Lobby Lloyd sings Mama Loves To, Wendy Saddington and the Copperwine belt out Backlash Blues and the La De Das contribute Gonna See My Baby Tonight and Too Pooped To Pop - all showcasing the deep blues roots in the Australian music scene. Big vocals, chugging rhythms and some wicked guitar demonstrate a devotion to the heart of rock’n’blues.

Among the sweet pickings are some of the artists that developed an Australian sound including Spectrum (I’ll Be Gone), Friends (Bird On A Wire - live), Dingoes (Come On Down), Madder Lake (Booze Blues), The Angels (Am I Ever Going To See Your face Again), Skyhooks (Saturday Night), The Sports (You Ain’t Home Yet), Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons (Ain’t Got No Money) Max Merrett & The Meteors (Fannie Mae) and Daddy Cool (Hi Honey Hom and Daddy Rocks Off).

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6 comments

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    • JoniM says:

      08:00am | 24/11/12

      Yep !
      A brilliant collection of truly Aussie blues / rock from the era when music was music ! Well it was my era of music ! When GTK was a must see every weekday night to catch all these artists in live performance ! When Chris Winter was planning 2JJ ! When guitar and drum solos were in vogue !
      The early 70’s saw the one great benefit of the Whitlam government…..live music on Uni campuses ! I will long remember seeing lunchtime live performances in the Science Theatre or the Roundhouse a UNSW where I had the pleasure of experiencing Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs, Spectrum, Madder Lake, The La De Das, Friends, Chain, Renee Geyer and Mother Earth, Sid Rumpo, Pirhana, Daddy Cool, Max Merritt and Lobby Lloyd.
      Surely there has been no better era for Australian music !
      Excuse my self indulgence ! Nostalgia simply overwhelmed me !

    • Craig Mc says:

      09:32am | 24/11/12

      It should be pointed out that some of those “Aussie” bands are in fact, “Kiwi”.

    • stephen says:

      10:41am | 24/11/12

      The Gangajangs ... This is Australia.
      Mondo Rock ... No Time.
      Mental as Anything ... You’re so Strong.
      Stevie Wright ... Evie

      Seen and heard all these live plus lots of others.
      Evie is a great song.

    • Mayday says:

      03:51pm | 24/11/12

      Stevie Wright was English and all members of the Easy Beats were migrants as was Jo Jo Zep.

    • stephen says:

      06:40pm | 24/11/12

      William Barton isn’t a migrant.
      Happy ?

    • JoniM says:

      06:29pm | 24/11/12

      Fair dinkum, you guys !
      The article was all about Aussie signature music from Dennis’ era ! Not the heritage of some of the band members !
      Perhaps it is only me and Dennis that are still left from that era, and are here at the Punch !
      The adversarial system here on the Punch is really getting silly !
      But I must correct one thing : Jo Jo Zep (Joe Camilleri) was born in Malta and migrated to Australia with his family when he was 2 ! He is as Aussie as the rest of us, now he has been here for 62 years !

 

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