There’s a place where dirty blues, soul and gospel intersect that many aim for but few get near. That James Leg lands in the middle drop-zone with the precision of a BASE jumper on a million dollar bet says you most of what you need to know about his latest solo record.
James Leg - aka John Wesley Myers of the Black Diamond Heavies and The Immortal Lee County Killers - is the bona fide son of a preacher man from Port Arthur, Texas. Armed with a baritone that could knock down a brick wall from 20 paces and a Fender Rhodes, he’s unleashing his third solo album (the last with label mates Left Lane Cruiser in tow.) It’s in similar vein to what’s gone before, but this time with a touch more variety.
Reissues of obscure 1970s and ‘80s worldwide punk rock are not uncommon. It seems that not a week goes by that some little-known band from the era getting a reissue of their rare $600+ single.
Sadly, IMHFO, most of the bands were pretty ordinary at the best of times…lacking guts, originality, style or any other characteristics that can make olde time punk so great. These two releases here are the minority. If you call yourself a punk grab these pronto.
The Babeez 7” is brought to by Melbourne label Buttercup Records who have also issued titles by The Meanies, The Chosen Few and Deathwish. The Babeez were one of those great Melbourne punk bands from 1977 whose three-song single “Nobody Wants Me” is right up there with Razor, Rocks and The Leftovers in the Aussie ‘70s punk gold stakes.
This three-song single includes two early versions of songs from the first 45 and to hear them in this even more stripped down sound is a treat. It sounds like a well-captured four-track recording. The guitars are not as prominent as the versions on the first 7” but it’s great to hear the vocals as clearly as this.
It’s late in Adelaide, I got work tomorrow, and I didn’t expect to be writing this. So why am I?
When you’ve seen a band who so effortlessly lifts your spirits, who convince you that you matter, and that they give a damn for the people they’ve come several thousand miles to entertain; when you see that band put out truckloads of energy, effervescence, fizz and smarts, fronted by one of those extraordinary showmen who make it all look so damn easy you want to form your own band … yeah, well, I owe them.
Never heard a song before tonight.
Mainstream entertainment world don’t know they exist. Across the road from The Gov is the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, lighting up the sky with a multicoloured display and one of those shifting electronic billboards advertising Neil Diamond, Elton John and Mrs Brown’s Boy and that Russell excrescence.
That’s where The BellRays should be playing. I once saw James Brown there. The BellRays may not be the same thing, but pound for pound they’re just as entertaining, and a damn sight more intimate and friendly.
Pic by Rick De Pizzol
Depending on which side of the footpath you were on in the Australian 1970s, Sharpies were either misunderstood working class rebels or teenage thugs and bullies.
One Sydney Sharpie who went by the name of Big Victor (name changed to protect the guilty) would wait at suburban railway stations looking for long-haired surfers with the intention of breaking their surf boards and, if need be, a bone or two in the process. The Sharpies in Melbourne may have been different.
This is their soundtrack - ironically of mostly long-haired bands. The only real sharpie bands would have been Lobby Loyde and the Colored Balls and Buster Brown, whose singer Angry Anderson was a sharp. Certainly, Billy Thorpe had a sharpie haircut for while. The music is Australian 1970s pre-punk heavy rock/glam and as a collection that's representative of this era, it is nothing short of excellent.
Influential English post-punk group The Fall is returning to Australia this October to perform shows in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
The Fall and its leader Mark E. Smith have a place as one of the most pre-eminent groups in any discerning musical history across the last four decades. The Fall, more than any other group, are definitive and transcendent of a whole musical world and pop culture: post-punk.
This lavish double CD package closes the lid on the first life of the Hard-Ons, nicely. Not in the literal sense of the term. Far from it. It's like a skateboard ride down a very rough track, a mix of disparate hardcore and metal songs that sits at odds with much of what came before.
When the original album came out in mid-1993, nobody knew (but band members could sense) that it was the last recording by the Hard-Ons with their original line-up. That's the context and it now makes sense.
It’s funny how records released in the past evoke specific memories when revisited years later. For me, this one doesn’t throw up much. I think I bought it well after it came out. It seems lots of fans shared that indifference.