What a fucking great title. Almost as good as The Clash's "All the Young Punks" - itself a take on that Bowie song "All the Young Dudes" - wonder how many 1977 punks got that? Even though it was right in their alley?
You know how, during summer, assorted neighbours will play loud music, usually horrible, and, when the hours wind down and the drink begins to blur the world, they get maudlin and soppy and play those lachrymose ballads...? Sure you do. Well, when this happens at 230 am, that is your cue to dash over, swap their copy of Kamahl's Greatest Hits with any one of these three discs, flick the switch and revel in their dismay.
Either that or, rather suddenly, the party's on again and the police want to know your personal details. Again.
Cherry Red describe this collection as "60 tracks of the finest slices of JSG in its various guises, as established by collectors around the world over the past decade. Including tracks from the USA, New Zealand, Netherlands, Sweden, Iceland, Australia as well as homegrown UK. Some previously unreleased, many first time on CD."
John Dowler with his band The Vanity Project. David Laing photo.
In his 1981 feature on Australian powerpop pioneer John Dowler in Roadrunner magazine, Melbourne rock writer Adrian Ryan commented on Dowler’s then-new band, the short lived Everybody’s So Glad. He said they played with a certain kind of soul, and a type of sound that hadn’t been heard in town since Paul Kelly & The Dots underwent a line-up change too many, and since the Saints were last here. It was the kind of sound that “had nothing to do with horn sections and screams, but rather with jangling guitars, a passionate beat, allusions to something half forgotten.”
I love that soul and those jangling guitars. Being Melbourne born, I heard a bit of at as I was getting into music. It’s not the jangle of some insipid jangle-pop band, it’s a hard jangle, which is where the Saints come in. Ryan was referring to the Saints that recorded such classic tracks as “Call It Mine”, “In The Mirror” and “Let’s Pretend”.
In April 2007 I sat opposite Spencer Jones and Greg ‘Tex’ Perkins in a booth downstairs at the Prince of Wales Hotel in St Kilda. The occasion was an interview to promote the release of the Beasts of Bourbon’s first studio album in 10 years, "Little Animals". Having recently arrived back from a short tour of the United States, Spencer and Perkins were weary from the long-haul flight.
Perkins was in Beasts mode – cocky, enigmatic, and just prickly enough to remind you who was the tough guy here. Spencer was, as he always was, just Spencer – the cowboy hat, a faint smile, and a reassuring honesty that defied his decades of service in the duplicitous, ego-obsessed world of rock’n’roll.
A fraught fraternal atmosphere hung over the interview. Spencer and Perkins had been friends, band mates, fellow reprobates and occasional antagonists for the past 25 years. They were like brothers, Perkins once mused, and like brothers they loved and fought. And Spencer and Perkins were the only remaining links to the genesis of the Beasts of Bourbon, an irreverent make-shift band thrown together to fulfil Perkins’ gig commitments at the Southern Cross Hotel, way back in June 1983.