Cream of The Crate - Record #37: Masters Apprentices
"A fitting climax to one of Australia's finest achievements on record"(Stan Rofe)
The album cover
This is number thirty seven in the series of albums I'm featuring as part of an on-going retrospective of vinyl albums in my personal collection. The series is called, "Cream of The Crate", and they represent vinyl albums that I believe are of significant musical value, either because of their rarity, because they represent the best of a style or styles of music or because their is something unique about the group or the music.
The Masters Apprentices were variously described as what the Rascals meant to America, and even the Stones to Britain. Big claims that can still be debated today, but what cannot denied, is the impact they made upon the Australian music scene.
The album, "Masterpiece" was released EMI in 1970 and a re-release came out years later. However, what I prize about my copy, is that it is one of the rare genuine copies that was actually produced the World Record Club (W.R.C - S5141), that came out with the green record label and the gold pattern on the cover. A re-release later on saw it come out in a black and white cover.
In fact Googling this album title and this pressing will bring up the following comment. "Rare limited edition mail-order only release, for World Record Club members". Rare or otherwise, the album is a curious mixture of pop, what could pass for bubblegum and some raging good music!
The lineup consisted of:
Doug Ford- lead guitar, acoustic guitar, banjo, vocal
Glenn Wheatley- bass, tambourine, marraccas, vocals
Colin Burgess- drums, percussion, vocal
Jim Keays - vocal, percussion
Chiffons - backing vocals 5:10 Man
Gavin Webb - bass guitar
Peter Tilbrook - guitars, bass
Keays, Wheatley, Ford & Burgess
(Left to right top to botton)
Who Do You Think You Are 3:07
Barefoot When I Saw Her 3:58
St. John's Wood 2:00
5.10 Man 2:34
A Dog, A Siren & Memories 3:11
Linda Linda 2:43
Captivating Voice 2:03
Piece Of Me 2:15
How I Love You 3:07
In reviewing this album, Ian McFarlane wrote in the now defunct "Freedom Train", Musically, several of the tracks, such as Titanic , How I Love You , St John's Wood and Barefoot When I Saw Her - stand out, but others such as Captivating Voice , Masterpiece and Isabella are pretentious.
Two tracks Linda Linda and Piece Of Me are just plain bad. Part of the problem lays in the fact that the band are concerned with making the obligatory profound musical statement (the first side had all the tracks segued into one another in the manner of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's, each linked a short orchestral piece). As a result the album comes over as all solemn and self consciously arty, and is totally overblown."
What I find strange is not that McFarlane was so over the top with his review (pretentious even?), but that he left out two of the best tracks on the album in his review.
5:10 Man is a genuine red hot track, a statement of how the alternate scene at the time saw those who wanted a foot in both scenes, the so called 'straight scene' and, the 'alternate' scene. What makes it red hot in my mind, or rather to my ears, is the composition of the track and the energy with which it is played. In my mind a classic "Masters" track of energetic, high classic rock (I don't mind if you classify it as pop)!
I disagree with McFarlane that Linda, Linda is just plain bad. Yes it could almost sit within the bubblegum genre, but when I think back at some of the bubblegum tracks of the period (like 'Yummy, yummy,yummy, I got love in my tummy!), it stands out! Maybe McFarlane simply didn't like the 'megaphone' approach to the track, which was the Masters attempt to emulate the sound of the 1930's, a' la' Rudy Vallee. Whatever, listening now it actually is quite infectious, so it gets a tick from me.