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Cream of The Crate: Album # 200 - Australian Compilation: The Complete Havoc Singles (1971 - 1973]

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  • Cream of The Crate: Album # 200 - Australian Compilation: The Complete Havoc Singles (1971 - 1973]

    "A really stunning & great looking digi-pack from Aztec Records, compiling all the singles from the Australian Havoc Records label in the 70's." (Record Heaven)
    "
    An excellent collection of early 70's Australian Rock / Pop/."
    (Rock On Vinyl)
    "
    Aztec Music prides itself on preserving Australia's rich music history and with this release, they do it with class and style."
    (This review)


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    This is album review number Two Hundred in the series of retro-reviews of both vinyl and CD albums from my collection.


    The series is called Cream of The Crate and each review represents an album that I believe represents significant musical value, either because of its rarity, because it represents the best of a style or styles of a music or because there is something unique about the music, the group or the particular production. The first fifty reviews were based on vinyl albums from my collection, with the following fifty on CD albums from my collection, the final one hundred have been a mixture of vinyl and CD. Links to all these reviews can be found at the bottom of the page.

    This is the final retro-review in what has been a series based upon albums in my collection and while my collection goes on, these reviews are taking a break.

    It is appropriate that the final retro-review is on an Australian album, as I have tried to make every fifth review one on an Australian artist and an album from my collection.

    This final album is a wonderful CD album that has never been released on vinyl and features 17 artists and groups, and if we count variations on one artist, there are 19 artists and groups. T
    he CD album is titled - The Complete Havoc Singles [1971 - 1973]. It was released on the Aztec label in 2008 with the identifying code of AVSCD035. The album has 41 tracks across two CD's with 23 tracks on CD #1 and 18 tracks on CD #2.

    If we want to be technical, the set has 39 tracks plus, what have been labelled as two bonus tracks, being the last two on CD #2.

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    All through my previous 199 retro-reviews, I have made comments on booklets and inserts when they were provided. I didn't keep count but I would estimate that around 60 of those 199 had an insert or booklet and, probably only three or four would have rated 9 to 10/10. In fact maybe only one 10/10. We now have two such ratings.

    The finish on both the CD cover and the enclosed booklet is excellent!

    The two CD's come in a cover that opens out so there are in fact four inner faces. When you open it out at first, we see a composite picture of all the artists that recorded on the Havoc label as presented in this CD set.

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    The inner two faces hold the two CD's,
    the extreme left hand side are the lyrics to the Wild Cherries "I Am The Sea" and the extreme right hand side is a list of credits and dedications. The card is quality thickness and high quality gloss finish, and the artwork on the cover and CD's and the overall design is top class.

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    In fact the quality of the material in the 12 page double sided booklet is of a high quality and is only equaled to the quality of the CD mastering. My only criticism, is that maybe a few artist pictures could have been added, but I have to admit, I wouldn't want to nominate what to cut out of the provided material to allow for them.


    Many interesting things happened in the Australian music scene in the 1900's and one such event was the formation of a number of local record labels that had an impact not only upon the release of music in the 1960's but through into the 1970's. These independent labels - independent from the major labels of the day, played a very large part in distributing music that might not have otherwise been heard and certainly allowed more Australian artists to be heard.

    In fact the majors like Festival, saw the advantage of actually starting up their own "indie" labels such as Leedon, Sunshine, Clarion and many more in a trend that went right through the 1970's.

    Havoc Records was such an indie label that sprung up in the 1970's and the accompanying booklet tells the story, which I will summarise.

    Gil Matthews was the driving force behind the havoc project when he was appointed in-house producer and engineer. Gil came with considerable "street cred" and was mainly known for his drumming, his absolutely ace drumming, although he also played guitar. In fact it is said that Gil could read drum music before he could read words. It would appear as though his first "name" Australian group was Levi Smiths Clefs, followed by several years with Billy Thorpe and also with Kevin Borich and Mondo Rock.

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    Levi Smith Clefs with Gil on drums

    Gil
    also demonstrated a wonderful ear for production and along with the skills necessary for engineering, and the installation of upgraded eight-track Sound Studio 31 in Jolimont (you need to remember eight-track was quite cutting edge in those days), he was set to record everything from jingles to singles.

    The booklet tells us that
    Havoc only released 19 singles, which make up this set, and five albums. The notes say they were an eclectic lot, snd that is by no means an understatement. The unkindest description would be a "mish-mash" of styles, but a far kinder description is that these represent an eclectic collection - Oh hang on! That's exactly what the notes say.

    Ian McFarlane wrote the booklet notes and did a great job. I pride myself in having a reasonable knowledge of Aussie rock history but I found browsing through his notes some facts and details that had escaped me, and I have to say, he has a great style of writing.

    It is actually hard to work out . . . even enjoy, some of the tracks. I mean to say when you have the likes of mighty powerful material from
    Billy Thorpe, the Coloured Balls, the Wild Cherries and quality tracks by Carson and Gil Mathews, listening to the likes of Jasmine singing ballads about Christmas is a bit hard to take.

    So while we have been given some absolutely superb material, we have some quite cringe-worthy material, and a smattering of interesting and quite good pieces in between.

    It seems when
    Thorpie left Havoc in 1973 to go across to Warner/Atlantic, and other principal of Havoc, Wayne De Gruchy (who had also been heavily involved in the 60's Oz music scene) resigned to concentrate on managing the Coloured Balls, Havoc folded.

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    Booklet plate

    Track Listing

    Disc 1
    JASMINE
    1. Twenty Mile Zone
    2. Beware Of Young Girls
    ASH
    3. Midnight Witch
    4. Warrant
    BILLY THORPE & THE AZTECS
    5. The Dawn Song
    6. Time To Live
    MARK JUSTIN
    7. Hey Na (I Think I Love You)
    8. Suzanne
    CHOOK
    9. Cold Feet
    10. Tables Turn
    THE WILD CHERRIES
    11. I’m The Sea (Stop Killing Me)
    12. Daily Planet
    GIL MATTHEWS
    13. Little Dove
    14. Gil’s Thing
    CARSON
    15. Travelling South
    16. Moonshine
    JASMINE
    17. On The Eve Of Christmas
    18. Christmas Day
    19. We’re So Happy At Christmas
    MICHAEL TURNER IN SESSION
    20. Just Around Midnight
    21. Pattern Of My Life
    ROBBIE SNOWDEN
    22. Hot Pants Sue
    23. Lookin’ In The Lake


    Disc 2
    THE AZTECS
    1. Most People I Know Think That I’m Crazy
    2. Regulation 3 Pufff
    JEFF PHILLIPS
    3. Gloria
    4. Come Go With Me
    AZTECS
    5. Believe It Just Like Me
    6. Get To Hell Out Of Here
    LOBBY LOYDE & THE COLOURED BALLS
    7. Liberate Rock
    8. Slowest Guitar On Earth
    EVERTON PARK
    9. Priscilla
    10. Nimble Bones
    STAR SPANGLED BANGER
    11. Star Spangled Banger
    12. Sailing
    LOBBY LOYDE & THE COLOURED BALLS
    13. Mr. Mean Mouth
    14. Love Me Girl
    THUMP’N PIG & PUFF’N BILLY
    15. Captain Straightman
    16. Bow My Head

    Bonus Tracks:


    CARSON
    17. Don’t Worry (from Australian Rock 71-72)
    DAVID PICKARD
    18. They’ve Cut Down All The Trees (from A City's Child)

    So, that brings me to the task of choosing tracks to discuss. What we have is each single broken down so that #1 is the "A-side" and #2 the "B-side". First up is Jasamine, and frankly it is somewhat a shame that this became the debut single for the Havoc label, I'm stunned! This single is quaint, but who the hell is Jasamine? Featuring a female voice, was she Jasamine? or is it as the notes suggest, was it the name of a studio band. Look it's a harmless track and as I said, quaint. It tells the story of a woman picked up driving by a motorcycle cop, who picks her up because she was screaming. Insanity? Hell, it doesn't quite cause that effect on me, its far to passive - but enough said except, because there is worse to come!

    That takes us through to Ash and track 3 - Midnight Witch. I have to agree with the liner notes - this was more like what we might have expected from an indie "rock" label - pity it wasn't the first single released on the Havoc label - not the best track on this CD set by any means but it is a power track. Written by Doug Ford, it has elements of the English power rock sound a la Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. Fuzz leads prevail, and it has a powerful down beat. As the liner notes say, "psychedelia meets progressive rock".

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    Ash

    I'm not going to play it for you, as there is a live clip of the band doing the track on Youtube, so you can find that below in the video clips section. It is a very good effort!


    Next up is Billy Thorpe and The Aztecs. Hell, what can I say about an icon of Australian music that hasn't already been said? One thing was he and the Aztecs might well have been at the top of their game in 1971 when this single was recorded. The line-up for this single was Billy (of course), Warren "Pig" Morgan on piano, Paul Wheeler on bass and Steve Innis on drums (a short lived stay with the group).

    In fact Steve while a good drummer, was simply delivering what the Aztecs wanted, while waiting for Gil Mathews to take over, they actually recorded side 2 - Tables Turn, they used another drummer. Who that was, seems to be a bone of conjecture, with Go-Set reporting that Laurie Prior from Healing Force was the drummer, but according to the liner notes, Gil's memory says that Wild Cherries drummer, Johnny Dick was around at the time, and it was he that sat on the drums!

    Side 1 - The Dawn Song is actually a ballad, with swirling orchestral strings and this part honestly does nothing, well very little, for me until we get to the 1':39" point, and the tempo and whole mood of the track changes and it is quite exciting, but I wish to hell they had kept the orchestra away from returning a second time. Certainly by tracks end the song had redeemed itself.

    However side 2 is what we might have expected from the first Thorpe effort on Havoc. Time To Live - It's not a raging rocker, in fact it's a medium tempo piece that is quite dramatic in its feel. Some folk have pointed out that there is a descending run at the 0:54 point that is very reminiscent of a run in Pink Floyd's Echo's. Given what we have just gone there with Led Zepplin and there "rip-off" of a Spirit track - let's leave this alone. Pig Morgans piano playing is delightful and Billy's guitar work, especially 2/3rds through, is sublime!


    Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs - Time To Live


    OK, we come to tracks 7 and 8 by Mark Justin. Before obtaining this CD this man was totally unknown to me and the really funny thing is, I went to the notes in the booklet to find out what I had been missing out on, to find Ian McFarlane had written the following, "I can find no information on Mark Justin"!

    Ostensibly this single was meant to be a pop single - and I can't be as kind as Ian's comment when he wrote of the track, "
    Ho hum". My comment is, "run, run away as fast as you can before you are swamped with far too much sugar and not enough spice"!

    Next comes Chook and tracks 9 & 10. Now I had never heard of Chook either, although on this occasion McFarlane does have some information. Phew! I can't keep saying how much I don't like some of this music, and I tried hard but despite Ian's belief that the group, comprising Mick Sampson - vocals; Alex O'Hara - drums; Ian Ryan - bass and Jeff Lowe - drums, "played a commercial brand of heavy progressive rock", I just found it plain boring.

    Maybe I've actually grown older than my years suggest - but it's so basic in structure and the lyrics and really quite bland. However, they actually had a video clip made to promote the single, so someone had faith in them, and I have added that clip to the video's below.


    Than the music gods come through big time, when we come to the next single we have class with a capitol "C"! Tracks 11 and 12 feature one of my all time favourite 'energy" driven Aussie groups, the Wild Cherries. Hell, if you don't know about the "Cherries" and never listened to their music, where the heck have you been hiding? This group had it all, passion, drive, great ability and they had Lobby Loyde, who was our own home grown "Clapton", at least that was how he was measured at the time, but now we look back and recognise he was seriously brilliant and comparing him with Clapton was a crazy thing to do - because he stood strong and needed no such comparisons.

    By the time the track I Am The Sea was recorded in 1971, Loyde was fronting a revived three-piece Wild Cherries with with Teddy Toi on bass and the mighty Johnny Dick on drums. I am tempted to say this was our version of the British group Cream. But that would be unfair to these guys as they never set out to emulate Cream, they didn't need to -they oozed talent and they oozed charisma.

    Tracks such as Chrome Platted Yabby and the magnificent and magically "clangy", That's Life, showed that these guys were a major force and totally the most successful group when it came to experimental psychedelia. I was fortunate enough to see them live and what an experience. However I deviate.

    The track I Am The Sea is seriously different to the two aforementioned tracks. Ahead of it's time it really is an early cry to be aware of the ecological mess 'we" were creating. This is not a power punched track, but is a beautiful composition and totally memorable. According to Ian McFarlane, Lobby wrote the track while sitting on the cliff tops near his home in Sydney. A great and highly talented man, this shows Lobby also had another depth not previously revealed, that he thought about the environment in which he/we, lived!

    Sheer magic!

    The B-side isn't quite as powerful and does lack some of the magic of the A-side, but is a worthy track to have in your collection as there were really far too few Wild Cherries tracks recorded.


    The Wild Cherries - I Am The Sea


    Tracks 13 and 14 - Little Dove and Gil's Thing, are from a single by the man who is largely responsible for this whole collection - Gil Mathews. Now I have spoken on Gil earlier, but this little gem came about in the period when Gil joined the Aztec's as their new drummer. What I hadn't mentioned before, and McFarlane reminds us in his liner notes, was the Gil Mathews was not just a superb drummer but he was seriously gifted. It would be accurate to call him a child-drumming prodigy. At the age of 11 (yes, thats eleven), he was touring the US with drum legends Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich.

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    So you might expect this drumming phenomena would record something really kick-ass a la the Aztecs power style. No! I was struggling for the right words and really sums it up beautifully when he writes, "Little Dove is hardly Aztec's material, however, being a laid back acoustic ballad with a lazy summery West Coast vibe it does have a certain charm."

    Again I find myself in agreement with McFarlane when he says that the flip side "was the superior effort". It is easy to lose sight of the fact that Gil Mathews is far, far more than a drummer, albeit a brilliant drummer. He is a talented multi-instrumentalist and on this album he demonstrates his abilities - Gil plays:
    piano & electric piano
    organ
    bass
    sitar
    percussion electric & acoustic guitar
    vibraphone
    xylophone and, drums (of course)

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    Gil on drums

    Now not all these instruments are used on this track, but there is a damn fine array and it will knock your socks off - and even reminds us that the sound of the recording tape reversing back to the play position, can be used very effectively.


    Gil Mathews - Gil's Thing


    Carson! Wow! What a great group they were and along with Chain and the Aztecs were at the top of the food chain when it came to electric blues. Featuring Greg Laurie ("Sleepy) on slide guitar and the magnificent voce of Brod Smith, they were in,1971, ably supported by Ian Winter on guitar, Ian Ferguson on bass and Tony Lunt on drums.

    Carson, like the Aztecs, is deserving a while review on their own and they will probably be most remembered for the classic track Boogie (Part 1), which came about when they were recording with EMI

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    Carson

    The
    Havoc single was Travelling South backed with Moonshine. Travelling South has it all! Brod's powerful voice and amazing dual lead guitars are fantastic and the track just moves along demanding that we travel along with Carson. It is a fantastic track for demonstrating the talent that both guitarists had and also demonstrates the great production/engineering by Gil Mathews.


    Carson - Travelling South

    Aghhhhh! tracks 17, 18 & 19 belong to
    Jasamine. Ok we have already determined they recorded the first single on the Havoc label, and why is still a mystery, but this 3 track single/EP is not just a total mystery as to why is happened, it is really cringeworthy. Ian McFarlane has tried his best to put a +ve spin on it - but . . . oh please no more.

    I am providing a short (very short) snippet to demonstrate why I am so adverse to this group and this track (mind you the other two are no better). At the point where I faded it out, I was in danger of having my liver reach up through my own gullet in order to strangle me and put me out of my misery. It was those out of tune chimes that were the final straw!


    Jasmine - On The Eve Of Christmas


    Michael Turner In Session is the next group. Once again I have to admit a total lack of knowledge about Turner so I rely on McFarlane's research. The group formed in Brisbane and featured the "booming" voice of Turner and the nimble fingered guitar work of Phil Stone. As soon as I started reading I was amazed to discover that Stone had been the guitarist for legendary Aussie artist Jeff Crozier, in his Indian Medicine Magik Show. You see i was the keyboard player in Jeff's last band (Krozier & The Generator: 1980 - 1981) and I never remember Jeff talking about Phil Stone, and I wish he had.

    From what I hear on this single, a most underrated guitarist and the group actually played at the 1972 Sunbury Festival. I have no memory of that particular performance, so I can only plead that I'm sorry "your honour", I must have been on drugs!

    The single was actually doomed when somehow the labels for the A & B-sides were accidentally reversed on the single, totally confusing everyone.

    Shame, because while
    Just Around Midnight is a half decent track, the reverse side, Pattern of My Life, is a rip-snorter. A very good piece of rock writing we can thank Gil Mathews who wrote the track

    OK, when the booklet writer says of the final single - Hot Pants Sue (B/w
    Lookin' In The Lake) "boy is this a bad single! Inane, mindless, shallow - then really, need I go on?"

    We move on to CD #2.

    The guys organising this compilation knew deep deep down that after the terrible finish to CD #1, they had to kick off with something to save the day on CD #2. When in doubt go back to tried and true ands so it is that the first singe on this side is by
    Billy Thorpe. In the persona of the Aztecs we are presented with what some believe is one of the greatest Australian singles ever - Most people I Know Think That I'm Crazy, backed with, Regulation 3 Puff.

    Most people I know was a hit, everywhere, and is still a staple on the play lists of radio stations that revisit the music of this period. The B-side is a nice piece of jazz-rock fusion powered by
    Gils drumming, Billy's guitar, and along the way by some additional great guitar work by Lobby Loyde who happened to be around the studio at the time.

    Tracks 3 and 4 are by
    Jeff Phillips.Phillips tasted success first in his home town of Perth when he replaced Johnny Young as the compere of a local pop show. Phillips came to Melbourne and had a moderate hit with a cover of the Shirelles, Baby It's You.

    I was unfamiliar with
    Jeff Phillips so when I saw the track was Gloria I immediately thought of Them and Gloria, and thought, "this could be good!"

    Oops! It's
    Gloria as in glorify god! OK, it's an uneasy mishmash of a religious ballad and a pop song. Ian McFalane thought it was a good track - OK, the production is good but after that we differ. It seems as though the "highs" on this Havoc release are really high, and the "lows" are really low. McFarlane was just OK about the B-side, Go With Me. Now here we are differing again, as it's actually a damn fine effort as he covers the Del-Vikings Doo Wop hit, Come Go With Me.

    The booklet notes tell us this is a genuine rare single as it was recorded and pressed and ready to go, but approval was cancelled when
    Phillips believed (wrongly) that a better offer was coming from overseas.

    Another single where I think it's better to play the B-side.


    Jeff Phillips - Come Go With Me


    In an effort to pick things up, we are presented next with another single by the
    Aztecs - Believe It Just Like Me backed with Get To hell Out Of Here. According to McFarlane, Thorpe didn't like Believe It Just Like Me as he thought it was too much like Most People I Know.... and, I think he's right. I mean how close can you get to plagiarising your own work, when you open with an acoustic riff that makes you immediately think of Most People?

    But it's a good track and I think finds it's own feet the longer it goes. Obviously the buyers of the day thought so because it reached the #17 position on the charts, so let's revisit it!


    Aztecs - Believe It Just Like Me


    Now while we are on winners, we return to one of the few men who could not just match it with
    Thorpe on guitar, but actually do it better. The next single is by Lobby Loyde only this time not with the the Wild Cherries (or the Purple Hearts) but with The Coloured Balls. This is the debut single by Lobby and The Coloured Balls and actually came about before Lobby had really formed the "real" Coloured Balls, with the backing group being none other than the Aztecs.

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    Lobby & Billy in later years

    So if you want rare tracks, this is one!
    Lobby's first single with the Coloured Balls who were in fact, for this recording, the Aztecs. Look it seriously smacks of the Aztecs sound and while it is not the best of Loyde's music, it is still a Lobby Loyde track and they all need to be kept alive.

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    Coloured Balls (screen shot from a video clip)

    Again I favour the B-side which is a frantic instrumental that runs for 3 minutes and some change. I'd say the chances are it came from a jam session but called the
    Slowest Guitar on Earth, is actually really funny, because I don't actually remember Lobby Loyde ever playing faster.

    The word blistering comes to mind!


    Lobby Loyde & The Coloured Balls - Slowest Guitar on Earth

    Next comes tracks 9 and 10, with a single from
    Everton Park. Now don't show your ignorance, we all remember Everton Park, don't we? No, not the park in Everton in the UK, the group from Brisbane. What! Some of you don't remember? That's OK because I don't either.

    Look both tracks are OK! I'm trying not to damn with faint praise and if you buy the CD you can read all about who was supposedly in the group and why no one is actually certain who really played on the single and how some of the members listed by some unnamed source, somewhere, think some of the members went on to bands such as
    Doug Parkinson's Southern Star band, King Harvest and One Ton Gypsy.

    The bottom line is that the track
    Pricilla is basic pop. OK, so it's not bad pop, but basic pop all the same I agree with McFarlane that the guitar work is indeed fine and if they were happy with his description of the track being "sunshine pop flavour with the atmospheric Cowsills-like keyboard overture and harmony vocals", then I'm happy that they are happy.

    I wouldn't have bought it but, it is worth having it archived on this album.

    OK, bring on more of the great unknown I say, and they do!

    The next single that makes up tracks 11 and 12 is by a group called
    Star Spangled Banger. The booklet notes say Star Spangled Banger was both a band, a single and a concept too". That's frightening when you sit back and listen to the track. I'm not sure what the concept refers to but the thought of an album of this . . . this . . . material is indeed scary!

    Now the members have a pedigree, of a sort. Comprising
    John Brownrigg on vocals, guitar and bass; Ron Walters on vocals and guitar and, Paul Doo on drums, all of whom were originally with the Brisbane band, The Sect!

    I remember a UK 60's group called the Sect, but for the life of me I don't remember these guys, despite them winning the 1966 Brisbane heat of Battle of the Sound and moving to my bailiwick of Melbourne

    In frustration I sought the answer in the National Film & Sound Archives relating to pop of the 1960's, and sure enough.
    The Sect put out a single in 1966 called Don't Talk To Strangers backed with She Don't Love Me. So they do have a track record of a kind, and maybe me saying they had some sort of pedigree was stretching things!

    So they formed the group Star Spangled Banger and recorded the album Star Spangled Banger on Havoc and put out the single Star Spangled Banger and, well, that's about it. They did few if any gigs so there is little written about them. But back to this single. OK, I have to share it with you because it is absolutely full of all the best (or is it worst) gimmicks that could be loaded onto any one track.

    Again McFarlane's opening comments should be repeated when he says, "A disembodied, slowed down voice announces 'Star Spangled Banger would like you all to rise, ha ha'"

    And off we go with heavy acid-music type riffs and some of the most puerile "love.peace,man" lyrics ever written. Talk about giving hippies a bad name!

    Oh hell, I'll let Ian tell the story, he writes: "It's a topical hippie call-to-peace/anti-war/generation-gap statement, with references to 'long haired leather gods' and impending war, completed by a chorus stating 'peace my brother, good will to man, love thy neighbour, and make love while you can.' The whole thing comes to a clattering end with a nuclear explosion".

    I should point out, that the explosion runs for some 40 seconds - was that really necessary? But for the sake of artistic integrity, i didn't fade it earlier, because if I had done that I might have faded it a lot earlier than 30 seconds from the ending.

    Seriously, maybe they smoked too many drugs or maybe they didn't smoke enough. As for the B-side, I was so overwhelmed by the A-side andI had to play it two days later. Yes Ian is right again, it is a more interesting song despite the pathetic attempt to make it sound like it was recorded in front of an audience. But really, they blew it with the A-side and the single has been relegated to the bin marked interesting, but please, do not let out on it's own!



    Star Spangled Banger -Star Spangled Banger


    Well if you have made it this far through my review I congratulate you but, we aren't finished just yet.

    We return to
    Lobby Loyde and the Coloured Balls. By now Lobby had formed the group for real with Andrew Fordham on guitar and vocals, Janis "John" Miglans on bass and vocals and probably Trevor Young on drums. The two tracks on this CD are Mr. Mean Mouth backed with Love me Girl and were recorded in 1973 while putting together the album Rock Your Arse Off.

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    Lobby with the Coloured Balls

    The accompanying notes tell us that the single was the first time the new "mouth" logo was used by
    Havoc. It is hard to determine which track should have been the A-side, they are both good and both different. Mr. Mean Mouth is a rollicking country-rock track but I favour the flip side, track 14, which is Love Me Girl.

    If you want to hear a quality "pop" track, then you need go no further. This is tasteful, beautifully constructed and I am so glad this single is again available through this compilation.


    Lobby Loyde and The Coloured Balls - Love Me Girl


    The final single on this album is from
    Thumpin' Pig & Puff'n Billy. Now I would find it hard to believe there are any Australian rock music fans that don't know that Thumpin' Pig is none other than Warren "Pig" Morgan and likewise that Puff'n Billy was Billy Thorpe. According to the booklet notes it seems as though Warren was offered an album deal in 1972 and being really close to Thorpie, invited him to share in the project. Once that was established it seemed logical that their mates Gil Matthews along with the iconic Barry "Big Goose" Sullivan (bass) and another iconic player - Phil Manning (guitar), would join them.

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    Thorpe and Morgan

    The story goes that the music flowed as i'm sure many things did and there was a lot of spontaneity and why not, you want a 'supergroup" where everyone are friends? You got it! The full tale is told well and in detail by Ian McFarlane in his notes so I hope if you haven't got this double album, you will purchase it, and read the story - it's worthwhile.

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    Booklet plate

    I chose
    Captain Straightman which was released in 1973 on Havoc as a single (hence its inclusion) and the track went to #28 nationally. The track made it onto the later released Downunda album and Thorpe entered this track into an American songwriting contest where it made the finals and as a result Thorpie got his first taste of playing in the USA and this, according to the notes, was the trigger for his move to LA in 1976.

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    Relive this fantastic track now, as I use it to musically close this review most aptly with this
    Thorpie track.


    Thump'n Pig and Puff'n Billy - Captain Straightman

    There are two bonus tracks, bonus because although they were recorded at Havoc but they never made it onto a single. Track 17 -
    Don't Worry, by Carson, is in fact a lengthy and somewhat meandering country-blues jam and McFarlane points out that it was later cut down and tightened up and released as a single called Better Times Will Come About.

    The final track,
    They're Cut Down All The Trees, is by David Pickard and was taken off an soundtrack album from an Aussie film called A City's Child.

    Aztec Music prides itself on preserving Australia's rich music history and with this release, they do it with class and style. This is a superb production and an amazing collection of Aussie music. Sure some tracks reek of
    puerility, but hey, let me tell you - when there is a storm, I focus on the rainbow and not the rain. So it is with this compilation where Gil Mathews has done a sterling job in presenting in the best possible manner, the music from these singles.

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    Gil Mathews

    The highs on this album are truly great highs and they alone make the album worthwhile. We acknowledge that some of the tracks really are quite cringeworthy, but on the other hand what we have is the complete collection of ALL the singles this progressive label produced during this period.

    Well done to all involved, this is a fitting final album for the final
    Cream of The Crate. The CD set has probably gone under the radar of many collectors but this album is an absolute must for any collector of Aussie music, but particularly from this period. There is no other album like it.

    It can be purchased for $30.00 from Aztec records - so what are you waiting for ? Just click on the Aztec icon!



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    VIDEOS - here are some video clips of the artists on this album, playing tracks from it.


    Ash - Midnight Witch


    Billie Thorpe and the Aztecs - The Dawn Song


    Chook - Cold Feet


    Lobby Loyde and The Coloured Balls - Liberate Rock



    If you are interested in checking out the first fifty vinyl albums reviewed, just click here

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    If you are interested in checking out the first fifty (50) CD's reviewed, just click here

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    If you are interested in checking out reviews 101 to 150 (Vinyl & CD) as reviewed, just click here

    ​​​
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    Past album Reviews - Numbers 151 onward:

    Number 151 - The Shaggs: Philosophy Of The World
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5204-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-151-The-Shaggs-Philosophy-Of-The-World

    Number 152 - The Animals: The Animals
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5231-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-152-The-Animals-The-Animals

    Number 153 - Omar Khorshid: Live in Australia 1981
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5288-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-153-Omar-Khorshid-His-Group-Live-In-Australia-1981

    Number 154 - Alan Parsons Project: Tales of Mystery and Imagination (Edgar Allan Poe)
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5333-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-154-The-Alan-Parsons-Project-Tales-of-Mystery-and-Imagination-Edgar-Allan-Poe


    Number 155 - Billy Thorpe: Tangier
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5369-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-155-Billy-Thorpe-Tangier


    Number 156 - Aretha Franklin: The Best Of
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5397-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-156-Aretha-Franklin-The-Best-Of

    Number 157 - Big Bill Broonzy: Big Bill Blues [His 23 Greatest Songs]
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5439-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-157-Big-Bill-Broonzy-Big-Bill-s-Blues-(his-23-greatest-songs)

    Number 158 - The Supremes: Where Did Our Love Go
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5471-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-158-The-Supremes-Where-Did-Our-Love-Go

    Number 159 - The Band: Stage Fright
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5499-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-159-The-Band-Stage-Fright

    Number 160 - Ray Brown & The Whispers: Hits and More 1965 - 1968
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5523-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-160-Ray-Brown-And-The-Whispers-Hits-More-1965-1968

    Number 161 - Guitar Junior: The Crawl
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5553-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-161-Guitar-Junior-The-Crawl

    Number 162 - Jimi Hendrix: Radio One
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5567-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-162-Jimi-Hendrix-Radio-One

    Number 163 - Memphis Minnie: Queen Of The Blues
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5574-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-163-Memphis-Minnie-Queen-Of-The-Blues

    Number 164 - Eno: Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5583-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-164-Eno-Taking-Tiger-Mountain-(by-Strategy)


    Number 165 - The Loved Ones: Magic Box
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5611-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-165-The-Loved-Ones-Magic-Box

    Number 166 - Various Artists: On The Road Again [An Anthology Of Chicago Blues 1947 - 1954]
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5620-Cream-Of-The-Crate-Album-166-On-The-Road-Again-An-Anthology-of-Chicago-Blues-1947-1954

    Number 167 - Janis Joplin: Greatest Hits

    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5629-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-167-Janis-Joplin-Greatest-Hits


    Number 168 - David Bowie: Ziggy Stardust
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5637-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-168-David-Bowie-Ziggy-Stardust-The-Motion-Picture


    Number 169 - Red Hot Chili Peppers: Californication
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5645-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-169-Red-Hot-Chilli-Peppers-Californication

    Number 170 - Chain: Two Of A Kind

    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5652-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-170-Chain-Two-Of-A-Kind


    Number 171 - Bob Marley and The Wailers - Legend
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5661-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-171-Bob-Marley-Legend

    Number 172 - Coco Taylor: What It takes
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5675-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-172-Koko-Taylor-What-It-Takes

    Number 173 - Stevie Wonder: Original Musiquarium
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5685-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-173-Stevie-Wonder-Original-Musiquarium

    Number 174 - Various Artists: The Unissued 1963 Blues Festival
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5696-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-174-Various-Artists-The-Unissued-1963-Blues-Festival

    Number 175 - Noeleen Batley: Little Treasure
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5710-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-175-Noeleen-Batley-Little-Treasure

    Number 176 - B.B. King: The Best Of
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5733-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-176-B-B-King-The-Best-Of

    Number 177 - Fleetwood Mac: Fleetwood Mac (The White Album)
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5771-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-177-Fleetwood-Mac-Fleetwood-Mac

    Number 178 - Memphis Slim: I Feel So Good
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5791-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-178-Memphis-Slim-I-Feel-So-Good

    Number 179 - Manfred Mann's Earth Band: Live Budapest
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5807-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-179-Manfred-Mann-s-Earth-Band-Live-Budapest

    Number 180 - Flowers: Icehouse
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5821-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-180-Flowers-Icehouse

    Number 181 - Joe Tex: The Best of
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5852-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-181-Joe-Tex-The-Best-Of

    Number 182 - Chicago [Transit Authority]: Chicago Transit Authority
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5884-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-182-Chicago-(Transit-Authority)-Chicago-Transit-Authority

    Number 183 - Deep Purple: The Deep Purple Singles
    tooraktimes.com.au/showthread.php/31752-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-183-Deep-Purple-The-Deep-Purple-Singles

    Number 184 - The Doobie Brothers: Best of the Doobie Brothers
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/5964-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-184-The-Doobie-Brothers-The-Best-of-The-Doobie-Brothers

    Number 185 - Dig Richards: Jive After Five
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/6012-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-185-Dig-Richards-Jive-After-Five

    Number 186 - Stereo MC's: Connected
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/6036-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-186-Stereo-MC-s-Connected

    Number 187 - Ricky Nelson: All My Best
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/6072-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-187-Ricky-Nelson-All-My-Best


    Number 188 - Frank Frost: Jelly Roll King
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/6101-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-188-Frank-Frost-Jelly-Roll-King

    Number 189 - Lonnie Mack: Memphis Wham
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/6192-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-189-Lonnie-Mac-Memphis-Wham

    Number 190 - Madder Lake: Still Point
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/6230-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-190-Madder-Lake-Stillpoint

    Number 191 - Carol K and the Hitmen: California Creamin'
    http://tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/6259-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-191-Carol-K-and-The-Hitmen-California-Creaming

    Number 192 - Dion and The Belmonts: Everything You Always Wanted To Hear
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/6303-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-192-Dion-and-the-Belmonts-Everything-You-Always-Wanted-To-Hear

    Number 193 - The Beatles: Rubber Soul
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/6324-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-193-The-Beatles-Rubber-Soul-50th-Anniversary-Year

    Number 194 - Sleepy John Estes: Jailhouse Blues
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/6345-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-194-Sleepy-John-Estes-Jailhouse-Blues

    Number 195 - Rob E.G. : All His Hits [The Festival File Volume 3]
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/6367-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-195-Rob-E-G-All-His-Hits-The-Festival-File-Volume-3

    Number 196 - Ma Rainey: Ma Rainey
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/6393-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-196-Ma-Rainey-Ma-Rainey

    Number 197 - Sam & Dave - The Best of
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/6432-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-197-Sam-and-Dave-The-Best-Of

    Number 198 - John Lennon: Plastic Ono Band
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/6455-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-198-John-Lennon-Plastic-Ono-Band

    Number 199 - Lightnin' Hopkins: The Gold Star Series Vol. 1
    tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/6479-Cream-of-The-Crate-Album-199-Lightning-Hopkins-The-Gold-Star-Series-Vol-1
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    • Listen To Older Voices: Bob Bright - Part 4
      by Rob Greaves
      Welcome to Listen To Older Voices, a program produced Rob Greaves for Wesley Mission Victoria and podcast through the Toorak Times.

      Listen To Older Voices presents the stories, views and opinions of our older citizens. It is predominantly in a life & times format, with interviewees reflecting upon their lives from earliest memories. An underlying principal of the program is to promote the concept of positive ageing, reinforcing the principle that older people have & continue to make a valuable contribution to both their local & wider community.



      ...
      11 September 2016, 08:48 AM
    • Cream of The Crate: Album # 200 - Australian Compilation: The Complete Havoc Singles (1971 - 1973]
      by Rob Greaves
      "A really stunning & great looking digi-pack from Aztec Records, compiling all the singles from the Australian Havoc Records label in the 70's." (Record Heaven)
      "
      An excellent collection of early 70's Australian Rock / Pop/."
      (Rock On Vinyl)
      "
      Aztec Music prides itself on preserving Australia's rich music history and with this release, they do it with class and style."
      (This review)




      This is album review number Two Hundred in the series of retro-reviews of both vinyl and CD albums from my collection.
      ...
      26 August 2016, 10:32 AM
    • Cream of The Crate: Album # 199 - Lightning Hopkins: The Gold Star Series Vol 1
      by Rob Greaves
      "The blues is born with you. When you born in this world, you were born with the blues. (Lightnin’ Hopkins, 1967)
      "
      Sam (Lightnin') Hopkins, one of the great country blues singers and perhaps the greatest single influence on rock guitar players." (New York Times Obituary, Feb 1, 1982 )
      "These are not necessarily the best known Lightnin' Hopkins tracks, but in many ways that makes this CD even more valuable."
      (This review)



      This is album review number One Hundred and Ninety Nine in the series of retro-reviews of both vinyl and CD albums from my collection.
      ...
      19 August 2016, 10:24 AM
    • Cream of The Crate: Album # 198 - John Lennon: Plastic Ono Band
      by Rob Greaves
      "The reality of Plastic Ono Band is that it contains eleven of Lennon’s most accessible and gorgeous melodies and riffs." (Gerry Mullholand - BBC review 2010)
      "An album that will be as much analysed as Sgt. Pepper over the years." (Billboard - 1971)
      "
      It remains one of the most audacious, iconoclastic albums in all of rock and roll." (Guitar World 2016)
      "
      The album certainly shows that he had yet to work through many unresolved matters, and that he still had much anger in him. However he was a brilliant man and knew how to channel these elements in such a way to create some brilliant, memorable and haunting tracks." (This review)


      ...
      11 August 2016, 12:14 PM
    • Cream of The Crate: Album # 197 - Sam and Dave: The Best Of
      by Rob Greaves
      "Sam Moore and Dave Prater's string of soul and pop hits made them the '60s' most successful black vocal duo." (The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (Simon & Schuster, 2001)
      "Sam & Dave created some of their century's most enduring music in the pop form." (Stylus Magazine January 2007)
      "
      There can be no argument that as a duo, Sam and Dave introduced the previously successful sound of the black church music, so successfully to pop music." (This review)



      This is album review number One Hundred and Ninety Seven in the series of retro-reviews of both vinyl and CD albums from my collection.
      ...
      5 August 2016, 08:52 AM
    • Cream of The Crate: Album # 196 - Ma Rainey: Ma Rainey
      by Rob Greaves
      "Her deep, almost-vibratoless contralto sounded rough and unsophisticated compared to other commercial blueswomen but she projected a great depth of feeling and was adored by audiences." (US Library of Congress
      "Ma Rainey was one of the first singers to popularize the style (the blues)." (Joe McGasko - Bio May 2015)
      "
      When we listen to Ma Rainey, the recordings are very crude, but even so the power and mesmerism of her voice shows that pure talent and commitment to an audience makes Ma Rainey stand out even more today.
      " (This review)



      This is album review number One Hundred and Ninety Six in the series of retro-reviews of both vinyl and CD albums from my collection.
      ...
      29 July 2016, 10:18 AM
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