Nov 212010

Every once in a while I stumble on a run of YouTube videos of performances by Australian and New Zealand bands from the early-to-mid-1970s. Man, that continent was loaded with fired-up rock ‘n roll bands playing mediocre boogie tunes without the silly trapping of the UK’s Glam scene. AC/DC and the Stooges-influenced punk bands from the end of the decade were no accident! If I could go back in time and be a part of any half-decent music scene, this one would have to be considered.

Following are a few videos by bands that are obscure to me, at least, if not most of our US Townspeople. I know a lot of you fancy yourselves experts in all that is mediocre and manly. Which of the following bands would you most want to jam – and party – with? I’m hoping some of our Townspeople from the great continent of Australia help set us straight on.

The Dingoes, “Way Out West”

For my money The Dingoes might be the best band to hang with in a quiet bar and knock back some tall ones. Their singer’s a real man’s man, with no pretensions. He’d probably want nothing to do with my company, but I find him about as intriguing as any of the singers under review.

As the lyrics of “The Last Place I Wanna Be” make clear, it’s no wonder they spend so much time hanging at that corner pub.


  17 Responses to “With Which Obscure ’70s Band from Down Under Would You Most Like to Jam (and Party)?”

  1. I initially had them in contention! I forget why they didn’t make “the cut,” but they had some cool stuff too. Most likely I simply forgot to add them as I watched about 3 hours of this stuff late last night. Had you heard of these bands in their time? I had no idea they existed until last night. They’re seriously fun and manage to boogie without getting into all that cock-rock posturing of AC/DC. I need to see if there’s a compilation of this stuff available, like an Aussie Nuggets.

  2. Some good stuff here, definitely enough for a Nuggets collection. Did you check out Kevin Borich? I found out about him researching the La De Dahs for the RTH World Cup this summer and he had a pretty fair career down under.

    And to answer your question: Axiom

  3. I believe I was on a bill with The Dingoes in 1977?…. I wasn’t aware of the others at the time though I was recently turned on to Billy Thorpe

  4. Very cool – to both of you, k. and andy! I’ll have to look up Borich. I didn’t come across any of his stuff the other night.

  5. Hmm… tough call here. I’m torn between the Colored Balls and the Dingoes.

    I initially didn’t even bother to listen to Axiom because their name is so stupid, but after K’s comment, I gave them a shot. Not bad, but they’re no Colored Balls.

  6. I wouldn’t have taken you for a Coloured Balls type, cdm.

  7. I think it goes back to coming of age in the 70’s. I have a soft spot for Big Dumb Rock (assuming that we’re still talking about the band Colored Balls). If I had to choose though, I’d probably go with the Dingoes.

  8. hrrundivbakshi

    Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs, 1964 version: awesome! Great moves, weird tones, classic Look, and awesome song.

    Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs, 1973 version: AWFUL! Crappy look, no moves, one-dimensional song. And those lyrics!

  9. hrrundivbakshi

    I can tell you *exactly* how the intra-band politics shake out in the Madder Lake singer argument:

    Guitar player: just happy to finally have a vehicle for showcasing his awesome chops (i.e.: what singer?)

    Drummer: the band party animal, good friend of singer’s, has lots of funny stories to tell about the last few times him and singer guy got drunk together, assumes the band would fall apart if it weren’t for the the vital role singer guy plays in it.

    Keyboard: plays the role of luke warm water in the dispute, changing sides with each compelling argument pro- and con-.

    Bassist: Can’t *stand* him.

  10. hrrundivbakshi

    Master’s Apprentices: unified, yes. Rockin’? Not so much.

  11. hrrundivbakshi

    Coloured Balls are a direct, if unknowing, antecedent of the Clash.


  12. I’m disappointed, HVB, that you’re not as strongly behind the ’73 edition as you are the ’64 one! I thought we’d high five over both.

  13. BINGO! If memory serves there’s a specific moment when you can see the bassist’s feelings on this matter scrawled across his face.

  14. Please explain, HVB. Re-watching the enviously titled “Working Man’s Boogie” I’m thinking of all that Pearl Jam should have been. The face by the guy with the Amish beard at the 2:10 mark is priceless. Then watch how the singer immediately plays off that face! You don’t see facial interplay this strong across the board in most bands; grunge was a genre created for just this dynamic. Check out the drummer’s reassuring faces throughout, man. Brilliant. I may have to compare the facial work in “Working Man’s Boogie” to Temple of the Dog’s “Hunger Strike” video to gauge whether grunge ever lived up to Coloured Balls’ promise.

  15. hrrundivbakshi

    Working-class bloke-ism, check.
    Purposely untidy presentation, check.
    Bellowing, spit-cup, mostly out-of-tune vocals, check.
    Total devotion to the Rock, check.

    I admit they’re a progenitor of the earliest Clash years only, but I stick by my analysis.

  16. Fair enough, hrrundi, but I encourage you – and all Townspeople – to pay particular attention to the relay of rock faces from the 1:54 through 2:15 marks of “Working Man’s Boogie.” You don’t see this sort of facial dynamic across a band’s lineup too often. I suspect only Temple of the Dog ever came close.

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