This review was originally posted on the first Toorak Times web site where publications ceased on that site in March 2017. The old site will be permanently closed in 2020 and these reviews are being re-published in order to preserve them on the current Toorak Times/Tagg site.
This is number 30 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.
Born some 82 years ago, Col is still with us and is a true legend in the Australian Rock/Pop scene. The record I am post-reviewing is “Let’s Rock with“.
This album was released in 1970, on the Universal Summit label (SRA 051) and is a solo album by Col. It doesn’t cover his biggest hits, “Stagger Lee” “Bye Bye Baby”, “Rockin Rollin Clementine” or his fifth single, “Oh Yeah Uh Huh”.
Unfortunately this album is yet another example of pressings undertaken in Australia at this time, being inferior (quality wise) the USA, and even Britain.
While time and handling hasn’t been kind to my copy, on the good system I have access to, the lack of a quality pressing does become apparent.
However, the album shouldn’t be disregarded because of issues of pressing quality, or even the lack of Cols hits on it. Because what it does cover, are many of the rock and roll tracks we came to love and that Col would often sing during live performances.
Born Colin Frederick Jacobsen on 13 April 1936 in Sydney, Col is about Australian as they come.
He began playing rock and roll with his brothers Kevin and Keith and others at dances and cinemas in Sydney in 1957.
At first known as the KJ Quintet, the band secured a regular gig at a hotel in Maroubra. Entrepreneur Bill McColl soon offered them a spot playing on his ‘Jazzorama’ concert in October 1957, and the band changed their name to Col Joye and the Joy Boys.
A contract with Festival Records followed, and their first big hit, a romantic single ‘Bye Bye Baby’, hit the charts in March 1959. Remarkably, Joye had a head cold on the day of the recording session.
He began to make exclusive appearances on Channel Nine’s Bandstand, where he cultivated a clean cut, boy-next-door image, distinguishing himself from Johnny O’Keefe’s ‘wild one’ persona. He became a permanent member of the Bandstand family.
Col Joye and the Joy Boys’ third great success, ‘Oh Yeah Uh Huh’, released in October 1959, was the first rock song recorded and produced in Australia to become a national number one pop hit. The song is remembered for its unusual backing, the beat provided by the sound of a typewriter.
He is, like the great J.O’K, one of a handful of people who were at the forefront of Australia’s R&R Revolution from the late 50’s through into the early 1960’s.
In fact, Col Joy was the very first Australian R&R singer to have an Australia wide number 1 hit!
He released 48 singles (that’s 45’s) from 1959 to 1992. Not bad over 33 years!
In fact by 1963 Col had released 20 singles, 24 EPs and 19 LPs and, his popularity was such that two full time staff were required to cope with all the fan mail.
So let’s examine the track listing:
1. Early In The Morning
2. That’ll Be The day
3. Hound Dog
4. Johnny B.Goode
5. Rock Around The Clock
6. Clap Your hands
1. What’d I Say
2. Tallahassee Lassie
3. All Shook Up
4. Queen Of The Hop
5. Dream Lover
6. Splish Splash
It may as well be part of the ‘song book of rock and roll‘!
This is very much the strength of this album, rock classics, sung by an ‘Aussie Rock Classic’. The first of the tracks I’m featuring is “That’ll Be The Day” which in some ways was a big call as it is a Buddy Holly Classic.
Holly had a brilliant voice and while not a “hard-core’ rocker, was at the top of his game when he died in that plane crash.
So, just a few years later Col puts out his version and it’s not bad. It doesn’t have the drive of the Holly version, it almost lops along, I guess Holly did the rocking version and Col did the Rollicking version
That’ll Be The Day
Moving to track 6 – “Clap Your Hands“. This was a track that had been recorded quite successfully by his wilder contemporary – Johnny O’Keefe. While Johnny gave it a rough edge through his vocal style, Col’s more gentle approach gave it a softer edge.
Clap Your Hands
The 3rd track to share is “All Shook Up“. This is a track covered by many singers but none better than the real King of R&R, Elvis. Yet Col’s version appealed to his female fans and many parents and while later singers would focus almost entirely on the teen market, Col certainly played to the teen girls.
He also mindful that it was “mum’s” that also bought his music.
All Shook Up
Once we move away from the tracks that are considered as “rock” tracks, Col really comes into his own.
Such an example is track 5 on side 2 – “Dream Lover“.
Written and sung by Bobby Darrin it is a beautifully crafted piece of music with wonderful lyrics. It is a bit of a shame that Cl’s version is a bit more uptempo than the original, because it is a ballad and would have been better sung as a straight ballad.
Yet, it is made for Col’s voice and he does a very good job.
The songs on this album were very popular in the day and Col sang them well.
Sadly on this album I don’t think he really captured the sense of urgency and the ‘edge’ he had to his singing when live. But he was, and still is, extremely popular and still garners good audiences for his now rare live performances.
In some ways when you listen to him, it can be hard to think of him at the ‘cutting edge’ of R&R in Australia. However along with J.O’K, he most certainly was. His softly spoken demeanour, yet in some ways his ‘caring attitude’ almost worked against him in those tumultuous days of the late 50’s and early 60’s.
Unfortunately for Col, as his name was becoming even more widely known thanks to his ongoing work on Brian Henderson’s Bandstand, by l963 and certainly by 1964, his style and his songs were becoming largely overlooked with the wave of ‘new’ music coming in from Britain.
Col’s style simply didn’t lend itself to making the transition, even so he continued to get work around clubs and even though his name was spoken of as often, he kept his smaller but still passionate band of fans happy.
Then in 1990, while pruning a neighbour’s tree with a chainsaw as a favour, Col slipped and fell six metres onto brick paving below, striking his head and falling into a coma.
If that wasn’t bad enough he sustained a serious lower back and shoulder injury. It was not looking for him, but his body recovered while he also recovered his desire to perform again.
In fact, for a long while it seemed as though Col would be relegated to the great forgotten Australian Rock ‘n Rollers, however he began performing and touring again in 1998, and in 2008 celebrated his 50th Anniversary in show business.
It is not possible to declare that this album, “Let’s Rock with . . . Col Joye“, as being a major part of the legacy he will leave.
It is a good album to have because as previously mentioned it does accurately reflect the tracks that Col often performed live. It is a reminder of the music he sang and the major contribution he made during those formative years of Australian R&R.
His legacy is left in many ways such as through his major hits.
In addition to this honour, he has won two Aria awards, has numerous gold and platinum albums and was inducted into the Aria Hall of Fame in 1988. Finally, in 1981 he was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia for his entertainment and philanthropic work.
The album can be found with a little searching on-line for the rock bottom price of around $15.00 (inc postage) and for ‘collectors’ of vinyl, and collectors of Oz Rock, how can you go wrong?
There are a number of Col Joye/Col Joye & The Joyboys video clips. The one’s I have re-posted represent performances with ‘classic’ rock songs.
Oh Yeah, Uh Huh (1959)
Be Bop A Lula (1963)
Kissin’ Time Australia Way
Previous Cream of The Crate Albums:
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