cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]

cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]

 

  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.

 

"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 retro-review number 200 in the series of retro-reviews of both vinyl and Cd albums in my collection.

The series is called
“Cream of The Crate” and each review represents an album that I believe is of significant musical value, either because of it’s rarity, because it represents the best of a style or styles of music or because there is something unique about the group or the music.

Links to the previous 150 reviews can be found at the bottom of this review.

It is appropriate that retro-review #200 is focused upon an Australian album. I have throughout these reviews tried to make every fifth review one on an Australian artist and an album from my collection.

This  album is a wonderful CD album that has never been released on vinyl and features 17 Australian artists and groups.

If we count variations in terms of an artist appearing in various lineups, there are 19 artists and groups represented.

The 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.

Looking more deeply the set has 39 tracks plus, what have been labelled as two bonus tracks, being the last two on CD #2.

cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]
Disk 1 – [CLICK to enlarge]
cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]
Disk 2 – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

Through my previous 199 retro-reviews I have made comments on booklets and inserts when they were provided as part of the album package.

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. My recall is only one 10/10. We now have two such ratings.

Wth this production 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.

cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]
[CLICK to enlarge]
cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]
[CLICK to enlarge]

The inner two faces of the Cd hold the two CD’s. The extreme left hand side provide the lyrics to the Wild CherriesI Am The Seaand the extreme right hand side is a list of credits and dedications.

cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]
Credits – [CLICK to enlarge]
The card is quality thickness and a high quality gloss finish, and the artwork on the cover and CD’s and the overall design is absolutely top class.

 

 

In fact the quality of the material in the 12 page double sided booklet is of a very 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 1960’s onward 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 on radio.

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.

cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]
Inner Left hand covers – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

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.

cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]
Inner Right Hand covers – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

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. [Artists named in bold are on this album]

cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]
Levi Smith Clefs with Gil on drums – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

Gil also demonstrated a wonderful ear for production along with the skills necessary for engineering.

He installation an upgraded eight-track Sound Studio 31 in Jolimont (you need to remember eight-track was quite cutting edge in those days) and 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, along with five albums.

The notes say they were an eclectic lot, and 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 a smattering of cringe-worthy material, and a further smattering of interesting and quite good material between the cringe and the brilliant.

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.

cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]
Booklet plate – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

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)

cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]
Rear cover – CLICK to enlarge]

 

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 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.

It’s 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”.

cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]
Ash – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

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. Itr’s 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.

On 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 1The Dawn Song.

This is a ballad with swirling orchestral strings and this really adds nothing to the track, well very little, for me, until we get to the 1′:39″ point. Here the tempo and whole mood of the tack changes and it is quite exciting. Yet 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.

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, only 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 the music on this album.  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.

Then 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 hell have you been hiding?

cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]
The Wild Cherries – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

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.

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 11, 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 that group, 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 its 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 14Little Dove and Gil’s Thing.

These 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.

 

cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]

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 Ian 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)

cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]
Gil on drums – [CLICK to enlarge]


Now obviously 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 in1971, 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

cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]
Carson – [CLICK to enlarge]

The Havoc single was Travelling South backed with Moonshine.

Travelling South has it all!

It has 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, it also demonstrates the great production/engineering by Gil Mathews.

Carson – Travelling South

 

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 a total mystery as to why it happened.

It is really cringeworthy as well. 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 down on 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 he was 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.

It’s a very good piece of rock writing and we can thank Gil Mathews who wrote the track

OK, when the booklet writer, Ian McFarlane 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!

It 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. He 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 AztecsBelieve 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, (especially) 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 its 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 – not on this album) 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 on this track actually the Aztecs.

cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]
Lobby & Billy in later years – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

So if you want rare tracks, this is one!  

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.

cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]
The Coloured balls – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

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.

It’s called the Slowest Guitar on Earth. Now this is 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.

You will also learn 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.

If confusion rained (sic), we would all get wet!

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.

I’m sure most of you reading tis might have a better memory than me.

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!

Anyway 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 I 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.

cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]
Lobby with the Coloured Balls – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

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.

cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]
Billy Thorpe – [CLICK to enlarge]
cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]
Warren Morgan – [CLICK to enlarge]

The story goes that the music flowed as I’m sure much alcohol 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.

cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]
Booklet plate – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

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.

This, according to the notes, was the trigger for his move to LA in 1976.

cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]

Relive this fantastic track now, as I use it to musically close this review. 

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.

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 a 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.

cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]
Gil Mathews – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

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! 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.

In regard to an album of Australian music from this period? There is no other album like it and it is fast becoming a collectors item.

It used be purchased for $30.00 from Aztec records – Click the icon.  Recently the site indicates it is are no longer available.

When writing this Discogs had two copies for about $30.00 plus postage and Amazon Australia for $32.00 plus postage.


cream of the crate: album review # 200 – australian compilation: the complete havoc singles (1971 – 1973]

 


VIDEOS:

We are fortunate to have clips of not just some of the artists on this album, but, them playing some the tracks the album features.

 

Ash – Midnight Witch

 

Billie Thorpe and the Aztecs – The Dawn Song

 

Chook – Cold Feet

 

Lobby Loyde and The Coloured Balls – Liberate Rock


Previous Cream of The Crate Albums:

 

To view/listen the first 50 vinyl album reviews just click the image below –

cream of the crate cd review #2 : robert johnson – the complete recordings

 

To view/listen the first 50 Cd album reviews just click the image below –

 

To view/listen album reviews 101 – 150 just click the image below –

 

Click to open the following reviews covering #’s 151 onward.

#151.  The Shaggs – Philosophy of the World

#152.  The Animals – The Animals

#153. Omah Khorshid & His Group  – Live In Australia 1981

#154. Alan Parsons Project – Tales of Mystery and Imagination: Edgar Allan Poe

#155. Billy Thorpe – Tangier

#156. Aretha Franklin – The Best Of

#157. Big Bill Broonzy – Big Bill’s Blues

#158. The Supremes – Where Did Our Love Go 

#159. The Band – Stage Fright

#160. Ray Brown and the Whispers – Hits and More 1965 – 1968

#161. Guitar Junior – The Crawl

#162. Jimi Hendrix – Radio One

#163. Memphis Minnie – Queen of the Blues

#164. Eno – Taking Tiger Mountain (by Strategy)

#165. The Loved Ones – Magic Box

#166. Various Artists – On The Road Again [ An Anthology of Chicago Blues 1947 – 1954]

#167. Janis Joplin – Greatest Hits 

#168. David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust [The Motion Picture]

#169. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication

#170.  Chain – Two Of A Kind

#171. Bob Marley – Legend

#172. Koko Taylor – What It Takes

#173. Stevie Wonder – Original Musiquarium

#174. Various Artists – The Unissued 1963 Blues Festival

#175. Noeleen Batley – Little Treasure

#176. B.B. King – The Best Of

#177. Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac

#178 – Memphis Slim – I Feel So Good

#179. Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – Live at Budapest

#180. Flowers – Icehouse

#181. Joe Tex – The Best Of

#182. Chicago [Transit Authority] – Chicago Transit Authority

#183. Deep Purple – The Deep Purple Singles

#184. The Doobie Brothers – Best Of The Doobies

#185. Dig Richards – Jive After Five

#186. The Stereo MC’s – Connected

#187. Ricky Nelson – All My Best

#188. Frank Frost – Jelly Roll King

#189. Lonnie Mack – Memphis Wham

#190. Madder Lake – Stillpoint

#191. Carol Kaye and the Hitmen – Guitars 1965

#192. Dion and the Belmonts – Everything You Always Wanted To Hear

#193. The Beatles – Rubber Soul

#194. Sleep John Estes – Jailhouse Blues

#195. Rob E. G. – All His Hits [ The Festival File Vol. 3]

#196. Ma Rainey – Ma Rainey

#197. Sam and Dave – The Best Of

#198. John Lennon – The Plastic Ono Band

#199. Lightnin’ Hopkins – The Gold Star Series Vol. 1