on 4 June 2010
The Australian 60's rock offered an interesting blend of British and American influences: most bands showed the mellodic sense and professionalism of the Merseybeat and mod scenes, but also the rawer edge of US garage. However, it has been overlooked for years, except for the occasional anthology (the foundational 'Ugly Things', or the 'Before the Birdmen Flew' series, available in vinyl).
This compilation (part of a four-volume Big Beat anthology devoted to Festival, an active aussie independent label) defines quite well the style. Here you have 31 songs that go from wild Bo Diddley numbers ('No Cheatin', by Donnie Southerland) to beat ballads ('You're Back Again', by Mick Furber) and maximum R&B (the terrific cover of the northern soul classic 'Of Hopes and Dreams and Tombstones' by The Purple Hearts).
Most bands will be unknown to the sixties lover that is only familiar with The Easybeats, but there are some important aussie acts like Tony Wosley, Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs or Steve and the Board that are strong enough to compete with American and British acts of the era.
This is not the definitive compilation of 60's Aussie rock, because there are some weak tracks and is devoted to just one label and it lacks the complete overview of the country's production, but it's a welcome addition to any beat and R&B collection. Apart from the excellent sound, you get exhaustive liner notes by garage expert Alec Palao and pics of the featured acts.