When Sharpies Ruled: A Vicious Selection Various artists Festival/Warner
If you are decrepit enough to remember the 1960s and 70s you will remember that fleeting moment when Australian music culture spawned its only unique movement. Predominantly from Melbourne’s suburbs, sharpies were a colonial offshoot of skinheads, a pre-empting of punk — a working-class rebellion that announced itself with shaven fringes, mullet tails, chisel-toe platform shoes, cardigans, longneck beers, tattoos and a most ungainly way of dancing. They emerged as real Aussie rock was hard-muscled 12-bar boogie by the Coloured Balls, Chain, (New Zealand’s) La De Das and Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs before morphing into the more glam-rock influenced Hush, Skyhooks and Supernaut. Of late there has been a re-emergence of interest in the sharpies, with television stories and a few choice clips emerging on the internet, including a short doco shot by Skyhook’s Greg Macainsh in the early 70s. When Sharpies Ruled is a nostalgic collection of Australian rock from the era. Lobby Loyde’s influence is heard in his band the Coloured Balls and the live recording of the Aztecs at Sunbury. Loyde was also in Rose Tattoo and they are featured, along with a track from Angry Anderson’s earlier band Buster Brown. Finch, La Femme, Rabbit, Ted Mulry Gang and Hush are among other acts on the 23track disc. Most of the music is honest, straightahead rock ‘n’ roll, but one track stands out and that’s Skyhooks’ Horror Movie. In the liner notes Macainsh talks about the band’s anxiety playing for sharpie crowds and relief when they were accepted. Those were the days — thank god they are gone.