35 Years of Big Rock Various artists Big Rock
In the early 70s the sonic boogie of Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, Buffalo, Chain and the La De Das floated a national beer barn circuit on golden rivers of grog. Today, blues-based pub rock barely survives, pitched against the blare of pokies and sports replays. 35 Years presents the music and its musicianship, clear, uncluttered and honest. Willie the Kid is prime bar R&B from Bobby Fletcher and former La De Da Ronnie Peel. A glorious chorus hides behind the unprepossessing title of Jim Finn’s Barber’s Shop. Lifetime Subscription to the Blues is Big Mama blues deftly delivered with a squeeze of tease by Paula McMahon. Status Quo cofounder Alan Lancaster unleashes his pulverising bass moan on Said Goodbye to the Blues.
There are studio excursions. Eureka Something is multi-instrumental virtuosity from Adam Stephens. Sailing is brooding surf-style music from engineer and producer Dave Dempsey. There are songs from the dark side. Former Aztec Warren Morgan’s Hear With You is a lyrical piano lament. Lucy DeSoto’s Farewell to a Friend deals with depression. Such diversity could be a hotchpotch but 35 Years has the continuity of core players, including drummer Mick O’Shea and bassist Michael Vidale. Big Rock founders Chris Turner and Phil Simmons are omnipresent, with Turner, a former Buffalo and Rose Tattoo member, to the fore with songwriting, guitar playing, production and/or arranging skills.