The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - An­thony O’Grady

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.

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