In The Land of Free, we still keep on Rockin'

Plain and Fancy

"I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I am free"

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Purple Hearts / The Coloured Balls - Benzedrine Beat! (1964-70 aussie, fascinating garage beat rock)

All ten songs the Purple Hearts released during their brief lifetime (on 1965-1967 singles) are on this meticulously thorough reissue. It also adds four songs they recorded on acetates in early 1965 prior to their recording deal, as well as seven tracks by the Coloured Balls, the band in which singer/harmonica player Mick Hadley and bassist Bob Dames played in the late '60s and early '70s. 

The Purple Hearts tracks are the ones the collectors who seek this CD out will be most interested in, as they're solid, punky R&B, very much in the mold of the British bands springing up in the wake of the Rolling Stones circa 1964-1965. The cuts are tough and hard-boiled, and will no doubt recall similar, though superior, British acts such as the Pretty Things and the Graham Bond Organisation. 

What makes the Purple Hearts inferior to such acts is that they recorded absolutely no original material, devoting most of their studio performances to covers of songs by the likes of Bond, Paul Butterfield, Bo Diddley, and Muddy Waters. They do, however, pull off a superbly menacing R&B/punk makeover of the spiritual "Early in the Morning," with searing fuzz guitar and voodoo-ish ensemble chanting. Too, their sole 45 to feature cover tunes that weren't well known ("Of Hopes and Dreams and Tombstones"/"I'm Gonna Try") is pretty respectable, though Mick Hadley's vocals aren't quite up to the level of belters like the Pretty Things' Phil May. 

The Coloured Balls tracks (in quite variable sound quality), which are much more in a hard rock/blues-rock/psychedelic/progressive rock vein, are apparently taken from "rehearsals, gigs and local TV appearances" -- the liner notes aren't wholly clear on this point. These songs aren't nearly as interesting as the Purple Hearts' material, and are likewise all covers, this time around of songs by Jethro Tull, Steve Miller, and Fleetwood Mac, as well as blues tunes by Howlin' Wolf and Willie Dixon. 

The 36-page booklet is exemplary, with liner notes featuring vintage photos and first-hand quotes from original bandmembers, properly honoring the Purple Hearts' status as one of the more notable Australian rock acts of the '60s. 
by Richie Unterberger

The Purple Hearts
1. Talkin' Bout You (Chuck Berry) - 2:08
2. Louie Louie (Richard Berry) - 3:09
3. Long Legged Baby (Bond) - 2:18
4. Gloria (Morrison) - 2:54
5. Here 'Tis (MacDaniel) - 2:49
6. Long Legged Baby (Bond) - 1:54
7. Of Hopes And Dreams And Tombstones (J. Byers) - 2:30
8. I'm Gonna Try (J. Williams) - 2:20
9. Early In The Morning (Trad. Arr The Purple Hearts) - 2:11
10.Just A Little Bit (Gordon) - 1:50
11.You Can't Sit Down (Upchurch, Clark, Muldrow, Sheldon) - 3:04
12. Tiger In Your Tank (Dixon) - 2:09
13.Chicago (Butterfield) - 2:25
14.Bring It On Home (Williamson) - 2:58

The Coloured Balls
15. A Song For Jeffrey (Anderson) - 5:42
16. Killing Floor (Howlin Wolf) - 2:58
17. Living In The Usa (Miller) - 4:34
18. Bring It On Home (Willie Dixon) - 4:35
19. Long Grey Mare (P.A. Green) - 3:56
20. Living In The Past (Jethro Tull) - 3:12
21. Living In The Usa (Live) (Miller) - 10:13

The Purple Hearts
*Mick Hadley - Vocals, Harp
*Fred Pickard - Guitar
*Lobby Loyde - Guitar
*Rob Dames - Bass
*Adrian Redmond - Drums
*Tony Cahill - Drums

The Coloured Balls
*Michael Shannon - Lead Vocals,
*Mick Hadley - Harp, Vocals, Guitar,
*Peter Miles - Drums,
*Bob Dames - Bass
*Robbie Van Delft - Guitar, Flute

Related Act
1971  Lobby Loyde  Plays With George Guitar

Free Text 
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ARGS said...

Πολλά ευχαριστώ Μάριε!

echoes said...

"Beat" reminds me of one band that I never liked too much. Sorry, I am a rolling man...
Thx anyway, other people might like it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot !


Marios said...