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sports~2 260There was time in the late 70s, early 80s when inner suburban Melbourne was churning out as much world class rock n roll as it ever has. Bands like The Sports, Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons and Paul Kelly & The Dots could pack out venues like Bombay Rock or The Venue for nights on end. The songs coming out of Melbourne were strong and often about the city itself. Skyhooks sung about the sun setting over Carlton. The Sports would sing about going down to the cop shop on Russell Street. A little later, Paul Kelly would name check St. Kilda and other quirks of Melbourne suburbia. Visiting international artists could feel a buzz in the air too. Elvis Costello had just launched his huge international career and added Jo Camilleri’s ‘So Young’ to his set after hearing it while on tour in Australia. While Graham Parker and The Rumour were at the height of their career, Graham made a point of standing side stage each night to watch the support act The Sports play their tune ‘Reckless’. Long John Baldry had already recorded Daddy Cool’s ‘Come Back Again’ and their ‘Eagle Rock’ had inspired Elton John to write his massive hit ‘Crocodile Rock’. Melbourne music was king.

Fans of the era can now re-live some of their salad days with some wonderful albums re-packaged as well as a rare music compilation released for the first time. For those too young to be aware of these acts, it’s an opportunity to explore a golden period in Australian rock ‘n’ roll.

jojoOn October 3,  Festival Records will release Expanded Editions of classic albums by two of Melbourne and indeed Australia’s most-loved bands of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s period; the first two albums by The Sports – ‘Reckless’ and ‘Don’t Throw Stones’ (from ’78 and ’79 respectively) – and Jo Jo Zep & the Falcons’ breakthrough album from ’79, ‘Screaming Targets’. All three albums, which were originally released on Mushroom and have been long out of print on CD, have been remastered from original tapes.
Each of these three titles takes the original album and adds a bonanza of additional high quality studio and live material, tripling or even quadrupling the original playing time to really give the listener a broad sense of what the bands were about at the time.

Following acclaimed compilations like ‘Boogie!’, ‘Dirty Jeans’ and ‘Down Under Nuggets’ and deluxe reissues of classic albums and material by Sunnyboys, Archie Roach, Frente! and the early Bee Gees amongst others, Warner Music’s Festival Records label continues its excavation of great Australian music with a number of releases focussing on Melbourne’s influential ‘70s scene to be released October 3.

sunsetsovercarlton‘(When The Sun Sets Over) CARLTON: Melbourne’s Countercultural Inner City Rock Scene of the ‘70s’ is a deluxe 2CD set which documents the arts and politics-infused rock scene that gave Melbourne and Australia such multi-faceted cultural icons as Paul Kelly, Joe Camilleri, Stephen Cummings, Jane Clifton, Peter Lillie, Ross Wilson, Ross Hannaford, Greg Macainsh, Red Symons and Shirley Strachan, as well as author Helen Garner. Taking its title from the famous song by the scene’s best known band Skyhooks, the album traces the countercultural scene’s development from its beginnings in venues like the TF Much Ballroom and Carlton’s La Mama and Pram Factory theatres through Skyhooks breakout success to the thriving pub scene found in legendary venues like Martini’s and the Tiger Lounge. It presents also a glimpse of the birth of Melbourne’s hugely influential 3RRR-FM, which was born out of this scene.

Rarities and unreleased material featured in the 44-track collection includes Daddy Cool covering Skyhooks in ’74, an unreleased Skyhooks demo featuring original singer Steve Hill, two unreleased studio recordings by Paul Kelly’s first band The High Rise Bombers and two little-known tracks from the self-released 1979 EP by his next band The Dots, an unreleased early Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons demo from ’76, a pre-Sports demo by Stephen Cummings with Dave Flett, the first track ever released by Wayne Burt’s pre-Falcons Band (with Pat Wilson) Rock Granite, an unreleased Bleeding Hearts demo produced by Greg Macainsh and rare material from the Pure Shit soundtrack.

It also features a mix of classic and lesser known other material from the likes of The Sports, Stiletto (featuring Jane Clifton), The Bleeding Hearts, The Pelaco Bros (featuring Stephen Cummings, Peter Lillie, Johnny Topper and Joe Camilleri), Eric Gradman Man & Machine, early Mondo Rock, Company Caine, Spare Change (featuring John Dowler), Parachute, Mark Gillespie, The Millionaires, The Indelible Murtceps (alter-ego of the legendary Spectrum), Peter Lillie & The Leisuremasters and more.

All titles released on Double CD and digital download on Festival Records, October 3.

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