colored balls - The I-94 Bar
Following in the tradition of acclaimed compilations like “Boogie” and “(When The Sun Sets Over) Carlton”, Festival Records and WMA are releasing a new collection of music from Australia’s sharpie subculture of the ‘70s.
“When Sharpies Ruled – A Vicious Collection” is a power-packed 23-track CD packaged with a slipcase, 28-page jewel case booklet with liner notes and a separate 60 page booklet of Sharpie snaps. It’s billed as “the ultimate aural and visual statement on the infamous Australian youth movement and gangs of the ‘70s” and who are we to disagree?
Sharpies were a uniquely Australian, working class phenomenon from the late ‘60s to the late ‘70s. Notorious for causing trouble, they’re remembered for their startling style sense - tight Italian cardigans and razor cut hair were favoured – and outrageous dancing.
It's 13 years since he passed from cancer but the reputation of Lobby Loyde is not diminishing. We live in crazy times but one of the sane things occurring right now is that the trailblazing Australian guitarist, bandleader and producer is finally getting his dues outside his homeland.
As leader of the Coloured Balls, Loyde set a benchmark in Australia for innovative hard rock. The "Ball Power" and "Heavy Metal Kid" albums, both released in 1974, are all-time classics. As a player in The Aztecs, Rose Tattoo and solo, the earlier Wild Cherries and Purple Hearts,
Loyde blew up more amplifiers and sent more people deaf than anyone who followed. As a producer in the 1980's, he was a force behind albums for the Sunnyboys, Painters and Dockers, Machinations and X.
Re-issues of his Coloured Balls albums and Lobby's solo work on the Aztec label re-lit the spotlight in Australia in the '90s. Just Add Water Records is deep into a program of vinyl re-issues, out of Berkeley, California.
They've done a killer job on three singles and an LP re-issue of "The First Supper Last Or Scenes We Didn't Get To See".
We decided to track down label owner JASON DUNCAN and ask him about Just Add Water's mission to re-visit the music of Lobby Loyde, and a select bunch of other similarly-minded rock and roll outsiders.
Depending on which side of the footpath you were on in the Australian 1970s, Sharpies were either misunderstood working class rebels or teenage thugs and bullies.
One Sydney Sharpie who went by the name of Big Victor (name changed to protect the guilty) would wait at suburban railway stations looking for long-haired surfers with the intention of breaking their surf boards and, if need be, a bone or two in the process. The Sharpies in Melbourne may have been different.
This is their soundtrack - ironically of mostly long-haired bands. The only real sharpie bands would have been Lobby Loyde and the Colored Balls and Buster Brown, whose singer Angry Anderson was a sharp. Certainly, Billy Thorpe had a sharpie haircut for while. The music is Australian 1970s pre-punk heavy rock/glam and as a collection that's representative of this era, it is nothing short of excellent.