you am i - The I-94 Bar
Thirty years of The Meanies? Who woulda thunk? The last show of theirs’ I attended probably lasted 30 minutes. While the celebratory tour winds its way around Australia, boutique label Fantastic Mess has dropped this heavyweight Méaniee à Trois on us in a run of 300.
The A side keeps you guessing where it’s going with odd tempo changes. It's a fine slice of freakbeat that works its way into your head and up to a freak-out before skidding to a halt. It’s a long way removed from The Meanies’ early buzzsaw blasts and there are shades of Sun God Replica (Link’s other band) on a sunny day here.
Spencer P Jones is a legend of the Australian music scene.
Spencer P Jones is a damn fine axeman.
Spencer P Jones is loved by all the countless bandmates, scattered across the globe.
Spencer P Jones is a mighty fine songwriter.
Spencer P Jones is loved by all his mates, full stop.
Spencer P Jones is also really unwell.
That's why his mates have gotten together in Melbourne to help him.
Top 10 not in any order:
1) White Stripes –Vault #33 Icky Thump X
Third Man Records Vault only release, 10 year anniversary edition. Includes a wacko coloured vinyl re-press of the double album plus two bonus albums containing all the non-album b-sides and the full demos housed in a way out box. The demos are furious ! Only released for a few months via Third Man Records.
2) Shy Impostors CD (maxi EP/mini album CD)
Unleashed by those God-loving folks at Citadel Records. Seven demos recorded 1980 and now finally after a loving re-mix by Jason Blackwell sound truly fab. The songs, vocals and rough as guts musicianship by these proto legends are gold. Melodic and dirty.
3) Buffalo Revisited gig at Brewtality Festival in Melbourne
Is it truly an honour for me after being a Buffalo fan since 1974 to be playing with their mighty vocalist Dave Tice with some fellow Buffalo maniacs (Troy and Marcus). And to be playing those great songs (a mind melt to learn btw). We hit our cosmic groove at the Brewtality Festival in Melbourne; more to come for sure.
Robbie Harrold photo
One of the album highlights of 2016 was "Demon Blues", the debut release by Perth-based rock-psych-boogie band Datura4.
A quartet led by Stems/DM3 songwriter Dom Mariani and ex-New Christs, You Am I, Bamboos and Monarchs guitarist Greg Hitchcock, With Stu Loasby (bass) and Warren Hall (drums) completing the line-up, Datura4 conjure a heady mix of guitar-raunch 'n' roll and heavy melodic jams - in the tradition of the Colored Balls and Masters Apprentices, yet unlike any other Australian band currently treading the boards.
Their second album "Hairy Mountain" has recently been unleashed by US label Alive Natural Sounds and we chased down Dom Mariani for a brief grilling, ahead of a quick-fire tour of Australia's East Coast.
Best known for her beautiful and classic mid-to-late ‘60s hits including “The First Cut Is The Deepest”, “(If You Think You’re) Groovy” and “Angel of the Morning”, as well as the power chorus of the Small Faces’ iconic hit “Tin Soldier”, PP Arnold is set to undertake her first ever concert tour of Australia.
And she’ll be backed by a super group of super fans in Tim Rogers, Rusty Hopkinson and Andy Kent of You Am I, Talei Wolfgramm and James Black.
The Los Angeles teenager, who became London’s First Lady of Soul after hitting town in 1966 with Ike & Tina Turner and coming to the attention of Mick Jagger, is still going strong. And she’s once again at the right place in the right time, as she has been so often in a career that’s lasted over 50 years.
PP’s tour down under follows the release last year of “The Turning Tide”, an album of unreleased recordings from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, produced by both Barry Gibb and Eric Clapton. It cracked the UK Top 30 upon release, recently made the NZ iTunes Top 20, and has been the subject of many accolades and much airplay since its release.
Although this will be PP’s be first concert tour of these parts, she has previously performed here as a featured singer with Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters in 2002 and 2008. In recent times she has also recorded with Primal Scream, Oasis, Ocean Colour Scene and Paul Weller. She has a voice that other artists love to work with; her first duet was with Rod Stewart on a single produced by Mick Jagger, way back in ’67.
“It’s been a long journey,” laughs PP Arnold down the line from her home in Madrid, as she apologises for a long answer. It's taken us through her days singing in England in the early 1970s, through to a brief reunion with her friend and collaborator Barry Gibb in the United States in the late 1970s and onto to her present-day career, with her continuing to sing professionally, both solo and as a backing singer.
“It’s pretty hard condensing 50 years of your life into a few minutes!”
Patricia Cole - the name PP Arnold was bestowed by photographer Gered Mankowitz in London in 1966 - was born in the Los Angeles suburb of Watts and was an unlikely pop star. Married and with two young children by the age of 17, Cole’s career trajectory commenced when a couple of friends suggested she audition for a vacant spot in the Ike and Tina Review, as one of Ike and Tina’s backing band Ikettes.
The term “jam band” first flashed across my radar in a small bar in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the early ‘00s. It was in a pub called The Eight Ball, underneath the much more famous Blind Pig. I was lucky enough to be sharing a drink with Scott Morgan. (Ooops. I dropped a name.)
“Who’s playing upstairs tonight?”
“Some jam band.”
A PP Arnold show is more than a “gig“, it really is a live performance music history of somebody who has had an extraordinary career as a vocalist since 1964.
Word of the amazing shows in Melbourne had reached Sydney and slowly but surely the room started to fill up (including a front seated section for some of her more mature age fans.)
Whoever assembled her backing band should be congratulated.Thy comprised three-quarters of You Am I who IMHFO don’t get nearly enough credit for being the great musicians they are (Andy Kent should be singled out for really nailing the bass parts), with James Black (the bloke from Rockwiz) and vocalist Talei Wolfgramm joining them.
Sixties soul and Swinging London icon PP Arnold returns to Australia in November and December for more shows with her all star band.
In case you haven't heard, that band would be Tim Rogers, Andy Kent and Russell Hopkinson of You Am I, Talei & Eliza Wolfgramm and James Black, and she'll also play select shows with the Rockwiz Orchestra.
Her recent run through Australia elicitted rave reviews - including this one.
PP Arnold‘s CV includes Ike & Tina Turner, Mick Jagger and Andrew Loog Oldham, The Small Faces, The Nice, Jimi Hendrix, Rod Stewart, Barry Gibb, Eric Clapton, Nick Drake, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, Roger Waters, The KLF, Ocean Colour Scene, Primal Scream, Oasis and Paul Weller.
She was the Los Angeles teenager who became London’s First Lady of Soul after hitting town in 1966 with Ike & Tina Turner and coming to the attention of Mick Jagger.