I thought I’d take a unique approach to this year’s Top 10 by actually listing my top music highlights of the year which didn’t involve myself.
So you won’t be reading about my killer gig with the mighty Buffalo “Revisited” at the Bald Faced Stag in Sydney, where we performed the astoundingly cool Buffalo album "Volcanic Rock" from top to toe to celebrate the record's 40 years in existence.
You also won’t be reading about the one and only show by The Four Stooges at the Marrickville Bowlo that was in a word “devastating“.
Also you won’t be hearing about The Cool Chambers who struggled against a few odds in finishing recording and mixing our super duper originals for a planned release in 2019...nope...no...none of that rubbish.
But you will read my Top 10...that has in fact become an explosive hits Top 20 (not in order):
1) Pink Floyd The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, Record Store Day Mono re-issue. This sounds as great as I’d always suspected (having never heard a proper mono mix). It’s punchy and dynamic! Psychedelic being invented for many.
2) Amyl and the Sniffers LP Big Attraction/ Giddy Up - real punky rock - see my review on I94bar somewhere and go and see them play a show...the kids are alright
3) Mark Taylor 2 x 7”. If only more records were like this. Lipstick Killers, Psycho Surgeons guitar destroyer steps out front with a really brilliant double 7” with insane packaging, great songs and playing.
4) New Christs at the Marrickville Bowlo. Great band, great sound. Still explosive.
5) Bikini Kill - The Singles LP. Finally out on vinyl. The later day BK 7”s on one record...real punky rock #2!
6) John Foy book - Snaps Crack Pop. John is a true rock and roll dude be it his artworks, music fandom or his time challenging the biz with his Redeye label, his book tells his tale with words and pictures. Keep well John.
2018 was a shit year but with some amazing gigs intertwined.
We have a sub-culture, in which fragments of our past local music scene survive from a time that was exciting (as Damian Lovelock said) “as England in 1966 or NYC in 1975”.
The folk who peruse and read this website are either musicians, sound engineers writers or rock pigs mostly from a by-gone era. Generally, a generation that was made of weekly trips for vinyl hunts on Sydney's Pitt Street, in particular Ashwood’s and independent record shops like Phantom and The Record Plant. A generation that had subscriptions to RAM Magazine, or Rolling Stone and read fanzines.
Our world was pre-gaming, home computers, no Netflix, no Internet, no YouTube. What mattered was music, and it was our obsession. We were playing in bands, producing bands, writing about music, collecting vinyl records before the hipsters made it expensive.
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.
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.