By the early 1970s, the "Scream Years" of Australian pop music had subsided and new, louder, heavier bands were stripping away old inhibitions and going back to their roots in order to look to the future. Ball Power appeared in December 1973 as the local scene was truly starting to find its own identity. Nonetheless the Balls' brand of heavy rock and cosmic blues was harder, faster and more influential than anything else that year. There was much passion, integrity, aggression and experimentation all rolled into one driving focus and flying in the face of mainstream conformity. Local guitar god Lobby Loyde was in scintillating form throughout, his heavy riffs and blinding leads particularly tasty. And I love the way the rest of the band responded in kind, rocking hard and steady in the manner of the MC5 or the Pink Fairies. The songs are all excellent in their own way, yet 'Human Being' in particular remains a defining moment in the history of Aussie rock and one of the most powerful performances of the day. It also poses the crucial existential question: "Mama, what is a human being?" Irrespective of the existentialist angle, however, this is hard edged progressive rock bursting with street-level, proto-punk energy; surely one of the great power drive trips of all time. The marriage of melodic toughness and electric blues guitar crunch goes a long way in validating this record's true greatness. No wonder the band called it Ball Power...
So for now, listen to this prime slice of Aussie rock with unbiased ears and be prepared for an aural treat. The sound is phenomenal, and short of a complete in-concert recording of the band in full flight it provides vast insight into the Coloured Balls' enduring power. Ian McFarlane (Author of The Encyclopedia of Australian Rock & Pop, pub. 1999) . Deluxe vinyl cut, super heavy tip on textured gatefold sleeve, this is essential for any fan of guitar music!
Bio / History: The year was 1975 and we started The McElroy Bros. Band. We found a treasure trove of fans when we played towns and cities in the Green Mountain state of Vermont such as Middlebury, Montpelier, Burlington, Bristol and St. Albans. All along we were writing our original material and sharing our creations with these very loyal fans. By 1977, just two years later, by popular demand from our fans we decided to cut our LP. Enter Mr. James Starbuck from Paja's Studio across Lake Champlain in Westport, NY. He was an avid fan of ours as well and caught our act many times in Burlington at such clubs as Nectors, The Silver Keg, and The Sting. We approached him that Fall of '77 and set a date in September. Taking our van and equipment across Lake Champlain on the ferry we arrived at Westport, NY. We got busy the very next day and recorded all the rhythm tracks of all the songs which consisted of the Hammond organ, bass pedals, and the drums. Now this studio is a barn – not just any old barn! It was posh and done up so you couldn't believe you were in a barn. It had multi-levels with a grand piano, a drum booth and a gallery area on the third level where Starbuck had his two 8-track reel to reels for his recording station. The following 4 days were for layering tracks such as acoustic guitar, extra drums and the electric Wurlitzer piano, Poly Korg for clavinet and such heavy lead sounds, the Elka for orchestral strings and our mini Korg/Univox for anthem sustained leads to penny whistle sounds. Last day being the 6th day we sang all the songs using one condenser mike as we stood opposite one another. Many memorable times within those 6 days at Paja's Studios: to mention just one, the last day, consuming plenty of effervescing beer and funny ciggies as we sang our songs to the creation of The McElroy Bros. Can't You See Me Smilin' project. Today we sing these songs today as The Fab2 along with a catalogue of many other original songs. Enjoy and thank you! -Brian and Bruce TheFab2.com
Bio / History: 14th June, 1975. It was a studio, a proper studio - just like the ones the proper bands recorded in. At least, it was the nearest I’d ever been to one and now my band Sleaze, that had so far had to make do with playing support slots at local clubs and discos - as well as the occasional “headline” gig in local school halls - was about to record some of our songs, just like a proper band. Torquay in the mid seventies was not the easiest place and time to have a band, particularly a band that performed all its own material. The only group that anyone knew who’d ever made it out of this tourist backwater in the South West of England to any kind of international success was a rock band called Wishbone Ash, and the local audiences wanted to boogie away their evenings to music like that - or live bands playing covers of Status Quo or Free - not us, with our peculiar lengthy songs that sounded like a crossover between glam à la Bowie or Cockney Rebel and prog bands like Genesis or Van Der Graaf Generator. Around these parts, such pretensions were frowned upon. But here we were, determined to get our music down on record whether anyone was interested or not. The family of our rhythm guitarist owned a large house in nearby Newton Abbot and for the preceding months had tolerated us taking over their music room for regular rehearsals. We were tight, we’d played a few gigs and now it was time to make a record. I’d spotted an advert in the local paper for a recording studio in Torquay being run by an ex-BBC engineer that looked like it could be what we needed. Even better, the studio could be hired for just a short period rather than a whole day, which made it just about affordable. We set up our equipment, the engineer placed the microphones and recorded a few minutes to check the sound, then we put the whole album straight onto tape, song by song, playing live with no overdubs. Two hours recording time, twenty pounds for the lot, plus another half hour for the engineer’s time splicing the tracks together, and the price of the two reels of tape. All in all, the Sleaze album cost the princely sum of £38.88. We went on to press up fifty copies onto vinyl, most of which we gave away to family and friends. If we’d been a bit more savvy, we might have pressed more copies and tried to sell them at gigs, although as it turned out the band wasn’t to play many more of those. To be honest, we knew that this record was to be more of a swan song than the launch of a career. I’d gone to Torquay Polytechnic at the end of summer 1974, straight out of school, to take a year-long Art Foundation course and had been spending most of my time forming and playing with Sleaze rather than doing the course work, but the fact was that the college year was nearing the end, and soon the individual band members would be going their separate ways. In addition, I’d met a new girlfriend in the art department and not only did she have the same Iggy and New York Dolls records in her collection as I did, she’d shown an interest in learning bass guitar and wanted me to teach her. Within a year we’d moved to London together and started rehearsing a new band, she’d changed her name to Gaye Advert...and the rest is history. I was no longer a solitary musical rebel pushing against a door that refused to budge. I was one of a multitude of rebels who felt the same way I did. This record is the sound of that rebellion trying to find its way, the door creaking against its hinges - a year before punk exploded, the door finally blew open and the music scene changed forever. TV Smith 2012
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