LET ME TURN YOU ON - Various Artists (Easy Action/Real O Mind)
Compiler Geoff Ginsberg of Real O Mind Records nails it in the opening words of the liner notes when he observes that rock and roll is music for old people, made by old people. Not only is no-one appearing on this collection of 20 songs aged under 30, some have offspring who have been on the planet for longer than three decades. The clattering of canes and rattling of Zimmer frames never sounded so good.
Is this worth springing for? OK, consider the names of some of the artists we'd consider heavyweights and drill down from there: Iggy Pop & The Trolls. Cheetah Chrome (accompanied by Sweet Justice), The 31st, The Dictators, The Scientists, Chris Masuak with Scott Morgan, Johnny Casino's Easy Action and Deniz Tek. All contributing a previously unheard or hard-to-find track. Also playing, and not just making up the numbers, are the likes of Steve Wynn, Leadfinger and The Blue Chieftains. Something for everyone, right?
It's the rarities that will get your attention so let's explain. The 31st was a Brisbane band made up of future members of Hoodoo Gurus, the Screaming Tribesmen and Died Pretty. "Real Gone" is a demo, scarcely heard by many and never officially released, and is just one of the gems on offer.
"Baby You're Not For Sale" is a 1978 studio recording by the first line-up of The Scientists that belies their powerpop reputation and replaces it with rock solid raunch. A 10-minute firefight that not one of the band members possessed.
"Loser Mentality" may be the most unusual song committed to tape by The Dictators, usurping Handsome Dick Manitoba's place at centre mic for female vocalist Patti Rothberg to trade lines with Andy Shernoff. I'd heard this pre "DFFD" recording years ago and had forgotten it but it will be new to most ears.
As for pairings, there's a skittering "Smith & Wesson Blues" that links Deniz Tek with Powertrane in the live setting and Powertrane/Sonics Rendeazvoud Band/Rationals singer Scott Morgan adds his studio vocals to Chris Masuak's "Original Sin" (originally put out by I-94 Bar Records.) Cheetah Chrome went not to issue a different version of the tough-as-teak instro' "Big Cat Stomp" with Batusis (his collaboration with Sylvain Sylvain), but this raucous take is with California's Sweet Justice. Ex-Flamin' Groovies guitarist Mike Willhelm gravely intones with Johnny Casino's Easy Action behind him on the regal "It Ain't Rain".
Speaking of Sweet Jusitce, their version of Alex Harvey's "Midnight Moses" summons up the sort of raunch that hasn't been heard since Roddy Ray'da put out his own version in Australia many eons ago.
Half the fun of a compilation like this is uncovering bands you'd only heard of but not heard. Lump Philadelphia's The Original Sins with their steamy "Let Me Turn You On" and New Jersey's Pink Slip Daddy ("LSD") in that category.
The (Bailey) Saints' "Just Like Fire Would" has been a highlight of Leadfinger sets in Australia for some years. The recorded version that didn't make it to album holds up well.
"All Because Of You" is a formative years song from Detroiit's wonderful Rockets that somehow never made it to record. Masterful drummer Johnny Bee is behind the mic for this soulful keeper with Jim McCarty laying down the licks. If you ever see one of their LPs, buy it.