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Ayers Rock - Big Red Rock CD (album) cover


Ayers Rock

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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4 stars AYERS ROCK - BIG RED ROCK Well - surprise, surprise - another great band & slice of Aussie rock heritage dumped by the major record labels. AUSTRALIAN record labels! This album, along with other classics by Oz bands such as Dragon & Sebastian Hardie is now virtually unobtainable.

It's a great album too, pervaded by consumate musicianship, verve & humour. From the first track, Lady Montego, the album just soars, covering the whole gamut of rock, blues & the odd funky jazz excursion. I am one of the lucky few since I own a vinyl copy purchased in the seventies, which I have since transfered digitally to CD.

I don't know why there is'nt a consortium of Oz musicians who actively promote & distribute their music independantly. A cool website & a little promotion is all that should be required, since there must be a lot of Oz music fans out there like me, just yearning to get their hands on a few legendary classics like Big Red Rock.


Report this review (#71163)
Posted Sunday, March 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Both Big Red Rock and Beyond are available on CD, and have for some time. I especially like the Big Red Rock production. The quality of the CD is exceptional. Considering it is the earlier release i was surprised that it has such great production standards compared to Beyond which was recorded in the USA. They were truly a great live band. Big Red Rock was actually a live recording in a studio. I think a little was overdubbed, but mostly it was the band live.

Boogie Woogie Waltz demonstrates Ayers Rock having probably one of the best rhythm sections i can think of. The interplay on that piece is phenomenal and i've never gotten tired listening to it. The head of steam and groove they achieve on that song is alone worth the purchase.

By the way there was a third album, Hotspell. By the time of that album they were practically a different band. Hotspell showed Ayers Rock as a more "commercial" band. With a new member, Andy Cowan on vocals and keyboards and composition, they reminded me of Doobie Brothers circa Minute by Minute. Still a very good album, but incredibly rare. It was released on their own label, Red Rock Music (through RCA). It didn't do well at all, with hardly any promotion etc. I'll try and include it on the discography if i can.

Report this review (#74048)
Posted Tuesday, April 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars My sons recently asked me what were the 70s really like musically.I went to my vinyl collection looking for an album that would answer their question as i saw it.I remembered that there were 2 levels of australian rock back then.The commercial radio airplay version and the underground, the type yer older brothers mates listened to. It was a no brainer .Big Red Rock is the album that says it all.I first heard "Get out to the country" on double jay late 75 and looked up Ram magazine to find they were playing a sunday afternoon gig at the Bondi Lifesaver in Sydney that week.Watching Mark Kennedy set up that brass drum kit was enough to cement my love of drums for life.I later find that this gig was the first they played since returning from a sucessful tour in the states promoting Beyond. They opened with "Little Kings" and finished the set with "Boogie Woogie waltz". I was on my own listening to a band that I felt I had discovered this band myself.I went out after the weekend to possess "Big Red Rock". I remember coming home and listening to the album in it's entirety via headphones and just being transported into a mindset that was larger and more sophisticated than myself. Each track has a structure and basic arrangement but you can be swept up in the improvisation that you learn after witnessing a few performances and then referencing the album.Listen to the rhythmic interchange between Duncan Maguire on bass and Mark Kennedy on drums.The Australian vocals of Chris Brown and the melodic sophistication of Jimmie Doyle on guitar.This album was recorded live in the studio,something most bands these days would not dare attempt. For as long as I live this album has the ability to transport me back to a time where Australian rock had it's own unique voice.
Report this review (#80905)
Posted Sunday, June 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Australian band's Ayers Rock debut album was recorded live, but the sound quality is excellent! As it often happens with marginal prog markets, even if this album was recorded in 1974, it sounds more as US band from 1969-70.

The music on this album is mostly slightly psychedelic blues-rock with some jazz-rock elements. Album's opener "Lady Montego" is melodic and energetic song mixing blues rock, sax and CCR influences. Vocals are really strong and have some John Fogherty timbres. "Talkin' 'Bout You" is another bluesy rocker with plenty of sax. The sound could be compared with early "Bad Company" american version with plenty of sax added.

"Goin' Home" is r'n'b composition influenced by "Status Quo". As on all previous songs, music is not very original, but nicely played and very inspired.

"Crazy Boys" is first really jazz-rock song, but it sounds as excellent Frank Zappa's early material copy ( even Frank's vocals is perfectly imitated!). From musical side, this song demonstrates great band's musicians musicianship and includes long psychedelic soloings. Possibly, it is the best album's composition.

"Nostalgic Blues" is not a blues at all, but the composition in a vein of early Allman Brothers. Not very memorable though, with long guitar soloing just to fill the space."Big Red Rock" is nice jazz-rock instrumental, still with accent on more bluesy side.

"Boogie Woogie Waltz" is the only non-original album's composition ( written by Joe Zawinul). Band plays it on their own manner and it sounds as bluesy funk. Not bad at all!

"Get Out to the Country", the last album's composition, is almost heavy blues-rock one, with BS & T - like sound and vocals (less brass, more heavy guitar).

In all great early bluesy jazz-rock album, not very original, but extremely inspired and energetic. Really recommended for all early bluesy jazz-rock fans (but possibly too obscure to be wide popular).

Report this review (#291942)
Posted Monday, July 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars The band's jazz influences aren't that overt on this album, even during the Joe Zawinul cover; mostly in their approach to instrumental sections, which is generally to lock on to a strong groove and improvise away, with the focus on the rhythmic drive rather than harmonic or melodic invention. An excellent rhythm section is necessary to make this approach work, and Ayers Rock had arguably the best rhythm section in the country in Mark Kennedy and Duncan McGuire, by this time up to their fifth band in a row working together (having previously driven Doug Parkinson In Focus, King Harvest, Friends, and McGuire Kennedy & Burton). Their front line are all good musicians too, but the soloing is not earth-shattering, being mostly blues-based. The album contains a number of shorter, more commercial songs, mostly written by McGuire - the single "Lady Montego" is the best of them, having a slightly more interesting harmonic language. "Big Red Rock" and their cover of "Boogie Woogie Waltz" are completely instrumental, as is most of the "Crazy Boys" (which is reminiscent of Zappa's more straightforward 70s work). The final "Get Out To The Country" is probably the most exciting number. I'm torn about the rating - either a very high 3 stars or a low 4 stars. (I've already changed it twice!)
Report this review (#724472)
Posted Thursday, April 12, 2012 | Review Permalink

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