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AYERS ROCK

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Australia


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Ayers Rock biography
Inspired by TRAFFIC, SANTANA and WEATHER REPORT, AYERS ROCK were a leading Australian jazz-rock band back in the 70's. The 5-piece set built their reputation on solid musicianship and complex arrangements and were the first Aussies to play to massive crowds on the US touring circuit, predating The LITTLE RIVER BAND, AC/DC, AIR SUPPLY, MEN AT WORK and INXS. They made two albums before splitting up in 1976, then the band's two vocalists and guitar players reformed again in the early 80's, with the help of new musicians, to record a third album.

Taped live in Melbourne over two nights in September 1974, their first album, "Big Red Rock", is made up of rather bluesy, rock-based songs with sax and flute that give it a slight jazzy feel. Their second album, "Beyond" (1976", however, is a different kind of beast. Here, the band goes for a much more fusion feel, with great drumming and strong vocals. However, it is not altogether a very even album as the band seems bent on balancing fusion elements with more accessible rock songs; the few fusion tracks contained are still worth a listen. The band's third album, "Hotspell" (1980) is unfortunately impossible to come by and can therefore not be rated (no photo available).

Not overly progressive but still worth checking out, the band's second album "Beyond" is their best and should appeal mostly to fans of the MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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beyond LPbeyond LP
A&M
Vinyl$14.00 (used)
big red rock LPbig red rock LP
A&M
Vinyl$30.00 (used)
lady montego / mono 45 rpm singlelady montego / mono 45 rpm single
A&M
Vinyl$14.95 (used)
Lady Montego 7 Inch (7Lady Montego 7 Inch (7" Vinyl 45) US A&M 1974
A&m
Vinyl$13.84 (used)
song for darwin / mono 45 rpm singlesong for darwin / mono 45 rpm single
A&M
Vinyl$6.00 (used)
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AYERS ROCK Hot Spell LP Aussie Prog/Fusion Near MInt US $79.05 Buy It Now 4 days
AYERS ROCK beyond LP VG+ SP 4565 Vinyl 1976 Record US $15.75 Buy It Now 5 days
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AYERS ROCK discography


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AYERS ROCK top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.62 | 13 ratings
Beyond
1976
3.05 | 3 ratings
Hotspell
1980

AYERS ROCK Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.98 | 8 ratings
Big Red Rock
1974

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AYERS ROCK Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

AYERS ROCK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Beyond by AYERS ROCK album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.62 | 13 ratings

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Beyond
Ayers Rock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Suedevanshoe

4 stars Fun, worthwhile listening for the fusion crowd. Due to the presence of a number of AOR oriented tracks, this could be a good introduction to the neophyte fusioneer. The opener and the closer are smoking hot fusion featuring rapid tempo and mood changes and dynamic interplay between the rhythm section and the guitar, flute, sax, and other winds.

I'm giving it 4+ in my personal collection. The uneven nature and the collective styles incorporated within the album give it a certain charm, sort of like on the Stones' Sticky Fingers. I'd never heard an Australian fusion album from the golden age, and this spin is worth it. I looked up the musicians on this project, these guys proved the chops they show on this gem are for real. A cool cover rounds out a nice obscure set.

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 Beyond by AYERS ROCK album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.62 | 13 ratings

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Beyond
Ayers Rock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Ayers Rock came to my attention back in the 70s when I was listening to Skyhooks. The inner cover of "Ego is not a dirty word" had a number of album covers listed as a form of promotion for Mushroom labels, and the iconic image of Ayers Rock on the cover was always something that made me wonder what this band would sound like. Interestingly enough the EP "Big Red Rock" is actually a live album with very rocked up songs sounding nothing like the work on this debut album release. The music on "Beyond" is more jazz fusion, and instrumentals abound, though at times it verges back to the straight forward sound of "Big Red Rock".

The album begins with ethereal atmospherics on 'Moondah (Beyond)' that relies heavily on Col Loughlan's keyboard skills and woodwind. The aboriginal sounds are prevalent using clicking sticks and a didgeridoo droning effect. It breaks into beautiful guitar and keyboard melodies, with chimes and strong percussion. It is a delightful melody and very original sound, and allows for lengthy twin guitar solos using wah wah pedal and tremolo bar. The sax lends a nice jazz edge along with the rocking tempo.

'A Place To Go' features a moderate tempo and a sax melody, and the vocals at last come in. The smooth approach is welcome and sounds a bit bluesy in style. The string section is beautiful on this giving it a symphonic quality. The sound is akin to Santana with the cool guitar solos and breezy tempos. 'Catchanemu' is a showcase for percussionist Mark Kennedy, using a full on drum attack. The sax sounds are prominent and powerfully played by Col. The lead guitar playing is like Carlos Santana, soaring and emotional throughout.

'Song For Darwin' is dedicated to the victims and survivors of the devastating Cyclone Tracey that hit Darwin in 1975 and left thousands homeless just prior to Christmas. The disaster is one of the worst in Australian history and it is nice to hear a song dedicated to the catastrophic event, and this is better than the more popular at the time 'Santa Never Made It Into Darwin'. 'Angel In Disguise' is another instrumental that begins with chimes and sparse piano. It builds with gorgeous violin strings, harps and a full symphonic sound of transfixing beauty. Guitar swells and cymbal splashes add to the light textures. A steady bass sig locks in with a lovely lead guitar solo and spacey keyboard squelches. A very relaxing piece of music is the result, and definitely shows what the band were capable of. It builds to a nice fast tempo and some extreme wah wah guitar finesse.

'Little Kings' finishes the album with a rock song, sounding like Traffic, that is uncharacteristic of the music previous. It certainly wakes you up after the beauty preceding and is a decent way to close things off. I like the sax on this and it has an infectious chorus melody.

Overall this is a solid album from Ayers Rock, though is uneven and inconsistent in terms of the musical approach. Rather than sticking to one style it tends to veer into some odd songs that ruin the overall feel of the album. In any case it is worth seeking out as there is some fine music here and it is a prime example of 70s jazz fusion, and perhaps Ayers Rock's finest recording.

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 Beyond by AYERS ROCK album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.62 | 13 ratings

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Beyond
Ayers Rock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sl75

4 stars On this album the jazz fusion influence was much more overt, employing the much more sophisticated harmonic language of jazz and greater melodic effort, less reliance on blues scale, and greater prominence to Col Loughnan's winds and keyboards. There is still a commercial side to the band, on tracks like "Little Kings" and the Cyclone Tracey tribute "Song For Darwin" - although the latter has a somewhat crazy introduction, I'm guessing intended as a representation of the cyclone. You may not have believed it possible, but Mark Kennedy's drumming has gotten even better, more rhythmically fluid and inventive, shown to particularly good effect in tracks like "Catchanemu". A string section adds to the quality of "A Place To Go', though their reappearance at the beginning of "Angel In Disguise" is somewhat schmaltzy. A welcome progression from their first album.

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 Big Red Rock by AYERS ROCK album cover Live, 1974
3.98 | 8 ratings

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Big Red Rock
Ayers Rock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sl75

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!)

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 Big Red Rock by AYERS ROCK album cover Live, 1974
3.98 | 8 ratings

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Big Red Rock
Ayers Rock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator 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).

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 Beyond by AYERS ROCK album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.62 | 13 ratings

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Beyond
Ayers Rock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

3 stars This is another LP I have that still has a one dollar price sticker from the used record store. The things other people discard.

The descriptions here comparing this band to Santana and Traffic are right on the money. I wouldn't go as far as comparing them to The Mahavishnu Orchestra, but I hear where that's coming from.

The first song, Moondah, right off, falls right between Santana's rhythmic jams, and Traffics smooth rock sound. Place To Go, a slow vocal tune has some fusion aspects, and sort of reminds me of some of Stanley Clarke's early vocal fusion. Catchan Emu is a fast funky tune, where many of the Mahavishnu comarisons come from. While good, this is nowhere near as good as McLauhlin and friends.

Song For Darwin starts with a weird, almost orchestral intro, before settling into a Santana-like vocal arrangement. Angel In Disguise has a schmaltzty string intro, then becomes a nice slow fusion piece which segues into fast funk. Little Kings is a short, jazzy funk vocal tune.

I can understand why this band is so obscure. But for what they are, they are not bad.

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 Beyond by AYERS ROCK album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.62 | 13 ratings

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Beyond
Ayers Rock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by AmericanProgster

5 stars Wow! Was the first thing I said when I listened to Beyond. Before Ayers Rock the only Jazz Fusion I ever listened to, or heard for that matter, were bands like Return to Forever, as music like this is not easily accessible where I live.

This album is just amazing, and along with Crossfire's (fellow Aussie jazz rockers) 1975 debut simply make up the best jazz rock/fusion to come out of Australia/New Zealand and most of the world for that matter.

I honestly give this album 5 stars for Ayers Rock's music is so creative and many times different from their pears. So go pick yourself up a copy of Big Red Rock and Beyond!

-AP

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 Hotspell by AYERS ROCK album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.05 | 3 ratings

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Hotspell
Ayers Rock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by AmericanProgster

3 stars Ayers Rock were an excellent jazz rock/fusion band, simply one of the best to come out of the Australia/New Zealand area. Their second album Beyond is all the evidence one needs to validate the above statement.

Now when I first got Hot Spell I was, like the previous commenter RobyB, very excited to give this baby a spin. There was a let down on the first listen, but the album really does grow on you.

In my opinion this album's problem is that it sounds too much like early Santana at times. Its not necessarily a bad thing, theres just no comparison to their first two albums.

Overall, its a great album with a lot more Santana influences and any Ayers Rock fans will still find it enjoyable. 3 Stars.

-AP

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 Big Red Rock by AYERS ROCK album cover Live, 1974
3.98 | 8 ratings

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Big Red Rock
Ayers Rock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by ole chicka

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.

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 Hotspell by AYERS ROCK album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.05 | 3 ratings

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Hotspell
Ayers Rock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by RobyB

3 stars Hotspell i believe to be a solid album with great songs and with some excellent playing but they were not the same band anymore. I was disapointed when i first bought this album, but grew to really like it because even though they didn't follow the same path as before, they still showed their class on this album.

I would say they remind me of Doobie Brothers when Michael McDonald was in the band, because Andy Cowan sounded almost exactly the same as a vocalist. (Same voice and vocal mannerisms i feel). Not necessarily a bad thing but it altered the band style enormously when he sang lead vocal. With this album i suppose they removed themselves from being anything close to jazz/rock, and definitely prog. (If they ever were?)

I would recommend it as a very good album by a great band. Unfortunately, you will probably never find a copy to judge for yourself. As an independant release by the band, (incidently engineered by former bass member Duncan McGuire) it would have to be considered extremely rare today!

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