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16 Jan 2017

Buffalo “Dead Forever”1972 Australia Hard Rock

Buffalo “Dead Forever”1972 Australia  Hard Rock
watch interview by psychedelic baby…
Upon release in 1972, Vertigo Records proclaimed, "Dead Forever is better in quality, production and music-wise than Black Sabbath's Vol. 4." While hyperbolic marketing is nothing new, this statement is largely misguided, unfair to the band, and generally misrepresentative of Buffalo's powers. The mighty Sabbath are their most obvious influence, but for the most part they're better when attempting something other than primal heavy metal. The record opens with a satisfyingly dreamy, otherworldly tone that recalls post-Barrett Pink Floyd (oddly, they don't explore this style further), before making an abrupt and clumsy segue into Sabbath land, sounding like awkward teenagers struggling to emulate their heroes. But Buffalo is more accomplished than that, and they quickly prove it with "Suzy Sunshine," a cloudless blues-rock number that possesses a vocal closely resembling one Ozzy Osbourne -- minus the doom-and-gloom. Guitarist John Baxter's talent becomes apparent here as well, an impression confirmed with his tasteful, Hendrix-inspired intro for "Pay My Dues." This Blues Image cover later features a nice trade-off between the two lead vocalists (yes there are two, yet neither plays an instrument), and during Free's "I'm a Mover" one or both of the vocalists hit high notes that would do any metal fan proud. "Ballad of Irving Fink" is a near-glam boogie rock tune with more fine vocalizing, and "Bean Stew" finds the group at the crossroads of late-'60s garage and early-'70s hard rock. A definite highlight. "Forrest Rain" is another detour, this one a moody, melancholy piece with a light psychedelic soundtrack and an Ozzy-like lyrical honesty. But the whole album seems like a warm-up when the awesome title track appears, a wobble-inducing Black Sabbath homage where the unit beams despite the morbid subject manner (led by Baxter, who really gives Tony Iommi a run for his money), and appears worthy of the extravagant publicity...... by Bart Bealmear........

Buffalo were the great unsung act of Aussie hard rock back in the low to mid-‘70s. Their original Vertigo-issued vinyls are insanely expensive collector’s items and all manner of CD reissue, most of dodgy legal status, have occurred through the years. Now home country label Aztec has done a splendid, authorized job of reissuing the hirsute gang’s caveman distortions. Dead Forever is the ’72 debut and shows a band that is a bit wobbly, as well as unsure if they are a hard blues act, psych, or riff rock. Two covers (from Free and Blues Image) add to six originals, and a fuzzed-out crusty time is had by all. It all sounds a bit like Cream meets Budgie from the first two, with the closing title track being the chunkiest of the batch. The digi packaging rules completely, with a big-ass booklet stuffed with liner notes and rare pictures (hell, everything is rare about these guys). There are also five bonus tracks, two by pre-Buffalo band Head (one heavy psych, one harrowing light psych), and three non-LP single tracks, all of which are rote boogie woogie numbers (two covers, one original). But the original album is an amusing if obscure good time, Buffalo being the base, ground zero, rude ‘n’ crude establishing force for the hard boogie rock Australia would become known for through the international success of The Angels, Heaven, Rose Tattoo and…one other, the name escapes me. Note: this is the third of Aztec’s reissue program, with all five Buffalo albums eventually on plate, Volcanic Rock (’73) and Only Want You For Your Body (’74) arguably being the dirt rock classics.............

Just look at that sleeve: a solarised skull with a carved-up zomboid putrefaction-action figure malevolently staring out through the eye socket. Then there’s that title, Dead Forever…; and that band shot inside the gatefold, depicting them serenading stiffs in a graveyard. You would be forgiven for surmising that Buffalo were Australia’s answer to Black Sabbath.
Well, they weren’t, really. Despite a shared interest in agreeably sludgy riffing in E minor – as on this album’s opening track, Leader – Buffalo were a cheerier proposition, much given to thick-eared ribaldry in a Piltdown Man vein (witness career lowlight I’m A Skirt Lifter, Not A Shirt Raiser). Dead Forever… is the band’s debut album, a much sought-after item in its original 1972 Vertigo label incarnation, and a fine example of cap-sleeved, high-waisted, platform-brogued pub-rock slurry (covers of Free’s I’m a Mover and The Blues Image’s Pay My Dues indicate where their heads were at). Buffalo’s chief selling point was the fact that they had two vocalists, Dave Tice and Alan Milano, but they rarely essayed anything as effete as harmonies, preferring unison shouts in a Glitter Band vein. Entertainingly, one or other will periodically leap into falsetto with the startling suddenness of an unsolicited kick in the balls...Record Collector magazine......

I remember when I first bought this album. It would have been around 1974 or '75 on my first visit to Sydney's famous Ashwoods Records in Pitt Street (RIP). Being a poor high school student, the idea of cheap second-hand albums was cool beyond words! For about $2-3 each I scored Slade "Slayed", "Black Sabbath Vol 4" and, of course, Buffalo’s debut LP "Dead Forever".

I remember thinking the cover was very evil ..and that these guys were proberly worshippers of some sick Satanic cult! There's even a photo on the inside gate- fold of the band (complete with Amps and P.A) playing a gig in a graveyard. Having said that, I'm sure the boys had good religious beliefs (while still enjoying the indulgences of non-prescription medications and having “relations" with young ladies to whom they were not married)

Now, over 30 years later, Aztec Music has reissued this proto-stoner gem. This is a great crunching 1972 heavy rock album which still wipes the floor with its contemporaries. The interesting thing about this line-up of Buffalo is that the band had two lead vocalists, however this was not uncommon for the time (think the Mamas and the Pappas, Blood Sweat and Tears and the aura of the Beatles, which was still lurking around).

The opening track “Leader” kicks off very doomily, with a droning acoustic guitar and vocals before building into a frantic heavy metal ending! “You...yes YOU are the Leader”. Very way out (man).

"Suzi Sunshine" was an early hit single for the band is a great piece of heavy melodic rock with some neat slide guitar from John Baxter. Two cover versions follow, Blues Images’ "Pay My Dues" (which shows the band's early progressive hippy roots) and a 10-minute version of Free's "I’m a Mover" which starts off faithful to the original but quickly builds into some manic jamming rivalling the Stooges and The MC5 ! I can imagine this track hitting the 30 minute mark in a live setting.

A few of the tracks following this have a distinctively heavy, progressive "San Francisco-meets-Quicksilver-Messenger-Service" vibe before returning with some powerful riff-o-mania rockin' on the five-minute title track, which again shows Buffalo's ability to do some great jamming (no doubt picked up from playing countless shows around the Sydney Town hall dances and nightclub scene)

Bonus tracks include some early 7" inch cover version B-sides which more than anything display the bands early high energy rhythm and blues/rock 'n' roll roots. Also included is an ultra rare early pre–Buffalo 1971 single by the band Head (featuring three members of Buffalo in Tice, Baxter and Wells) which reminds me of Eric Burdon and The Animals or early Cream

As with all Aztec releases this re-release comes a great 22 page colour booklet featuring some jaw-dropping early photos, gig posters and magazine adverts. The early photo of Dave Tice and Pete Wells in 1967 looking very Carnaby Street is worth the cost of the album alone.
by Steve Danno-Lorkin.............

*Dave Tice - Lead Vocals
*Alan Milano - Lead Vocals
*Peter Wells - Bass
*John Baxter - Guitar
*Paul Balbi - Drums

1. Leader (Tice, Baxter, Wells) - 6:03
2. Suzie Sunshine (Brett, Baxter) - 2:53
3. Pay My Dues (Lala, Pinera) - 5:34
4. I'm A Mover (Rodgers, Fraser) - 10:46
5. Ballad Of Irving Fink (Milano, Baxter) - 4:30
6. Bean Stew (Tice, Baxter) - 7:05
7. Forest Rain (Tice, Baxter) - 6:30
8. Dead Forever (Tice, Baxter) - 5:39
9. Hobo (Recording By Head) (Tice, Baxter) - 2:48
10.Sad Song, Then (Recording By Head) (Baxter) - 2:37
11.No Particular Place To Go (Chuck Berry) - 4:53
12.Just A Little Rock And Roll (A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues) (Terry Thompson) - 2:24
13.Barbershop Rock (Baxter) - 5:07

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





Cassete Deck

Cassete Deck