Sunday, 5 November 2017

Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs “Live At Sunbury” 1972 2 LP`s Australia Hard Boogie Rock


Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs “Live At Sunbury” 1972  2 LP`s Australia  Hard Boogie Rock
Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs “Mamma” (Full Version) 1972 Live Sunbury Australia
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Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs “Mamma” 1972 

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Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs - Most people I know think that i’m crazy (Sunbury 1972) 

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Originally recorded at the historic Sunbury Music Festival on Australia Day 1972, by the loudest, hairiest, blues-rock band our country has ever known, Live at Sunbury sold 80,000 copies when first released. This deluxe reissue (digitally remastered, digi-pak, liner notes by noted Australian Rock author Ian McFarlane and a 16 page booklet with many rare photos) is a classic slab of rock history that every Australian home should have. 

The power of the Aztecs was rarely captured in the studio and this is a reminder why the band was so popular - Includes two terrific Thorpe/Morgan compositions; ‘Time To Live’ and 'Momma’, along with crowd faves 'Ooh Poo Pah Doo’ and 'C C Rider’ and Thorpie’s number one classic 'most people I Know Think That I’m Crazy’…


Much as 1972’s inaugural Sunbury Festival came to be regarded as one of the definitive moments in Australian rock & roll (often referred to as Australia’s Woodstock), so too did Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs’ double-vinyl documentation of their blistering headline set arguably prove to be the crowning achievement of their career. A veteran of Australia’s first wave of ‘60s pop and beat groups, the English-born Thorpe had already scored numerous hits while leading different variations of his Aztecs, but it was in front of Sunbury’s 35,000-strong congregation that his reinvention as scruffy, electrified, blues-rock shaman was crystallized, leaving a younger generation of listeners with mouths agape, eyes bulging, and ears bleeding. In no uncertain terms, this was a take-no-prisoners assault upon the stage, and after “softening” them up with an urgent “C.C. Rider” and a swinging “Be Bop a Lula,” Thorpie and his merry men really let ‘em have it with his self-penned wild man rave-up, “Momma,” a grimacing showcase not only for his powerhouse voice but also his sizzling fretwork (one can almost see Angus Young taking notes in the crowd). Next up was a slightly more subdued romp through the B.B. King blues standard, “Rock Me Baby” (where Bruce Howard’s piano work really shone through), followed by the band’s current hit single, “Most People I Know (Think I’m Crazy),” with its infectious folk-rock chorus punctuated by additional solo guitar bursts, and then the closest the Aztecs ever came to hippie dippie sentimentality in the slow grinding “Time to Live.” Live at Sunbury wrapped up with two protracted jams on Rufus Thomas’ “Jump Back” (with Thorpe blowing a mean harmonica) and Jessie Hill’s “Ooh Poo Pa Doo,” which was transformed into a spirited call-and-response singalong of massive proportions between band and audience, which, as good as it sounds on record, must have felt totally transcendent in the moment. All in all, the enduring impact of Thorpe and co.’s performance that night lies in the stunning power of its simplicity, since both the group’s covers and originals (not to mention their Everyman, right-off-the-street wardrobe) showed what magic could be achieved with classic rock & roll, a stack of overdriven Marshall amps, and a confidently bad-ass attitude. This is why, perhaps more than any other artist/album combination, Thorpe and Live at Sunbury (which would peak at number eight on the Australian national charts) deserve the most credit for kick-starting the ‘70s’ pub and hard rock scenes in Australia, spawning future heavyweights like the Coloured Balls, Buffalo, Buster Brown, Rose Tattoo, and most notably AC/DC…..by Eduardo Rivadavia…



Aztec Music is a new Australian reissue label, established in 2005. Each release is officially licensed, often w/ bonus tracks included, packaged in deluxe digipaks withelaborate bookslets. Really state-of-the art presentation. “Originally recorded at the historic Sunbury Music Festival on Australia Day 1972, by the loudest, hairiest, blues-rock band our country has ever known, Live at Sunbury sold 80,000 copies when first released. This deluxe reissue (digitally remastered, digi-pak, liner notes by noted Australian Rock author Ian McFarlane and a 16 page booklet with many rare photos) is a classic slab of rock history that every Australian home should have.”…


Live At Sunbury contains an in-concert performance by Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs. The set is part of the Aztec label’s reissue series that puts Australian rock albums from the 1970s back into circulation. Much as 1972’s inaugural Sunbury Festival came to be regarded as one of the definitive moments in Australian rock & roll (often referred to as Australia’s Woodstock), so too did Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs’ double-vinyl documentation of their blistering headline set arguably prove to be the crowning achievement of their career. 

A veteran of Australia’s first wave of `60s pop and beat groups, the English-born Thorpe had already scored numerous hits while leading different variations of his Aztecs, but it was in front of Sunbury’s 35,000-strong congregation that his reinvention as scruffy, electrified, blues-rock shaman was crystallized, leaving a younger generation of listeners with mouths agape, eyes bulging, and ears bleeding…


The wild man of Australian rock whose wild guitar playing was matched by his monsterous vocals.. A total blast. Billy Thorpe started his career as a RnB 50’s/60’s pop chart wonder in AUS, but reinvented himself in the late 60’s after taking a life altering LSD trip (kudos to him!). Billy teamed up first with Australian guitar legend (god) Lobby Loyde of Wild Cherries (go to Utube for amazing videos) and the cut The Hoax is over album in 1970. Later Billy decided to play guitar himself n rest is history. Billy Thorpe was always at his peak live on stage,and there after 2 live albums were released, of which this wild Sunbury show being the second one to be cut onto vinyl. Sunbury was AUS Woodstock and featured mainly local talent which at the time there was loads. The Aztecs, Wild Cherries/Coloured Balls were mainstays at Sunbury and became legends. Later AUS rock bands such as Rose Tattoo and AC/DC owe their existence to The Aztecs and Coloured Balls, yet rarely if ever is this mentioned (but u know it now) Play L-O-U-D and have a blast. 



Billy Thorpe is an artist that has worn many hats over the years, from pre-Beatles Australian pop idol to sci-fi concept album trailblazer. However, his most fondly-remembered period by the majority of his fans in Australia is from 1968 to 1975, where Thorpie and the Aztecs were the loudest blues-rock band in the country, and would have given the likes of Ten Years After and the Jeff Beck Group a run for their money if their star could have shone overseas. While the original material produced by the band only rarely managed to shine, the sheer power of the band and their devotion to the blues endeared them to a wide audience and inspired a new generation of Australian bands, such as AC/DC and Rose Tattoo, that would make a deep impact overseas. 

Live At Sunbury captures the spirit of the band perfectly, with a mixture of classic blues and rock 'n roll covers and original songs obviously performed very loud but with a lot of care. The set includes a preview of Thorpe’s most remembered single, “Most People I Know (Think That I’m Crazy)”, which was released shortly after this performance. Strong performances of B.B. King’s “Rock Me Baby”, Gene Vincent’s “Be Bop A Lula”, and the original song “Time To Live” are other standouts on this record. 

The Aztecs at this stage of their career were an extremely tight band, having honed their act playing three sets a night, five nights a week around the clubs of Melbourne. The sound of the band reminds me most of Deep Purple’s Scandanavian Nights album, but without the overlong jams. Overall, this is a very strong album, perhaps not the best live album ever but certainly a major milestone in Australian rock. Take the plunge….ByL. Collings…




The Aztecs 
*Gil “Rathead” Matthews - Drums, Vocals 
*Paul “Sheepdog” Wheeler - Bass 
*Bruce Howard - Piano 
*Billy Thorpe - Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica









Tracklist 
A1 CC Rider
A2 Be Bop A Lula
A3 Mumma
B1 Rock Me Baby
B2 Most People I Know Think That I’m Crazy
C1 Time To Live
C2 Jump Back
D Ooh-Poo-Pa-Doo 

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