Rose Tattoo – “Tatts: Live In Brunswick 1982” (Golden Robot Records)
Second only to AC/DC in the annals of Aussie hard rock history has to be the mighty Rose Tattoo. A hard drinking, brawling and rocking crew from Sydney who carried on the tradition of pub rock honed in blues and rock n roll but fired up by the aptly named Angry Anderson and the tasty slide guitar work of Pete Wells, it didn’t long before they came to the attention of AC/DC’s award winning production team of Harry Vanda & George Young, resulting in their 1978 debut self-titled album. Tours in Europe and the US ensued before the band issued “Assault & Battery” in 1981 and “Scarred for Life” a year later, cementing their name as headliners as a much sought act, both for their intense live shows and unique style. Recorded during this glorious period and as a prelude to their new album (featuring AC/DC’s Mark Evans on bass!) comes “Tatts: Live In Brunswick 1982”, a 14 track live release recorded at Melbourne’s Bombay Bicycle Club in Brunswick in 1982. Although 35 years old the often regarded classic line up of Angry Anderson, Pete Wells, Rob Riley, Geordie Leach and Dallas ‘Digger’ Royall is on fire and why this was not released back then is beyond me as it was just what the band needed to catapult them to the big time. Still, for their legion of (still) loyal followers around the world and in anticipation of another tour it’s great to hear songs like ‘One Of The Boys’ and ‘Scarred For Life’, based on true life stories from the school of hard knocks and played with working class pride by hard men unashamed and unrepentant of being such. Although my fast favorites of ‘Manzil Madness’ and ‘Magnum Maid’ are sadly amiss the legendary ‘Butcher And Fast Eddy’ is there in all of its slow, brooding atmosphere and plenty of passion in Anderson’s vocals as he tells this street tale of gangland violence in all its menace and magnificence. These were glory days for these boys and now we can all live them again through this timeless gem.