Ripper ’76

 

I admit that neither Dickens nor Shakespeare were on my early reading menu, but instead Enid Blyton’s The Secret Seven starring Peter- whom I’d now cheerfully describe as a wanker, along with Janet, Jack, Barbara, George, Pam and Colin. Truth be told, Scamper the English Cocker Spaniel remains the most likable of the lot.

But, I also came late to Revolver, Blood on the Tracks and Exile on Main St. Among the weighty vinyl of my childhood was Ripper ’76. It’s the greatest ever compilation.

Beyoncé: And the Grammy goes to…Ripper ’76!

(Kanye and his So Fresh: The Hits of Spring squad storm the stage.)

You Messed About I Caught You Out

Suitably, Sherbet’s “Howzat” opens the batting. Garth Porter’s lush and languid keyboards invest it with a distinct 1970’s feel: all Sandman and Chiko roll. It’s a celebrated song, nevertheless the band’s finest tune, I’d argue, is “Summer Love” and yet, across their discography the tail is exposed prematurely, as Phil Tufnell bats at six, all bewilderment and eyes-shut slogging.

Of course, Sherbet’s lead singer Daryl (in Molly’s world folks had one only name) is now mostly known to liquefied crowds both at and away from Flemington for “The Horses.” Initially recorded by Ricky Lee Jones, one-time partner of unorthodox, but lusty ball-striker Tom Waits, it was co-written by Steely Dan founder Walter Becker who passed away earlier this year.

For cricket-themed albums may I present quirky British ensemble The Duckworth Lewis Method? “Jiggery Pokery” remains the finest song I’ve heard chronicling the Edwardian spectacle of the Gatting Ball. Richie may even have approved of this.

My Favourite Noosha

At track 7 is “S-S-S-Single Bed” by Fox. An enigmatic outfit, another of their songs is “If You Don’t Want My Peaches Don’t Shake My Tree” possibly reminding you of the lyrics in Steve Miller’s “The Joker” which itself references The Clovers’ 1954 song “Lovey Dovey.”

As sexually charged fruit images go, this peaches motif has endured for many a season. Indeed, it’s always ripe for a-pickin’. Fox vocalist Noosha Fox is seen by some as a prototypical Kate Bush, but I’m unsure. I do think she’s my favourite Noosha.

Britpop had Oasis versus Blur while in Countdown Era (CE) Australia we witnessed the Skyhooks and Sherbet war. Closing out Side A of Ripper ‘76 is “Million Dollar Riff” by Shirl and company. Another Greg Macainsh tune about song writing, it’s driven by their urgent guitar and prickly irreverence. The battle of the bands? For me, Skyhooks made bigger cultural and personal impacts.

Side B blasts forth with the record’s penultimate track (of four) beginning with “Love” in the title as Billy Ocean sunnily accuses, “You run around town like a fool and you think that it’s groovy.” Talk to any veteran vinyl album and it’ll tell you that it ain’t easy kicking off Side B, but “Love Really Hurts Without You” does it as easily as a Sunday night bowl of Rice-a-Riso®.

Happily, it includes expert use of a tambourine. Forget Pollywaffles, where have all the tambourines gone? Did Josie and The Pussycats nick them all?

This Song is a Social Commentary

Ol ’55 provided Happy Days-like fun, and Ripper ‘76 features their first single, “On the Prowl,” Frankie J Holden’s rollicking recount of a burglary gone awry. Though I prefer “Lookin’ For an Echo’ perfect for six-beers-in and hand-over-an-ear-backing-vocal-stylings. Both are also compulsory post-2017 AFL Grand Final karaoke songs in a Clare Valley motel with old friends, to the auditory risk of all within earshot, and without.

But you already knew this.

A Chartreuse Micra-Bus

“Convoy” is homage to interstate truck drivin’ by William Dale Fries, Jr. (born November 15, 1928), best known by his stage name C. W. McCall. It was my introduction to the idiosyncratic, oddly-mesmerising language of CB radio, and by extension, the marketing might of Radio Shack.

When you’re next in an outback truck stop it’s on the dusty K-Tel cassette you’ve idly picked up while waiting for your dim sims and, depending upon geography, potato cake/scallop/fritter.

The album does feature a few Jimmy Higgs ducks such as the Silver Studs and a flaccid Bee Gees track, but for sustained value, I give Ripper ’76 four and a half episodes of The Paul Hogan Show.

Or for the kids, a Pitchfork 9.2.

 

Side A

Sherbet – Howzat

Maxine Nightingale – Right Back Where We Started From

Elvin Bishop – Fooled Around and Fell in Love

Silver Studs – Happy Days

Billy Thorpe – It’s Almost Summer

Thin Lizzy – The Boys Are Back in Town

Fox – S-S-S-Single Bed

Roxy Music – Love Is the Drug

Nazareth – Love Hurts

Skyhooks – Million Dollar Riff

 

Side B

Billy Ocean – Love Really Hurts Without You

Donna Summer – Love to Love You Baby

Ol’ 55 – On The Prowl

Bee Gees – Fanny (Be Tender With My Love)

Supernaut – I Like It Both Ways

Jon English – Hollywood Seven

Split Enz – Late Last Night

C.W. McCall – Convoy

Daryl Braithwaite – Old Sid

10cc – I’m Not in Love

About Mickey Randall

Late afternoon beer, Exile on Main St playing. Sport like cricket, most types of football, golf, squash, horse racing. Travel, with Vancouver my favourite city, but there’s nowhere I’ve not happily been. Except Luton. Reading. Writing about family, sport, music, the stuff that amuses me. Conversation. Wit. Irony. McLaren Vale cabernet sauvignon, Barossa shiraz, Coopers Sparkling Ale. Jazz and especially Miles Davis. Lots and lots of music. I live in Adelaide with my wife Kerry-ann and our boys Alex and Max.

Comments

  1. Punxsa-and-the-rest-of-it Pete says:

    Entertaining as ever, Mickey. And yes Josie, “Give us back our tambourines!”

    I have an absolutely mint condition copy of ‘Ripper 76’, as I do, just about every iconic 70’s compilation album (I have over 300 compilation albums, vinyl junkie that I am.)

    I picked up ‘Ripper 76’ 5 years back at a store in Essendon, and it must of been from a deceased estate, because there were over 100 mint condition copies of iconic 70’s compilation albums in crates near the door, and the person who assembled this collection would never just give em away like that; it had to be a greedy relative looking to pawn something they’d been bequeathed. Anyway, needless to say, I gobbled them all up at around $2.00 a copy (yes, $2.00 a copy … one of the happiest days of my life!)

    These records were only enjoyed as collectibles or ornaments or something, because they are as new. It was like buying records from Felix Unger! (And “Felix” if you are deceased, you’ll be happy to know your collection has found a loving home.)

    ‘Fooled around and fell in love’ is my fave track on Ripper 76 … though, shame that the version here is a radio edit and a minute shorter than the track I remember as a kid. I’ll have to source it on itunes down the track, I guess.

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Why was Donna Summer in such pain?

  3. You’ve inspired me to pull out my own copy of Ripper ’76 and give it a whirl for the first time in about 40 years. Definitely Skyhooks for my vote in the head to head … probably Noosha by a nose if she was in the mix. And if anyone can find a video of ‘Looking for an echo’, I’d love to find it. Great song of my youth

  4. Swish i can only guess it was the footwear she’ d worn.

    They had some challenging shoes back in the mid 1970’s.

    Glen!

  5. Dave Brown says:

    Why would you end the compilation with that track? Mood officially killed. Hammer down!

  6. Looking for an Echo . Didn’t Jimmy Manzie do the vocals ?

    Glen!

  7. Prefer Ripper 75.

  8. Malay Dangles says:

    What a grouse article!
    A more recent use of tambourine in a pop song was Gwen Stefani (with Akon) tune The Sweet Escape…but that was awhile ago.
    Love the tunes on the record. I love the overblown melodrama of Hollywood Seven.
    My older siblings had this record but it filtered down to me eventually and I wowed my friends with Convoy.

  9. Luke Reynolds says:

    Mickey, this was one of the albums I grew up with. My Mum had (still has) this vinyl, was played so much in my youth.

    In 1990, it was “Jukebox in Siberia” that made me a big Skyhooks fan. Repeated listens of “Million Dollar Riff” on this LP cemented the love.

    How underrated is Jon English??

    And this compilation is obviously the reason the left cheek is my favourite…..

  10. Jon English was a great all round entertainer. Gone far too early.

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Marvellous Mickey.

    There’s something about that era, every one of those songs lobbed into the upper reaches of the 5KA chart or at least have lodged themselves in my noggin.

    Gino from the Silver Studs made a surprise appearance in a party scene in the movie Oz (with Jo Jo Zep prominent on the soundtrack).

    Thought Supernaut might have been more noteworthy. Late Last Night had a suitably off kilter video.

    Old Sid was the worst song ever released, just nudging out Jukebox In Siberia for that honour (sorry Luke)

    And there’s a typo in that 10cc title, they’ve missed a comma.

  12. Luke Reynolds says:

    Swish, I’ll defend Jukebox in Siberia to the end. Yeah, hasn’t aged well. But, as far as number 1 hits go, would you rather the Macarena?
    Far from Skyhooks’ best song, but will always be grateful for that song being my introduction to that wonderful band.

    Love the video for Late Last Night. Early Split Enz is something that has aged very well.

  13. Great article. Have this one at home, along with Ripper 75. With you on that one Tony Tea. I won my 75 copy in a ‘dancing contest’ (!!!).
    Swish, do you remember the CDFC cheer squad singing Sssssingle bed behind hte goals? Along with the old rosella sauce ad? When we were shit and finished bottom (77) and would cheer for the Andamooka Thirds because they (probably) had more chance of winning?
    The Thin Lizzie number still rocks too – played it only a couple of weeks ago. Still prefer old Acker Dacker , when they were a great band, and had a REAL lead singer…
    Finally, some mild criticism – I’m disappointed Mickey that you missed the perfect opportunity for a double entendre with the Bee gees number. Or Supernaut.

  14. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    That’s a beauty Mickey. Captures the time so well. My cousin had a copy of Ripper ’76. Loved ‘Convoy’ as a kid because it was a novelty.
    Billy Birmingham and Richie Benaud ruined ‘Howzat’ for me. Can’t sing that song without the voice from Billy.
    As Rabid says, Thin LIzzy still rocks and 10CC with the thinking teenager’s love song takes me back to that first love feeling. Great stuff mate.

  15. We had it on our k-tel record selector along with explosive hits 74 and 75.

  16. “Love Hurts” by…….Nazareth? Sheesh, I had forgotten that monstrosity. I have always thought it was a Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris song. But originally recorded by the Everly Brothers in 1960. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Hurts. One of those classic songs that everyone has had a crack at. Written by Boudleaux Bryant (why don’t we see more Boudleaux’s around today). He and his wife Felicity (another underused monicker) wrote most of Don and Phil’s mega-hits – “Bye Bye Love”; “Wake Up Little Susie” etc etc. Staples of the 60/40 dances of the 60’s on Yorke Peninsula. Was it 60/40 rock/traditional or the other way round in Kapunda and Kimba?
    Thin Lizzie gets my vote from the Ripper playlist.
    In the 70’s artfully torn designer jeans had holes in the rear, now they are on the knees. The relentless march of the feminist fun police………………

  17. Marvellous Mickey, love the old K-Tel compilation albums.

    Noosha Fox – Australian ?

    I’m with TT and RD. I think the original Ripper (75) takes the points thanks to the inclusion of “Girls on the Avenue” and Gary Shearston’s superb “I get a kick out of you”.

    More please.

    MCR

  18. Did the ad on TV have the jingle “Ripper…giving you the rock and roll… Ripper”?

    I am pretty sure I have the album too. If I did not I should.

  19. Thanks to everyone for their comments and interest. I’m always astonished by the collective knowledge, passion and experience of this community.

    I think a Top Ten Tambourine Tunes post may be in order.

  20. Top of the Tambourine Tree with me. Grumpy Ol Bob second.

  21. PB, Jim Capaldi also recorded Love Hurts. These versions were released concurrently over the summer of 1975-76.

    Glen!

  22. Sean Curtain says:

    Nice Mickey but it’s a silver medalist behind the classic Full Boar (with poster)

    sean

  23. Yes Mic, Noosha Fox was Australian. She was a Sydney girl living in the UK.

    I had copies of all these compilations, plus ‘explosive hits’, etc. Sadly i’ve sold all my vinyl, or given it to friends.

    The only vinyl i still have is a Lobby Loyde and the Coloured Balls LP.

    Glen!

  24. More evidence that this may have been a golden age of various artists compilation albums with a quick search revealing these: Bobby Dazzler, Explosive Hits, Bumper, Scorcher, Hitwave, Choc-O-Block, Bullseye!, Sizzler.

  25. A great era or is that error of music for Australia, when I discovered on the screamer album I think,the classic.. , baked beans, by mother goose..

  26. Some wonderful memories here, Mickey!
    I actually reckon the play list stands up reasonably well after 40+ years – not too often you can say that.
    I owned Teaser, also from 1976. The track list from that album has not aged anywhere near as well. Amongst other tracks, I reckon it had Norman Gunston’s “Salute to Abba” and a track by Rockwell T James on it.

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