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ROSE TATTOO ‘Reissues’ (2004)

One of Australiaís finer exports, the Tatts were fronted by bald hardman Angry Anderson, who although was vertically challenged, was one of the great frontmen in hard rock.

Formed from the ashes of Buster Brown (who featured AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd) and with slide guitarist Pete Wells (formerly of Buffalo),

While Rose Tattoo had the swagger of AC/DC, there was a more streetwise punk ethic and sound (the band had grown up the hard way) and with a much heavier slide guitar.

Their debut RockíníRoll Outlaws (Captain Oi! AHOYDPX607) (*****) was recorded at the end of the 70s and released in the UK a couple of years later.

Boogie, blues metal, punk-like rockíníroll, itís all here. The slower blues tracks mix with the high tempo rockers - itís all go. Hi Octane beginning to end. 'Nice Boys Donít Play RockíníRoll' sums the band up nicely. Andersonís rough vocals suit the band nicely.

The second outing Assault & Battery (Captain Oi! AHOYDPX608) (*****) saw the band become better known outside their native Oz. Just as abrasive, the songs continued with a theme of surviving at street level.

Initial poor production is bolstered here with the remastering, and the title track became an instant classic and fansí favourite. Concerts and album alike - the band were always both note perfect and hotínísweaty - a mosherís dream. 'RockíníRoll is King' - indeed.

Scarred For Life (Captain Oi! AHOYDPX609) (****) saw the band adopted by Europe, and in particular the UK. Minor lineup changes saw the band continue but slightly more polished.

The swagger more like the Rolling Stones, as in toned down from earlier years. 'We Canít Be Beaten' features a more anthemic and melodic chorus. 'Juice On The Loose' picks up the boogie of previous outings and is one of the highlights. A show in Indiana on this tour was witnessed by a young William Bailey aka Axel Rose. The band were obviously an influence. Sleeze, grit and street fighting attitude - the Tatts had it long before GíníR were ever conceived.

Heavy touring, the stresses and strains, saw the band splinter and fall apart. The new band, centred around Angry Anderson and bassist Geordie Leach, was unable to capture the earlier aggressive sound but thereís still several fine tunes on Southern Stars (Captain Oi! AHOYDPX610) (***).

The band were perhaps trying to reiterate their roots (at least in the title) after the European encampment and US tours.

These fine reissue come in fine digipaks with booklets, bonus tracks, pictures of rarities and extensive sleevenotes, in keeping with the Captain Oi! sentiment of 'By Fans, For Fans' - thereís many a label could learn from that. A fine job and 4 CDs well worth picking up.

Review by Joe Geesin

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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