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Articles Home » 1978 Articles » Rose Tattoo - 1978 Rose Tattoo
Rose Tattoo - 1978 Rose Tattoo

ARTIST: Rose Tattoo
ALBUM: Rose Tattoo
LABEL: Albert
YEAR: 1978
CD REISSUE: 1983, Albert, 82876869612 * 1990, Repertoire, RR 4103-WZ * 2004, Captain Oi! (UK), AHOY DPX 607


LINEUP: Angry Anderson - vocals * Peter Wells - guitar * Mick Cocks - guitar * Geordie Leach, Ian Rilen - bass * Dallas 'Digger' Royall - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Rock N Roll Outlaw * 02 Nice Boys * 03 The Butcher And Fast Eddie * 04 One Of The Boys * 05 Remedy * 06 Bad Boy For Love * 07 TV * 08 Stuck On You * 09 Tramp * 10 Astra Wally


As lauded as this album is, it's somewhat shocking that it's been omitted from this site until now, especially considering its legendary and influential stature in hard rock history - and not just the Australian variety either. Rose Tattoo was formed from the splinters of various Aussie rock acts, including Buster Brown, Buffalo and Band Of Light, all mainstays on the bar room circuit in the early to mid 70's. The band went through a slew of lineup shuffles before settling on the definitive lineup above, although Rilen only plays on two tracks, replaced by Leach fairly early on during the albums recording. If there was ever a band to usurp what AC/DC was doing in these halcyon years, then it was the Tatts. There's never been a more identifiable or uniquely Aussie band, with the tough image the exact foil for their battering boogie, which has never been duplicated or bettered since (even by the band themselves). AC/DC producers Harry Vanda and George Young provided their talents to help the band reach the same heights as Bon and company and how it never quite happened is a mystery, the quandary of which is head scratching to this day. Maybe they were too Australian or just too tough to handle for sensitive Poms and Americans!

The Songs
Like most great music, these songs haven't aged in their 35 years of existence and to those unaware, they could have been written as late as last week! The production captures the bands boogie at its apex and unfortunately they never would sound this potent on their later albums. All the tracks have gone into rock folklore, notably 'Nice Boys' which was covered by Guns 'N' Roses early in their career and influenced their early style. Not even prime AC/DC can compare with 'One Of The Boys', 'Astra Wally', 'Bad Boy For Love' or 'Rock 'n' Roll Outlaw', all furious and packed with blistering riffs and Anderson's distinctive bellowing. 'The Butcher And Fast Eddy' demonstrates the bands blues side, with the always present slide guitar at the forefront. 'Remedy' is a three minute blast of riffs that verge on ear splitting, reaching a roaring crescendo that's only bettered by the savagery of 'Astra Wally' which is probably the greatest boogie ever heard. Mellow by comparison is 'Stuck On You' with its acoustic work, but 'T.V.' and 'Tramp' resume the pummeling dished out by these Aussie louts. This album is simply a relentless headbanging wall of noise made to suit the sensibilities of disaffected Aussie youth and prison inmates of the late 70's.

In Summary
The legacy of this album is without parallel and it's still somewhat shocking that only Anderson and Leach still survive from this lineup, the others all tragically passing away from cancer over the years, including one time bassist Lobby Loyde also. It takes nothing away from this album and the impact it made and continues to even now. Both 1981's 'Assault And Battery' and 1982's 'Scarred For Life' had their moments, but the jarring intensity of the riffs and ferocity was much more diluted than the aural massacre of this debut.

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#1 | Jez on August 22 2013 14:59:09
Brilliant band, brilliant debut album. This album goes to prove that AC/DC weren't the only great 'boogie' band around, and definately equals if not betters quite a few of their albums. There are some great songs on this album, The rollocking 'Astra Wally' 'Remedy' and 'Nice Boys' to the more restrained, bluesier 'The Butcher and Fast Eddy' and 'Stuck On You' to the singalong 'One Of The Boys'. Quality with a capital 'Q'
#2 | sabace on August 22 2013 19:27:20
their best lp
#3 | aaasreg on August 06 2014 22:40:09
'The Butcher and Fast Eddy' is one of my all time favorites. The slide guitar, the lyrics and even the performance of Angry Anderson are not of this world. Really a winner in every sense. The rest of the album is also brillant but 'The Butcher ....' shines.
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