ARTIST: Radio Birdman
TITLE: The Essential Radio Birdman (1974-1978)
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: New Race, Aloha Steve and Danno, What Gives?, Alone in the Endzone
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I doubt if anyone but musical zealots or those from Australia and New Zealand will know any songs by then.
LINEUP: Deniz Tek, Rob Younger, Pip Hoyle, Ron Keeley, Warwick Gilbert, Chris Masuak
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Australian fans of the Stooges and other rock-and-roll troublemakers form a band that inspires many, but died too quickly.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Timing is the key to life, and it’s also a bitch. Radio Birdman was an uncompromising group that formed its own scene in Sydney and recorded a well-regarded set of songs that were released eventually by Sire Records (after a touch up and re-recording of the original tapes).
Moving to London, the Birdmen ran into bad luck, and quit soon after they recorded a follow-up as Sire was having financial problems. They quit just as the scene they helped grow (along with the Saints) started to catch fire in Australia. Alas.
They owe a lot to the attitude of the Stooges, MC5, and Blue Oyster Cult. (They recorded a homage, “I-94”, to the interstate that gets you into Detroit from Chicago and their name comes from mis-hearing a Stooges lyric (frankly, I think most everyone heard it as “radio birdman” anyway. Thanks Iggy.)) I can see why they weren’t commercially successfully, but shouldn’t have been ignored – and probably wouldn’t have been if their music somehow got to the US and UK earlier.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: They reformed in the late 90’s and still tour at times. They’re now beloved forefathers of the Australian independent scene.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: A-: They slipped through the cracks historically, but there’s something here that could have been at least an underground sensation in the US if they could have made it over here.