Category: Radio Birdman

Radio Birdman – The Essential Radio Birdman (1974-1978)

ARTIST: Radio Birdman

TITLE:  The Essential Radio Birdman (1974-1978)

YEAR RELEASED: Compilationmi0000325642

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.