Tuesday, March 03, 2015

The Easybeats - Easy (1966) 1st LP



Where it all began in 1966, the first Easybeat LP. It doesn't get more beatlesque/mersyish than this. A mix of rockin' tunes and ballads. Several good tracks in the bunch: "I'm A Madman", "You Got It Off Me", and "Ya Can't Do That", but the one that sticks out and gives us a hint of what was to come is "She's So Fine". It was destined to become a hit single and pave the way for more wild performances to come. I can't understand why it was never originally issued outside Australia. What is most astonishing is that for a debut LP of this vintage all the songs are band originals, not a cover to be heard. This is from the re-issue import LP, I don't remember when I picked it up but it must have been the late eighties or early nineties. The only date printed on the sleeve is the original 1966 one. The album has since been re-released as a 22 track CD with bonus cuts.


Their first album, not available outside Australia until the 1990s. The Vanda/Young songwriting partnership had yet to dominate the band in their early days, and most of the (entirely original) material here comes from the pens of George Young and singer Stevie Wright. It's more Merseybeatish and less oriented toward power-pop and staccato guitar attacks than their subsequent releases, which isn't really detrimental; it doesn't scale the peaks the band would shortly climb, but neither does it have the overdone good-time mania that made some of their efforts hard to take in more than limited doses. A fairly consistent, if not incredibly remarkable, relic from the Beat era, with some very Beatlesque tracks, including "It's So Easy," "I Wonder" (on which Harry Vanda sounds a lot like a young George Harrison circa "Do You Want to Know a Secret"), and cuts that could pass for the Searchers ("I'm Gonna Tell Everybody"), Gerry & the Pacemakers ("Hey Girl," "A Letter"), the Merseybeats ("Cry Cry Cry"), the Kinks ("You'll Come Back Again"), and Peter & Gordon ("Girl on My Mind"). Stuck in the middle of all of those delightfully derivative treasures is the most defiantly original track off the album, and (not coincidentally) their first big Australian hit, "She's So Fine," which doesn't sound like anything else here, pulsing with energy, a hot pumping bass part, and a ferocious guitar break. The Repertoire Records CD reissue enhances the original album significantly with the addition of eight bonus tracks, including five jewels from the Vanda/Young songwriting team.

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