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Ed Kuepper And His Oxley Creek Playboys - Live

  by John Clarkson

published: 17 / 12 / 2001

Ed Kuepper And His Oxley Creek Playboys - Live
Label: Hot
Format: CD


Ed Kuepper is one of Australian rock’s most versatile and prolific talents. A veteran of some thirty albums, Kuepper first came to prominence as the guitarist in the Brisbane group The Saints, who

Ed Kuepper is one of Australian rock’s most versatile and prolific talents. A veteran of some thirty albums, Kuepper first came to prominence as the guitarist in the Brisbane group The Saints, whose 1976 single ‘I’m Stranded’ was one of the classics of the punk era and also its first Australian success. An individualist who has never aligned himself to any one particular movement , Kuepper left The Saints in early 1978 and since then, both with his bands Laughing Clowns and The Aints and also as a solo artist, has experimented in a wide range of styles including, as well as punk, jazz, rhythm and blues, folk, gospel and pop. Despite his extensive back catalogue , Kuepper, who has always toured regularly, has to date recorded only three live albums. Each one though has proved typically innovative, rather than simply retreading familiar patterns and territory, instead reworking and reinventing old sounds and investing them with new meaning. The first of these ‘S.L.S.Q.’ (an abbreviation for ‘Slightly Limited Sound Quality’) was recorded with the The Aints and, originally put out as a limited edition vinyl ‘official bootleg’ and then subsequently also released on CD, came out in 1991. A recording of a show that took place in a Sydney ballroom in the same year, ‘S.L.S.Q’ has The Aints trashily revising The Saints song book and also playing thrashy, aggresive covers of Ike and Tina Turner’s ‘River Deep, Mountain High’ and Del Shannon’s ‘Runaway’. The second ‘With a Knapsack on My Back’ is in contrast a quieter and more subdued affair, and a recording of a one man show played in Hamburg in 1997, showcases songs from all parts of Kuepper’s career. The third and the latest in the trilogy, which focuses mainly on Kuepper’s more recent work, is simply entitled ‘Live !’ and released originally in 1998, has just been reissued as a mid -price buy by his record label, Hot. As well as Kuepper on vocals and guitar, it also features the thunderous talents of the two members of his current backing band The Oxley Creek Playboys, bassist Alex Compton and drummer Simon Cox. Recorded at an undisclosed venue, ‘Live’ is reminiscent of Cheap Trick’s ‘At Budokan’, Neil Young’s ‘Weld’ and The Who’s ‘Live at Leeds’ in its charged energy, and co-produced by Kuepper with the appropriately-named Phil Punch, captures the exhilaration and excitement of an intense and lively show. Fiery in tone with lots of scorched and blistering guitarwork, it is essentially a rock album, but with many of its tunes stretched out to two or three times their original length, and long free flowing instrumentals and introspective work outs an essential part of its package, it also has elements of jazz. The album is humourously opened and closed with a scratchy backing tape that has obscure beatnik Wanda Robinson reciting poetry, and its first musical number is the rumbustious 1985 song ‘Electrical Storm’. Metallic and sharp-sounding with a ringing guitar effect and nasal, world-weary vocals from Kuepper,' Electrical Storm' has ,at six and half minutes, an epic feel and kick starts the album powerfully . ‘Weepin’ Willow Blues’, which appeared on Kuepper’s ‘Frontierland’ of 1996 as a synthesiser-based pop number and originally featured trumpets and trombones, is radically reworked and given a hard-scale rock treatment. ‘When I First Came to This Land’ is, however, more blues-orientated, while the loop-driven ‘La Di Doh’ has sudden stabs of gusting guitar, and a stomping tribal undercurrent . The set concludes with a heartwarming and soulful rendition of Ricky Nelson’s ‘Poor Little Fool’. Kuepper and The Oxley Creek Playboys are obviously having the time of their lives on ‘Live !’. Their music is concise and detailed, but is played with such enthusiasm and conviction that it is also catchy, infectious and above all fun. This is rock ‘n’ roll at its most exciting and enthralling, and its most captivating and self-assured.

Track Listing:-
1 Intro
2 Electrical Storm
3 Honey Steel's Gold
4 Liddle Fiddle
5 La Di Doh
6 My Best Interests At Heart
7 Weepin Willow Blues
8 When I First Came To This Land
9 Black Ticket Day
10 Poor Little Fool

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