Taking a proper break from everything till we’re back on air first week of January, but with the passing of Stevie Wright I’d be remiss to not get something up about this incredible documentary produced for the ABC earlier this year.
And I can honestly say that in a year of ramped up production and independents telling amazing unheard stories, Blood + Thunder – The Sound Of Alberts was the best music doco I saw across 2015.
Split in to two episodes about a hour each in length the first part starts in the sixties through to the seventies, introducing us to Albert Productions, the studio which operated under the guidance of Ted Albert, songwriters/producers Harry Vanda and George Young and and the ‘family’ of artists that grew around them.
‘The sound of Alberts’ even more specifically refers to the raw throbbing guitar sound that the studio were producing, and that had never been heard before. The Angels, Billy Thorpe, AC/DC, Rose Tattoo and of course The Easybeats were among those that found their own sound within that of Alberts.
Led by Stevie Wright, it was The Easybeats who were first in establishing the Alberts sound internationally, with ‘Friday On My Mind’ in 1966. Unexpectedly peaking like no other band before them they had no reference point to see the forthcoming (and inevitable) trip back down as well.
In 1974, the Angus and Malcolm Young, inspired and connected through their older brother George Young who’d also been in The Easybeats, were signed to Alberts, and with lessons learned were equipped to take on and succeed from the point where their predecessors had come apart.
Where the first hour focusses on the relationship between the studio and the Young brothers (right) as the centre of the story, the second hour of the two-parter examines how far the legacy extended through the seventies and eighties, bringing in the likes of The Angels and Rose Tattoo and the rest of the bands that made Alberts the hit house it’s been described as.
The use of archive here is to be applauded. Not just in the final production and how it was cut in but what the researchers have turned up is incredible. I thought we’d seen everything from this era in rock and Australian history, but evidently not.
Also, the fact that the subjects were able to be interviewed in most cases in the months before release, in their own Aussie rock personalities still full of swagger helps tell the story authentically.
The scenes where they use recreations are mighty weird. But it’s Australian docos, not Hollywood drama, and somehow the Neighbours extras work well within the story.
The DVD’s out now in most retail and online stores, or you can view it online by purchasing through youtube, use the link in the trailer below.
For those in Australia it’s also being replayed on ABC starting Tuesday the 29th of December at 9:00pm, with Episode 2 coming the night after at the same time. And after their TV screening both parts will be available on iView over here: //iview.abc.net.au/programs/blood-thunder-the-sound-of-alberts/
This is the story of Bogan Motown. The family-owned label Alberts was Australia’s hit-factory who ruled the charts and gave us our own soundtrack: the sound of rebellion and good times, suburban young Australia at full-bore. The Easybeats, John Paul Young, Stevie Wright, The Angels, Rose Tattoo, AC/DC – these were the Alberts artists who sang us our song and cracked the cultural cringe.
Blood and Thunder is a tale of two families and the music they made. The Alberts – an elegant, well-to-do dynasty. And The Youngs – an unruly clan of 10-pound migrants from the tough suburbs of Glasgow. They were from different planets. But through music they locked together in a blood pact – fiercely determined to produce an Australian sound that would conquer the world.