Personnel: Chris Masuak (vocals, guitar, piano, background vocals); Deniz Tek (vocals, guitar, background vocals); Rob Younger (vocals); Pip Hoyle (piano, organ, keyboards); Ron Keeley (drums); John Kannis (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Deniz Tek; Alan Thorne; Wayne Connolly .
Liner Note Author: Toby Creswell.
Recording information: Paddington Town Hall (12/12/1977); Rockfield Studios, Monmouth, Wales (12/12/1977); Trafalgar Studios, Annandale, Australia (12/12/1977); Trafalgar Studios, Sydney, Australia (12/12/1977); Paddington Town Hall (1976-1977); Rockfield Studios, Monmouth, Wales (1976-1977); Trafalgar Studios, Annandale, Australia (1976-1977); Trafalgar Studios, Sydney, Australia (1976-1977); Paddington Town Hall (1978); Rockfield Studios, Monmouth, Wales (1978); Trafalgar Studios, Annandale, Australia (1978); Trafalgar Studios, Sydney, Australia (1978).
Photographers: Patrick Bingham Hall; Graeme Webber; John Needham; Megan Purcell; Des Shend; Colleen Skinner; Andrew Needham.
Radio Birdman weren't trying to reinvent Australian rock & roll when they began playing Sydney clubs in 1974, but that's just what they did. Australia would later become one of the world's capitals of Stooges and MC5 worship, but it was Birdman co-founder Deniz Tek, a former Michiganian, who introduced the Antipodes music scene to the sound of high-energy Detroit rock. Punk rock didn't exist in Australia -- or much of anywhere -- when Radio Birdman started out, but the band's fiery attack and lean but powerful guitar sound would help codify the new rock down under. And Radio Birdman pulled together '60s garage rock, Midwest proto-punk, surf music in its raw form, and the blunt force of hard rock into something unique and powerful, a bruisingly potent band that you could also dance to. Radio Birdman's initial run was brief but magnificent, gone in a blaze of glory by 1979, and for the first time their body of recorded work has been collected into a box set, simply called Radio Birdman. The approach of the set is admirably straightforward for a band that knew how to get to the point: you get the original Australian version of the debut album, Radios Appear, with a second disc of relevant bonus material; the extensively revised American edition of Radios Appear, also with a disc of extras; the belatedly released second album, Living Eyes, with another disc of outtakes and live material; and finally a complete November 1977 live show at Paddington's Town Hall, with a five-song DVD included as a bonus. While some unfamiliar with the band's catalog might wonder why the set includes two versions of Radios Appear, each is different enough (and has enough individual personality) to merit inclusion, and the Aussie bonus disc includes the band's rare debut EP along with various newly remixed album outtakes, while more studio rarities accompany the U.S. edition. The outtakes from Living Eyes are often hotter and more energetic than the performances that appeared on that great album, though it's worth noting that this set features multiple versions of many of the band's best songs, as Birdman seemingly believed in quality over quantity in songwriting. The live disc is an absolute scorcher, documenting a night when Birdman fired on all cylinders, and it sounds great to boot. (The remastering is excellent throughout these seven CDs.) The relatively skimpy DVD is the only serious disappointment in this box set -- there's enough footage of Radio Birdman to merit a much longer disc, though the two clips from Paddington Town Hall shows are essential. Add in a booklet with lots of rare photos and a fine essay from critic and superfan Toby Creswell, and you get a thrilling and well-detailed chronicle of an important and remarkably vital band's days of glory -- this compiles the most and the best of Radio Birdman in one box, and it's sure to thrill anyone who loves real rock & roll. ~ Mark Deming
Mojo (Publisher) (p.108) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[H]e single handedly kick-started Australia's legendary, Nick Cave-inspiring pre-punk eruption."