Personnel: Robert Riley (vocals, guitar); Peter Wells (vocals, slide guitar); Angry Anderson (vocals); Michael Cooks, John Meyer, Mick Cocks (guitar); Greg Jordan (slide guitar); Digger Royal (drums).
Liner Note Author: Michael Heatley.
If AC/DC are the greatest blue-collar hard rock band of all time, then Rose Tattoo (also Australian, also managed by the Vanda and Young team) just may qualify as the world's greatest blue-collar punk rock band. Led by impetuous, diminutive frontman Angry Anderson (the Ronnie James Dio of punk?) and the brilliant slide-guitar work of Peter Wells, Rose Tattoo were a mean and not-so-lean gang of tattooed misfits, all of them veterans of the hard as nails Aussie pub rock scene -- in short, the kind of guys you'd cross the street to avoid. Released in 1978, their eponymous debut (issued in Europe as Rock 'N' Roll Outlaw almost two years later) is a dangerous, unpredictable, monster of a record whose power has hardly diminished an ounce in the decades since. First song, "Rock 'N' Roll Outlaw," draws the line in the sand, challenging all comers to cross at the peril of a split lip; then "Nice Boys (Don't Play Rock 'N' Roll)" (if you thought Guns n' Roses version was bad-ass, think again) delivers an uppercut to the jaw that'll set you reeling. The boogie-intensive "One of the Boys" recalls George Thorogood at his baddest, while "The Butcher and Fast Eddy" -- a gritty shuffle about dueling gangs of outlaws -- offers a Down Under adaptation of the classic Stagger Lee urban fable. First single "Bad Boy for Love" borrows its main riff rather blatantly from AC/DC's "She's Got Balls," and the lone, slow number "Stuck on You" is the Rose Tattoo equivalent of the Stooges' "Gimme Danger." "Remedy" and "T.V." are blasts of pure raw energy, and if you're not reduced to a sweating, drained pile of pulp by the time you arrive at the tee-total lunacy of closer "Astra Wally," you better check your pulse. As seemed inevitable, given their combustible nature, Rose Tattoo's career was quickly derailed by internal strife, but this only adds to the timeless mystique and unique triumph of this debut. It's as "street" as white boy rock gets -- essential hard boogie. [The 1990 Repertoire records CD reissue adds eight bonus tracks, between B-sides and live recordings to the original release.] ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
Record Collector (magazine) (p.95) - "4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]heir combination of in-your-face attitude and boogie-friendly hard rock has had an enduring appeal....The album itself features many of their most definitive songs."