Sunday 4 November 2012

The Numbers - Govt. Boy 7" Local Label 3, 1979

The Numbers began in the North West Sydney suburb of Thornleigh. Brother and sister Chris and Annalisse Morrow had played together at home for many years before unleashing themsleves on the world with a string of drummers. Today we concentrate on their first release, a three track 7" on the Local Label (home of the SheiksParadox, Young Modern and Mopsie Beans), which was recorded in 1978 and came out in 1979. A comprehensive interview with the band by David Nichols can be found over at Mess + Noise. From that interview, Chris Morrow recalls the first record:
It was about being a kid who went to a government school. I guess it was really – I wrote that with Marty Newcombe, who was the original drummer in the band – that whole working class thing. Through Marty we met a guy called Arch Brown, and Arch worked with what was called the Blacktown Music Co-Op. I think it might have been one of those initiative things through Blacktown council, or it might have been just a group of ordinary citizens. At that time the whole “hey anybody can put out a 7” single” mentality was burgeoning, and you could do-it-yourself to get a record out and get some recognition, so during that whole period that was taking place in the western suburbs. We did two or three gigs for the Blacktown Music Co-Op and Arch put us in the studio to do the EP. He was really instrumental in the band’s early career, and he was the band’s tour manager for a long time after that.
Interestingly, Brown and Chris Morrow went on to begin writing a rock opera about the government boy living in Blacktown. Nothing came of it, though a version of the song Blacktown can be heard on the band's second album, 39:51.

The Govt. Boy EP is a good one, with a strong, urgent delivery, simple drumming and good guitar lines. The dual male and female vocals are also used to interesting effect. There's an element of all the instruments fighting with each other to get to the end of the song, but, those were the times. It's that urgency which was lost when the band set off on the path of commercial success, being picked up by ex-AC/DC manager Michael Browning for his Deluxe label.

This is the point in the post where we find something nice to say about the band's later career. So, um, ah, they weren't the worst band to find some measure of Countdown level success. Will that do? They also had records released in the UK and Europe so keep your eyes peeled. In other Wallaby Beat related tidbits Marcus Phelan from The Works joined on guitar for a while, and drummer Simon Vidale was involved in the Barons and Scattered Order (in fact Mitch Tee did the Numbers live sound for a while). The full, convoluted line-up changes are well handled over at RetroUniverse.

Govt. Boy [Download]

Private Eyes [Download]

Guerilla [Download]

Two of the EP tracks were reissued on a 1980 B-side which managed to get both song titles and the year of recording wrong.


Anonymous said...

It is indeed a good record; always enjoyed it. And they were a great band live at that time too. Saw them many times in places like the Civic.

Anonymous said...

I got hold of that Deluxe version, but not only does it have lots of the information wrong, it is also quite inferior in sound quality. Or is that just my copy?

Anonymous said...

Love this EP. Would love to get hold of the lyrics to Govt Boy and Private Eyes

colinm said...

the blacktown co op was a bunch of musicians of which I was 1,the council allowed us to put on shows in rthe council gardens,which had a small stage and power,i had a mixing desk a peavey 16 ch,and mark kirk had the 2000w pa speakers, and along with others we put together a fairly good,(for the times) pa for all to use, we also had these very young band who had 2 brothers in it 1 guitar the other sax I think,they played mahvishnu orch stuff,at 16 or 17 quite an accomplishment !

Anonymous said...

Fantastic record! I just heard it again after 38 years!!
Saw 'em at Kurnell Masonic Hall....or something...