Continuous Hit Music – a weekly exploration of vinyl finds in 2012. Read ‘em all here
Original Release: 1981
Store: Parramatta Town Hall, Church St, Parramatta
(Original AU pressing – limited edition)
Continuing the adventure of Parramatta record fair (I bought so many records, I figure I can squeeze this out over a couple of weeks). Now, record fairs are great because of the range (hundreds of thousands of records in one roof) and the price (people know what things are worth, but still pretty competitive). But above all that, it’s the few times in life you actually get to see some real rarities.
If there is one rarity of Australian vinyl it’s the Sunnyboys‘ first album of yellow vinyl. I heard about the existence of this album for over a decade. A yellow version of the iconic blue cover. A limited, 2000 copy first run. I’ve been looking for this album ever since, and finally found it. At $50, it’s probably right on in terms of value. That’s what it goes for on eBay.
In Australia, there actually aren’t that many reknowned rarities. A handful of singles will go for a few hundred dollars. But that whole business of mono vs stereo versions and printing errors had gone out of style by the time Australian music got really good. Most of the really respected bands of the 80s that were Australian were usually signed to labels overseas. So in Australian record collecting terms, this is gold.
But I really don’t know the story of this limited edition. Anyone out there care to enlighten me? First – 2000 copies? That means I’ve probably met half the people who claim to own this on yellow vinyl. Was there a second printing? And why yellow vinyl? I know yellow was used on some of the early artwork of the band. Was it that simple?
Most importantly – the tracklisting differs. Not only is ‘Happy Man’, the album’s first single, not included, but there is a large sticker on the front telling us ‘Happy Man’ is not included. As if it was selling point. What is going on? I don’t know.
This album would be worth nothing if it wasn’t brilliant. It made number 37 in the book ‘100 Best Australian Albums’. For me it’s much higher than that, sitting around number 10. It’s a brilliant slice of edgy, jangly pop guitars bashing against the sombre, dark words of Jeremy Oxley. So many bands sound like this today – and I hope they know the Sunnyboys got there first.
The big hit from the album is ‘Alone With You‘. It’s one of the greatest songs to come out of Australia and is worth the price of admission alone. Even without ‘Happy Man‘ you have ‘I Can’t Talk To You‘, the frantic ‘It’s Not Me‘ and the brilliant closer ‘I’m Shakin’, and most bands would kill to make an album this good. Hell, most bands would kill to make an album COVER this good. Surely one of the most iconic images in all Australian music.
Sadly, the current CD version is awful, and no effort has been made to reissue this album, and it’s fallen away, almost forgotten. Unbelievable, but it’s happening to so many great Australian albums. No one is taking care of them.
Why yellow vinyl? Yellow was used on some of the early artwork of the band. It’s that simple.
‘Happy Man’, was a single (July 1981) released before the album (September 1981) and was not included because fans of the band would have already had it. Instead they got a different track not available elsewhere.
I also have the yellow version of the album, and their singles, most in picture sleeves, because I was a fan.