Tuesday, 29 November 2016
Money Maker/You Need It/ Jessie/What Am I Waiting For/Harris Street/Story Teller/Games/Stormy Lady
Sydney-based hard rock band Southern Cross had its roots in heavy progressive rock pioneers Buffalo. John Baxter had been sacked from Buffalo at the end of 1974. Baxter's savage guitar work had virtually defined the Buffalo sound and approach; his departure robbed the band of its most distinctive feature and boldest asset. The band's spirit simply faded thereafter. Original line-up: Alan Milano (vocals; ex-Buffalo), John Baxter (lead guitar; ex-Head, Buffalo), Michel Brouet (bass, vocals), Jeff Beacham (drums)
Initially Baxter formed Boy Racer before teaming up with original Buffalo singer Alan Milano in Southern Cross. Baxter wrote much of the band's early live set, although he left six months after formation. Eighteen-year-old Bruce Cumming replaced Baxter on guitar. Alongside the likes of Finch, The Angels, Kevin Borich Express, Rose Tattoo and Chariot, Southern Cross swiftly became one of the most popular hard rock bands on the Sydney scene. Southern Cross signed to the independent Living Sound/Laser label and issued its debut single, `Stormy Lady'/`Queen of Rock'n'Roll', at the end of 1976. The funky, bluesy and heavy `Stormy Lady' was a good indication of the band's over-the-top style. The band's self-titled debut album (1977) featured melodic, raunchy hard rock in the vein of Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs and UK band Bad Company. It mixed flat-out, riff-rockers (`You Need It', `Money Maker', `Stormy Lady') with moody rock ballads (`Jesse', `Story Teller' and `Games').
The album scored only minimal sales, despite its strong points. By 1978, Southern Cross had broken up and Cumming and Brouet moved on to The Press. Steve Kot (vocals) and Rick Doolan (drums) completed the line-up.
Also included in this post as a bonus is a rehearsal tape from June 1976. Thanks to Tom for the FLAC Files.