Roaring Jack Articles - Review by Warren Jones (1987)

‘Roaring Jack’s music’ by Warren Jones

Youth Voice, November 1987

Street Celtabillity is the first release of Sydney’s Irish folk/rock combo Roaring Jack. Irish music is traditionally known for its working class sentiment and this record is no exception.

There are all too few bands today that use their music as a means of expressing their views on social and political issues. This practice usually jeopardises a band’s chances of gaining a record company contract. This has not deterred Roaring Jack.

The EP features six songs written by the band, all of which are a blend of folk and rock and with usually one of the styles emphasised more than the other on each of the different tracks.

The first side opens with a track called ‘The Old Divide and Rule’. It’s a song about the English invasions of Scotland. Although about specific events, the ruling class tactic of divide and rule can be applied to just about all modern class societies. As the song says: "keeping us in poverty with the old divide and rule".

The second and third songs on this side, ‘Buy Us a Drink’ and ‘Wild Rover Again’ are a poppy song and a ballad respectively, both with a strong Irish influence.

The second side opens with the song ‘Yuppietown’. This song refers to the influx of young middle class trendies into working-class areas, resulting in increased rents which forced a lot of the less well-off people out of their homes.

People who live round here remember how it used to be
Nagging to your neighbour on the street or stopping for a cup of tea
The people round here like to have a drink and all
But since the old pubs changed hands you can’t get in in overalls.

You’d better watch out
You’ve been driving us out
Giving us the old once over
They want to tear the place down
And turn it into Yuppietown.

This trend is well-known in inner city suburbs in Australian cities. Newtown in Sydney comes to mind.

‘Yuppietown’ is followed by a song called ‘The Ballad of ‘75’. It’s about the sacking of the Whitlam Labor Government back in 1975. While it gives a misleading picture of the parliamentary system, it expresses the failure of the Australian people to consolidate their political gains.

Australia voted in the revolution
And stood back while the fat cats threw it out.

The second side ends with a catchy tune called ‘The Shell Shocked Crowd’.

Roaring Jack’s five-piece line-up provides a big sound and overall the EP is quite a refreshing listening experience compared to the run-of-the-mill, over-produced and (so-called) apolitical releases of late.

Back to Roaring Jack Articles
Roaring Jack Home