Exclusive Record Store Day release of everything by this obscure Australian group

I bought this record from ‘Reflex Records’ in Newcastle last year. I was actually quite amazed to find it! I usually take little notice of ‘Record Store Day’, so little did I know that this item was released as an exclusive in 2020.

Demon Records have made a decent effort on this, the white and black patterned vinyl is heavy and the cover sleeve is a thick card.

Unfortunately there are no liners about The Valentines or their recordings from 1967 to 1970 which is a shame. I have heard of the group before and was aware of some tracks via a couple of CDs, “Peculiar Hole In The Sky” and “Clarion Call”.

They’re probably only known outside of the home country Australia because of lead singer Bon Scott, who found wider fame and glory fronting heavy rock group AC/DC in the late ’70s.

The Valentines were a popular act in Australia and had some hits and supported visiting bands from Britain. But unlike their contemporaries The Bee Gees, The Easybeats and The Twilights, they never left Oz. Possibly preferring to stay at home and fill their boots with Fosters lager and cuddle Koalas.

All of the material is good chart worthy pop music although their cover versions are hit and miss, but they’re decent I suppose.   

Their faithful but timid “I Can’t Dance With You”, originally by The Small Faces, is saved by a groovy organ break. A version of The Soft Machine’s “Love Makes Sweet Music” is a surprise.

The best cut for me though is the imperious psych number “Peculiar Hole In The Sky”, written by George Young / Harry Vanda. Maybe not as GREAT as The Easybeats version, but damn close!

The 1969/70 period material sounds like the over-the-top commercial pop that was ‘old-hat’ in England a year earlier. 

The bubblegum throwaways like “Nick Nack Paddy Whack” and “My Old Man’s A Groovy Old Man” sound like mediocre Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich numbers.

Things get much more interesting with the reflective and acoustic guitar lilt of “Juliette” – their final single from January 1970.     

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