LIVE At Yella Rock 1991 was recorded on a private farm in Yellow Rock, a town an hour’s drive from Sydney,
“I’ve heard this Headhunters tape quite a few times, and it surprises me because we are so full of energy,” recalls singer Dave Tice.
“So much so that backstage after performing, I was speaking to a couple of people, and I actually fell asleep standing up!
“I don’t like standing in the audience, I don’t even like crowds. But my approach to a gig is you create a community for a time, and that comprises of the people in the audience and the people on stage. There’s no divide. It’s like when people got around the campfire and danced to the sound of the drums. We’re all part of it.”
The set reflected the blues and R&B that Tice helping to spearhead in Australia from the ‘60s.
The audience was transported from the swamp rock of Creedence’s “Green River/ Run To The Jungle” and Latino blues of Los Lobos’ “Don’t Worry Baby, It’s Gonna Be Alright” to the slow burning “Slow” by Lonnie Mack to sturdy workouts as “One’s Too Many”, Muddy Waters “Hoochie Coochie Man” and “Boom Boom, Out Go The Lights” and the encore, a grittier rendition of UK outfit Johnny Kidd & the Pirates.
A highlight was an eight minute frantic rendition of “Baby, Please Don’t Go”, first popularised in the 1930s by Delta bluesman Big Joe Williams.
The tape nails why Dave Tice and The Headhunters became so popular.
When Dave returned in 1984 from the UK where he was frontman for R&B/punk Count Bishops, he formed the band with Rose Tattoo’s Mick Cocks and former AC/DC bassist Mark Evans. They all had other commitments, and The Headhunters operated as a revolving lineup as various members went off to do other stints.
The lineup on LIVE At Yella Rock 1991 had only played two or three times together, which made their tightness even more remarkable.
“Baby, Please Don’t Go” showcased the Headhunter solo skills – guitarist Steve Edmonds displaying why he was being hailed a virtuoso, Paul Balbi kicking off with a steady drum pattern, John Carlini’s solo going higher than what a bass guitar was built for, and Tice driving things along with a harmonica solo.
“It’s not a bad feel is it … I LIKE that feel” he’s heard telling the appreciative audience
Dave Tice met the blues in his early teens. Born on Christmas Day in 1950 in London, he grew up in a farm with no TV or even electricity.
He was visiting a friend whose family had a TV set, and watching a show called Ready Steady Go. On came a fierce looking uninhibited band with long hair and skinny legs. They were The Rolling Stones and they triggered in Dave a long time love for the blues.