Cold Chisel – You’re Thirteen, You’re Beautiful, and You’re Mine

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Recorded at the Regent Theatre in Sydney, 1977, You’re Thirteen, You’re Beautiful, and You’re Mine was issued while the band were in the middle of laying down “Breakfast at Sweethearts”. If it weren’t for all the tension they were experiencing while making that album, this precious little document would no doubt never have existed.

Had this EP been released in the late ‘60’s it would rightfully be regarded nowadays as an essential purchase for any respectable fan of underground rock, and one which decades later collectors would be paying hundreds of dollars for. Press the fast forward button on history and things seem somewhat different, where this piece of plastic becomes just another EP by just another rock and roll band.

So, why the review? Well for starters we have two songs from their first LP, “One Long Day”, and “Home and Broken Hearted”. Both versions presented here are raw and spirited. The latter is also the only available live performance ever released on either cd or vinyl. “Merry Go Round” differs vastly to what’s on “Breakfast at Sweethearts”. At this point it sounds like the group are still feeling their way around the song, and it’s funny to hear Jim Barnes forget some of the lyrics and quickly improvise his way through the verses. “Mona and the Preacher” was a live staple at the time, which strangely never made it onto their first album. So it’s most welcome here. Finally we have “Wild Thing”, and which remains of the most visceral versions you’ll ever hear (or at least I’ve heard outside of Hendrix). Chisel would often close their gigs with this Troggs classic. Barnes’s abrasive vocals fit the song perfectly, while Ian Moss let’s things fly with some heavy meat and potatoes guitar licks, transforming what was originally a primitive anthemic throwaway into a glorious primal workout.

For years these recordings remained unreleased (hence the high price for the original vinyl), until it was finally remastered and reissued on cd in 2011. The only shame is that they opted not to release an expanded edition with additional material from the same show. Surely those tapes still exist. Or maybe not. Oh well. At least we have this excellent memento of the band’s early days to remind us of just how good they really were.