John Vincent was a South Australian DJ who put out many ocker novelty records, both under his own name and as the 'Ken Oath Ockerstra. We like this one in particular because of its links back to a cool earlier version from 1967. We'll get to that in a minute, but for now enjoy a bit of seasonal stupidity, with Thin Vin's approximate vocals taking centre stage.
’Ow Ya Goin’ Santa Claus [Download]
The song has its roots in an earlier song, in fact Vincent's debut record, recorded with legendary Australian '60s band The In-Sect, whose I Can See My Love is rightly regarded as a classic of Australian '60s punk. As told by guitarist Frank Sebastyn to Ian Marks in the great recent book Wild About You, the In-Sect were the regular house band at the Arkaba Hotel in Adelaide, where they played six nights a week and an all day Saturday beer garden gig to 1200-1300 people.
I arranged that for John. He used to keep hanging 'round the Arkaba saying, 'Can I sing a song, mister?' And after weeks of telling him to piss off, we let him up on stage, and he did this song called 'Ow Ya Goin' which knocked 'em out. So I spoke to Ron Gillespie [from W&G] and he agreed to record him, too.It goes on to tantalisingly say Ow Ya Goin' was "allegedly recorded in the lavatory at the Adelaide Railway station" with no further details!
Detailing the three stages of a standard piss up, the lyrics in total are:
'Ow ya goin'? Alright!
Crack a coldie. You beaut!
See ya later. Hoo roo!
Again for our SSL friends a few translation hints are in order: crack a coldie is "open yourself a cold beer from the esky"; you beaut is an exclamation of pleasure equating to "you little bloody ripper"; hoo roo they say is an archaic Australian farewell, but I've been hearing it all this weekend as I've done the rounds of family and friends. It's all helped along by a sterling performance by the In-Sect with loud drums, organ and some great guitar by Sebastyn.
’Ow Ya Goin’  [Download]
Vincent and the In-Sect combined twice more, first on the Madge's Charity Badges / Choko Brandy 7" (RCA 101860, December 1968), then on the Ballad Of Andy Capp 7" on Adelaide label Gamba. Dean Mittelhauser said of the RCA record, "this was another of Vincent's terrible novelty songs, but the band's raunchiness is undiminished, particularly on the A-side where there is a truly fab guitar solo. It's absolutely boss, and makes Vincent's bad lyrics and even worse vocals almost bearable". It's a cool record and has been comped on the Australian psych CD, Datura Dreamtime.
Vincent revisited 'Ow Ya Goin' in 1973 on his only album. Without the In-Sect, and without '60s enthusiasm, it's reduced down to a pretty standard 12 bar blues workout. We include it for completeness. If you absolutely have to dig further into Vinnie's back catalogue we can perhaps suggest this approximation to Heads Down No Nonsense Mindless Boogie style satire from 1975, and again with a Ramones tribute band.
’Ow Ya Goin’  [Download]